BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : JULY 5, 1999 ISSUE
BUSINESSWEEK INVESTOR

Term Insurance Tips


-- Buying via a Web-based service may mean a lower premium if you know precisely what you want. If you need hand-holding, an agent is worth an initial meeting to get you up to speed on what your needs might be.

-- Before buying, be sure the insurer is financially sound. Look for ratings of AAA, AA, or A++. Each rating service has a different system. Check with A.M. Best (908 439-2200, www.ambest.com); Duff & Phelps (312 368-3157, www.dcrco.com); Moody's Investors Service (212 553-0377, www.moodys.com); Standard & Poor's (212 208-1527, www.standardandpoors.com/ratings); or Weiss Group (800 289-9222, www.weissratings.com).

-- To be able to waive premium payments in case you're disabled, consider a ''waiver policy.'' They're costly: At Prudential Insurance, for a 20-year policy with $1 million in coverage, the difference in premium payments between taking a waiver and not taking one is $1,210 annually.



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