Looking to buy life insurance or invest? Here's what to consider so you're not ripped off.

There are many options when considering when and what kind of life insurance to purchase. Those decisions often have long-term financial ramifications that not only affect the buyer but their families, too. Life insurance is regulated by individual states, and the rules can vary, making it important to do research before making a big insurance decision.

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The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a consortium of state insurance regulators, recommends that buyers check with their state to ensure the firm and associate with whom they are working is a good choice. These tips come as two former Northwestern Mutual agents are under investigation in New Hampshire, where they had a branch office.

Look up your agent

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Each state regulates its own insurance brokers and companies. Most have websites where you can look up the agent selling you insurance or investment products. In Wisconsin, customers can look up licensed agents and complaints and licensing for insurance agents and companies.

Educate yourself on insurance best practices

There are many difference types of life insurance policies that can be modified in a variety of ways, and so it is important to understand the differences and risk for each.

And the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, NAIC, website has several buyers guides and consumer resources for those looking to buy insurance or investment products:

Ask questions, make a complaint

Making a complaint or reaching out to your state insurance regulator is the best avenue to have your concerns heard and addressed. In Wisconsin, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance investigates such complaints and is tasked with ensuring agents are following state laws. If you feel you have been misled or ripped off by an insurance agent, you can make a complaint in Wisconsin here. 

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Contact Katelyn Ferral at kferral@gannett.com or 608-405-9777. Follow her on Twitter @katelynferral.

MORE:2 former Northwestern Mutual agents under investigation for how they sold life insurance

MORE:Northwestern Mutual plans $500 million downtown campus project. It relocates 2,000 Franklin employees.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Looking to buy life insurance or invest? Here’s what to consider so you’re not ripped off.

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