How I Shopped for My Insurance Plans

Note:  This is the continuation of my post about life insurance (read the first installment HERE), as part of my personal advocacy to promote awareness in investing for your future.  


Just a week ago, I was sorting out the bills and receipts for the different insurance plans AJ and I have, and I realized that the aggregate amount of insurance premiums I’ve paid for my insurance plans alone would have bought me a nice leather bag from Fino or shoes from Tod’s already.

Yes, I am normal that way too and I have wondered, many times in the past, if I need all these.


I always find the answers in the stories of my own family, my friends and office colleagues, particularly about how their insurance policies worked for them.  I’ll let you in on some of their stories below:

  • An office colleague who was diagnosed with breast cancer learned that our HMO will only cover a certain amount for her treatments.  It’s a good thing she has an insurance plan with critical illness benefit, allowing her to advance the benefit amount from her policy to pay for her treatments.  She has kids who are still in school and she didn’t have to worry about where to get money for her treatments.  Her insurance policy took care of the expenses.  She was able to get back to work without being heavily in debt.
  • An acquaintance of mine has an uncle who’s a breadwinner in the family and  works in the Middle East.  He died while on work there.  The proceeds from his life insurance helped pay for his funeral expenses, and cushioned the impact of sudden loss to his family.  His story not only encouraged this acquaintance of mine to get his own insurance coverage, but to become an insurance financial adviser as well.
  • I have a classmate from college who, like me, is very matipid (frugal) with her school expenses.  We would photocopy textbooks instead of buying them, hehe!  She would later share to me her story, and how her father’s insurance money helped fund her college tuition.  She now has a fulfilling job in Singapore.
  • A friend of mine bought a variable life insurance more than 10 years ago, and paid the plan in full up front (I think she shelled out P50,000 as one-time premium payment).   She withdrew all the funds last year (which has grown to almost twice the value of her investment) to finance the construction of her new home.

These are just some of my favorites, and I just have to look back at these stories to help me get back to my priorities and forget about diverting my insurance payments to buy a bag or a pair of designer shoes, hehe!

Going back to the question: Do I need all these insurance policies?   The answer is YES, and that’s because these policies will work for me in different ways.

Let me illustrate that further by sharing with you my own experiences in shopping for insurance products and what made me get them.  I hope these will give you ideas on how to go about your own shopping, and most of all, make you look forward to doing that soon!

Here’s how I began…

I read a lot about life insurance products online and reflected on my future plans

Thankfully, it’s already the age of internet when my interest in life insurance products began.  Although there are few online materials then, they helped greatly in shaping my financial plans, my life priorities and yes, my budget.

It’s alright if you do not feel like reading them at all.  They can be too technical sometimes, but you don’t need to be technical at all when you reflect on how do you want to see your future, and how productive you want it to be for you. 

If you are a parent, you will probably think of the future as for your children.  If you’re single but is the family’s breadwinner, you may be envisioning a future where you will be financially independent but at the same time will continue to support your parents and siblings.   You can start with these, reflect on them and from there you will be able to define your financial plans (i.e. financial standing in the future as you want it) and your priorities (i.e. schooling for your children, setting up a business so you can become your own boss, etc.)

My future plans helped define my insurance needs.

It’s like this: when I bought my first policy, I was in my early 20’s.  I wasn’t overly concerned about being covered for critical illnesses or about having hospitalization benefits (I was young and very healthy and I have free HMO as part of my job benefits).  I won’t be needing an educational insurance plan too because I’m single at that time, and no time for boyfriends too hehe!  But I do want to be able to retire from work at a young age (like my dad) and enjoy the fruits of my hard work.

So with these information at hand, my financial adviser asked me: How long do I see myself working?   At my age that time,  I said until 50, hehe!  So he suggested that I get a policy that will cover me financially when I decide to retire at 50. That is, he suggested a life insurance plan with a savings plan that I can use as my retirement nest.


I thought it was a very good plan for me then, because even though I don’t have any definite plans after 50 yet, at least I can already build up the funds I would be needing for that “after 50” plan.  And if I choose to still work after 50, the funds will still be there and it can serve other purpose (like starting my own business, renovating our family home, or to help fund major hospital expenses).

As I matured, and my income improved, I decided to get additional insurance plans but these are all investment-linked now.   They still have life insurance components in them, but what’s attractive about investment-linked insurance products is that they are withdrawable anytime.   So it’s more of a savings plan, with higher earnings than in banks.

I viewed insurance as a smart savings plan.

I was introduced to investment-link (or “variable”) insurance plans by an officemate whose mom works for Pru Life UK.  I’ve just finished grad school then, and can finally start beefing up my small savings account at the bank.  I was drawn to the versatility and higher returns of investment-linked insurance products.  I get to be an investor of mutual funds, plus I am covered with insurance, too.   And the beauty of it all is that it doesn’t have to be expensive for me.  I just told my financial adviser from Pru Life how much I can “spare” for this on a monthly basis, and then she packaged my plan according to my budget.

Another plus with variable life insurance products is that you pay for a fixed term only.  Like the plan I got at Pru Life UK, it’s payable for 5 years only.  And I’ve fully paid it already.

I also got a similar plan from Sun Life Philippines (after I’ve fully paid the Pru Life plan) and did you know I just save P500 a week for it? My plan at Sun Life is called Maxilink Prime, and I blogged about it HERE.

I also got similar product from Manulife.  You might ask:  Why so many?  Well, I firmly believe in the saying: “Don’t put all eggs in one basket”.   By getting similar products from other insurance companies, I actually benefit from their distinct investment strategies!

And before you think that I’m very rich to have more than 1 plan, let me surprise you by saying I just save up P400 / week for the Manulife plan.  Add to that the P500 / week for Sun Life and that’s a “sacrifice” of P900 per week lang.


I highly suggest that you discuss with your preferred insurance company how variable life insurance can work for you.  Again, affordability + peace of mind are its attractive features.

I made a commitment with myself.

Every time I am offered a new insurance product, I think about it not just in days but in weeks.  To pay additional premiums is one thing, but to “commit” to paying them for a period of time is another.  So I really have to think it over, because I find it sayang if I will not be able to finish the payments because other plans got in the way.

When you do choose buy an insurance, you have to look at it as a “personal commitment”.   When I bought my first insurance plan at age 22, it took a lot of adjustments for me to budget my salary because after all, I only have entry-level salary.  Plus, I cannot give up social life, my Starbucks coffee and book-buying spree, and my love for jewelry! That would be a kill for me!


I was fortunate to have a very good financial adviser for my first insurance purchase (from Insular Life) and he made me view insurance as something I need because I understand how it works.   That, I think, is very important when you buy yours.  You have to understand how it will work for you.  Only then will your commitment be genuine and be for keeps.  Believe me, hindi mahirap mag-give up ng luho once you put your heart into this.

My advise is that you should be friends with your financial advisers, too.  It’s important to be comfortable with them; otherwise,  you cannot trust them to make financial decisions for you.


Having dealt with a bunch of them already, I have formed a list of qualities that I look for in a financial adviser.

My ideal financial adviser should be:

  • Educated about the insurance products being offered to you.  They don’t have to have doctorate decrees in finance or be CPAs, but they should be able to explain what every written word in the policy contract or proposal means.
  • A good listener who will work on getting to know you first, before pinching in any insurance product for you to buy.  A good financial adviser must be able to evaluate your financial needs not just by looking at your pay slips or financial statements, but by looking at your lifestyle and future plans as well.
  • Somebody who will not aggressively make follow-ups.  Unfortunately, you will deal with a lot of them who will be excited to close a deal once you’ve expressed a hint of approval in their proposals.  The few good ones I’ve met have allowed me to think it over, and to even shop around the market.
  • Should not be offended when you tell them that you are also considering a similar product from another insurance company.  I’ve met one (an old woman) who made a face when I told her I’m also studying a proposal from another insurance company.   That was very rude of her, I thought and I didn’t speak to her anymore.   I’ve  met another one (a much younger woman) and when I told her exactly the same thing, she commended me for doing that.  She added that should there be items in her proposal that needs to be further clarified or explained, I should just give her a call.   Now, that’s professional.
  • Should give after-sales service with a smile.  Don’t be shy to request upfront if you wish to have your premium payments picked up from you (especially when you’re very busy at work and has no time to make trips to the bank for payment).  This is actually part of the package, and not everyone is aware of this.  Some financial advisers will tell you that you can just pay your premiums through their partner banks and establishments (like LBC, Bayad Center, etc.) and will not offer this pick-up service.  Ask for it, if that is more convenient for you.


So do we really need more one insurance policy?  I say YES, because as I’ve explained above (in the case of variable life insurance), they have evolved to being our savings plan too.

And the best part is that we can start building up our portfolio with a mix of insurance products from different companies, and manage it cheaply (like I do, with my P900 / week insurance expense).

It’s also important that you are comfortable with your financial adviser, and that you trust his/her decisions for you.  If not, don’t proceed with the deal or request a new one, if necessary.

That’s all, my dear readers.  I hope you find everything I shared here helpful when you start shopping for your own insurance investment. 

In ending this post, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes about investment and why it’s important to protect it:

It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” – Robert Kiyosaki


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  1. flexyshobe says

    You’ve been an inspiration to me and I thank you for introducing this to me. Can’t wait to read your insurance 101!

  2. says

    Hi Leah! I looked up on this old post of yours. I have to thank you for mentioning Pru Life UK. You were one of the reasons why I was convinced to get one. Thanks a lot.

    • says

      Wow, that’s wonderful, Diane! I have another post here about personal finance…forever sitting in my draft folder na nga eh pero will get it out before the month is over.

  3. A says

    Hi! I’m amazed how you have enough patience to handle them all!
    I am currently working for a life insurance company and I know how important it is. Sad tho, not everyone in the Philippines believe in life insurance.
    I’m only 21, but I’m currently in the process of underwriting for my first life insurance. Applied one for each of my parents as well. I find this post useful, as I’m thinking of getting another one if the results for the first one are good (Manulife). I do believe that good servicing agent helps!

  4. debbie says

    Hi! This is really informative! I would just like to ask if which of those 3 investments do you think is more viable? 🙂 Appreciate your response. Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Debbie! For me, all 3 investments are viable. I can easily choose the one with the highest return but it would also mean that I have to shell out more for premiums =)

  5. Andrea says

    Hi! Im 25 years old and I’ll be leaving the country soon fow work. Before that, I would like to invest in a policy where I can earn a profit after 10 years and can cover critical illness or deaths at the same time. Would you think I should go for Pru Life or Sun Life? Thanks. I only have a month to decide.

    • says

      Either insurance is okay. I suggest you talk to a financial adviser from each company so you can assess which one will fit your needs – and budget =)

      • Brian R says

        Hi Leah! I’m glad that you find great value in insurance policies. I must say, I wish there were 10,000 more like you. Haha! Well, I am a Financial Advisor for Pru Life UK. I would like also to address to Andrea that I could run some reports for her and maybe I could talk to her personally. I’m sure she would love our services. Just the same as other insurance companies in the industry, we all aim to create a harmonious and prosperous generation of Filipinos. Btw, your blog looks good! Keep it up! =)

  6. butch nayona says

    The advise to talk to at least two Financial Advisors (say Pru and Sun) is good. Doing so allows those interested to be able to compare and contrast the solutions offered by the insurance companies – allowing them to choose the solution that best fit their need.

    As a Pru Life Financial Advisor myself, I usually, encourage my prospects to also get proposals from the top 3 life insurance companies. I always like prospects to make the best determination since it is their hard earned money at stake here. — Butch Nayona

  7. Daniela says

    Hi! I am so glad I found this very helpful article. I am an OFW and very interested on investing in an insurance policy but wasn’t really sure which company, who to contact and where to start. I am reluctant on just getting the number of an advertised agent/financial adviser online so if you could refer me to a specific person you’ve personally dealt with before, would really appreciate it. Thanks!

    • cel letigio says

      Hi Daniela! My name is Cel , Financial Advisor of Manulife. Feel free to contact me so we can talk. Mobile no. 0908 1597570

  8. says

    Hi m very grateful nabasa ko to. I hope i was able to start earlier para now tapos na ako or patapos na. But i am sure it’s not yet too late for me to start…

  9. says

    hi ! i am so new with this insurance thing .. i just want to save for my family and kids. can you please provide some starter tips .. like what are those “VUL” ? and so much accounting terms .. and if we apply for an insurance can we pay directly to the advisor ? am really confuse .. please help 🙁

    • Shaymaa says

      Wow! This is really inspiring from the point of view of a client 🙂 Great blog! I am a financial consultant from prulife UK and if you want to know more you may contact me 09253281001 or shaymaamisah@yahoo more than happy to help

  10. Anna says

    H ! I appreciate your blog posts about insurance since I’m really torn between Sunlife and Pru Life UK and choosing between two financial advisors. My budget is only around 2k so i know i wont get the max benefits.

    I would appreciate if you can give me an advise on this. When I check your ideal financial adviser you said that the financial advisor should be knowledgeable and not makulit in following up. My situation is this, my Sunlife advisor is younger and thus have less knowledge about insurance but i feel more comfortable with her and she is not “makulit”, she was able to give proposals (patiently) that is relative to my budget, whereas the Prulife UK advisor keeps on following up to the extent of asking me the coverage of Sunlife so she can propose a better plan and even told me negative things about Sunlife (I dont know if this is true). I have yet to check Prulife proposal but this financial advisor is already working in the industry longer than the financial advisor of Sunlife. Who should I trust then?

    Next is that, is it okay if I dont get the 1M premium coverage? or is that the ideal amount of premium coverage in getting an insurance? With my budget, I can only get 500k premium, 500k accidental and 250k critical illness and VUL. I’m sorry i have too many questions. I’m really confused about insurance

    Thank you so much!

  11. Daniel paz says

    Hi Anna, I can help with your inquiry regarding Pru life variable life insurance… Promise hindi ako mangungulit and that I am willing to answer any of your questions. 🙂 this is my number 0927-880-0023.

    • chris says

      Hi apple. Im chris from manulife. Its MCBL enrich payable in 5 years.
      50k annual
      25k semi annual
      12500 qtr
      4167 monthly
      I leave my mobile# if your still interested.

      • Bob says

        Can you email more info about manulife pension or retireplan, i just want the specifics like;

        what are the price range annual P50k to …..
        for how many years?
        Im 38 yrs old


  12. An Misagrande says

    Thank you for this post Lea. I find it very informative and I have learned a lot. I am a PrulifeUK financial consultant, I do agree with what you pointed out that a client must look for a consultant whom he can trust and be comfortable with. As a consultant, that is the most challenging part most especially that many have encountered a “not-so-good” experience with other advisers. It is not actually the products of insurance companies that they are not sure with but the advisers (for some). Thanks again! 🙂

  13. says

    hi! this was a great read! I’m approaching my mid twenties now and I’m keen on starting early so that I can retire early as well. Inspirational! 🙂

  14. says

    Any information that is found to be concealed can be grounds for revoking benefits of the insurance policy. All premium payments done so far can also be forfeited. So keep in mind to disclose correct information and don’t sign any blank forms.Cheap life insurance London, Critical Illness Insurance UK, family income assurance UK, Pre-Paid Funeral Plans UK, Income protection insurance UK, Cheap Life Insurance Plan‎, Life Insurance Plan UK‎, Mortgage Protection Cover uk, NON MEDICAL INSURANCE UK, Brightlife cover.

  15. Cheneil says

    Hi! I just happen to pass by and I liked what you wrote here. I am too a “collector” of insurance policies, as I have seen the importance of having them. Having read this, I quickly sent the link of this blogpost to my youngest sister, who is just 21 years old. I have been giving her a lecture about getting such kind of life investment and I am happy that she listened to me. This article will definitely reinforce the practice of investing to her even more. 🙂 Thanks a lot!

  16. Kezzia says

    Hi, Thanks so much for this. Im 20, and just starting to have an insurance of my own. You’re such an inspiration!

  17. Sam says

    Hi Leah, How much was your monthly PruLife payment for the 5-year plan? Your answer means a lot to me. Thank you.

  18. Celynne says

    Hi, i am planning to get an insurance for retirement. Im single and im 28yo. I want to know w/c is the best and most practical to get. I also want to know which company to get one as ive learned some Companies make it so diff for their holders to get process claims. Please help, thanks!

  19. Michelle says

    Hi Leah,

    I’m currently researching on variable life insurance and the best company to get it from.
    I’m glad I came across your blog, it is really informative.
    I already have a proposal from one of the companies that you have mentioned above and I am looking into another one as well.
    However, I am hoping I would be able to get one which I can pay over 5 years. Would you be able to recommend a company or two? I would really appreciate your response & some insight. Thank you 🙂

  20. jennifer f. gonzales says

    Hi! Leah… I am a financial consultant from Prulife U.K. after reading my emails, i googled for some views,ideas and opinions concerning life insurance to somehow learn more about it.

    Great! i came across your Blog. it is informative Leah and you inspire everyone! thank you!

    God bless you more.

    jenny ( )

  21. Mitch says

    Hi! I would also like to know your 5-year plan with PruLife. How much is the minimum per month?
    Kindly send it to my email.


  22. Tere-Jane Alolino says

    Hi Ms. Leah! Good day!
    You’re blog is very useful especially for us who are thinking about what our future will hold. If I may ask, what policy did you avail in PruLife UK? The one which is payable within 5 years because I’m planing to get one for myself as a tool for my retirement plan. Is it a VUL plan? Thank you in advance…

  23. Joy says

    Hi Ms. Leah! I hope I could get a reply from you. I’m interested in getting a manulife and/or prulife insurance. Could you refer me to your agent/s? 🙂

    Thank you!

  24. erwin santos says

    Hi Leah, you are such an inspiration…i am very interested in getting an insurance from pru life uk. do you know anyone?

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