Life Insurance Information
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No one really wants to think about life insurance. But if someone depends on you financially, it’s a topic you can’t avoid. In the event of a tragedy, life insurance proceeds can:
- Pay for funeral costs
- Help pay the bills and meet ongoing living expenses
- Pay off outstanding debt, including credit cards and the mortgage
- Continue a family business
- Finance future needs like your children’s education
- Protect a spouse’s retirement plans
What is term life insurance?
Term life insurance is the most affordable type of life insurance. This makes it popular among young adults who are just starting families of their own. With a term life policy, you select the number of years—the term—in which your policy will be active. You may find monthly premiums to be affordable. But, keep in mind that dependents will receive a payout only if the policyholder dies within the specified term.
What are the benefits of term life insurance?
If you wish to leave a legacy behind for your family, life insurance is an important consideration. Term life insurance provides an affordable way to ensure your family can continue making ends meet. Because this is the most basic type of life insurance, it’s easy for many to fit it into their budgets. And you’ll pay the same rate for your entire term, regardless of waning health.
Most insurance providers allow you to select a term of one to 30 years, giving you the option to lock in your rate for longer. When you renew a term life insurance policy, your new rate is recalculated based on your current health and other factors. This is why many people lock in their rate for longer terms.
What about permanent or whole life insurance?
In contrast, permanent insurance provides lifelong protection. As long as you pay the premiums, and no loans, withdrawals or surrenders are taken, the full face amount will be paid. Because it is designed to last a lifetime, permanent life insurance accumulates cash value and is priced for you to keep over a long period of time.
Whole life or permanent insurance pays a death benefit whenever you die—even if you live to 100! There are three major types of whole life or permanent life insurance—traditional whole life, universal life, and variable universal life, and there are variations within each type.
In the case of traditional whole life, both the death benefit and the premium are designed to stay the same (level) throughout the life of the policy. The cost per $1,000 of benefit increases as the insured person ages, and it obviously gets very high when the insured lives to 80 and beyond. The insurance company could charge a premium that increases each year, but that would make it very hard for most people to afford life insurance at advanced ages. So the company keeps the premium level by charging a premium that, in the early years, is higher than what’s needed to pay claims, investing that money, and then using it to supplement the level premium to help pay the cost of life insurance for older people.
By law, when these “overpayments” reach a certain amount, they must be available to the policyholder as a cash value if he or she decides not to continue with the original plan. The cash value is an alternative, not an additional, benefit under the policy.
Universal Life Insurance can be catered to your needs!
Universal life insurance policies offer flexible premiums that may allow you to adjust how much you'll pay each year, by accessing some of the policy's cash value (though you will need to pay the minimum premium amount or the policy will lapse). Depending on your policy's potential cash value, it may be used to skip a premium payment or be left alone with the potential to accumulate in value over time.
Potential growth in a universal life policy will vary based on the specifics of your individual policy, as well as other factors. When you buy a policy, the issuing insurance company establishes a minimum interest crediting rate as outlined in your contract. However, if the insurer's portfolio earns more than the minimum interest rate, the company may credit the excess interest to your policy. This is why universal life policies have the potential to earn more than a whole life policy some years, while in others they can earn less.
A universal life insurance policy might be a good choice if you want:
- The flexibility to adjust your premiums and coverage amounts
- Cash value that you may be able to borrow from while you're still alive
- Permanent life insurance protection and access to cash values
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