The A-Z on Life Insurance, Life insurance, Term life insurance policy - Ken Research

The A-Z on Life Insurance

Life insurance is a policy designed to guarantee your loved ones are kept well with a sum of money after you are gone in exchange for premiums paid throughout your lifetime. It is a way of ensuring your loved ones can maintain the life you have built after you’re gone. Things like funeral costs, keeping your home and caring for a child will all be aided by the premiums built up over your lifetime. It allows you to be proactive about your financial commitments and the promises made to your loved ones.

But deciding which policy is best for you and your loved ones can be overwhelming. This guide can’t help with the ugly topic of why life insurance is a necessity, but it can break down the terms and policies of life insurance so that you are as informed as possible before you start paying.

What does life insurance cover?

Life insurance pays out a sum to your beneficiaries when you pass away, in exchange for the monthly premiums you have been paying throughout your lifetime. How much it is depends on the cover you buy and how long you have been paying for.

Since it is purely a lump sum given to your primary beneficiary, it can cover whatever they deem fit. Funeral costs, college tuition, mortgage payments, etc. Unlike other insurance policies like auto or home insurance in which control of the funds is up to and determined by the insurer, your beneficiaries are simply given a cash deposit.

The different types of coverage

You have two main options when it comes to life insurance: level term and decreasing term. A level term life insurance policy will pay out a fixed sum to your primary beneficiary when you pass, and the amount you pay in throughout your life will stay the same. A decreasing term pays out less as time goes on and is usually taken out to aid in dealing with existing debt.

Your next choice is between term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Are you content with adding to your premiums for the rest of your life or would you like a fixed term in case you wish to pull out or change your policy?

Term life insurance is a policy with an end-date and is usually a lot less expensive than permanent life insurance. Your policy can come in various term lengths, usually of 10, 20, or 30 years. You can choose a decreasing term policy with the coverage decreasing over the life of the policy, a convertible term policy which allows the policyholder to convert to permanent insurance or a renewable term policy which provides a quote for the year the policy was purchased and will increase annually.

Permanent life insurance gives the policyholder the option to input an ongoing policy for their entire life. Of course, this will end if they stop paying or surrender the policy. You can choose from whole life, universal life, indexed universal and variable universal policies.

Whole life insurance has the benefit of accumulating cash value, which allows the policyholder to use it as a source of loans or emergency cash. Universal life also accumulates cash value, but with interest and features flexible premiums. Universal life payments can be adjusted over time and designed with a level of death benefit or increasing death benefit. Indexed universal policies allow the policyholder to earn a rate of return on the cash value component of their policy and variable universal policies allow the policyholder to invest their cash value in a separate account. Like universal life policies, it also has flexible premiums and can be designed for a level or increasing death benefit.

Extra coverage

There are other options to life insurance that will give you coverage over other aspects of life. For example, joint life insurance is a policy that will cover both you and your partner for a higher premium amount. It usually works out to less than what two separate premiums would cost, saving you money, however the payout structure will be different. A first-death policy will pay out after the first policyholder passes and will no longer cover the second policy holder and a second-death policy will only pay out once both policyholders have passed.

Critical illness cover will pay out if you are diagnosed with one of a number of medical conditions during the term of your policy, check your policy to find out what conditions it covers.

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