Life insurance protects those that depend on you for financial resources. If as a policyholder you were to die prematurely, life insurance provides your dependents with financial resources to replace yours. It can also provide a timely emergency fund for medical, legal, and funeral costs, should family savings not be adequate to cover them.
If someone depends on you financially, chances are you need life insurance. Life insurance provides cash to your family after your death. This cash (known as the death benefit) replaces your income and can help your family meet many important financial needs like daily living expenses, mortgage payments and college savings. Under most circumstances, there is no federal or state income tax on life insurance benefits.
Most individuals can use the cost effective benefits of having life insurance. In contemplating your need for life insurance, one needs to think through the worst-case scenario. If you died tomorrow, how would your loved ones fare financially? Would surviving family members have the money to pay for your final expenses (e.g., funeral costs, medical bills, taxes, debts, lawyer’s fees, and etc.)? Would they be able to meet ongoing living expenses like the rent or mortgage, food, clothing, transportation costs, healthcare, college education for children, etc.?
Life insurance is the peace mind answer to these questions by ensuring your loved ones are provided for financially, even if you are no longer there to care for them yourself.
Types of Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is life insurance which provide level death benefits and premiums for a limited period of time (ie. 10, 15, 20, 30 year policy periods). After that period, the insured can either discontinue the policy or pay annually increasing premiums to continue the coverage. If the insured dies during the term, the death benefit will be paid to the beneficiary. Term insurance is typically the least expensive way to purchase a substantial death benefit on a coverage amount per premium dollar basis.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance in which the coverage and the premiums remain the same your entire life. As long as your premium payments are made as agreed, your insurance coverage lasts throughout your life, and the death benefit is a guaranteed amount.
When you pay the premiums on a whole life policy, part of each payment accumulates as a cash value. The insurance company typically invests the cash value, which continues to grow tax deferred as long as the policy is in force. You can borrow against the cash value, but unpaid policy loans and interest will be subtracted from your death benefit. You may also access your cash value by surrendering or cancelling your policy. Dividends are also typically paid on whole life contracts and can be used to either increase the death benefit or reduce the premiums.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal Life Insurance is a flexible-premium, adjustable benefit life insurance policy that accumulates account value. The flexibility of this policy allows you to change the amount of insurance as your needs for insurance change. Universal life is similar in some ways to, and was developed from whole life insurance. The potential advantage of the universal life policy is in its flexibility and the potential for greater cash value growth during the insured’s life.