You may have thought about buying a life insurance policy so that your loved ones are secure if something happens and you are no longer here. Even with that basic knowledge, you may still be unsure of how life insurance works and what it entails. It can be hard to contemplate your fate, but you are hardly alone. Too many people put off purchasing life insurance and leave their family to bear the burden of debts, funeral costs, and other expenses. Let’s take a closer look at why you need life insurance and how it works.
Simply put, life insurance is a contract between the insurance company and you, the policyholder. The contract will guarantee that if anything happens to you that your loved ones, the beneficiaries, will receive payment of a benefit at the time of your death. The life insurance policy will give you the peace of mind to know that your loved ones can continue to live the same lifestyle they had been in the same place. Life insurance can even let you leave money to a charity that is important to you.
All life insurance policies have the same goal, to make sure that beneficiaries receive payment when you pass away. There are, however, various types of life insurance available.
Short-term protection – Term life insurance falls under this heading. A policy can be purchased for a definite amount of time, usually ten to thirty years. If your demise happens in that period, your beneficiary will receive payment of a death benefit. If you outlive the covered period, then the policy ends.
Long-term protection – This is also known as permanent life insurance, which also includes whole life insurance and universal life insurance. Long term protection covers you for the rest of your life. Just like term coverage, long term protection yields a death benefit to your beneficiary at the time of your death. It also offers benefits before your death, such as having a cash value that can be accessed in times of need such as a child’s wedding or college tuition. Some retirees have used long term protection policies as a way to supplement their income.
One type of policy may be enough to cover your needs, or you may want a combination of different coverages. What you choose depends on your particular situation. Discussing your needs with an agent can help you to decide what coverage or coverages are best for you and your loved ones. As time passes your needs may change, periodic reviews of your policies to gauge if adjustments are needed to your policy will ensure your loved one’s needs are met.
Everyone’s needs are different, and there is no one size fits all policy. Sometimes the group coverage you receive through your employer is just not enough. Most life insurance policies obtained through group coverage are not portable, so when you leave the company, most likely you leave the life insurance. You need to examine what will play a role in determining how much life insurance you need. Factors like the size of your family, the value of your home, how much debt you’ve incurred, and your business (if you own one). If you have children, you will want to ensure coverage of basic expenses such as food and clothing, to future costs like college tuition.
The key factor is what you want for your family. How much help do you want to leave for your family when you can no longer be with them? Do you want to keep them headed towards their life goals? Do you want to make sure your spouse can stay in the home you made together? These are just a few things you may want to take into consideration.
Your age and health will determine how much life insurance costs. Younger and healthier people typically pay lower premiums. The cost of not having life insurance, however, cannot be put into a dollar value. The burden left on your loved ones if you did not invest in life insurance will be costly for them.
Getting life insurance is an easy way to have peace of mind knowing that if something happens to you that your family will be able to carry on.
Don Westerfeld has been active in the field of Insurance and Financial Planning since 1997. Don grew up in Indiana later moving to Lakeland Florida where he continues to reside with his wife and children. When he’s not in the office you can find him enjoying the great outdoors. He has served on several charitable business and non-profit organizations and continues to provide guidance, advice and support to local charities.
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