Life insurance is one of the most common forms of insurance purchased. And for good reason – the coverage a policy can provide offers peace of mind that an individual’s loved ones won’t be financially devastated in the result of a tragedy. However, this peace of mind often comes with a hefty price tag.
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What Is Life Insurance
The goal of a life coverage plan is to provide some type of financial security for your family, if you were to die. Thus, a life insurance plan is not something to skimp on, especially given the typically low rates. A life coverage policy is basically a contract with some insurance company. You pay premiums in exchange for a lump sum payment to be paid out to your named beneficiaries if the insured’s individual was to die. This payment is referred to as a death benefit. Typically, plans are chosen based upon your desires, needs and goals of the insured. While death benefits are usually tax-free, you’ll want to think about your standard of living and financial situation you’d like your loved ones to be in, if you were to die. While selecting a life policy, you’ll need to think about things like funeral costs, final medical bills, relocation costs, daycare, college funds, ongoing mortgage payments and more. You’ll want to re-evaluate your life insurance policy any time you experience a life-changing event. Events like marriage, divorce, childbirth, adoption, buying a home, starting a business and more all may warrant an updated life coverage policy.
Why You Need Life Insurance
Depending on your situation, you may or may not need a life insurance plan. If you’re a single individual or involved in a no-dependents household, you won’t need much of a life policy, if any. In planning for a tragedy, you may simply need a small savings fund dedicated to funeral costs and a completed will. You could also obtain coverage that would cover estate taxes on your property. This ensures heirs don’t have to liquidate assets in an unfavorable manor. This is only necessary if you amassed a large estate. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re the primary breadwinner for a large family and have little savings, you’ll need to take out a large amount of coverage. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s imperative to prioritize your spending. After basic necessities like food and housing are covered, your life policy premiums should be next in order of priority – even before credit card payments and auto loans. You don’t want to leave your family out in the dust if tragedy strikes.
Different Types Of Life Insurance
There are three main types of life insurance policies. They are term life policies, universal life policies and whole life policies. Each type of policy varies when compared with the other.
Term life insurance
Policies created to provide protection for a certain amount of time from a financial standpoint. These plans are often 10 to 20 years. Premiums are usually guaranteed and level during the period of the term. As well, most term life premiums are lower than with whole life coverage. Proceeds from a term life payment are meant to go towards replacing potential lost income during working years. The payments are meant to provide your beneficiaries with a safety net – ensuring your family’s financial goals can still be met. It’s important to note that term life benefits are paid in a lump sum. You will not receive checks on a regular basis like a paycheck.
Universal life insurance
Universal life coverage is a type of permanent life coverage created to provide lifetime coverage. Differing from whole life cover, universal policies allow flexible raising and lowering of premiums and coverage amounts over the course of your lifetime. Most individuals use universal life coverage as a way to preserve wealth that’s to be transferred to beneficiaries. There is always a tax-deferred savings component with universal life coverage.
Whole life insurance
Policies created to provide permanent lifetime coverage fall into the whole life category. These policies typically have higher premiums than other forms of life insurance, but they are fixed and not flexible. Whole life coverage often has a cash value. Thus, policies have a savings component. This component may accumulate tax-deferred over time. Many use whole life plans as an estate-planning tool that can help preserve any wealth you’re striving to transfer to your beneficiaries.
How Much Coverage You Need
The amount of life coverage you need will be determined by a variety of factors. Every individual will be different. Once you’ve selected the type of life insurance you need (term, universal, whole), you’ll need to select the amount of coverage. The amount of coverage you select is the amount that will be paid to your beneficiaries in the event you (the insured party) pass away. To determine your coverage needs, you’ll want to think about the general amount of need you’d like to meet. While there are many factors to consider, some of the most common and important factors to consider are: Your potential income Your assets Your liabilities & debts Any existing insurance Other miscellaneous costs your family could incur Once you’ve selected the amount of coverage you think you need, you’ll want to remember to review and possibly change your life policy after every major life event (ex. marriage or children).
Life Insurance & You
As with any form of insurance, you are investing in a calculated risk. Determining your level of need can be confusing, especially if you’re new to life coverage. If you’re struggling to decide on a policy, you may want to consider reaching out to a life insurance specialist. Once you’ve educated yourself on the various policies and coverage amounts available, don’t be afraid to shop around. There are numerous companies selling a variety of different policies. Figure out what you need and then find the best plan to fulfill your needs. The last thing you’d want is to leave your family out in the dust because you ignored a minute detail in your life insurance policy– so just make sure you read the fine print and understand the exact details of the coverage before signing up.
Final Expense Life Insurance
Depending on what’s needed to complete the arrangements, burial expenses can quickly add up. While life insurance is used primarily to replace lost income, final expense life insurance covers the costs of putting your loved ones to rest. It has a more singular function, which is to cover all of the costs, small and large, of a family member who needs to be buried – including prior medical bills. This type of insurance is a form of permanent life insurance, and does not expire. For the sole purpose of making sure anyone can get a proper burial, the policy also doesn’t require a health checkup for eligibility. In this way, it is a lot like guaranteed-issue life insurance, and only requires consent. Combined with an acceptable funeral home, these types of policies can release funds automatically upon death to cover the cost of the funeral. No one should have to spend their precious moments of grief worrying about the price of a burial. Final expense life insurance is a plan put in place to get the wheels moving, long before you have to even ask.