When you know you want to provide life insurance benefits to your loved ones in the event you die prematurely, it's easy to find yourself confused by all of the different types of policies, and policy options, available.
Term life insurance can be an affordable way to provide some financial protection for a specific period of time.
People who own universal life insurance policies can make periodic adjustments according to their needs. UL policies also offer a built-in cash value, so you can set money aside on a tax-deferred basis, right inside your policy.
Term life insurance coverage is just what it sounds like: life insurance for a specified policy term. The coverage is in effect for a term of years that you choose up front, usually ranging from 10-30 years. If you die while the policy is in force, the insurance company pays death benefits to your named beneficiaries.
The number one reason for purchasing term life insurance is to provide peace of mind to your loved ones. If you were to die prematurely, would your loved ones be able to maintain their standard of living? Term life insurance can provide a cash death benefit that could be used to pay your final expenses, including the expense of a funeral service, a remaining mortgage balance, children's education expenses, or paying ongoing expenses after your death.
Like other types of life insurance, term life insurance starts with an application for coverage with an insurance company. Once a policy is in force with the company, you pay monthly, quarterly or annual policy premiums to maintain coverage. If you die during the specified policy term, the insurance company pays the specified death benefit amount to your named beneficiaries.
One of the best features of universal life insurance is the flexibility with your premium. You can pay higher premiums to add to your policy's cash value when you're able. Or, if you need to reduce the premium for a period of time, you can make adjustments to the policy to accommodate that.
One of the biggest advantages of term life insurance is its affordability. Insurance companies can offer lower premium rates for term insurance coverage than for permanent policies because the odds of death during the policy term favor the insurance company. Term life insurance policies are also a great way to maintain flexibility: you can adjust the policy according to your changing needs. If you realize more permanent coverage is a better option for you, most in-force term life insurance policies can be converted to permanent life insurance.
Other advantages of term life insurance:
Of course, there are a lot of policies and policy options to choose from. When you're considering purchasing a term life insurance policy, you'll want to keep your financial situation in mind and select coverage that best meets your needs.
Because it is intended to provide coverage only for a specific amount of time, term life insurance is generally the least expensive type of life insurance you can buy. Your specific premium will be based on your age at the time you purchase the policy, as well as on your overall health. Non-smokers in good health will typically pay low premiums.
When you apply for any type of life insurance, you need to answer some basic questions about your health and lifestyle. Most people who are generally healthy will qualify for coverage. You may still qualify for term life insurance if you have some existing health problems, although your premium will likely be higher. For some policies, you do not need to submit evidence of insurability beyond the application questionnaire, meaning you shouldn't need a physical examination to qualify for coverage.
The best time to buy term life insurance is now. Life insurance is intended to provide a cash death benefit to your named beneficiary (or beneficiaries) after you die. Of course, none of us can know when we'll die, or when our health situation might change for the worse. Because qualifying for term life insurance is based on your health at the time of application, it just makes sense to buy coverage now. Hopefully, your term life insurance policy will never be needed. If it is, your loved ones will appreciate the fact that you took the time for insurance planning when you did.
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