How life insurance can help prepare for the unexpected
Why should I buy life insurance?
People buy life insurance to help protect their loved ones from financial hardship if they were to pass away. That’s because life insurance pays out a lump-sum of money to your beneficiaries (the people you designate to receive your insurance benefit) when you pass away. They can use that money to:
- Replace lost income
- Pay for final expenses, debts or estate taxes
- Cover day-to-day living expenses
What types of life insurance can I get through work?Many employers offer term policies. They are often affordable and pay a lump-sum benefit.
What are the advantages of purchasing life insurance through work?
Purchasing life insurance through your employer is often easier and more affordable than purchasing it on your own. For example:
- You’ll pay group rates, which may be less than individual rates
- Through an employer, life insurance is typically guaranteed issue, which means that you can get a certain amount of coverage without having to answer a lot of health questions or take a medical exam
- Your premiums will be conveniently deducted from your paycheck
You’ll know that the plan was reviewed and selected by your employer, so you don’t have to do the research yourself.
How much life insurance do I need?
Everyone is different, so you’ll want to consider your specific short- and long-term needs. For example, you may want to think about how much you’d need to cover burial and funeral expenses, how much your family would need to cover everyday living expenses if you should pass away, as well as future needs like college and retirement. Also, remember to factor in inflation – keeping in mind that everything will cost more in the future than it does today.
How much does life insurance cost?
Life insurance may not cost as much as you think. Especially if you purchase it through your employer. Often employers will pay the full cost of the Basic Term Life premiums for you, as an employee benefit. Employers may also offer additional voluntary coverage, which is paid for by the employee.
What if I already have life insurance coverage?
You can have more than one policy, if you need it. 48% of U.S. households have a life insurance coverage gap of $200,000.1 It’s important to review your situation and your policies every year or so, to make sure nothing in your life has changed. For example, you might need to adjust your coverage if you recently:
- Got married or divorced
- Had a child or have children or grandchildren about to enter college
- Bought a new home
- Started providing care or financial assistance for a parent
1 Life Insurance Ownership in Focus: U.S. Household Trends 2016 LIMRA Ownership Study.
Why is the insurance company behind the policy important?
Since life insurance is a long-term purchase, you’ll want to make sure that the company that will provide the benefit is strong, stable and reliable. They should be financially secure, have a good claims-paying history, good customer service and competitive pricing.
Are there instances where my life insurance policy will not pay out if I pass away?Most term life insurance policies are simple and straightforward and will pay the benefit quickly if you pass away so long as the premiums are paid up to date. Some plans have exclusions for circumstances such as a suicide. See your plan’s specific details and exclusions.
Who gets the money from my policy?Whoever you designate as your beneficiary or beneficiaries will receive the benefit payment(s) if you should pass away.
Why should I name a beneficiary?Because that is the best way to make sure your life insurance benefit goes to the person you want it to go to.
Who can I name as beneficiary on my policy?
You can name your spouse, a close relative, child(ren), an estate or trust as beneficiary to your policy.
- If you name a minor child, a custodian agreement or trust should be in place to ensure that all the proceeds can be paid promptly.
- A trust can be named beneficiary in order to protect minor children, but there may be tax consequences, so make sure you talk to your financial professional.
- If you name your estate, keep in mind that the life insurance proceeds cannot be released until the estate has gone through probate.
Please be advised that this document is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided by this document is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The tax information was written to support the promotion or marketing of the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.
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The policy has limitations and exclusions. Optional riders and/or features may incur additional costs. Plan documents are the final arbiter of coverage. Please read your certificate carefully for complete details regarding your benefits, reductions, limitations and exclusions. Policy form/contract ICC18 MOEBPLI; ICC18 AXEBPLI; MOEBP0618 LI; AXEBP0618 LI; and state variations.
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