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Life Insurance Basics

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Life Insurance Basics Provided By Our Agency

There are two major types of life insurance—term and whole life. Whole life is sometimes called permanent life insurance, and it encompasses several subcategories, including traditional whole life, universal life, variable life and variable universal life.

Additional Information

In 2018, 4.0 million individual life insurance policies bought were term and about 5.9 million were whole life, according to the American Council of Life Insurers.

Life insurance products for groups are different from life insurance sold to individuals. The information below focuses on life insurance sold to individuals.

Term
Term Insurance is the simplest form of life insurance. It pays only if death occurs during the term of the policy, which is usually from one to 30 years. Most term policies have no other benefit provisions.

There are two basic types of term life insurance policies: level term and decreasing term.

  • Level  term means that the death benefit stays the same throughout the duration of the policy.
  • Decreasing term means that the death benefit drops, usually in one-year increments, over the course of the policy’s term.

In 2003, virtually all (97 percent) of the term life insurance bought was level term.

For more on the different types of term life insurance, click here.

Whole life/permanent

Whole life or permanent insurance pays a death benefit whenever you die—even if you live to 100! There are three major types of whole life or permanent life insurance—traditional whole life, universal life, and variable universal life, and there are variations within each type.

In the case of traditional whole life, both the death benefit and the premium are designed to stay the same (level) throughout the life of the policy. The cost per $1,000 of benefit increases as the insured person ages, and it obviously gets very high when the insured lives to 80 and beyond. 

The insurance company could charge a premium that increases each year, but that would make it very hard for most people to afford life insurance at advanced ages. So the company keeps the premium level by charging a premium that, in the early years, is higher than what’s needed to pay claims, investing that money, and then using it to supplement the level premium to help pay the cost of life insurance for older people.

By law, when these “overpayments” reach a certain amount, they must be available to the policyholder as a cash value if he or she decides not to continue with the original plan. The cash value is an alternative, not an additional, benefit under the policy.

How Much, is To Much

Get a good feel for how much Life insurance you really Need

Already have Life Insurance? Switching is easy

It might be time to switch insurers whenever the service that your existing insurer provides doesn’t meet your needs. For example, if you have a poor claims experience or an unexplained rate increase, it might be time to consider other options

If you cancel a previous policy before a new policy is effective, you could run into some serious financial problems.

Contact us today to help you with multiple options to choose from.
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