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Life Insurance

Life Insurance Policies

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Studies show that about four in 10 people don't have life insurance and many of those who do don't carry enough to sufficiently provide for their families should they die prematurely. Many people don't want to pay for a policy because they see their death as some far-off event.

What is it?

A life policy is a type of policy that pays out a benefit when you die. You designate a beneficiary, and that person receives the death benefit. Most life policies are individual policies, but many employers offer life coverage to employees as well.

Who is it for?

Life coverage is for anyone who has people relying on his or her income. That could be a spouse, children or a relative. People with a significant amount of assets need life insurance as well to protect against heirs having to sell off those assets to pay taxes.

How it works

Life policies have some similarities to other types of insurance policies. The premium you pay is based largely on the amount of coverage you have, and the policy will pay out when there is a covered event -- a death. Unlike other types of coverage, there is no deductible.

Different types of coverage

There are essentially two types of life coverage: term life and whole life, although there are variations of each. Term life coverage covers you for a certain period of time, such as 20 or 30 years. You pay a level premium, and if you die during the term period, the policy pays out. If you don't, the policy expires. Whole life coverage combines insurance and an investment component. You get a smaller death benefit with a term policy, but some of your premium is invested and you generate a cash value, which you can borrow against or take as a lump sum payment if you choose to terminate your policy.

Major benefits

The biggest benefit of life coverage is the death benefit. This provides your heirs with money to pay bills and replace your income if you die. Whole life coverage also provides the added benefit of a cash value, which you can borrow against or take as a payment in the event of an emergency.

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