Life insurance is one of the most common forms of insurance there is, not least because we all need it at one time or another in our lives. Life insurance is a bet you never want to win but remember, it is a gift from you to your loved ones when you are no longer here to care for them yourself.
One of the most frequently asked questions is how much you should insure yourself for. The answer is not easy as it depends on personal circumstances but an industry formula that is used extensively is to cover any liabilities such as a mortgage, credit cards and loans and then provide an additional three years salary in addition.
Broadly there are two types of life insurance policy: term and whole of life insurance. Understanding the differences between the two is key to making a proper decision on protecting your families and dependants financial future as after all, you cannot come back and correct any mistakes after you have made a claim!
Term life insurance is a straight forward bet between you and the insurance company. You bet them that you are going to die within a set number of years. If you die, you win! The insurer then pays out the value of the insurance policy but if you live one day past the end of the term selected, you get nothing! These policies are cheap and never acquire any investment value with the premiums being used to pay for insurance cover throughout the life of the policy.
Whole of life policies are rather more complicated. Premiums are usually higher as part of the premium is diverted into an investment fund within the policy. The premium is reviewed periodically, say every five or ten years, to see if the premium can support the level of cover being provided. In later years, cover may not be available for the premium being paid so the investment fund may then be used to supplement the premium and maintain the life cover required.
In this light, many people believe that a whole of life insurance policy is a better deal - after all, there is an investment that can be built up too! In many circumstances this is short sighted, and if you are buying a home for the first time or have a young family that are financially very heavily reliant upon you, then your budget may not stretch to the insurance cover needed under such circumstances. This is where a cheaper term insurance policy comes into it is own and can provide the protection without breaking the bank.
Whole of life insurance policies are however, very attractive as they provide the opportunity to provide insurance coverage throughout the entire life of the policy holder. The cash value that is built up over time also can be a valuable and ready source of funds in cases of emergency outside of a policy holders normal financial planning. Whole of life insurance policies are frequently used by clients who are exposed to paying substantial inheritance taxes upon death and do not wish the taxman to decrease the value of the estate available for beneficiaries so a policy can be used to pay the tax instead.
When you are comparing and considering a life insurance policy, the first thing to do is to clarify and define your needs before moving on to costings and conditions. Establishing how much you need to insure yourself and for how long you will need the cover selected will allow you to tailor your insurance cover ar more exactly to your actual needs.
Make your life easier by performing this step before you start through the insurance maze of premiums, terms, exclusions and underwriting.When shopping for life insurance, the price, or the amount of the premium should not be the primary focus. The first step in purchasing life insurance is to accurately define both the needs of the insured party as well as the needs of the beneficiary. Once these factors have been duly considered, finding the right insurance policy will become substantially less difficult.