One option to leave financial support for loved ones after your passing is through life insurance. In order to obtain coverage, you must pay a regular premium when you open a life insurance policy, which is frequently paid monthly or yearly. The insurance provider will give the beneficiaries of your policy a lump payment, also referred to as a death benefit, as long as your policy is still in effect when you pass away.
Despite the fact that many life insurance policies function similarly, each type has important differences that further distinguish how it operates. These variations can relate to the duration of the coverage, the presence of an investment component, and whether or not you have access to the money before you pass away. Selecting the appropriate coverage for your needs might be made easier if you are aware of these distinctions.
What Is Covered by Life Insurance?
Life insurance payments can be used to pay for a variety of expenses, in contrast to other insurance plans, which frequently limit how the policyholder may utilize a claim settlement. Many times, policyholders get life insurance to replace their income and make sure that their heirs can pay their debts, such as:
final costs, such as those associated with a funeral and a burial
Tuition is paid.
Personal debt, such as unpaid credit card balances or loans,
daily costs, such as groceries
However, there are other ways to use death benefit money than paying debts. Some people decide to start a life insurance policy so they can leave their children an inheritance or give money to the charity of their choosing.
You could also be able to use life insurance proceeds to pay for bills while you’re still living, depending on the policy you choose. If you have a whole or universal life insurance policy, for instance, your insurer is likely to permit you to borrow money against it to pay for costs like your child’s college tuition or a down payment on a home. However, bear in mind that if you do borrow money from your life insurance account, if you pass away before repaying the loan, the whole death benefit could not be accessible.
What isn’t covered by life insurance?
The majority of reasons of death, including as homicide, suicide, natural causes, and accidents, are covered by life insurance. Your beneficiaries might not be able to get their death benefit, though, due to a few restrictions.
There are two typical reasons why an insurer may reject a life insurance claim: a gap in payment or misrepresentation of the policyholder’s health, according to Dr. Steven Weisbart, who held the position of chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute until his retirement in 2020.
Insurance companies may reject a claim if the policyholder provides false information about their health or omits critical facts. This is especially true during the contestability period, which normally lasts for two years from the start of the policy.
An insurer may reject a claim based on the circumstances of the death in addition to those prevalent causes. For instance, if a policyholder is killed, the insurer will probably reject a claim if the beneficiary was at fault or complicit in the crime.
A suicide clause, which typically applies two years after the policy is first opened, is another common feature of life insurance contracts. This condition eliminates coverage if the policyholder commits suicide during that time frame.
Finally, if a policyholder dies while participating in a high-risk sport, such as skydiving, at the time of their death, certain insurance companies will reject claims. As a result, before buying a policy, it’s crucial to examine coverage limitations with your life insurance agent or broker.
Do I need a certain kind of life insurance?
The kind of life insurance you require will depend on a number of variables, including your financial situation, your investing objectives, and the reason you are buying the policy. Following are some of the most popular life insurance options and situations in which they might be appropriate for you:
Life Insurance, term
A term life policy is life insurance that only covers you for a certain amount of time, usually between one and thirty years. The policyholder pays a set premium each month during the term in exchange for a guaranteed death benefit.
A term life insurance policy’s coverage expires at the conclusion of the term. However, some insurance providers permit clients to switch their coverage to a permanent policy or to another term.
Term life insurance is frequently the least expensive option.