Life insurance can be very confusing. What is term life insurance? What is whole life insurance? How can you get the information you need and make the right decision about life insurance for you and your family or other beneficiaries? We’ll provide an overview of these two popular types of life insurance so you can get an idea of what might be a good fit for you.
Differences Between Whole Life and Term Life
Deciding whether to purchase whole life or term life insurance is a personal decision that should be based on the financial needs of your beneficiaries as well as your financial goals. Life insurance can be a very flexible and powerful financial vehicle that can meet multiple financial objectives, from providing financial security to building financial assets and leaving a legacy.
Here are some of the main features of term and whole life insurance.
When choosing between whole life or term life insurance, there are a number of variables to take into account. A knowledgeable life insurance agent can help you evaluate each of the following aspects of your circumstances and determine whether term life or whole life is a better option for you. The factors to consider include:
Hypothetically, if you are 35 years old, have young children, and are the primary income earner in your household, you might want to consider buying a term life policy that would fully cover your family’s financial obligations.
Adding up your living expenses, your home mortgage, pay-off of all debts, and your children’s education can help you understand the face value of a policy your family will need if you die prematurely. The length of the term would likely depend on the age of your children and when you foresee them completing college.
Alternatively, you could purchase a whole life policy that will not only pay that policy face value if you should die before your children are through college, but would accrue a cash value that would provide additional benefits to your family or a growing fund of emergency money. You could also consider converting portions of your term life policy over to whole life insurance over time to build a cash portfolio for your retirement as you age.
If you are just starting to consider life insurance at the age of 60, your children are most likely grown up and on their own, and your needs are very different. You might want a small term life insurance policy that could cover your final expenses, or you might be looking for a term life or whole life policy that could provide for your spouse’s needs if he or she lives on after your passing.
There are many creative and flexible options with life insurance that can meet your unique needs. Only a qualified life insurance professional can help you compare term life vs. whole life and determine which would be the best strategy for you.
Now that you have a better picture of the difference between term and whole life policies, you probably want to compare term life versus whole life insurance costs. To do so, you will need to directly compare the short and long term costs of a whole life policy and a term policy, based on factors like your age, the face value of the policy you want to buy, and whether or not you are a smoker.
You may find that your out-of-pocket costs for whole life insurance seem daunting compared to term life insurance. This is because the dollars you pay into term life insurance premiums are only there to provide a death benefit to your beneficiaries if you die during a specified term, while money you invest in whole life insurance premiums builds cash value that you can use later in life or that will add to the death benefit payout. The percentage of your costs that go into your cash accrual account increases with passing years, as many of the administrative costs associated with setting up the policy and associated investments occurs early in the life of the policy.
Most term life insurance policies allow you to convert your term policy into a permanent life insurance policy such as whole life insurance. Is this the right thing to do? Some of the reasons it may be a good idea to convert your term policy to a whole policy include:
Converting term life to whole life insurance can be an excellent way to continue your life insurance policy and also build cash value that you can borrow from. There are many different ways to structure this type of policy, depending on your needs and goals, so be sure to work with a life insurance professional who can answer all of your questions and help you make the best choices.
You can own both whole life and term life policies at the same time. People who are looking at this option typically already have a whole life policy. However, they may find that they want additional short-term insurance coverage such as for 10 years. In this instance, buying a term policy for the amount of life insurance you need for that extra protection can be a good solution.
Or, you may already own a term policy and find that you want to invest some additional money into a long-term investment for retirement purposes or because of estate issues. In this instance, buying a whole life policy which has a cash value accumulation feature may be the way to go.
Now that you know the differences between term life insurance and whole life insurance, you can make an informed choice to find the best life insurance solution for you and your family.