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What type of insurance do you need?
Simply put, it's a contract between you and an insurance company where you pay small monthly premiums, and upon your death, they'll leave behind a large predetermined amount of money to whomever you choose.
There are many different forms of life insurance, but in every case, they're designed to help protect the family you leave behind financially. Through life insurance, you can help your spouse pay off a mortgage, debt, college tuition, or just live comfortably.
The amount of life insurance needed is different for everyone. Really it all depends on your goals, your family, and the expenses your family may have to cover once you're no longer there to support them.
If your plan is to simply cover end-of-life expenses and funeral costs, you may just want to consider funeral and burial expense insurance. If your plan is to help pay off a mortgage, tuition, or other large costs, you might want something more like a term or whole life policy for $100,000 or $250,000.
An independent agent can help walk through your options as you discuss your goals to find the perfect amount of coverage for you and your family.
A life insurance policy is a contractual arrangement between you (the policyholder) and the life insurance company. The policyholder determines the amount of life insurance coverage required and pays the life insurance company a premium to keep the policy in force.
After approval, you'll pay your premium as determined by the policy, whether that's as a lump sum, annually, semi-annually, or monthly.
Should the policyholder pass away while a life insurance policy is in force, the life insurance company will pay out the death benefits in a lump sum, as specified in the policy, to the named beneficiary.
First of all, they're both great options when it comes to protecting your family's future. The final decision all comes down to which matches your goals and budget best.
Whole life provides coverage from the day you're approved until your death, no matter how far in the future that may be. If you begin coverage when you're young and healthy, this is a very affordable option with guaranteed coverage as long as you're around. Applying for whole life in your 50s, however, is a much different, and expensive, story.
Term life provides coverage at a fixed payment schedule for a predetermined period of time (usually 10, 20, or 30 years). After the period expires, the policy is terminated. This is also typically the least expensive way to purchase a substantial death benefit right when your family needs it most.
Well, the answer isn't that easy. In order to find the best option, you'll want to speak to an independent agent. Together, you can walk through your plans and goals for the future to help dial-in on the right solution for you.
Say, you're in your 30s, married with two young kids and a relatively new mortgage. You've got a lot of expenses to think about in the next 20 or so years, like paying off your house, college tuition for the kids, and so on. Term life insurance may be the best option for you.
Now, say you're in your early 20s, newly married, and want to plan ahead for a big life that's still to come. You want to be able to someday leave behind a nice little inheritance for your someday kids. Now would be a great time to consider whole life insurance at a very reasonable price with protection that lasts your entire life.
It should be no surprise that you shouldn't lie when it comes to your life insurance application, though some still attempt fudge with the truth in thinking they can keep their rates lower. Something like age, obviously, isn't something you can change, but many will claim not to be smokers or that they're cholesterol is perfect when it may not be. It's safe to say that in the end, the carrier will find out the truth. And if that happens, during the application process or after, you will be denied coverage or have your policy terminated. And that's never a good situation to be in.
Life insurance proceeds are usually not taxable if they're paid to a specifically named beneficiary, like your spouse or children. The life insurance proceeds may become taxable, however, if you name your estate as the beneficiary. At that point, the proceeds become a part of your estate, and can be subject to estate taxes.
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No one wants to think about life after they're gone, but sadly, if you don't make a solid plan for those you leave behind, they could be in for an even worse situation. That's what life insurance is for, to help protect your family financially in the event of your death and take care of mortgages, tuition, funeral expenses, and more.
So where do you start? First, it's important to understand a bit more about what your options are, next an independent insurance agent can help lay out your best options for you. From there, the process is a simple application, and once approved, you can enjoy life worry free.
At its core, life insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company where you give them money (a premium), and if you were to pass away, they would leave a set amount of money to whomever you choose (beneficiary). Or at least, that's the definition. The meaning of life insurance is something different for everyone. Your children's tuition. Your mortgage paid off. An inheritance to leave behind. People purchase life insurance for a number of reasons, all of which are important.
Top reasons people buy life insurance
To understand the importance of life insurance, it's a good idea to think about the costs of life after you've passed. Spending a little time laying out the financial obligations your family will encounter after you're gone is a great way to dial in on the perfect amount of coverage.
The right insurance will handle a sizable chunk, if not all, of the biggest costs on your family's mind after you're gone. A little planning now can go a very long way in the future. But what kind of life insurance do you need? What's going to let you leave behind the help your family needs? Which fits in your budget? Don't worry, most people don't know about all of the different life insurance options out there and what sets each apart. An independent agent can help walk you through it all and present the best choices for you.
The beauty of life insurance is that there is an option that works for nearly every need and budget. Term, whole, and universal are three different types of coverage that each end with the same outcome—paying out a set amount of money to the person of your choosing upon death.
Term life insurance: This option is geared toward younger people because it’s more of a temporary plan that only covers you for a period of time, usually 10, 20 or 30 years. If you were to pass away within that timeframe, a set amount of money would go to the people/person you choose.
Whole life insurance: Whole life has the same concept as term, but the policy is active as long as you're alive. It also has a bell and a whistle.
Don’t worry if you’re still a little unclear on the differences between term and whole, we have more info here >>
Universal life insurance: This is a lot like the whole life plan but with a few added bonuses.
Term vs. whole vs. universal life
|Choose length of policy||Yes||Active for life||Active for life|
|Provides lifelong coverage||No||Yes||Yes|
|Guaranteed payout||Yes, within term length||Yes||Yes|
|Accumulates cash value||No||Yes||Yes|
|Cash value risk||N/A||Only the insurer||Interest rate fluctuation risk|
|Loans / Withdrawals against benefit||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Common uses||Income replacement||Income replacement / Supplemental income / Estate planning||Income replacement / Supplemental income / Estate planning|
This is a really great place to start your conversation with your independent agent. They can help you pinpoint exactly what would work best for you, your family, and your budget. To help get a better idea, take a look at a few examples with the life insurance coverage that may match best with your needs.
Scenario 1—Tom, a young father
Tom is 32 years old, married, and the father of 3 elementary-aged children. They have a house with another 20+ years on the mortgage and 2 cars.
Scenario 2—Judy, a single mother
Judy is a young, single mother of two who is looking for the right option to leave better financial security behind for her children. She is a non-smoking health nut with no concerns at her last checkup.
Scenario 3—Gordon, a casual day trader
Successful, active, and in his early 40s, Gordon has experience playing with finances, stocks, and retirement investments.
The process is pretty simple, really. When you work with an independent insurance agent, you're off the hook for a lot of the hard work. After you discuss your goals, they'll start the search among a number of top life insurance providers and bring the quote options to you.
Step-by-step guide to applying for life insurance
Life insurance proceeds, aka the “death benefit,” aren’t taxable as long as they go to a beneficiary in the form of one giant payment.
That being said, if your policy is set up so your death benefit is paid out in installments, the beneficiary is likely to have to pay tax on the interest for the outstanding balance. It’s also common for the death benefit to be taxed if your designated beneficiary is your estate.
If the value of your estate exceeds the IRS’s threshold limits—federal and state exemptions—the difference will be hit with estate and possibly inheritance taxes.
Whatever you need, your agent has your back. With a brief intro into the terms, discounts, and process of your life insurance, you know the kinds of questions to be asking. Your agent will ask you all about your family, life, and goals and help find the perfect coverage at the right cost for you.
Our independent insurance agents work for you, not the insurance companies. That means you always get the best coverage options to choose from.
When you have options from multiple companies, it's easier to find the best coverage at the right price, at no extra cost to you.
There's an independent agent in every city who always understands the insurance coverage you need most based on local laws and needs that apply to you.
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