Life insurance might not make headlines or trend on Twitter, but it is important to talk about. Forty-three percent of Americans say they would feel a financial burden within six months if the chief wage earner in the family died. Yet, just 44% of U.S. households have life insurance.
To help consumers understand various policy options, here are 10 questions you should know the answer to before buying life insurance:
Question #1: How does life insurance work?
At its core, a life insurance policy provides your family with an amount of money, called a death benefit, should you as the insured die.
Question #2: My employer offers life insurance. Why should I buy an additional policy?
Your employer’s plan may be affordable and easy to enroll in, but the policy may not provide enough of a monetary benefit to your family if you die. In addition, you may not be able to continue the policy if you change jobs. That’s why it’s always recommended to have an additional life insurance policy.
Question #3: From whom should I buy life insurance?
Look for a reputable company with name recognition and a history of serving consumers.
Question #4: How much life insurance do I need?
There are two major factors to consider here: your debt, and your spouse and children’s needs.
You want enough life insurance to pay off all of your debts – such as your mortgage and car loans. In addition, you want to leave behind enough money for your family to continue their current lifestyle. An insurance agent can crunch these numbers for you.
Question #5: Do I have to get a medical exam to get a policy?
Some policies may be available without a medical exam, but those might be more expensive.
Question #6: What’s the difference between term and permanent policies?
Term life insurance provides a death benefit for a certain period of time, usually 10, 20 or 30 years, and is typically less expensive than permanent life insurance.
Permanent life insurance provides both death benefits, and sometimes may build up cash value. It’s more expensive than term insurance but never expires, provided you pay your premium.
Question #7: Why are there so many permanent life insurance options?
There are a handful of permanent life insurance options – but the most common are: Whole Life, Universal Life and Variable Life. Permanent life insurance typically requires more premium, but it is designed to last for an entire lifetime. It’s something you’ll want to discuss with your insurance agent.
Question #8: Will my premiums increase?
It’s important to know what your premiums will look like in the future. Some policies are designed to have guaranteed premiums that will never increase, and others are designed to be flexible.
Question #9: What is involved in purchasing life insurance?
Life insurance companies will want to get an understanding of the health of the individual who is applying for the insurance coverage. This underwriting process will typically involve meeting with a medical professional to gather personal information such as height, weight, blood work, and medical and personal questions.
Question #10: When is the best time to buy life insurance?
The sooner you buy life insurance, the more money you’ll save. Young, healthy policyholders get great rates, but older consumers need protection, too. Bottom line – if you don’t have life insurance, talk with an agent today.
If you still have questions about life insurance, check out these helpful resources which can help you find out more about different types of life insurance and how much insurance you’ll need.