There’s more to life insurance than most people think. A lot more.
Of course, everyone generally understands that a life insurance policy helps provide protection for loved ones should you pass away. But, depending on how you plan it out, life insurance can specifically help with financial situations arising out of:
Beyond being an asset in all phases of life, life insurance also can help with specific areas like:
This is a guide to help you understand the possibilities in all these areas.
But to fully appreciate the range of life insurance capabilities, it’s important to learn about the different types of policies that are available. It’s also important to understand how to shop for insurance and consider what policy might be right for your circumstances and goals.
Types of life Insurance
Term insurance tends to be the most affordable and, consequently, the most basic type of life insurance policy available. It provides death benefit coverage for a specific period of time, often 10 or 20 years.
Since many people start with term insurance, it’s important to understand its basics and how it can be built upon or combined with other types of insurance.
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- Converting term life coverage to permanent
At the same time, since needs and resources change over time, it’s important to be familiar with the features of permanent insurance.
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With a grasp of the types of insurance available, you can understand the different situations and circumstances where certain features can be useful.
Watching one family’s actual experience can help …
Life insurance protection is generally recognized as an important part of financial wellness. Yet, only about 57 percent of Americans own any, according to a recent study by the insurance research group LIMRA.1 And, even then, the amount of life insurance they have may not be enough. (Life insurance calculator)
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There are also questions about the right time to get life insurance. Does is pay off to purchase a policy when you are younger, when it will likely cost less, or wait until you obviously need it? Answers can vary, but the question should be considered.
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Many people own group coverage life insurance through their employer or other organization. In fact, 29 percent of American consumers overall own group coverage, according to LIMRA’s research.1 But oftentimes, such coverage may not be enough and it has other drawbacks that need to be considered.
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Obviously the most critical role life insurance plays is when someone has passed and left proceeds to beneficiaries. Understanding what to do when it’s time to make a claim and how to implement final wishes can be challenging. Here’s some help.
- What to do when a loved one passes
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- Funeral costs and considerations
- How to handle a large benefit
Beyond protection for your loved ones, some types of life insurance, particularly whole life insurance, can provide a way to accumulate a source of funds. Those funds may help you address some of the financial risks during retirement, such as market volatility or could be used to provide additional guaranteed retirement income.
- How life insurance can help you in your retirement
- Protecting yourself against market fluctuations in retirement
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Whole life insurance and some other types of permanent insurance tax advantages too, like tax-deferred growth as well as tax-deferred distributions. Also, death benefit proceeds are generally tax free.
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- Mind your ‘MEC’: When life insurance morphs
Proceeds from whole life insurance and other types of policies have long been used to help heirs deal with costs and taxes that can apply to inherited property and assets. They also avoid the expenses and delays of probate and are not part of any public record. But, as the estate size grows, there can be pitfalls.
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A life insurance policy can also be a vehicle for helping young people get a head start and aiding worthy causes.
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- Using life insurance for charity
Many people don’t realize the critical role life insurance can play in starting or maintaining a business, small or otherwise.
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Shopping for life insurance
Once you are familiar with the types of life insurance, their uses, and how they can possibly apply to your situation, you can start investigating specific options.
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Life insurance can be … fun?
Life insurance discussions tend to be serious and focused, but not always. Life insurance, after all, pops up in movies from time to time, both comedy and drama. The industry has a long, rich history as well. Exploring can be fun.
- Insurance in the Oscars: Know the winner?
- The insurance policy in 'It’s a Wonderful Life'
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- Connecting with the 'father' of American life insurance
Conclusion and help
Yes, life insurance comes in many forms and can have many uses. Depending on your circumstances, the choices can get challenging and confusing. Many people opt to consult with a financial professional who can help them make informed decisions.
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1 LIMRA, “2019 Insurance Barometer,” July 2019.