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Fundamentals of Life Insurance
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Insurance-documentThe role and value of LifeQuotes
What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a contract or agreement between an insurer and a policyholder in which the insurer agrees to pay a specified amount of cash in the event that the insured dies while the contract is in force. The insurance company promises the death benefit in consideration of the payment of premium by the policy owner. The death benefit is payable to the beneficiary, which is a person, trust or corporation that has been named ahead of time by the policy owner. The most common use of life insurance is to replace lost earnings of a family breadwinner. Example: John, a 45-year-old husband and father of three, makes $95,000 per year as a salesman. John has elected to carry a $1,000,000 policy on his life, which costs only $49 per month. His wife is his named beneficiary.

How much life insurance do I need?

Recognizing that each person’s situation is different depending upon their age, income, net worth, debt, lifestyle, desire to leave an inheritance, the number and age of dependents and amount of life insurance provided by an employer (typically not more than 2x annual earnings), here are some basic guidelines:

  • For people who work, have children or a mortgage: 10-15 times your annual income
  • For home caregivers with little or no earned income: $300,000
  • For burial coverage and final expenses only: $10,000 – $25,000
  • For children up to age 18: up to $25,000

For a quick, easy, and confidential way to estimate your life insurance needs, try our Life Happens Needs Calculator. Do not rely solely upon employer-provided life insurance because it’s probably not enough, and it’s probably not portable if you leave or change jobs. Ownership of that kind of policy resides with your employer, not you, and that might not be the best situation for your long-term family needs.

Which initial rate guarantee should I buy?

If you are working and have children or a mortgage, we recommend buying cheap term life insurance to cover you until your youngest child has graduated from college or until your mortgage debt is paid off, whichever is longer. This conservative approach means that you’ll have coverage through the critical period of family life. Make sure to also review quotes for those life insurance plans that now offer early payouts for long term care expenses or a critical medical event such as heart attack or cancer. Those plans are soaring in popularity because that extra protection often costs no more or only a small amount more.

Let’s say that you estimate that your youngest will be out of college in 14 years and that your mortgage has 20 years to go. We’d then recommend that you buy a 20-year initial rate guarantee policy. Once the children are on their own and the mortgage is paid off, you may or may not have a need for life insurance.

However, during the formative, “high risk” years in which you have dependents and debt, we recommend loading up on cheap term life. Families with special needs children should discuss with us their needs because we’ll often recommend a lifetime policy in that case.

If you’re looking to have insurance for funeral costs and other final expenses, however, you should consider what’s called “final expense” whole life insurance that is available with no exam required and often with no health questions asked.

Should I get coverage for my spouse if he or she is not working outside the home?

Yes, in almost all cases. A non-working spouse might not produce income, but if he or she should die, there will often be a need to pay for childcare, funeral arrangements, and other final expenses. Typically, a non-working spouse can purchase 50%-100% of the life insurance benefit of a working spouse, but underwriting rules vary by company.

Am I eligible for life insurance even if I’m a homemaker?

Yes, you are eligible for coverage. Please review the illustrated acceptance guidelines after you complete your profile.

Should I get life insurance for my children?

There are several reasons to consider buying life insurance for your children.

First, while the mortality rate for children is low, you’ll want to have money for final expenses should they tragically fall victim to an illness or accident.

On the brighter side, policies for children are often whole life policies that build cash value, which can later be accessed for college or given as a gift when they become adults. Some child policies allow coverage to be increased without proof of insurability.

You may find it convenient to add a child “rider” to your own policy when you apply for coverage. All eligible children can generally be covered for one price.

How long does it take to get new life insurance?

It varies from company to company, but rarely more than 30 days.

Some companies that do not require paramed exams can issue policies immediately for healthy individuals seeking less than $500,000 in coverage. Also, most life insurers provide coverage during the underwriting period, as soon as an application is signed.

It can take longer than 30 days for final approval if medical information must be obtained from several sources.

Do I have coverage while I am waiting for my policy?

Generally, yes.

Most companies offer a Temporary Insurance Agreement (TIA) or Conditional Coverage. If you choose to apply for the TIA/Conditional Coverage, are eligible for the coverage, and remit payment with your application, you can be covered during the underwriting process.

Some of the no-exam or instant-decision products do not offer this feature. In that case, our application will have details of the terms and conditions of any temporary coverage.

What is an “initial rate guarantee period” on a term life policy, and what happens when it ends?

When you purchase a term life policy, your premium will typically be guaranteed for a defined period of time. When that period ends, a policyholder typically has these options:

  • To let the policy lapse;
  • To continue the coverage for a higher premium;
  • To continue paying the same premium for less coverage; or
  • To convert the policy into a permanent policy.

Most importantly, the last three options can often be exercised with no medical exam. Given that, we advise that you consult a reliable life insurance agent. Never allow your coverage to lapse without doing so.

Why should I buy through LifeQuotes?

With something as important as life insurance, you need an advocate working for you. That’s what you get with our 37 years of experience under the same management, 90 insurance professionals, and 390,000 sales.

Whether you need $10,000 in coverage or $25 million in coverage, we have the expertise to give you sound, unbiased advice so you can have peace of mind. We have held an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for over 10 years.

What companies does LifeQuotes represent?

We represent 50 leading life insurance companies, far more than most insurance agencies. Our selection ensures that you will pay the least amount of money for a life insurance that best meets your needs.

Our carriers include:

  • American General Life (AIG)
  • Banner Life
  • Gerber Life
  • John Hancock
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Pacific Life
  • Protective Life
  • Prudential Life
  • Transamerica Life
  • William Penn
  • and many more.
How can I find quotes for life insurance?

For personalized quotes, go to www.lifequotes.com, and click ‘View Instant Quotes’.

You will be asked to provide your height, weight, and age, then asked some questions regarding your tobacco use, health, and lifestyle. Please answer all questions, and you will be able to view all available quotes. You can even complete the application online.

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