Is There a Right way and a Wrong way to buy Life Insurance?

Life insurance is not as complicated as people may believe, when you an informed consumer. So, is there a right way and a wrong way to buy life insurance? And if you have a benefits package from your employer that extends life insurance coverage, do you really need to worry about buying more?

The first thing to remember when buying life insurance is that this type of product is based on actuaries’ mortality tables and as morose as it may sound, the odds of you expiring within the policy’s active term. Since, this is business and the company would lose revenue to pay a death claim.

Thus, the younger and earlier you buy, the lower your premium. Age is the number one factor that will affect your premium rate. The second factor is build, or your height and weight.

Other factors that will adversely affect a life insurance premium rate is your family health history, namely if heart disease and/or cancer was diagnosed or fatal prior your family member turning the age of 60.

In the last 5 years have you had any bad credit issues, overdue loans, bankruptcy, judgments, tax liens, collections or debt repayment plans established?

Next if you apply for an product that requires underwriting (excludes guaranteed acceptance plans and accidental death life insurance), you will need to sign two authorizations – the HIPAA form, which complies with the underwritten policy, whether accerated or full, your irror-image health and lifestyles habits, family health history, credit history and motor vehicle incident history. The products that will not require underwriting or medical questions is guaranteed acceptance plans and accidental life insurance. However, these products have limitations . Guaranteed acceptance plans will not extend more than $50,000 in coverage. This is their caveat. Plus, they have a waiting period of 2 years in which suicide and death do not offer more coverage that $50,000

The same as car insurance is there if you need it, life insurance is there if your loved ones need it. You pay for the coverage and if you stop paying you don’t have coverage anymore. Also, life insurance is bought in term lengths of a level premium and death benefit; and when that term length is realized the coverage stops and you don’t have coverage anymore.

at would incur a dip in the revenue generated by the policy you own.

Relying on employer-provided insurance could ultimately be costly as those policies generally pay a death benefit of $10,000-$25,000, usually only enough to cover funeral expenses. People who are young and in good health will often find better rates and coverage with an individual policy.

Furthermore, employer-provided life insurance coverage is not portable, meaning you cannot take it with you if you leave that employer. You may have a convertibility option to convert your existing coverage via your employer to an individual policy that you own (your employer owns the employer-provided group coverage). But you need to know if this applies to your specific plan and also you convert within the set timeframe set for you to do so which is typically 30 days.

Don’t Choose the Wrong Policy

The two basic types of life insurance are term and permanent. They are exactly as their product name implies – term last a set number of year and then ends and permanent is designed to cover you for your whole life.

Term policies pay out a specific death benefit and remain in place for a set period of time, and term life insurance can be purchased for 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 year term lengths.

Permanent life remains in force over the course of your life. Whole life, variable life and universal life are all product types of permanent insurance.

A whole life insurance policy allows you to build cash value that you can draw against later on. Universal and variable life policies are tied to different types of investment vehicles.

A universal life insurance policy does not allow for cash value but cements your rate in for the rest of your life as long as you continue to make premium payments. The death benefit also remains level. 

When you’re trying to choose between permanent and term life insurance coverage, fully assess your goals and then weigh those assessments against premium costs.

If you only need enough coverage to pay off the house or credit cards if your spouse is incapacitated, a term policy makes the most sense.

If you’re looking for something that will allow you build toward an ultimate return on your investment, consider a permanent policy.

Underestimating Your Coverage Needs

In addition to choosing a policy type, you also have to decide how much of a death benefit you need. If you’re just picking a number out of thin air, you run the risk of your beneficiaries coming up short later on.

There are a number of factors you’ll want to consider when you calculate how much coverage you’ll need. Factors such as your age, health, life expectancy, income, your debts and current assets all play a part. If you’ve already built a sizable fortune and don’t have much debt, you likely don’t need as much coverage. If you have small children and your spouse doesn’t work, purchase enough insurance coverage to provide for them financially over the long-term.

Skip Comparing Rates

Shop around to make sure you’re getting the best rate. Signing up for a life insurance policy without comparing rates from many different companies makes no sense.

Look at multiple plans supply exactly the same information to each insurer. You want an apples-to-apples comparison.  Review the different policies and note any critical differences in the coverage they offer to receive the most accurate quotes.

Price Is Not the Entire Answer

While you might pay less out of pocket, you need to consider whether or not any money you save is worth changes in how your family may be affected down the road. Look at your budget and identify areas you can cut back to prevent buying less coverage than you really need.

It’s Not a Waiting Game – Act Now

The sooner you buy life insurance, the better as premiums increase as you get older. If you’re in relatively good health later in life, you’ll still pay more in premiums as each year you wait passes, and you run the risk of developing a serious illness or disease which will drive up the cost of insuring yourself – or even make it impossible to buy coverage at all.

Buying packages from weaker companies because of lower rates can also be a fatal mistake, Martin Weiss, president of Weiss Ratings, told the paper. Consumers should be aware of a company’s safety and financial standing, as struggling companies are likely to delay or obstruct the claims process, he said.

Finally, lying about health conditions or risky hobbies can be devastating as insurers could potentially deny a claim based on fraud, or lower the policy’s death benefit.

Although many assume life insurance is only necessary for people with spouses or children, anyone who has someone in their life who could suffer financially in the event of their death should consider purchasing a policy, according to the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education.

Purchasing additional protection can continue a family business if owned and help pay off debt including a mortgage and credit cards so that family members do not have to assume that responsibility. Term life is the most affordable and pays for a specific time period. You can request coverage when specific debt is paid off so term offers flexibility and that added coverage that employer insurance just does not provide.

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