All About Life Insurance Companies

There are countless term insurance life insurance companies. As someone who’s been a life insurance professional for more than 20 years, I can honestly say that the best term life insurance companies, the top rated term life insurance companies, and the best rated term life insurance companies are very similar. It’s not to say they are all exactly alike but they are usually similar. To compare term life insurance companies is really a matter of what’s important to prospective insurance client.

Your priority

My experience has been that what most people are concerned with when it comes to term insurance is what it will cost them.

Clearly some term life insurance companies are more highly rated by companies such as A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor.

Some of the factors that determine a company’s rating are:

  • Financial strength
  • Financial stability
  • Ability to pay claims
  • Claims paying expediency

If any of these factors, among the others that are used, are important to you when you compare term life insurance companies, how important are these factors to you in comparison to price?

What if one company is considered one of the best term life insurance companies in the industry but the premium cost is double that for the same amount of coverage by one that is not considered one of the best rated term life insurance companies?

What’s your priority?

Ratings

Similar to being in school, term life insurance companies and all insurance companies are rated on an A-F basis.

Seems easy to understand, right?

Did you know that and “A” rated company can be rated anywhere from A++ to A-?

Did you know that different ratings companies, including those mentioned above use different criteria to determine ratings?

Did you know that an insurance company can be rated differently by the different ratings companies?

If an insurer receives a favorable rating from one rating company and a less favorable one from another rating company, which one do you think they’re going to make sure you’re aware of?

Underwriting

Insurance companies use the term underwriting to determine who pays how much for what. Different companies have different underwriting guidelines. Its name literally means that someone in the company places a signature on the policy saying a particular person meets the company’s underwriting guidelines.

There are three main methods used for underwriting life insurance policies:

  • Fully underwritten-most common-may involve medical exam (blood/urine specimen/attending physician statement).
  • Simplified issue-less common-no medical exam-decision regarding issue usually swift
  • Guaranteed issue-anyone who applies and meets certain conditions is guaranteed that a policy will be issued-(includes accidental death insurance and graded death benefit policies)

There are also different underwriting classifications. The most common:

  • Preferred-best rates
  • Standard-most common
  • Sub-standard, also known as rated or table

Some companies subdivide the classifications. For example:

  • Super preferred
  • Ultra preferred
  • Standard plus

Table can be in the form of a number (usually 1-6) or a letter (usually A-G) – the higher the number or letter, the higher the premium.

Convertibility

Some companies allow for conversion of a term policy to a permanent policy at a later date without proving insurability.

Other companies allow for conversion but require proof of insurability.

Some companies do not offer convertibility at all.

If convertibility is offered, it is often within certain time limits.

If you’re sure you want term and nothing else, then this is not something you need to consider.

Price

The main factors that affect price:

1. Health

2. Age

3. Life style

They are numbered as such because that is generally the order of priority companies use to classify prospective clients.

Poor health can and will exclude someone regardless of age and lifestyle and no amount of money will buy insurance. On the other hand excellent health can go a long way in reducing premiums.

A person’s age is the next factor. The age is compared to mortality rates. Different companies have different charts for mortality rates.

Another way to describe mortality rate is how many years someone of their age is away from death.

Statistically speaking, insurance companies know pretty accurately how many people of a certain age will die before their next birthday.

Life style is the third factor. The most common consideration is whether someone smokes but there are others as well, such as what someone does for a living. Certain professions are more hazardous than others.

A person’s hobbies have an effect as well. Sky diving, and speed racing are often frowned upon, and may not result in denial of coverage, but could result in higher premiums.

Regardless of all factors, female rates are nearly always lower than male rates.

Fully underwritten vs. simplified issue vs. guaranteed issue

All things being equal, fully underwritten is going to result in the best priced premium. However, often times all things are not equal.

Are you sure your health is as good as you think it is or is it possible a blood/urine sample, saliva swab, or doctor’s report could reveal something you’re not aware of, or if you’re not the most ethical person, perhaps something you simply don’t want to reveal?

A fully underwritten policy takes much more into consideration when determining rating class and price than a simplified issue policy.

Depending on your point of view, that can be an advantage or a disadvantage.

Assuming you’re being honest and there’s not already information reported about you to the medical information bureau (MIB), your chances of a policy being issued as applied for are as high as 9 out of 10 if you apply for a simplified issue policy.

On the other hand, there is about a 60% chance you will not qualify for a fully underwritten policy as applied for.

A guaranteed issue policy will definitely be issued. You will know if you qualify before actually signing the application. It’s either yes or no. However because it’s guaranteed, the price is usually much higher, unless it is a conditional policy such as an accidental death policy.

Conclusion

Unless you know the ropes and/or can take the time to weigh all the factors when comparing term life insurance companies, an experienced professional can steer you the best term life insurance companies for you to consider.

Having said that, if you want to be absolutely sure that you’ll get the insurance you want, it’s best to buy a guaranteed issue policy.

If you’re pretty sure you’re in good health but don’t want to go to the trouble of a medical exam or paramedical exam (blood/urine), or you don’t want to reveal certain matters that could affect your ability to obtain insurance, you should consider a simplified issue policy.

Once you qualify for a policy, assuming no fraud is involved, the only one who can cancel the policy once it’s been issued is you. The insurance company cannot cancel you as long as the premiums are paid.

Perhaps it makes sense to apply for a guaranteed or simplified issue policy first. Once issued then shop for the best price and/or the best rated term life insurance companies.

 

Tax Saving on Life Insurance

As a well-aware, net savvy professional, you must be conscious of the need of the life insurance coverage you require to secure your family’s financial life. Today, the provisions of the Income Tax Act offer you provisions under which you can buy life insurance coverage, generate returns and save on tax too.

A large number of people today research for insurance plans online and zero-in on a life insurance plan which is providing best returns, at present. Is that the right approach? Well, it is okay to research and come to know about the best possible life insurance plan.

But, here is the trap. Many people just put all of the insurance money into one single policy. Some insurance agents can urge you to do this. They can show you an online account of one of their clients who has generated returns to the tune of Rs 25-40 per cent in a year. Beware – these are mostly fake accounts which are used to dupe customers. Unfortunately, many insurance buyers fall into this trap.

People buy life insurance policies with a premium amount of as much as Rs 1 -1.5 lakh and then expect that this will bring great returns to them.

It is not advisable at all. You must spread your risks and get different types of policies. Since section 80C of the Income Tax Act provides for tax deductions of up to Rs 1.5 lakh, you can easily buy multiple policies. Here are some useful tips to diversify your insurance investments.

Get a mix of public and private sector insurance companies: Public sector insurance companies are known for their good claim settlement ratios. At the same time, they have a notorious image of producing very low rates of returns. Do not be surprised if an LIC policy gets less than 4-5 per cent returns in a year. Assuming that you are a young professional in the age between 25-40 years, you can buy a policy of not more than 25 per cent of your total insurance corpus.

Prefer leading private sector life insurance companies like HDFC Life, ICICI Prudential, Reliance Life, etc. These companies offer Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs), which can fulfil your need for financial growth.

Select your funds carefully: If you have decided to invest in ULIPs, good. But that is half job done. Under ULIPs, you have to select funds. An insurance company can suggest you default allocation of funds but you can always apply your mind to it.

Broadly, insurance companies have funds which invest in equity markets and debt instruments. Within these two categories, you have several options. Equity based funds generally have blue chip funds, mid cap funds, so on and so forth. Debt funds invest in bonds and government securities, which offer very low returns but do not carry any risks.

There is also a Balanced Fund under which you funds are equally invested in equity and debt markets. Thus, you have three different options to optimise your insurance portfolio returns.

If you have a traditional life insurance policy from a public sector undertaking, you must prefer minimum allocation to bond funds. You can allocate some 5 per cent in bonds and rest in equity based funds.

You can go for a mix of blue chip and mid cap funds. This strategy automatically balances your risks and generates superior returns in the long run.

Buy the policy online: Today, most life insurance companies offer online buying option. What is the advantage? There are several advantages. First, if you buy online insurance, the insurance company does not have to pay commission to sales agent. Thus, you will have an indirect saving since the life insurance company will be able to invest this amount on your behalf.

In the long run, you will realise that your friends who bought the same policy from an insurance agent is generating lesser returns than the one you bought online. Yes, do not be surprised. It is a market reality.

There are thousands of such cases where insurance companies have to shell out commissions in the range of 10-40 per cent. Naturally, this commission is paid out from the premium you pay. The returns are bound to be low in this case because the insurance company will invest less amount and allocate more funds in the name of expenditure.

Therefore, you must buy life insurance online. If you are facing any issues or have any queries with regards to the plan, you can consult their customer care centres through a telephonic call or online chat.

Even in the worst case situation, there is a free-look period of around 15 days you receive the policy. If you are not satisfied with any of the features, you can return the policy to the company.

 

The Options Of Life Insurance for You

Life insurance in the UK is becoming more and more popular with many people now realizing the importance and the benefits of a good life insurance policy. There are two main types of popular life insurance, both of which offer a range of invaluable benefits to UK consumers.

Level Term Life Insurance

Level term life insurance is the most popular type of life insurance policy with UK consumers, and this may be because it is also the cheapest form of insurance. With level term insurance, you and your family can enjoy peace of mind at an affordable price. If you die during the term of this insurance policy, your family will receive a lump sum payment, which can help to cover a number of costs as well as provide some degree of financial security at what will inevitably be a difficult time. The money could assist with costs such as:

  • Mortgage repayments
  • Funeral costs
  • Education costs for the children
  • Day-to-day living

One of the reasons that level term life insurance is a fair bit cheaper than other life insurance is because the insurer only has to make a payment if the insured party passes away, and even then the insured party has to die during the term of the policy for the next of kin (or the named beneficiary) to be eligible for a payout. One of the great things about levels term insurance is that you can benefit from cover for just a few pounds each week, and because the payments remain the same throughout the term of the policy, you’ll never have to worry about rising payments.

The reason why a level term insurance policy is so called is because the repayment remain level throughout the term of the policy, so you will never have to worry about the cost of your policy rising. The policy is also taken over a fixed term, which is where the ‘term’ part of the policy comes in. This means that you can enjoy easy budgeting and low cost repayments, and you’ll know exactly how long you will be making payment for. On the downside, once the policy expires you will not be able to reclaim any money and the policy will be cancelled, so you will then need to look at taking out alternative life insurance cover.

The average term of a level term life insurance policy – unless otherwise specified – is fifteen years. There are a variety of factors that contribute to the cost of the policy such as whether you go for the most basic package or whether you include a bolt-on such as critical illness cover, whether you are a smoker, your general health, and the term over which you take the policy out.

Whole Life Insurance

Unlike level term life insurance, whole life cover offers a guaranteed payout, which to many people makes it better value for money in the long run. Although the repayments on this type of cover are more expensive than level term insurance, the insurer will make pay out whenever the insured party passes away, so the higher monthly payments will guarantee a payout at some point.

There are a number of different types of whole life insurance policies, and consumers can select the one that best fits their needs and their budget. As with other insurance policies, you can tailor-make your whole life insurance cover to include additional cover such as critical illness insurance. The variations on whole life insurance cover include:

Non-profit UK whole life insurance policies: This is the simplest form of whole life cover, and enables you to enjoy the convenience of level payments through the term of the policy until you die. Upon death, your family received a payout and the policy becomes null and void. If you want to pay a little extra, you can take out a policy that is fixed over a specified term, which means that you will only be making payments for a certain amount of time, but your family will still receive a payout when you die.

With-profit UK whole life insurance: This is a cover and investment type scheme, where your monthly payments are split between your cover premiums and the investment side of your policy. You will enjoy a guaranteed assured sum, and you may find that your insurer adds discretionary bonuses.

Low cost UK whole life insurance: One of the cheapest forms of whole life cover, this type of policy features a decreasing term plan, and the policy is combined with a profits fund. As bonuses are added to the profit side of the policy, the policy term decreases. This provides a cost effective solution for those that want to enjoy the benefits of whole life insurance cover without having to make high monthly payments.

Unitised UK whole life insurance policy: When you purchase this type of whole life cover, you will also be investing in with-profit units. This means that when the insurer makes a payout, the sum awarded will be dependent upon the value of the units in comparison to the value of the death benefit (the payout will be based upon whichever is the highest in value). Each month units are cancelled in order to increase levels of death benefit cover, with reviews carried out from time to time to ensure adequate levels of death benefit cover.

Summary

Both level term insurance policies and whole life policies offer valuable peace of mind to policyholders. The cost of this type of life cover is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with being protected, and you can increase this peace of mind by adding extras such as critical illness to your policy for just a small extra fee.

As a nation, we like to insure just about everything we can…our cars, our homes, our belongings, our pets, and even our credit repayments. It therefore makes sense that we should insure the most important thing of all – our lives.

 

How To Keep Your Insurance

An all-too-common occurrence for life insurance policy holders is one in which someone purchased a life insurance policy several years ago, they have been paying premiums faithfully, and they unexpectedly receive a Lapse Notice. The Notice states, “… your premium is not enough to cover the policy expenses, please submit (a lot more) money to keep your valuable coverage.”

You’ll probably look to the insurer or agent for help. Here are some things you should consider to maintain your valuable coverage.

Often the policy owner thinks of life insurance the same way they think of auto insurance. They receive a premium notice, they pay the premium amount stated on the notice, and they believe they have met their requirement to secure the coverage. What they don’t realize is that with life insurance plans, such as universal life, indexed life, whole life and variable life, the premium is not the same as the cost.

Premium is what you pay to the insurance company. The policy fees are the cost of the coverage.

With these policies as the insured gets older the life insurance policy costs more. This is where the trouble usually happens. At some point in time, and often unbeknownst to the policy owner, the policy expenses exceed the premium being paid. This triggers a feature in the policy which allows the insurer to take money from the policy’s cash value, without having to notify the policy owner, to make-up any shortage of policy expenses. As this event occurs every month, the life insurance policy will be depleted of its cash value and move towards a lapse.

Before a life insurance policy lapse, the insurer is obligated to mail a lapse notice which allows the policy owner 31 days to pay enough premium to cover one month’s worth of expenses. The problem however, is that the expenses will typically have greatly exceeded the amount of premium the owner had been paying.

It’s common for the new premium to be three or four, or even more, times as much as they had been paying. This can put the cost of coverage out of their financial reach. The increase in premiums may not be justified, and a life insurance expert should evaluate the policy to determine if you’re being over-charged.

One thing you can do to make sure you aren’t caught off guard by increasing policy fees, and lose your valuable coverage, is to review your policy with an agent every year. In this meeting you should bring a recent Annual Statement for the policy and the agent should bring in-force illustrations. These are the tools that will best inform you of the policy’s expenses and where your premium amounts should be set for the year.

If you’ve received a lapse notice for your life insurance policy, here are a few things you can do:

1. Lower the death benefit to an affordable amount. The lower the death benefit the lower the premium will be.

2. Ask the insurer for the cost to keep the policy in-force to an age less than maturity. In other words, a universal life insurance policy, as one example, will stay in-force until the insured’s age 100. Fees are set based on this age assumption — 100. If you tell the insurer you only want the policy to stay in-force to age 86 (for example), the premium required will be less.

3. Ask the insurer if they offer a less expensive insurance product that you can exchange your policy for.

4. Get the assistance of a qualified agent to help you understand and make decisions about your policy.

5. Have a life insurance analyst review the policy, past payments and future payments to determine if you’re being over-charged for the coverage.

 

Avoid This Before Buying Life Insurance

It’s no secret that the majority of Canadians today don’t really understand the life insurance policies they own or the subject matter altogether. Life insurance is such a vital financial tool and important part to your financial planning that it is incumbent upon you to have a basic level of understanding.

Here are 3 quick pitfalls that are important to be aware of.

Incomplete Details In The Application

All life insurance contracts have a two-year contestability clause which means the insurer can contest a submitted claim within two years of the application date if material information was not disclosed during the application process. If you have forgotten to note a relevant fact in your application pertinent to the claim it is possible that your claim could be denied. Fraudulent acts such as lying in the application would not only have a claim denied but possibly also have your policy rescinded entirely. It goes without saying that one should always be truthful when completing a life insurance contract or any insurance contract for that matter. A copy of the original application often makes a part of the policy and generally supersedes the policy itself. Having-said-that, each insured has a 10-day right to review their policy once they receive it. In that time period if you feel the policy is not up to the standard you thought it to be, you can return it to the company and all premiums paid would be refunded

Buying The Right Term Coverage For Your Situation

This process should first start with a question: “What do I need the insurance for?” If your need is to cover a debt or liability then perhaps term is best however, if your need is more long-term such as for final expenses, then permanent or whole life would be a better fit. Once you have established your need you’ll then have to decide what type of coverage you want; term or permanent.

Term contracts are the simplest to understand and the cheapest because there is an “end” to the policy; generally 5, 10, 15, 20 sometimes even up to 35 years. If the policy is renewable an increased premium will be required come the end of the term and this is often a big shock to the client’s bottom line. As an example: a 35 year old male, non-smoker with a 20-year term and 300k benefit may pay anywhere from $300 to $400 per year in premiums. When this policy renews at age 55 his new annual premium could go as high as $3,000 per year! Most people don’t understand this and come term end are devastated, generally unable to continue the policy. It is recommended that your term program have a convertibility clause so that you have the option of converting your term life into a permanent policy. You can exercise this right at any time within the term of the policy without evidence of insurability. Taking a term policy without a convertibility clause should only be done when making your purchase for something of a specified duration. Also, the short side to term life is that it does not accumulate any value within the policy whereas permanent/whole life does.

Permanent/whole life is a very complex from of life insurance because it has both insurance and investment aspects to it. These policies are most beneficial because you have value built up in the policy and you are covered until death however, they are much more expensive than term insurance. An option that you can consider is a permanent policy with a specified term to pay it. Using our previous example, you could have a permanent policy that has a 20-pay term meaning you will make premium payments for the next 20 years and after that you will have your policy until death without ever making another payment towards it. It is very important to understand the variables along with your needs before you make your purchase.

Buying Creditor Life Insurance vs. Personal Life Insurance

One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that their creditor life insurance is true personal life insurance coverage and will protect their family in the event of their death. Far too often consumers purchase these products, generally found with their mortgage and credit cards, by simply putting a checkmark in a box during the application process agreeing to have the plan. It sounds like the responsible thing to do but many families are left in paralyzing situations come claim time. Creditor life insurance, such as mortgage life insurance, is designed to cover the remaining debt you have. Making timely mortgage payments is ultimately declining your remaining balance. Creditor life insurance also declines as your debt declines. Keep in mind that the lender is named as your beneficiary in your policy so consequently, upon death your remaining balance on your mortgage or credit card is paid to the lender, not your family. In a personal life insurance policy you choose the beneficiary and upon death the full benefit amount is paid to the beneficiary of your choice.

Personal life insurance is a great asset to have for a large number of reasons. When you buy life insurance your buying peace of mind but, you must have your situation properly assessed and be sure that you are clear on exactly what it will do for your family.

 

Life Insurance 101

While many of us understand the basic functions of our life insurance policies, it’s not uncommon for questions to arise long after you purchased the policy.

To help address your policy problems, we’ll answer four of the most common life insurance questions to help you gain understanding and control of your life insurance policy.

Questions Answered

How do I file a life insurance claim?

To begin the claim process, you’ll need to obtain a couple copies of the policyholder’s death certificate. If you have trouble obtaining copies of the death certificate from the hospital or coroner’s office, your funeral director should be able to get you a copy.

Next, you’ll need to contact your life insurance agent. Your agent will help you complete the necessary paperwork to file the claim. If you’re not sure who the insured’s agent was, you can contact the insurance company directly and someone will help you file the claim. Remember to bring a copy of the death certificate for your agent as it will be needed to ensure quick claim submittal.

How will I receive the death benefit?

Once the life insurance claim is submitted, you’ll need to choose how the life insurance proceeds will be allocated.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), there are generally four ways to distribute the death benefit:

Lump Sum. You receive the entire death benefit in one payment.Specific interest provision. The insurance company pays you both principle and interest on a prearranged schedule.

Life income. You receive a guaranteed income for life. However, the amount you receive depends on the benefit amount, your gender and age at the insured’s time of death.

Interest income. The life insurance company holds the proceeds but pays you interest on the policy. Thus, the death benefit remains in tact and goes to a second beneficiary after you die.

No matter which option you choose, you should receive the proceeds from the policy within days of filing the claim. Life insurance companies are required by law to pay claims in this fashion. To learn about the guidelines under which your insurer must pay a claim, contact your state’s division of insurance.

What should I do if I can’t find the policy?

Unfortunately, there’s no database for purchased life insurance policies. That’s why it’s very important to know where the insured’s life insurance policy is at all times. Nonetheless, there are some things you can try to locate a lost policy.

You can start by trying to determine:

  • Which company might have issued the policy
  • Which agent may have issued the policy
  • Whether the policyholder had life insurance through an employer, union or other group

The I.I.I. recommends trying to locate that information by:

Searching records, storage areas and safe deposit boxes. There you may find insurance-related documents, old checks, premium payment receipts or policy notices.Contacting the policyholder’s legal and financial consultants. Previous and current consultants may have some information regarding the deceased’s life insurance.

Contacting the insured’s employer(s). Previous and/or current employers will be able to tell you if the policyholder had a group life insurance policy.

Checking tax returns. By checking past tax returns, you may find interest income from or paid to a life insurance company.

Checking the mail. Even if the policy was paid up, the insurance company will send an annual premium or dividend notice in regard to the policy.

Checking north of the border. If there’s a possibility that the policy was purchased in Canada, you can contact the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association at (800) 268-8009, or visit them on the Web.

Probing the MIB database. While there’s no database for life insurance policyholders, there is a database for life insurance applicants. For $75, you can search the MIB database, and while it rarely pays off (MIB finds about one in five policies), it might be worth a shot.

If these tips still don’t result in the location of a lost policy, contact your own agent, lawyer or financial consultant as they may have additional recommendations.

What if I can’t pay my life insurance premiums?

Financial hardship can fall on anyone. If this happens to you and you can’t pay your life insurance premium, you should know what to expect.

Generally speaking, if you have a term life insurance policy, not paying your premiums will result in a lapsed policy, which means that the policy will automatically be cancelled and you probably won’t see any proceeds from the policy.

If you have a permanent life insurance policy, the I.I.I. says you’ll have some of the following options:

Cash out the policy. When you cash out, you’ll stop paying the premium and collect any available cash value. However, if the sum of the cash value is more than what you’ve paid in premiums, that cash may be taxed.Non-forfeiture. A “reduced paid-up” option might be available to you, allowing you to stop paying premiums completely for a reduced death benefit and no cash savings. You may also be able to convert a permanent policy into an extended term policy.

Lapsed policy. If you choose to let your policy lapse, you may be able to get it reinstated. Some insurance companies allow you to do this if you do so within five years of lapsing. Reinstatement, however, may be contingent on your ability to pass a medical exam and pay back the premiums owed plus interest.

If you fall on hard times, be sure to contact your life insurance agent right away to work out an arrangement. Depending on your circumstances, it’s generally better not to let a permanent policy completely lapse as you may forfeit the cheap life insurance you had when you bought the policy.

Don’t Let Your Questions Go Unanswered!

If you have questions about your life insurance policy, it’s always a good idea to discuss them with an insurance agent. They can give you new, up-to-date and state-specific information about your life insurance policy so you won’t have any surprises down the line!

 

Getting Know About Insurance Policy

There are various aspects to consider before getting a life insurance policy. One of them is a sustained doubt about the significance and need for life insurance. A life insurance policy is relevant for all individuals who are concerned about the financial future of their family in case of death.

Apart from the purely protectional needs, life insurance policies, like whole and variable life insurance, offer the opportunity for tax-free investment and reaping dividends, and they have a built-in cash value. Purchased with due discretion, it can be utilized as liquid cash to cater to the various needs of policyholders.

There are various types of life insurance policies customized to suit the different needs of various individuals. Depending on the number of dependants and kind of insurance needs, a suitable life insurance policy can be chosen after consultation with financial experts and advisors.

Whole life insurance and term life insurance are the two basic forms of insurance policies. With time, there have been different variations to suit the changing demands of people. A term life insurance policy is also called temporary or short-term life insurance. These are purely protection-oriented and provide death benefits only if the insured dies within the period specified in the policy. In case the insured lives past the specified duration, no money is given.

People with short-term insurance needs, like a young individual with dependents, a house loan or a car loan, favor this kind of insurance policy because they are cheap and affordable in comparison to whole life policies. In the initial years the premiums are very low; however, as the mortality risk of the insured increases with age the premium cost increases and at time becomes more than that of whole life insurance.

There are now two kinds of term life insurance, namely level term (decreasing premium) and annual renewable term (increasing premium) policies. The premiums of level term are initially higher than renewable term, but become lower in the later years. Whole life insurance has an ingrained cash value and guaranteed life protection features. The initial steep premiums of whole life insurance may exceed the actual cost of the insurance. This surplus, which is the cash value, is added to a separate account and can be used as a tax-free investment to reap dividends, and is also used to enable the insured to give a level premium latter on. There is a guarantee of getting the death benefit on the maturity of the policy or death of the insured, apart from cash value surrendered in case of cancellation.

Return of premium is popular because it combines the features of whole and term policies. It costs double the amount of a term policy. The policy is made for a set time, but full value is given on death within that period or in case the policy matures. Universal, variable and universal variables are different variations of whole life insurance policies. A universal life insurance policy offers the flexibility to the insured to choose the kind of premium payment, the death benefits and the coverage amount.

Variable life insurance policies enable the insurance buyer to invest the cash value in direct investment for a greater potential return. A universal variable insurance policy integrates the flexibility factor of a universal policy and the investment option of a variable policy. Single purchase life insurance enables a buyer to buy the policy and own it through a one-time premium payment. A survivorship or second-to-die insurance policy is a joint form of life insurance policy which is devised to serve the specific purpose of certain individuals. Apart from these, there are also endowment life insurance policies. Endowment is with profit kind or unit-liked kind. On maturity of the policy or on the death of the insured the value of the policy or the amount insured, whichever is more, is given back.

 

Pros and Cons Life Insurance

“Do I need life insurance?” “Is whole life insurance a good investment?” “Is term life insurance risky?” Questions like these are posted in online communities on a daily basis. The answers vary widely, with the term life and whole life camps polarized. The tone of the debate is surprisingly strident. After all, the topic is insurance–not a something expected to inspire strong opinions, let alone strong language. But words like “rip-off,” “scam,” and “waste of money” fly back and forth, sometimes accompanied by rows of exclamation marks or worse. What is behind the brouhaha? And which camp -if either – is right?

The two sides do not even agree about whether a person needs life insurance. Whole lifers say, yes. You do not want the death of a family member to disrupt your family’s finances or jeopardize its future. It is hard enough to adjust to the loss of a loved one. Adding financial difficulties exacerbates the problem. With the skyrocketing costs of funerals, even children and seniors should have at least a small life insurance policy.

Not so fast, say the term lifers. The only reason to have life insurance is to replace the lost income of a family member who dies, and then only when the spouse or family is dependent on that income. If you are single with no dependents and no debts that might be transferred to your family in the event you die, then you do not need life insurance. If you are married and your spouse works, you probably do not need life insurance, either, assuming your spouse makes enough to support himself or herself.

The time for life insurance, term lifers say, is when the policyholder’s income is vital to the financial security of the family. If, for example, you have purchased a home together and your spouse could not pay the mortgage and other bills by himself or herself, then life insurance is in order. If you have children, you will want to have enough life insurance to allow your family to maintain its lifestyle after you are gone. This includes not only meeting day-to-day expenses, but also being able to follow through with plans for higher education. Insurance professionals recommend buying a policy with a face value 5-10 times the breadwinner’s annual salary to help family meet expenses for a period of years.

Whole lifers see problems with the term-life scenario. The view it as overly optimistic, even naive. Many things can happen during the 20- to 30-year period covered by term life insurance policy that could extend the need for coverage beyond the policy’s end date. For example, children may be born mentally retarded, with severe autism, or with another serious condition that could prevent them from becoming independent when they reach adulthood. Children also can develop a disease or suffer an accident that disables them. A spouse, too, can become disabled. In these situations, the family will remain dependent on the breadwinner’s income long after the term life policy expires.

Term life insurance advocates point out that in such cases, the breadwinner can renew the term life insurance policy, or take out a new one. Now it’s the whole lifers’ turn to say, “Not so fast.” By the time the second term life insurance policy is needed, the breadwinner will likely be in his or her fifties or even sixties. Due to the age of the insured, the cost of a second term life insurance policy will be much higher than the cost of the first was.
With the added years come added risks of certain diseases. If the breadwinner is obese, has developed high blood pressure, a heart condition, diabetes, or another disease, the cost of the term life insurance policy will skyrocket. If the individual has developed cancer or AIDS, he or she may not be insurable at all. In such situations, the cost savings realized on the first term life policy could be wiped out by the high cost of a second term life policy.

By contrast, the premiums of a whole life policy are set for life and do not go up with age or medical condition. A whole life policy cannot be canceled due to medical conditions, either. The policy remains in force until death, as long as the premiums are paid.

“Until death” is another advantage of whole life, its advocates maintain. Whole life gets its name from the fact that it insures the policyholder life until death. As a result, whole life insurance is guaranteed to pay a death benefit-the amount the policy pays upon the death of the insured. The death benefit can be increased-at certain points at no additional cost-as the policyholder ages. A small policy designed to cover the funeral costs of a child can be increased to provide adequate coverage during an adult’s peak earning years. Whatever the death benefit or “face value” of the whole life policy, the insurance company guarantees to pay it. As a result, the policyholder or his or her beneficiaries always receive some, all, or more than the premiums paid into the policy.

This is not the case with a term life insurance policy, whole lifers point out. The term life insurance policyholder can pay premiums for 30 years, but if he or she outlives the policy-even by a day-then all of the premium money is gone. The only thing the policyholder will have received is 30 years worth of peace of mind.

Whole life insurance, by contrast, accumulates a value that the policyholder can access during his or her lifetime. This value is known as the cash value or the surrender value. The whole life policy holder can use the cash value as collateral for a loan, or even borrow some of it during his or her lifetime. The policyholder must pay this amount back. If he or she dies before it is paid back, then the unpaid amount is deducted from the death benefit. If the policyholder decides to cancel the policy, the insurance company will pay him or her the cash value, which is then known as the surrender value. Whole life, its proponents maintain, is not only insurance against death. It is an investment for life.

This is where the debate turns nasty. Term lifers often ridicule the investment features of whole life. Because whole life always pays a death benefit, it costs 5-10 times more than term life does. Term lifers argue that a person is much better off getting a term policy for the same face value that they would get a whole life policy, then saving and investing the difference in premiums. Almost any investment will return more than a whole life policy will, term lifer proponents maintain. Over 20 or 30 years, the difference can be vast. Buy insurance to insure, the term lifers say, and use the savings to invest.

Whole lifers respond that the return on a whole life policy is guaranteed at the outset, something than cannot be said for other investments. To earn greater rewards, the term life policyholder must take greater risks in the open market. Many investments will outperform whole life insurance, but not all will. Some investments lose money, as shareholders in World Com, Enron, Peregrine Systems, and many other companies can attest.

Even if the investment will pay out, it is not certain that the term life policyholder will actually make it. To do so, he or she must calculate the amount saved over whole life insurance; save that money every month, quarter, or year; research possible investments; and contribute to that investment regularly for 20 or 30 years. This makes sense for disciplined and savvy investors, but many others will find the endeavor daunting and time consuming. They may not start it, and if they do, they may not continue it. Whole life takes care of insurance, savings, and investment in one easy payment. Even if the returns on whole life are not great, saving something is better than saving nothing, and nothing is exactly how much many term life policyholders will end up saving.

Both whole life and term life have pros and cons. People who are financially savvy and disciplined will gain from the term life scenario. Those who need a convenient and simple mechanism for insurance and savings will benefit from whole life insurance. Deciding which is best for you requires an honest appraisal of your goals, your lifestyle, and your investing skills.

 

All About Life Insurance Terms

Considering purchasing convertible term life insurance? How exactly does a convertible term life insurance policy work? Is it possible to find a cheap convertible term life insurance policy? These are all important questions to ask and to understand the answers to before you decide to make the important decision of which type of life insurance coverage to buy.

At the time of deciding what type of life insurance to buy, a person must know every single type offered in the market in order to truly make the best choice for their specific coverage needs. It is true that perhaps many companies simply refer to their policies as term or permanent life insurance, but a person must know that there is much more to that and such is the case of convertible term life insurance. In this article you will be able to know what convertible term is and the many things associated with this type of life insurance.

What Exactly Is Convertible Term Life Insurance?

Life insurance is perhaps easily understood because it simply is a contract between a person and an insurance company. The contract simply states that the person must pay monthly premiums for a certain period of time in exchange for a death benefit paid to the beneficiary in case of the insured’s death.

A term life insurance policy is simply a policy that will cover for a specific period of time, but with a convertible term life insurance policy you will have the ability to transform your policy from a temporary one to a permanent one.

What this means is that if you have a policy for 25 years and you have a convertible term life insurance policy, then you will be able to change the term policy into a whole, universal of variable life insurance policy (depending on the company).

Things To Know At The Time Of Purchasing Your Policy

Like any other product, there are a few things that a customer must know in order to make the convertible life insurance experience a successful one.

Health and Family History: At the time of applying for a policy, whether you are doing it online or in person at a local agency; make sure to have some general information about your medical history. Although companies have the right to access your files when you apply for a policy (with your permission that is), most of the times they will ask you questions about your health and family history. The more prepared you are to answer these questions, the easier the quoting process will be.

Amount and Duration of the Policy: You must also have an idea of how much life insurance you wish to buy at the particular time. The reason for this is that with term life insurance policies a person must choose an amount at the time of getting the policy. There are tools online or that the company has that will help you get the amount you will more than likely need. It is also important to understand that the particular amounts change from company to company. Also, make sure that you know the amount of time you want the policy to last. Some common ones include 15, 20, 25 and even 30 years.

The Beneficiary: Last but not least it is important to be completely certain of whom you want your beneficiary to be. The reason for this is that many people actually don’t know at the time of signing the policy and just put the first person in mind. However, many insurance companies are actually very strict when it comes to beneficiaries and they wont let a person make a change unless they fill out the appropriate paperwork. Nevertheless, it is important for a customer to know the company and their stand when it comes to particular beneficiary changes.

Lower Premiums Compared To Other Types Of Policies

Compared to many of the other types of policies, the convertible term life insurance policies give the customer a better choice. The reason for this is that a person will have the main option of converting the term life insurance to a permanent one or of simply letting the policy expire in their own hands. Having a term life insurance first also helps a lot, simply because term life insurance has lower premiums than a permanent life insurance policy.

The difference for these cheaper premiums is simply that with a term life insurance policy, the death benefit is not guaranteed to the beneficiary (particularly because the insured can still be alive at the end of the policy). Because of this reason, a person that chooses the option of having a convertible life insurance policy will have the great option of paying low premiums at first.

Medical Examinations

Another good thing about convertible term life insurance policies is that they allow a person to convert regardless of the medical condition and health of the insured. If the person in the policy chose the option of having a convertible term life insurance policy and they have paid premiums at the right time, then they have by law the right to extend their coverage if they choose to.

It is also important to highlight that this change in coverage must be made without the insured being forced to take a medical examination. The freedom of continuing the coverage regardless of everything and not having the chance of being denied might be the reasons why this insurance option is so popular nowadays.

No Premium Increases For Medical Problems

The last thing worth talking about when it comes to convertible life insurance policies is that at the time of changing your policy you cannot be charged any additional premium for any medical problems that you may have. It is important to highlight that I’m not referring to the fact that your premiums will not go up in value, because when converting from term to permanent there is always a chance of that. What I’m referring to is that at the time of converting your term life insurance to a permanent one by law you are protected against a raise in premium based on a medical condition.

No One Policy Is Right For Everyone

It is important to note that this type of plan is not for everyone, because some people just rather have a permanent policy right away or some others just want to be covered until they get retired. However, this might be exactly what some people are looking for simply because it starts as perhaps the low cost choice.

Compare Quotes To Find The Best Value

Compare the prices of regular life insurance quotes against the prices of convertible term life insurance quotes to find the best value. If you want the freedom of having a term policy and being able to convert it in the near future to a permanent life insurance plan that covers you for life then go ahead and start shopping around for your convertible life insurance plan!

 

How To Get Approval Quickly

What are some of the life insurance criteria for being approved quickly? Many people are interested in finding a quick approval life insurance policy as they do not want to go through a long and drawn out medical underwriting process. Enforcements and the criteria for people to be approved quickly into life insurance policies within life insurance industry are simply made by the companies so that they don’t lose money when it comes to claims.

For life insurance companies there is a risk associated with insuring someone because you are basically either going to have to end up paying the death benefit of the person that is deceased, or you will gain money by their paying of premiums; however, it’s important to understand that there are applicants that have it easier when it comes to life insurance policies, and that the life insurance criteria for being approved quickly varies according to many factors and is not the same from company to company.

Age Is Perhaps One of the Most Important Criteria to be Approved Quickly For A Life Insurance Policy

Although not all the companies are the same, one of the most important things about life insurance is to try and get the policy while you are still young. Just like the health insurance industry, the life insurance industry understands that the risk of dying increases as your age increases. It is because of this reason that premiums for younger people are less than those of older individuals, and it is also because of this that many life insurance companies are starting to use medical examinations as one of the most important factors in being approved.

An example of this would be a person trying to get a term life insurance policy in an insurance company that has offices all across the United States. If the person is younger or of middle age, endless possibilities will arise because they will be able to purchase term life insurance (temporary life insurance that only covers you for a specific amount of time) or a permanent life insurance policy (a type of policy that covers you for life) because the insurance company knows that the chances of you dying young are very slim (unless you have a critical illness that is). It is for this reason that many senior citizens have trouble qualifying for life insurance and they must go apply in companies that specialize in senior citizen products.

It is important to highlight that just because a person is old it does not mean that they won’t be approved easily for life insurance. If you are a senior citizen of 50 years of age or older and you are in perfect health conditions with no risk of any serious illnesses, the life insurance company might even propose a term life insurance policy, a whole life insurance policy or any other type of policy; but it all depends on how good your health is.

The Credit Report and It’s Role For a Person to Be Approved Quickly

Another way or criteria for which a person can be approved very quickly when applying to life insurance is credit reports. Many people argue about this measure because they don’t think its fair that their credit report is now taking the place of any paperwork and it is becoming more and more important in all aspects of life. The reason credit report can get you accepted very quickly is simply your commitment to the company.

What this simply means is that if you have a better credit report it will be more credible when you tell your company that you will be paying premiums every month at the exact same date and the entire amount without a penny less. On the other hand, if you have a bad credit some companies might not even take the risk of insuring you because they don’t want to insure an individual that is true to his or her word. As you can see credit report has not become a major thing when it comes to life insurance companies.

Your Lifestyle Can Help You Get Approved Quickly

Last but not least in order to get approved quickly you should be a person that does not take many risks in life. This means that your job is not a high risk one and that you do not have any hobbies that threaten your life. If you want to see an example of what this means let us compare a firefighter with a lawyer. A firefighter will more than likely be faced with life threatening conditions every single time they go into a fire. They have to run into a house consumed by flames to prevent other houses from burning or to save a life. On the other hand you have a lawyer that spends most of his or her day sitting behind a desk wondering about how to win the case. All they do that can cause harm their lives other than health related conditions involve driving to and from work, and to the courthouse. Unfortunately for a firefighter it will be a little bit more difficult for a company to insured them because they know the risk associated with their job. The same thing applies to hobbies.

Who do you think will have an easier time applying and getting accepted for a life insurance policy? A person that enjoys sailing, sky diving and kayaking in wild rivers or a person that enjoys going out on the beach, spending time with the family and maybe on occasion playing chess? The answer is the person that has the hobbies with the least degree of danger. Life insurance is a business and like any other industry, its companies are concerned with making money and not losing money.

Compare Life Insurance Quotes Because Of Differences In Underwriting

As you can see the criteria for being accepted when you apply for a life insurance policy is not that hard. You must always try to apply when you are younger not mattering if you want a term or permanent life insurance policy (always remember that the younger and healthier you are, the less your premiums will be). You must also have an OK credit report that should be good when checked by the life insurance company. This helps because they can see that they are insuring a person that is making a commitment and will try to pay premiums on time.

You will also have to show the life insurance company that the risk of insuring you is not that great and show them that your hobbies are nothing to be worried about. If you follow all these steps a life insurance company will never deny you and they will be happy insuring you. The criteria for an easy acceptance in the life insurance world is not that hard; go and get the policy that you have always dreamed of!