Death, like taxes, is unavoidable, but most people prefer not to think about it. However, if you have loved ones who rely on your income, you must ensure that you have adequate financial resources in place, including life insurance.
Life insurance can help pay for funeral and burial expenses, settle outstanding debts, and make day-to-day living expenditures less stressful for those you leave behind. If you don’t have life insurance or have but aren’t sure if your policy is adequate, here’s how to assess your coverage needs.
What Exactly Is Life Insurance?
Life insurance is a contract in which an insurance company commits to pay a set amount following the death of an insured party, as long as the payments are paid on time. This sum is known as a death benefit. Policies provide insured persons with the certainty that their loved ones will have peace of mind and financial security in the event of their death.
There are two types of life insurance: whole life and term life. Whole life policies are a sort of permanent life insurance, which means you’re insured for the rest of your life as long as you pay your premiums. Some life policies have an investment component that allows you to accumulate cash value by investing the premiums you pay in the market.
On the other hand, term life insurance covers you for a specific period. For example, depending on your age and how long you need coverage, you may obtain 20- or 30-year insurance. In addition, some policies allow you to renew your coverage after it has expired, while others require a medical test. As a result, term life insurance typically has lower premiums than whole life insurance.
Who Requires Life Insurance?
Life insurance can be a valuable financial tool, but it is inappropriate for everyone. For example, if you are single, have no dependents, and have enough money to pay your debts as well as the expenses associated with death (funeral, estate, attorney fees, and other charges), you may not need life insurance. The same is true if you have dependents and sufficient assets to pay for them after your death.
However, if you are the primary provider for your dependents or have a large debt that outweighs your assets, insurance can ensure that your loved ones are well taken care of if you die. A life insurance policy may also be beneficial if you operate a business or have cosigned obligations, such as private college loans, for which someone else may be held liable if you die.
Keep in mind that life insurance does not cover every eventuality. A standard life insurance policy, for example, will not pay disability benefits if you become disabled, nor will it cover long-term nursing care expenditures. However, you can acquire disability riders or long-term care insurance riders for an additional fee to cover these types of circumstances.