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Life Insurance Overview

Life Insurance Overview

Life Insurance Overview

Most people think of life insurance in terms of death benefit protection. However, today’s policies also provide the vehicles for meeting other goals, such as saving for retirement, education, and paying estate taxes.

Life insurance is one of the few remaining tax shelters available.

Years ago, life insurance purchases were made almost entirely by men to protect their families. Now, women too, are significant breadwinners, and coverage on their lives has become common. People now protect their family’s lifestyle by insuring both spouses, especially if that lifestyle is dependent on two incomes.

What Types of Policies Are Available?

Gone are the days of simply choosing between term and whole life. There are no fewer than four major categories with many variations and combinations of each:

Term Insurance

This type of insurance provides pure death protection, for a specified period of time, for a specific premium. It has no cash value and is initially less expensive than other policies for the same amount of protection.

Some types of term coverage remain level with increasing premium. Others have a level premium with gradually decreasing benefits.

Term insurance may be purchased in a separate policy or as a rider (supplement) to one of the other forms of policies - frequently at a discount.

Whole life

This type of insurance provides protection that can be kept for as long as you live. Premiums are fixed. As the policy ages, its “cash value” increases on a tax-deferred basis. While you continue to own the policy, you can borrow against the cash value at a favorable rate.

Universal life

This type of insurance adds savings flexibility to the whole life concept of permanent protection. In general, a policyholder must pay a certain minimum premium (for death protection) but can increase the premium, almost at will, in order to increase the savings aspect of the policy. The cash value will increase based on current interest rates and the amount of premium going toward the savings or investment portion.

Variable life

This type of insurance combines flexible investment opportunities with insurance protection. Owners have the opportunity to obtain higher cash values and death benefits by their investment results. Owners can choose between a variety of fixed income or equity alternatives and make changes in the future at no cost.

Variable Universal Life

Combines all of the administrative flexibility of universal life and the investment flexibility of variable life.

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