Protect the ones you love
Compare 13+ life insurance quotes in just 30 seconds.
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When deciding how to narrow down your life insurance needs, start by choosing from its two main types: term life and whole life. Term life covers you for a specified period of five to 30 years or more, depending on the provider. After your coverage expires, you can typically renew or convert your policy to another term. Whole life insurance is a type of permanent policy, providing lifelong coverage and often a cash value component and dividends supported by an investment account.
In most cases, your insurer pays your life insurance policy in a lump sum to your beneficiaries after you die. A beneficiary or representative of your estate starts the claims process with your insurer after your death, submitting required forms along with a copy of the death certificate. Most life insurance providers pay out claims within 60 days, with most states allowing your insurer up to 30 days to investigate your claim, if necessary. Insurers may delay payouts if the policyholder’s death is ruled a homicide or suicide. Also, deaths that happen in the first two years after signing up for life insurance coverage typically are subject to something called the two-year contestability clause. This clause allows your insurer the right to more thoroughly investigate your claim to confirm you didn’t provide false or fraudulent information to get a life insurance policy.
You might be able to, but it depends on whether you customized your policy at signup with an accelerated benefit rider. These riders allow you to receive a percentage of your policy’s payout if you unexpectedly fall ill or suffer a disability. Depending on your policy’s terms, you can receive your accelerated benefit in periodic installments or as a lump sum to cover the costs of a critical or chronic illness, including long-term care.
Everyday living expenses
Other outstanding debts
To find a comprehensive life insurance policy at the best rates, look into how coverage amounts affect your premiums, the flexibility of your policy options and additional riders or features specific to the providers you’re interested in.
To simplify the process of comparing different policies, ask yourself:
While term and permanent life insurance are the basics, you’ll find variations that allow for flexibility in how much you pay in premiums, how you can accumulate cash value, whether you can borrow against your policy and more. Knowing what these common variations provide can help you customize a policy that meets you and your family’s anticipated needs.
|Term life||Whole life|
|Length of term||1 to 30 years||Life|
|Cost of premium||Level premiums||Level premiums|
|Guaranteed death benefit|
|Guaranteed cash value|
|How your money appreciates or depreciates||N/A||Set rate of interest|
|What you should know||You can’t lose coverage, and you receive no premium refund at the end of the term||Not as flexible as other life insurance options|
Given the general unpredictability of life, there’s no one universal answer for how much coverage you should buy. Experts will tell you to start with a multiple of your annual income — up to 10 times your salary. Generally, you want to determine an amount that will cover immediate and ongoing costs after you die, so that your family and other dependents can support their current way of life.
Answer three questions to see the coverage we recommend.
1) How much debt do you owe?
Include mortgages, credit cards, car loans, student loans and other debt.
2) How much do your loved ones need each month?
Start with how much you take home monthly, adding rent, food and necessities.
3) How many months will your loved ones need the income?
Indicate how long you think your loved ones need before they can sustain themselves in your absence
Your recommended coverage:
$50,000Typically you'll want to add another $15,000-$20,000 for final expenses such as medical costs and funeral expenses.
When determining how much coverage is enough to protect your family, consider your debts, living expenses and lifestyle. Also plan for how your loved ones will pay for your funeral, burial and related expenses.
2. How much do you already have for your family to fall back on? Think about the number of years you might need to cover your family’s living expenses and whether savings or assets can offset those costs after your death, including:
4. How long will your family need coverage? At some point, your family will be able to rely on Social Security benefits and other investments. But until then, think about:
To calculate your policy’s premiums, life insurance providers engage a complicated review of your age, health and lifestyle called underwriting. They often run these details through proprietary algorithms and analytical tools to determine the level of risk in taking you on as a policyholder.
How a life insurance provider rates you within each category varies, but most consider:
You have options when shopping for a life insurance policy. Today, you’ll find brokers that work with a range of companies to help you find the best prices in their network on the coverage you need, but they may not offer the personalized service you’ll find with a direct agent.
Both broker and agents work on behalf of providers to sell you a life insurance policy. It all comes down weighing each against what you’re looking for.
Buying life insurance from a broker
Buying direct from an insurance provider
Many retirement plans provide members with a default level of coverage that you can increased, decreased or cancel altogether. If your employer matches contributions through a 401(k), your plan most likely includes default coverage.
To know whether your 401(k)’s coverage is sufficient for your situation, consider the benefits and drawbacks of investing through your retirement plan.
When it comes to life insurance, you don’t want to overpay. But you also want a policy that leaves your family underinsured when they need it most. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting adequate coverage within your budget.
You may find it surprising how little a life insurance policy can cost monthly when compared with other expenses. Budgeting for life insurance is often easier than some of the other expenses you might be shelling out monthly:
|Monthly expenses||monthly Cost|
|Term life insurance||$30|
|Cell phone bill||$100|
|Credit card bill||$100|
An annuity is long-term investment tool designed to pay out your death benefit as regular income to you or your beneficiary, rather than as a lump sum. Life insurance annuities earn interest at either fixed or variable with either immediate or deferred disbursal.
Fixed annuities earn interest a rate that’s fixed at the time you purchase your policy. While a variable annuity earns interest at a rate that depends on the market, which makes it more like an investment that increases or decreases over time. Your money is distributed into a subaccount that’s managed by a pool of investors, and what you’re paid depends on how well your investment does.
When it comes to how quickly you’ll get paid, you can either set up an immediate annuity that pays right away or a deferred annuity that disperses cash at a later date that you agree on.
Keep in mind that your annuity is valid only as long as your insurer is in business. When you’re looking for a policy, shop with highly rated companies.
|Company||BBB rating||A.M. Best rating||JD Power rating|
|Mutual of Omaha||A+||A+||—|
|New York Life||B-||A++||828|
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