Types of Life Insurance: Which One Is Best For You?

types-of-life-insurance-featured-image

Life insurance is one of the most important parts of our financial plan, yet it is something we don’t like to talk about. Its purpose is to provide our loved ones with financial peace-of-mind after we die.

Because there are many types of life insurance available, it's difficult to choose the right policy.

Don’t worry though. At the end of this blog, you will have a great depth of knowledge about is life insurance the different types available.

Here is a list of the life insurance policies we are going to cover in this article:

  • Term Life Insurance
  • Whole Life Insurance
  • Universal Life Insurance
  • Variable Universal Life Insurance
  • Survivorship Life Insurance
  • Single-Premium Life Insurance

With that said, let us get started.

 

Hows does Life Insurance Work?

A life insurance policy covers many expenses after someone’s death. For instance, the cost of the funeral, burial, and medical bills not captured on your health insurance. It can also pay estate settlement expenses and tax obligations.

A life insurance policy helps cover emergencies such as tuition fees for your children and mortgages. It can also offset credit card bills and other loans or debts using these policies.

Life insurance ensures that loved ones get an inheritance and have less financial burden after your death. You may also decide to leave a legacy by supporting a charitable organization close to your heart through life insurance.

 

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance covers the life of the policyholder for a specific amount of time.

In case of death during the term, the beneficiary receives the agreed payouts. However, no payment is made if death does not occur within the duration the policy is active.


Types of Term Life Insurance Policies:

  • Level premiums: Level premiums are the most common type, and the level depends on the duration of the policy. The periods may differ depending on the years, such as 10, 15, 20, or 30. You may renew your term when the policy is nearing its expiration date. However, the level term will become more expensive than the former, even though the years may be similar. The premium rate becomes costly because of the age factor. The insurer may reduce the premium rates if you choose a lower-level term.

  • Annual Renewal Term: An annual renewal term increases the policyholder’s premium rate each year until the expiry of the policy term. The reason is that an individual continues to get older with each passing year. This policy guarantees you coverage every year, although, in the long-run, it becomes more expensive.

  • Convertible Term: A convertible term covers a policyholder for a limited duration to convert it into whole life insurance. The advantage of this policy is that during conversion, the individual’s health is not considered and neither does the policyholder require a medical examination. On the flip side, the premium rates will have a sudden upward surge.

  • Increasing Term: An increasing term has death benefit increments as time goes by, while the premium rates also rise. This approach allows individuals to pay fewer premiums during their early life when they incur more expenses and monthly bills.

  • Decreasing Term: A decreasing term is a reverse of the increasing term. Here, the death benefits become lesser over time with constant relatively lower premiums compared to increasing term insurance policy, and it aims to reduce the term to match the outstanding mortgage of the policyholder.

 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Term Life insurance

  • This is the most common type, and it is usually less expensive compared to whole life insurance. However, it has no cash value in the event of death.
  • The insurer calculates premiums for the policy based on the person’s life expectancy, age, and health.
  • Some insurance companies may require a medical examination and ask about lifestyle behaviors such as smoking or alcohol drinking habits.
  • Premiums are fixed and paid for the entire duration of the policy.

 

Whole Life Insurance

Also called traditional whole life insurance, this type of life insurance goes on for the policyholder's entire lifetime. Upon the death of the policyholder, the stated beneficiary receives death benefits stated by the policy.

Usually, an individual and the insurance firm discuss the amounts of money paid as monthly premiums and death benefits.

 

Benefits and Drawbacks

  • The price of the premium is fixed and cannot be altered at any time.
  • The premium rate is considerably high compared to all other forms of life insurance.
  • A portion of the money is channeled into a cash value while the rest is for the life cover.
  • A cash value is an investment portfolio in which a policyholder can borrow money for emergencies such as education or medical expenses. Unlike the universal life insurance permanent, the cash value does not grow with prevailing money market rates.
  • Usually, there is a specific period in which you may not be able to access the fund's cash. This practice allows your cash value to accumulate to help you save sufficient money to cover emergencies.
  • Should you borrow and the total amount of interest plus the loan amount exceeds your cash value, the insurance coverage and policy expires.
  • You will lose the cash value if you die before using it. This means that your beneficiaries will only get the death benefits while the insurance company keeps the accumulated cash value.
  • Any amount of money you withdraw from the fund is non-taxable.

 

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance is permanent insurance that offers cash value benefits and death benefits. The coverage is only in force as long as the policyholder complies with the policy requirements and payment of premiums.

Like whole life insurance, premiums paid are split for the life cover and policy’s cash value. The insurance policy also highlights the terms and conditions in which a person can withdraw from the fund.

 

Benefits and drawbacks of Universal Life Insurance

  • Cash Value - Cash value earns an interest based on the policy’s current market rates or the minimum set interest rate. This feature makes it more attractive to people shopping for a policy.
  • Flexible Premiums - Universal life insurance has flexible premiums. This autonomy allows individuals to lower or stop the premiums during tough times. If there is sufficient money in the cash value, individuals may use it to service the policy. You can even pay more than what your standard premium dictates, and it channels any excess amount into your cash value fund.
  • Ability to adjust the death benefit - The policy also allows you to adjust the death benefit to your heirs in the event of death. You may choose to increase the service if you pass a medical exam and improve your premium payments. Otherwise, you may reduce the amount by reducing the cost of the policy.
  • The policy is only in force if your cash value is above or equal to the surrender value
  • Should you fail to make payments for your loan and premiums, you risk having no surrender value or life coverage even after many years of payments.

 

Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable universal life is a permanent insurance policy that allows policyholders to invest the cash value into stocks and bonds.

Cash value borrowing's or withdrawals should not exceed the surrender value to prevent the policy’s lapse.

This policy is comprised of sub-accounts that allow policyholders to manage savings separately from the cash value.

Once a person pays premiums, the insurer deducts the administrative costs and the cost of insurance. The remaining balance is channeled into sub-accounts for investments.

 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Variable Universal Life Insurance

  • The premiums paid fluctuate depending on the performance of the assets and the current market rates. If the investments perform well, the insurer reduces the number of insurance premiums while the death benefits remain consistent with your coverage. If the assets perform poorly, you may have to increase your premiums for your beneficiaries to enjoy the same death benefits as the coverage you are paying. Otherwise, the death benefits significantly drop.
  • Although this is a great insurance policy for investments, sub-accounts require additional fees to run outside the standard administration fees.
  • Variable universal life insurance is more appropriate for wealthy people who cannot contribute to IRA or 401(k) retirement accounts. The cash gains are also tax-free if your total assets fall under $11.38 million.

 

Survivorship Life Insurance

Survivorship life insurance covers the lives of two individuals. However, both people have to die for the beneficiary to receive benefits. That is why many people refer to it as "second-to-die life insurance".

When one of the insured people dies, the survivor must continuously pay the scheduled regular premiums for the insurance to be in force.

In rare cases, the policy may have a living benefit in the event one insured person dies. The survivor gets a small amount of the services. Such a claim is common where terminal illness is defined within the policy.

The insured usually pays a premium amount based on the explanations from the insurer. Some amounts are paid to cover administrative expenses, and the policy's (also called face value) death benefits.

 

Benefits of Survivorship Life Insurance

  • Estate planning - This policy helps the heirs of an estate pay for the estate tax bills after the policyholders’ death. Such amounts avoid liquidation of the estate property to cover taxes.
  • Donations - If you have been supporting a great system and you are afraid of what happens after your death, this policy is for you. The proceeds of your policy can be channeled into a charitable organization.
  • Easy to qualify for - Survivorship life insurance is easier to qualify for than single-premium life insurance. This is because insurance companies are less worried about the health status of policyholders.
  • It's affordable - It is usually less expensive than regular single-insured life insurance.
  • Financial support for children with disabilities - If you have a child with special needs, this policy is suitable for you. If one of you may die, the other one will take care of the child. However, should both of you die, this policy will ensure that the child receives third-party care funds.

 

Single-Premium Life Insurance

A single-premium life insurance policy is a type of permanent insurance. Here, the policyholder makes one upfront lump-sum payment for the procedure in return for a guaranteed death benefit.

The policies you can pay for with a single-premium life insurance are whole, variable, or universal life insurance policies.

The insurer calculates the benefit amount based on the policy’s funding,  age, and the health of the policyholder.

For example:

A 20-year-old in perfect health may invest $60,000 and receive a $450,000 death benefit. A 65-year-old in the same health status may get a death benefit of $140,000 for the same investment of $60,000.

 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Single-Premium Life Insurance

  • The one-time payment is enough to fully fund the entire lifetime of the insurance policy. This implies that the policy does not permit any additional contributions.
  • The cash value in a single-premium life insurance will grow depending on the type of life insurance policy you pay.
  • The policy is classified under the Modified Endowment Contract (MEC). It implies that any withdrawal is subject to MEC regulations of 10% income penalty on leave or loans before 59 1/2 years.
  • The policy is suitable for people who are interested in guarantees. Such may include persons taking care of a child with special needs, estate tax planning, or individuals interested in life insurance policies but fed up with regular premium payments.
  • The policy may look attractive, but the cost limitations may deter you from getting a policy with a huge death benefit or cover considerable financial needs such as mortgages.

 

Other Types of Life Insurance

Credit Life Insurance - This policy pays off a borrower's outstanding debt if they die. The face value amount is proportionate to the debt value and decreases with payments to the loan. This is suitable if the co-signer of the loan cannot make payments if you die.

Group Life Insurance - Group life insurance is usually paid for by an employer to cover employees against death. The insurance policy favors individuals who may not cover insurance expenses. The amount received in the event of death may vary based on the policy. Compensation for death is about $20000 to $50000 or one or twice the policyholder’s salary. The policy’s control remains in the employer’s hands, who may choose to end the contract at will, it does not require medical examinations from policyholders, and it is cheaper than individual life insurances. The insurer covers members as long as they are part of the group. If a person is fired or leaves the group, the coverage ceases to be in effect.

 

Conclusion

As we have seen, there are many life insurance policies. The main life insurance policies range from term, whole, universal, variable universal, survivorship to single-premium life insurance.

Ensuring that you have a life insurance policy will give your loved ones peace of mind in the event of your death.

Reaching out to professionals for expert advice on which life insurance policy will meet your needs is a wise decision to make. For more information, visit our life insurance options page or reach out to us at (904) 723-6300, and we will be glad to help.

Back to Blog

Related Articles

Roth vs Traditional IRA: Which is Better for Me?

IRAs (the abbreviation for individual retirement accounts) are a popular resource for millions of...

Secured vs Unsecured Credit Cards: Which One Should You Get?

  A credit card can help you increase your spending power and quality of life, make ends meet...

Types of Retirement Accounts: What Are Your Options?

For some people, retirement is one of those topics that are either too awkward or too frightening...