How does life insurance work?
Life insurance is a planning tool that provides financial protection for your dependents.
The asset provides a tax-free lump sum of money which is paid to your dependent after your death. Typically, life insurance is bought so that your dependents would be able to sustain payments for bills, college tuition or other after-life expenses.
Key components of life insurance policies are:
- Term: When buying life insurance you would choose how many years your policy will last. This will also depend on the type of life insurance that you purchase — permanent insurance has a term that will last your whole life for example.
- Death benefit: The face value for the life insurance policy. This is the amount of money that would be paid to the beneficiary if you passed away.
- Premiums: The monthly or annual payments that you give to the insurer to keep the life insurance policy in place. If you miss a payment or decide not to pay the life insurance policy would be canceled.
How to calculate your life insurance needs
Every individual has a different financial situation and therefore will require different life insurance needs.
When calculating your needs you should consider what the life insurance will be used for and why you may need life insurance in general.
If you are young and do not have any dependents then buying life insurance may not be a necessary purchase at this point in your life. On the other hand, if you are starting a family in which the financial livelihood of the family relies on your salary, then you may want to consider purchasing some life insurance coverage and calculate your future needs.
When beginning to calculate how much life insurance you need, you should start by adding up your current and future financial obligations. This can include obligations such as:
- Future salaries
- Mortgage balance
- College costs
- Funeral costs
After you have figured out your obligations, you can add up your current assets such as savings and college funds. Finally, by subtracting your current assets from the obligations you will arrive at a target amount for how much life insurance you will need. It is important to note that this is a rough estimate for coverage and it may be useful to purchase slightly more life insurance to compensate for unexpected financial situations that your dependents might face.
Types of life insurance
A term policy will last for a set period of time before expiring while permanent plans stay in effect for your entire life. Furthermore, some permanent life insurance policies will have a cash value component that will grow as you make premium payments.
Depending on your situation and what the purpose of your life insurance is, the type of life insurance that you need will change.
For example, if you are looking for a cheap policy to cover future financial obligations like college tuition, then choosing a term life insurance policy with a death benefit that matches the total tuition may be the best option. On the other hand, say you have Type 1 diabetes and have had problems with getting approved for life insurance. In this case, a permanent policy like guaranteed acceptance life insuranc may be a better option for coverage.
|Term life insurance||Permanent life insurance|
|Period of coverage||Specified term, usually one to 30 years||Lifelong|
|Average monthly premium||Cheap||Expensive|
Average cost of life insurance policies
The cost of your life insurance policy will be dependent on a variety of factors including your health, age, occupation and if you smoke. However, the largest determinant will be if you are a smoker.
Smokers will have an average cost of life insurance that is 306% higher when compared to a nonsmoker.
Find Cheap Life Insurance Quotes in Your Area
Average Cost of Life Insurance for Non-Smokers vs Smokers
Life insurance company reviews
When searching for the best cheap life insurance we would recommend getting life insurance quotes from as many insurers as possible. To aid you in this process we have provided detailed reviews of some of the best life insurance companies in the industry.
You will notice that many life insurance providers will have favorable underwriting requirements for certain individuals. For example, if you smoke you may find that Northwestern Mutual will have some of the best smoker life insurance rates available. Additionally, some insurers will specialize in certain products such as Mutual of Omaha which has one of the cheapest guaranteed whole life insurance products in the industry.
Life Insurance Research & Analysis
Guaranteed acceptance life insurance, is a type of whole life insurance policy with a limited death benefit. There's no medical exam and... Read More
It can be difficult to find cheap life insurance with pre-existing medical conditions, and a wide range of health problems can hurt your... Read More
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance, also called AD&D insurance, offers coverage for your family if you lose a limb or pass... Read More
Transamerica offers great options for term and final expense life insurance policies, particularly if you don’t have a perfect health... Read More
Lincoln Heritage’s Funeral Advantage program is a great option for final expense insurance if you’re healthy and able to qualify for their... Read More
Globe Life offers no medical exam term life insurance, whole life insurance, and accidental death insurance to cover end-of-life expenses.... Read More
Primerica offers term life insurance coverage at rates that are a bit higher than average, though the company has a great financial... Read More
ValuePenguin found that a person who themselves is in perfect health would pay premiums for term life insurance that are 41% higher on... Read More
Colonial Penn offers term, whole, and guaranteed acceptance life insurance policies that combine simplified underwriting with a limited... Read More