The term life insurance means different things to different people, John Ritenour explains, citing the various factors a policyholder has to weigh to decide whether or not to purchase a policy. In its simplest form, life insurance is a policy whose proceeds can be paid out to beneficiaries when the policyholder dies. The life insurance policy death benefit is commonly measured in dollars, minutes, or years, depending on the policy’s design. For example, an insurance policy for a 65-year-old man with a $500,000 death benefit would pay out $625,000 to a beneficiary when the policyholder dies.
“Life insurance is an investment for retirement,” John Ritenour says. “It’s the best way to provide some certainty about what your assets are and what your future income will be.” Life insurance does not ensure death and is not a long-term savings tool. It is the vehicle to fund today’s retirement. Some critical factors for successful and long-term policy purchases include:
- A thorough discussion of the purchaser’s future needs, financial status, and level of wealth. “Some people would rather die rich and have money than live poor and have little money,” John Ritenour says.
- An insurance professional who provides the utmost clarity on the policy details and the potential risks and benefits.
The insurance company is typically in charge of determining the amount of life insurance policy benefit that is payable. A basic policy consists of death benefit coverage, cash value coverage, and/or guaranteed interest. The insured must buy additional policies to obtain more of these benefits. If the policy is invalidated, the insurance company can deny payments to beneficiaries. Death benefit coverage and cash value coverage are the largest components of basic policies, although cash value policies are becoming more common.
While the coverage provided by a basic policy differs slightly from policy to policy, they’re very similar in terms of what they protect. All policies provide death benefit coverage, cash value coverage, and/or guaranteed interest. Life insurance is a financial product. A life insurance policy must be purchased through an insurance company like you purchase a bank loan. Insurance companies work differently.