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Individual & Group Life Insurance

When you buy life insurance, you want a policy which fits your needs without costing too much. Your first step is to decide how much you need, how much you can afford to pay and the kind of policy you want.

All life insurance policies agree to pay an amount of money if you die, BUT all policies are not the same. There are two basic kinds of life insurance:

1. Term Insurance

Term Insurance is death protection for a “term” of one or more years. Death benefits will be paid only if you die within that term of years. Term insurance generally provides the largest immediate death protection for your premium dollar.

Some term insurance policies are “renewable” for one or more additional terms even if your health has changed. Each time you renew the policy for a new term, premiums will be higher. You should check the premiums at older ages and the length of time the policy can be continued.

Some term insurance policies are also “convertible.” This means that before the end of the conversion period, you may trade the term policy for a whole life policy, even if you are not in good health. Premiums for the new policy will be higher than you have been paying for the term insurance.

2. Whole Life Insurance

Whole Life Insurance gives death protection for as long as you live. The most common type is called “straight life” or “ordinary life” insurance, for which you pay the same premiums for as long as you live. These premiums can be several times higher than you would pay initially for the same amount of term insurance, but they are smaller than the premiums you would eventually pay if you were to keep renewing a term insurance policy until your later years.

Some whole life policies let you pay premiums for a shorter period such as 20 years, or until age 65. Premiums for these policies are higher than for ordinary life insurance since the premium payments are squeezed into a shorter period.

Although you pay higher premiums to begin with, for whole life insurance than for term insurance, whole life insurance policies develop “cash values” which you have if you stop paying premiums. A policy with cash values may also be used as collateral for a loan. If you borrow from the life insurance company, the rate of interest is shown in your policy. Any money which you owe on a policy loan would be deducted from the benefits if you were to die, or from the cash value if you were to stop paying premiums.

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