Your life insurance needs will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your family, the nature of your financial obligations, your career stage, and your goals. For example, when you're young, you may not have a great need for life insurance. However, as you take on more responsibilities and your family grows, your need for life insurance increases.
Here are some questions that can help you start thinking about the amount of life insurance you need:
Use the Life Insurance Needs Calculator to estimate the amount of life insurance protection you should have in place.
The two basic types of life insurance are term life and permanent (cash value) life. Term policies provide life insurance protection for a specific period of time. If you die during the coverage period, your beneficiary receives the policy's death benefit. If you live to the end of the term, the policy simply terminates, unless it automatically renews for a new period. Term policies are typically available for periods of 1 to 30 years and may, in some cases, be renewed until you reach age 95. With guaranteed level term insurance, a popular type, both the premium and the amount of coverage remain level for a specific period of time.
Permanent insurance policies offer protection for your entire life, regardless of your health, provided you pay the premium to keep the policy in force. As you pay your premiums, a portion of each payment is placed in the cash-value account. During the early years of the policy, the cash-value contribution is a large portion of each premium payment. As you get older, and the true cost of your insurance increases, the portion of your premium payment devoted to the cash value decreases. The cash value continues to grow--tax deferred--as long as the policy is in force. You can borrow against the cash value, but unpaid policy loans will reduce the death benefit that your beneficiary will receive. If you surrender the policy before you die (i.e., cancel your coverage), you'll be entitled to receive the cash value, minus any loans and surrender charges.
Many different types of cash-value life insurance are available, including:
With so many types of life insurance available, you're sure to find a policy that meets your needs and your budget.
When you purchase life insurance, you must name a primary beneficiary to receive the proceeds of your insurance policy. Your beneficiary may be a person, corporation, or other legal entity. You may name multiple beneficiaries and specify what percentage of the net death benefit each is to receive. If you name your minor child as a beneficiary, you should also designate an adult as the child's guardian in your will.
Before deciding whether to buy term or permanent life insurance, consider the policy cost and potential savings that may be available. Also keep in mind that your insurance needs will likely change as your family, job, health, and financial picture change, so you'll want to build some flexibility into the decision-making process. In any case, here are some common reasons for buying life insurance and which type of insurance may best fit the need.
Mortgage or long-term debt: For most people, the home is one of the most valuable assets and also the source of the largest debt. An untimely death may remove a primary source of income used to pay the mortgage. Term insurance can replace the lost income by providing life insurance for the length of the mortgage. If you die before the mortgage is paid off, the term life insurance pays your beneficiary an amount sufficient to pay the outstanding mortgage balance owed.
Family protection: Your income not only pays for day-to-day expenses, but also provides a source for future costs such as college education expenses and retirement income. Term life insurance of 20 years or longer can take care of immediate cash needs as well as provide income for your survivor's future needs. Another alternative is cash value life insurance, such as universal life or variable life insurance. The cash value accumulation of these policies can be used to fund future income needs for college or retirement, even if you don't die.
Small business needs: Small business owners need life insurance to protect their business interest. As a business owner, you need to consider what happens to your business should you die unexpectedly. Life insurance can provide cash needed to buy a deceased partner's or shareholder's interest from his or her estate. Life insurance can also be used to compensate for the unexpected death of a key employee.
Once you purchase a life insurance policy, make sure to periodically review your coverage; over time your needs will change. An insurance agent or financial professional can help you with your review.
Life insurance is not guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency; they are not deposits of, nor are they guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank or savings association.
A note about variable life and variable universal life insurance Variable life and variable universal life insurance policies are offered by prospectus, which you can obtain from your financial professional or the insurance company. The prospectus contains detailed information about investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. You should read the prospectus and consider this information carefully before purchasing a variable life or variable universal life insurance policy.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates. VyStar Credit Union and VyStar Investment Services are not registered broker/dealers and are not affiliated with LPL Financial. The investment products sold through LPL Financial are not insured VyStar Credit Union deposits and are not NCUA-insured. These products are not obligations of VyStar Credit Union and are not endorsed, recommended or guaranteed by VyStar Credit Union or any government agency. The value of the investment may fluctuate, the return on the investment is not guaranteed and loss of principal is possible.
This LPL Financial Registered Representatives associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY . The services offered within this site are available through our U.S. Investment Representatives, LPL Financials U.S. Investment Representatives may only conduct business with residents of the states for which they are properly registered. Please note that not all investments and services mentioned are available on every state.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax planning or legal advice. We suggest that you consult with a qualified tax or legal advisor. LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.
Copyright 2006-2016 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.