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Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance charges a fixed monthly premium over the life of the policy, for a fixed death benefit should the policyholder die during the term. It is not meant to cover someone until they die but rather provides protection against sudden income loss or ongoing debt, like a mortgage, in increments of 5 to 10 years.
Usually, providers offer terms of 5, 10, 15, 20, or sometimes as much as 30 years. The “set it and forget it” system of fixed premiums and fixed death benefits make it ideal to budget with, providing an efficient safety net for a relatively small amount each month.
Term life insurance is not suited for those who seek more flexible financial bonuses with their life insurance policy. Generally, term life plans award only death benefits and do not accrue money or otherwise allow policyholders to take advantage of the policy’s cash value.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is different from term life in that it covers the policyholder for their entire life, pays out to a specified beneficiary when the policyholder dies, and accrues extra cash value over time.
Premiums for whole life plans are fixed, are based on the age of the applicant at the time the policy is opened, and are usually higher than term life premiums due to policyholder coverage for a longer period of time.
The advantages that come along with whole life insurance are well-suited to the needs someone may experience over a long life. A primary feature of whole life policies is the ability to benefit financially.
Many established providers pay dividends that are a nice yearly bonus based on performance, and policyholders can employ the cash value of their policy in several ways that help them deal with financial or medical needs that may arise.
Universal Life Insurance
While whole life insurance covers the policyholder for their entire life, universal life does the same but with different financial incentives. Whole life policies offer a level rate and steady cash value gain while universal life gives the ability to flexibly adjust the premium and death benefit balance, invest premiums along with the policy’s cash value, and save money in a variety of unique ways.
Premiums can be adjusted upwards to increase the death benefit at will, and can also exceed the minimum amount to add to the cash value of the policy in an intentional manner. If the premiums are covered every month, either through payment or by returns on smart investments, the policy stays in effect and keeps growing.
The biggest benefit comes by way of allowing policyholders to use this cash value. The uses may include borrowing funds with the policy as collateral, withdrawing cash, paying for medical treatment, specifically stipulating how death benefits are paid to beneficiaries, and the ability to pay ongoing premiums with returns.
This might be a particularly attractive strategy for younger people seeking out universal policies since they have usually not had a very long investing track record. Many universal life policies allow policyholders to invest their premiums and excess cash value as they see fit. Young couples without other investments are well-served by the ability to flexibly add to their premiums considering the prospect of earning higher returns.
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