How to View Life Insurance As An Investment Tool

A lot of people have been approached about using life insurance as an investment tool. Do you believe that life insurance is an asset or a liability? I will discuss life insurance which I think is one of the best ways to protect your family. Do you buy term insurance or permanent insurance is the main question that people should consider?

Many people choose term insurance because it is the cheapest and provides the most coverage for a stated period of time such as 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. People are living longer so term insurance may not always be the best investment for everyone. If a person selects the 30 year term option they have the longest period of coverage but that would not be the best for a person in their 20’s because if a 25 year old selects the 30 year term policy then at age 55 the term would end. When the person who is 55 years old and is still in great health but still needs life insurance the cost of insurance for a 55 year old can get extremely expensive. Do you buy term and invest the difference? If you are a disciplined investor this could work for you but is it the best way to pass assets to your heirs tax free? If a person dies during the 30 year term period then the beneficiaries would get the face amount tax free. If your investments other than life insurance are passed to beneficiaries, in most cases, the investments will not pass tax free to the beneficiaries. Term insurance is considered temporary insurance and can be beneficial when a person is starting out life. Many term policies have a conversion to a permanent policy if the insured feels the need in the near future,

The next type of policy is whole life insurance. As the policy states it is good for your whole life usually until age 100. This type of policy is being phased out of many life insurance companies. The whole life insurance policy is called permanent life insurance because as long as the premiums are paid the insured will have life insurance until age 100. These policies are the highest priced life insurance policies but they have a guaranteed cash values. When the whole life policy accumulates over time it builds cash value that can be borrowed by the owner. The whole life policy can have substantial cash value after a period of 15 to 20 years and many investors have taken notice of this. After a period of time, (20 years usually), the life whole insurance policy can become paid up which means you now have insurance and don’t have to pay anymore and the cash value continues to build. This is a unique part of the whole life policy that other types of insurance cannot be designed to perform. Life insurance should not be sold because of the cash value accumulation but in periods of extreme monetary needs you don’t need to borrow from a third party because you can borrow from your life insurance policy in case of an emergency.

In the late 80’s and 90’s insurance companies sold products called universal life insurance policies which were supposed to provide life insurance for your whole life. The reality is that these types of insurance policies were poorly designed and many lapsed because as interest rates lowered the policies didn’t perform well and clients were forced to send additional premiums or the policy lapsed. The universal life policies were a hybrid of term insurance and whole life insurance policies. Some of those policies were tied to the stock market and were called variable universal life insurance policies. My thoughts are variable policies should only be purchased by investors who have a high risk tolerance. When the stock market goes down the policy owner can lose big and be forced to send in additional premiums to cover the losses or your policy would lapse or terminate.

The design of the universal life policy has had a major change for the better in the current years. Universal life policies are permanent policy which range in ages as high as age 120. Many life insurance providers now sell mainly term and universal life policies. Universal life policies now have a target premium which has a guarantee as long as the premiums are paid the policy will not lapse. The newest form of universal life insurance is the indexed universal life policy which has performance tied to the S&P Index, Russell Index and the Dow Jones. In a down market you usually have no gain but you have no losses to the policy either. If the market is up you can have a gain but it is limited. If the index market takes a 30% loss then you have what we call the floor which is 0 which means you have no loss but there is no gain. Some insurers will still give as much as 3% gain added to you policy even in a down market. If the market goes up 30% then you can share in the gain but you are capped so you may only get 6% of the gain and this will depend on the cap rate and the participation rate. The cap rate helps the insurer because they are taking a risk that if the market goes down the insured will not suffer and if the market goes up the insured can share in a percentage of the gains. Indexed universal life policies also have cash values which can be borrowed. The best way to look at the difference in cash values is to have your insurance agent show you illustrations so you can see what fits you investment profile. The index universal life policy has a design which is beneficial to the consumer and the insurer and can be a viable tool in your total investments.

How to Keep Your Life Insurance Policy From Lapsing, an Expert’s Advice

An all-too-common occurrence for life insurance policy holders is one in which someone purchased a life insurance policy several years ago, they have been paying premiums faithfully, and they unexpectedly receive a Lapse Notice. The Notice states, “… your premium is not enough to cover the policy expenses, please submit (a lot more) money to keep your valuable coverage.”

You’ll probably look to the insurer or agent for help. Here are some things you should consider to maintain your valuable coverage.

Often the policy owner thinks of life insurance the same way they think of auto insurance. They receive a premium notice, they pay the premium amount stated on the notice, and they believe they have met their requirement to secure the coverage. What they don’t realize is that with life insurance plans, such as universal life, indexed life, whole life and variable life, the premium is not the same as the cost.

Premium is what you pay to the insurance company. The policy fees are the cost of the coverage.

With these policies as the insured gets older the life insurance policy costs more. This is where the trouble usually happens. At some point in time, and often unbeknownst to the policy owner, the policy expenses exceed the premium being paid. This triggers a feature in the policy which allows the insurer to take money from the policy’s cash value, without having to notify the policy owner, to make-up any shortage of policy expenses. As this event occurs every month, the life insurance policy will be depleted of its cash value and move towards a lapse.

Before a life insurance policy lapse, the insurer is obligated to mail a lapse notice which allows the policy owner 31 days to pay enough premium to cover one month’s worth of expenses. The problem however, is that the expenses will typically have greatly exceeded the amount of premium the owner had been paying.

It’s common for the new premium to be three or four, or even more, times as much as they had been paying. This can put the cost of coverage out of their financial reach. The increase in premiums may not be justified, and a life insurance expert should evaluate the policy to determine if you’re being over-charged.

One thing you can do to make sure you aren’t caught off guard by increasing policy fees, and lose your valuable coverage, is to review your policy with an agent every year. In this meeting you should bring a recent Annual Statement for the policy and the agent should bring in-force illustrations. These are the tools that will best inform you of the policy’s expenses and where your premium amounts should be set for the year.

If you’ve received a lapse notice for your life insurance policy, here are a few things you can do:

1. Lower the death benefit to an affordable amount. The lower the death benefit the lower the premium will be.

2. Ask the insurer for the cost to keep the policy in-force to an age less than maturity. In other words, a universal life insurance policy, as one example, will stay in-force until the insured’s age 100. Fees are set based on this age assumption — 100. If you tell the insurer you only want the policy to stay in-force to age 86 (for example), the premium required will be less.

3. Ask the insurer if they offer a less expensive insurance product that you can exchange your policy for.

4. Get the assistance of a qualified agent to help you understand and make decisions about your policy.

5. Have a life insurance analyst review the policy, past payments and future payments to determine if you’re being over-charged for the coverage.

Why Get A Life Insurance Quote Today

Life insurance is something that many of us tend to postpone. After all it is for an eventuality that is not likely to happen today or the next day. This procrastination is what gets many people and their families into trouble. Get a life insurance quote without delay.

The importance of life insurance:

In the event of your untimely demise, your family still has to pay the bills, educate the kids and pay back all the liabilities ranging from short term credit card loans to mortgages. Getting Insurance quotes is the first step in ensuring your family’s financial security.

Even when people get life insurance, many of them don’t buy adequate cover or the right type of insurance products for their needs. Getting the right policy requires some study of the available products in the market and then picking the right policies to meet your financial security goals. Getting a life insurance quote is the best way to start the analysis.

This gives you an idea about the types of products available to you and what they mean in terms of premium payments and benefits.

An overview of the options available:

There are two major categories of policies, the term insurance and whole life insurance. While term insurance has just an insurance component in most cases, whole life insurance has both insurance and savings components.

There are different types of term insurance policies. Each gives you an insurance cover for a certain number of years. Depending upon the policy, some of them give you the option to exit or renew the policy at fixed intervals.

These intervals could range from one to a number of years. Depending upon the type of risk cover they offer, the premium of these policies could increase or decrease as the years go by. Once the policy expires, all the benefits under these policies cease.

Whole life coverage on the other hand covers you for the rest of your life. These policies tend to be expensive when compared to term insurance due to two reasons. One, they involve higher risks and the risk increases with your age.

The second factor is the savings component, or cash value that they include. This cash value accrues throughout the policy period and is paid upon your death to your family.

The type of policy or policies that you should opt for depends upon your circumstances and goals. If you are confident that you will be able to pay all your debts and accumulate enough savings to support your family even after retirement, then term insurance may be enough.

If on the other hand you have dependents needing financial support throughout their lives, like children with special needs or suffering from disabilities, whole life plans could be the best for you. Most people usually have a mix of different types of insurance policies which gives them the optimal cover with minimal premium outflows.

Determining your life insurance requirements:

How much insurance cover is good enough? Again, the answer to this question depends upon your current expenditure, liabilities and anticipated future expenses and liabilities. Your life style and the kind of life that you would like to guarantee to your family also plays an important role. Here are the important factors to consider:

1. Your current monthly income and expenses and anticipated increases in the future. Your coverage should be able to generate funds that can be invested in safe assets to generate similar income levels.

2. The period that your family will need financial support. This could depend upon other earning members in the family and the likely earning members of the future.

3. Take into account your current liabilities like mortgages. Your family should be in a position to pay up the loans in case of your death.

4. Your anticipated future liabilities like the education expenses of your children.

Getting the optimal insurance cover:

The type of insurance and the options that are available to you depend on many factors. These include your age and the amount of premiums that you can afford to pay. Several other factors could also limit your choices to some extent.

The best way to arrive at the optimal mix of life insurance policies is to get a life insurance quote. Online life insurance quotes are the best because they allow you to input certain parameters and pull out the available policies for you from many different providers.

This helps you weigh your options and narrow your choices.

Whatever the method you use, don’t procrastinate. Start now by requesting a life insurance quote. Keep in mind two important things before you decide to buy any policy.

One is the reliability of the insurance company. Check out their ratings and customer service history. The second important thing is to read the terms and conditions very carefully. Life insurance is after all a long term commitment with critical implications. You certainly don’t want to go with the wrong company or pick up the wrong policy.