Life Insurance

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72% of Americans overestimate the cost of life insurance by an average of 3x the actual cost!

Based on the 2019 Insurance Barometer study by LIMRA


Answers to Your Life Insurance Questions

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a contract between an insurance company and the insurance policy owner. The insurance company pays a cash amount (called the coverage amount or death benefit) to the beneficiary(s) named in the policy upon the death of the insured person named in the policy.

A few reasons people buy life insurance are to provide financial security for their family, fund business continuation and pay estate taxes.

The two main types of life insurance policies are term life insurance and permanent life insurance.

How do I determine the amount of life insurance I need?

Your coverage need depends on your individual circumstances. Factors you should consider include anticipated final expenses (e.g. medical bills and burial costs), living expenses for your surviving family members, any outstanding loans (e.g. auto and credit cards), the outstanding balance on your mortgage, anticipated education costs for your children, estate taxes, and business continuation expenses.

A simple way to achieve a “starting point” is to take a multiple of your annual income and adjust for the factors listed above. We recommend ten times your annual income to start. Keep in mind that your needs will most likely change over time and what seems like enough today may not be adequate in ten years. It is usually best to purchase an amount you can afford while at the same time considering future needs.

Most insurance companies allow a certain multiple of your annual income based on your age and are usually flexible if you can demonstrate other needs. The amount you choose is up to you for the most part; however, you will need to justify amounts over and above a company’s income multiple guidelines.

Take a look at our Life Insurance Needs Calculator for help determining how much coverage you need.

What are the different rating classes and what do they mean?

The rating class is the risk category which you qualify for through underwriting. The underwriter will take your information and compare it with the company’s guidelines. This comparison allows the underwriter to place you in a group of people with similar risk characteristics.

Common rating classes are Preferred Plus (also called Super Preferred), Preferred, Standard Plus, Standard and Substandard. The rating class determines how much you will pay for your policy, with the least expensive being the Preferred classes and the most expensive being the Substandard classes.

How do I apply for life insurance?

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