What is Life insurance?
Life insurance is a contract between an insurance policyholder and an insurer, where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money (the "benefits") upon the death of the insured person. Some policies provide for an accelerated death benefit covering terminal illness, critical illness, or long-term care illness (chronic illness). The policyholder typically pays a premium, either regularly or as a lump sum.
The advantage for the policy owner is "peace of mind", in knowing that the death of the insured person will not result in financial hardship for loved ones and lenders. It is important to periodically review policies for premium rates and terms of contract to see that your current needs are met.
The death benefit can be used to:
- Cover final expenses, such as funeral costs, taxes or debts
- Replace financial orother support that the insured person contributed
- Provide an inheritance or fund a foundation, endowment or charitable gift
Life-based contracts tend to fall into two major categories:
Protection policies – designed to provide a benefit in the event of specified event, typically a lump sum payment. A common form of this design is term insurance.
Investment policies – where the main objective is to facilitate the growth of capital by regular or single premiums. Common forms (in the US) are whole life, universal life and variable life policies.