Life insurance comes in two types – temporary and permanent. Most people have some type of temporary insurance either as a term insurance policy, mortgage insurance, or group insurance policy (likely through work or an association plan like an automobile club).
The purpose of this insurance is usually for a short term or temporary need (to age 55 or 65) while the family is growing up and you are saving for retirement. It is to provide cash in the event of your death so those who depend on you will have the money to:
- Settle your debts – mortgages, loans (business & personal), replace the income you provided to the family.
- Provide for children’s education, marriage etc.
- Complete the funding for your spouse’s retirement plan – very important and why many need some term insurance to age 65.
- For businesses, it can be used to fund a buy/sell agreement or to provide insurance on a key employee to provide cash to find a new person, absorb the financial shock of the loss and have additional funds to pass on to the family.
You can see the temporary nature of this insurance. It has a specific relatively short term purpose which will no longer apply by at least age 65.
This insurance can be very inexpensive for the amount you are purchasing ($1 million can cost between $60 and $100 per month depending on age, sex and smoking habits) because most people will never collect it. It is purchased to cover you life when you are relatively young and the need is frequently gone by age 55 or age 65 for some of those concerned about saving for retirement.
It generally comes in 5, 10, 15, and 20 year terms. This means that the premiums are guaranteed for that period of time and they will automatically renew at a higher rate for the next term period.
For example, a 10 year term policy has guaranteed rates for the first ten years and then you can renew it for another ten years without a medical at a set rate contained in the policy.
Do not renew it if your health is good as the renewal rates can be 25% to 100% more than the premiums if you shop around for a new policy. The assumption is that you only renew if you are too sick to get a new policy.