Six in ten people—or as many as 132 million Americans—have a life insurance plan in place to safeguard their financial security. From covering final expenses to replacing lost income, these individuals understand that such policies can have a dramatic positive impact on their families’ lives during otherwise dark times. If you’d like to join them, make sure you ask your agent these essential questions while evaluating available life insurance products.
What is the company’s rating?
Whether your agent sells policies from one insurance company or multiple firms, it’s wise to read up on the organization before selecting a product. Your agent should be able to tell you how long the insurer has been in business, how large it is, and how well it’s doing financially. Standard and Poor’s, Weiss Ratings and A.M. Best Company all rate the fiscal strength of insurance companies.
How are you determining how much insurance I need?
How much money your family will need to pay off debts and maintain their lifestyle after you’re gone are the two major considerations that must be made when choosing the size of your life insurance policy. While all agents factor these figures into their calculations, the actual formula they use may vary. Understanding exactly how your need is determined is essential if you want a policy that will fit your family both now and in the future.
How much am I guaranteed?
If you’re purchasing a permanent life insurance policy—one which accumulates cash value on a tax-deferred basis—the guaranteed figure is more important than the projections the company makes on how much your family could wind up with when you’re gone. While fluctuations in the market may result in a larger payout, the guaranteed amount represents the minimum your heirs can expect.
How long do I need to wait to see returns?
This is another essential question if you’re purchasing a permanent life insurance policy. These are long-term savings vehicles, and it may be five to 10 years before yours begins to yield positive returns. If you were planning on borrowing against the growing cash value of your permanent policy in the very near future—say to fund your child’s college education or make other investments—you may be disappointed.
How will health changes affect my policy?
If you have a health risk—such as smoking, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes—when you have your medical evaluation, you’re life insurance premium is going to be higher as a result. However, some policies allow you to repeat the medical underwriting evaluation after a certain amount of time. If you are able to eliminate some or all of your previous health risks in the future, you may be able to reduce your premium significantly.
Does the death benefit adjust with inflation?
If your family has to cash in your policy within a few years, they may not lose much to inflation. However, if you pass away a decade or more from now, your current death benefit could be worth a lot less. Inflation increases approximately 3 percent each year, eroding life insurance policies over time. Unless, that is, you’re buying one that automatically adjusts to keep pace with those inflation increases over time.
Buying life insurance can be a confusing process. Fortunately, our agents have the expertise required to explain your options as simply as possible. Whether you’re ready to buy your first policy or have a few unanswered questions about your current insurance, we’re here to help.