Life insurance is simply that’an insurance policy on your life. You purchase a life insurance policy from a qualified provider, paying them a premium. The premium is either paid monthly or in a lump sum (usually annually or every six months). The insurance company then agrees to pay an agreed upon amount of money after the insured person dies. The amount of money paid from a life insurance policy goes to the policy’s designated beneficiaries in a lump sum payment. If no beneficiaries are designated, then the payment is made to the estate of the deceased.
There are two kinds of life insurance policies: Term insurance policies, also called protection policies. Term insurance is temporary, for a set term of years, providing your family with coverage for a specific number of years for a set premium (although premiums typically go up as you get older).
Term policies have no cash value. Basically, you buy protection in the event of death and nothing else.
Investment policies: these are commonly called permanent life insurance. The objective with permanent life insurance policies is to grow capital with the payment of either regular or single premiums. Permanent life insurance is also known as whole life insurance. This type of life insurance provides life time coverage as long as the policy premiums are paid. The premiums are fixed, and unlike term insurance, there is guaranteed cash value. The insured can access this cash for emergencies, retirement or other expenses.
The type of coverage you buy generally depends on the goals you want life insurance to accomplish. Many people find that term coverage suits their needs, if they just want to make sure that their bills are paid and that their heirs receive some cash after their deaths. Other people want a reliable source of cash accumulating year after year as they pay their premiums. You can speak with qualified life insurance agent to determine which kind of policy is best for you.
Life insurance policies usually cover death, although they may also cover dismemberment or serious illness, and give extra benefits in the event of accidental death, depending on the policy purchases. Proof of death or injury is always required before payment, regardless of the type of coverage. Remember, to get your coverage, you will have to get a physical examination from a company-approved doctor to give the company an accurate picture of your medical history. And even after you pass your physical, the coverage does not start before premiums are paid. Once premiums are paid, the policy is activated.
A qualified life insurance provider can give you the answers to all your questions. Let them help you customize your life insurance coverage to meet the needs of your family.
Tom Martens is the content syndication coordinator at Lifeinsurance-Southafrica.co.za South Arica?s leading Life Insurance and Life Cover portal.
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