There are many common misconceptions surrounding life insurance… That it’s too costly, not needed, not for non-breadwinners, or it’s too early to think about. However, these sweeping statements couldn’t be further from reality and believing them is likely to put you and your loved ones in a vulnerable position if unforeseen circumstances arise in the future.
However, by investing in life insurance, you can provide financial security to the people that matter the most in your life and provide peace of mind to you, knowing that they will be taken care of.
What is life insurance?
Life insurance is a type of insurance contract that pays out a lump sum to your dependants should you pass away during the term of the contract. The cost of a life insurance policy will depend on a number of different factors including your age, health and lifestyle.
How does life insurance work?
A typical life insurance policy is called ‘term insurance’ and it will pay your dependants a set amount of money as a lump sum if you pass away within a specified period. The amount paid out is called the ‘sum insured’ and the length of the policy is called the ‘term’. You choose the amount and the length of the term.
Ideally, the sum insured should typically be enough to cover the money you have left on your mortgage and some extra to help make your family’s life easier when you’re not around to take care of them anymore.
Level term life insurance policies pay out the same amount of money no matter when you pass away during the policy.
But, with decreasing life insurance policies, the payout will be less if you pass away towards the end of the policy, which may match your decreasing outstanding mortgage.
Should I get life insurance?
Investing in life insurance can benefit anyone as it provides financial security for your family, in a time that could be filled with uncertainty – if you hadn’t invested in life insurance.
Life insurance allows your family to continue to pay any financial commitments with ease. This could include household bills, mortgage repayments or even the weekly shop. Having a life insurance policy in place will allow your family to continue to live a normal life as possible in the event that you pass away, which can provide some comfort in what is already a distressing time for your loved ones.
Different types of life insurance
There are many different types of life insurance policies available which can make it difficult to decipher what one is the best for your needs and circumstances.
This type of cover will guarantee that your dependents receive a payment irrespective of when you pass away. Other types of cover will only pay out if you die before a specified date. Because whole of life policies are guaranteed to pay out at some point in the future, it will generally cost more than other types of cover. If you’re looking for cheaper life insurance, you may be better off considering term insurance.
Decreasing-term insurance (also known as mortgage life insurance)
An option for those buying term life insurance is to have the potential payout fall year after year. This is most commonly to reflect the fact that mortgage debts are likely to be falling as more gets paid off.
Term insurance or term assurance guarantees your family a payment if you die within a specific time period. People often take out life insurance as they want their dependants to be able to cover housing costs, in the event that the worst happens. Limiting the life insurance policy term in this way means that premiums will be lower than with whole-of-life cover. This type of cover can also be called level-term assurance or insurance if the payout would be the same, regardless of when the policyholder died during the term.
Alternatively, you may wish to have your potential payouts increase every year to reflect increasing inflation. With an index-linked policy you can choose to link your payout directly to an inflation measure such as Retail Prices Index (RPI) or Consumer Prices Index (CPI), or you can simply arrange for the extent of cover to rise by a fixed percentage every year.