There are lots of frequently asked questions about life insurance we hear almost every day. Some are easy to answer, some require brief explanation, and others need much more in depth discussion to clear up. On this page, we’ll attempt to catalog the questions we receive in a single, sorted life insurance FAQ.
If you have any additional questions you can’t find an answer to, or have an excellent resource you think we should link to, please contact us. You can also read our blog for all other articles on hundreds of topics.
Our Life Insurance FAQ: The Most Common Questions (and their answers)
What is life insurance, exactly?
- Life insurance is a contract where the insurance company agrees to pay a lump sum (or installments) upon a persons death, given they meet the requirements of the carrier and pay the agreed upon premiums until death. Once a contact is in force, meaning underway, the insurance company owns the obligation to pay for as long as the person keeps the policy, or until it matures.
What is my life expectancy?
- Your life expectancy is the approximate age you might expect to live, based on current age, gender, health and tobacco use. It is a statistical analysis, and based on massive quantities of data. The age given, known as your life expectancy, is really the age at which half of all people meeting your same exact demographic will still be living, and the other half have passed, regardless of the cause or nature of death.
Who lives longer, men or women?
- On the whole, women live 4-7 years longer than men, although it varies in different nations around the world.
What occupations are considered risky?
- Every career has different attributes. Some are physically laborious, others are mentally draining. For some, there are actual risks where a worker could, in some way, lose their life while performing basic duties on the job. It could be someone working in the police force who is killed in action, to an underwater researcher who is involved with a scuba related accident.
Which is better, term or whole life?
- There will probably be a debate on whether term or whole is best, but the real facts are they both term life and whole life serve distinct purposes. Most people end up falling into the term product category because it’s cheaper per thousand, and is simple to understand. But, because it automatically terminates itself after a defined period, permanent coverage is found in whole life and universal life choices.
What is Universal Life?
- Universal life insurance policies operate like whole life in the sense they are long term contracts, but tend to be less per thousand and offer flexibility like term policies. Universal life has become a very dynamic product type in the past few years, giving life to variable products, indexed products, and more hybrid types as well. These types of coverage offer vast possibilities to solve insurance needs, but lend themselves to demographics who require permanent coverage.
Do I really need to go through a blood test? Eek!
- If you’re one of the many, many people who are curious about the life insurance blood test requirement, understand it is for your benefit to go through with one. The only way to access the cheapest premiums are by going through the medical exam. If, however, you are extremely opposed to the idea, you can get life insurance without a medical exam, but expect a slightly higher cost and a maximum death benefit availability.
I have no idea how much life insurance I need–where do I start?
- The most common reason Americans buy life insurance is to replace income to those who would require it if they weren’t around to supply it. It could be wives, children, business partners, or others. In addition, it’s purchased for covering the cost of burial, passing on lump sums for charity or legacy, and many, many other fashions. Click here for more.
At what age can a person no longer buy life insurance?
- A frequent question we get involves the different life insurance rates by age, by gender, and by type. At 14 days old, a parent can buy life insurance on their child, and seniors can buy life insurance up to age 85 with a vast majority of carriers, depending on the type and amount being sought; we have heard of annually renewable terms up to 90, but don’t offer them. With the youngest and oldest, a suitable reason for the benefit and proper health requirements are essential.
Can I buy life insurance on someone else?
- Like a parent can buy a policy on their child, or a business partner buying a policy on the other, it is definitely okay to buy life insurance on someone else. However, several key items have to be in order first. The person must know about it and sign off (if they’re of legal age), the person must have an insurable interest to you, and the person must still pass all requirements to be insured.
My job offers an insurance package. Should I take it?
- Everyone probably needs some amount of insurance. If you have the capacity to get a policy through work and it’s extremely affordable and portable, go for it. With that said, you may run into a few hurdles. Workplace policies can be restrictive, and even cost prohibitive in many industries. Buying a private life insurance policy means you have the ability to keep your policy no matter where you work (portability), you can control the cost (shop your rates), and you can control both the type and size of the policy (benefits). Life insurance statistics published early in 2018 show a good portion of Americans still buy their policy through work, and it will likely continue for a long time, but there’s a preference to be able to buy online this time around. (Click here for previous year’s statistics: 2015, 2016, 2017)
What is a rider?
- Riders are basically additional benefits attached to a basic life insurance contract which usually come with an additional cost. Certain riders, like the accelerated death benefit rider, are becoming industry common and included without cost. Others, like a the waiver of premium, are additional premium and dependent on the applicant–you can be denied the rider. From terminal illness benefits to being able to buy more insurance without proving insurability, there are many, many riders available and they vary from company to company, policy to policy.
How do I choose a carrier?
- In other words, the best life insurance companies for healthy people in their thirties might be completely different than a person who is older and not in great health. In fact, it is not uncommon for spouses to have different carriers at times because it’s cheaper to do so. A responsible, independent agent will never try to guide anyone towards a certain carrier unless it is implicitly right for them based on as many factors as they can obtain.
Can’t I just bundle my life with a home and auto policy?
- Although it’s offered by most major companies who offer several lines of insurance, it’s rarely to your benefit. The fact is, insurance companies know once they have different types of insurance in place under one roof, they are significantly more likely to keep you as a client. What they don’t tell you is, you’re also paying a price for the convenience of having one bill to pay. You’ll pay more per thousand to bundle your life insurance; don’t do it.
What kind of insurance do I need to satisfy a loan agreement?
- There are several times in life you’ll need to have a life insurance policy in force in order to be accepted for a loan. This can be the case for a new homeowner, someone trying to get an SBA loan for their business, and many others. Most of the time, it’s perfectly acceptable to use a term life policy because the duration can match the loan terms while you pay the least premium.
Can I get a military discount?
- Life insurance does not come with the availability of a military discount. However, there are special programs for active service members or veterans to obtain coverage. While it may not be the most affordable, it does fit a few situations. Active duty can consider what’s called SGLI coverage, and veterans can get VGLI.
What can you do if you’ve lost a life insurance policy, or if you want to see if a family member had one?
- There are several ways you can track down an old life insurance policy if you think your loved one had purchased one prior to their death. You can seek your state insurance commissioner’s database, or website. You can search databases which are currently being created in order to track them. You can even hire a person to do the leg work for you, if you are so inclined.
What happens to someone when they die without life insurance?
- There are a few possibilities. First, dying without life insurance poses a few several risks: medical costs, loss of future income, and basic burial costs. Without a life insurance policy, you’ll be forced to accept debt (or payments) to afford the burial needs. The Social Security Administration only covers up to $250 for certain people, so if this isn’t enough, you may have to resort to other, less desirable options, like turning the body over to the State.