There are two major types of life insurance: term life and permanent life insurance.
Term life insurance covers you for a specific period of time, which is often a year but can be much longer. A specified amount of insurance is provided during the term for a fixed rate. At the end of the term, the coverage ceases and the policy has no value. Buy this for its lower cost to match a need which has a specific time period – the term of a mortgage, for example.
Permanent life insurance protects you for your lifetime. It can build cash value and provide a death benefit. This can be used for wealth management, estate planning, tax-advantaged investments, and more. Types of permanent insurance include whole life or endowment, universal life, and variable universal life. Buy these when there is a bigger financial need – one beyond covering a need should you die.
Your life insurance should be considered part of your overall financial plan; the amount and type of insurance should match your exposure and risks.
See our buying checklist for some key questions to ask before you buy or renew your life insurance.
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