The Importance of Life Insurance for Parentsby Candace Alnaji
Life insurance is one of those things that many people don’t like to talk about. Like funeral expenses, prenuptial agreements, and retirement savings, it is a topic usually broached with care and hesitation.
Not only with significant others, but with friends as well.
I remember the first time the subject of life insurance came up with a good friend. We were having lunch, both of us new mothers at the time, and she mentioned that she and her husband had updated their life insurance policies to include their son. There were no awkward pauses or hesitations. It was just like she was talking about the birthday party they attended that weekend. In turn, I shared similar arrangements my husband and I had made.
That is exactly how talking about life insurance should be. No one likes to imagine the worst-case scenario, but adult life requires planning for the unexpected. In fact, if life had a motto, it would most certainly be: “Expect the unexpected.”
That’s where life insurance comes in.
If you are unfamiliar, life insurance is a contract for benefits between you and an insurance company. Much like other types of insurance like auto or home, the benefits you receive through life insurance are earned through premium payments you make to the insurance company.
In general, there are two main types of life insurance—term life and permanent. Term life covers you for a fixed amount of time while permanent life insurance covers you until the end of your life.
For example, if you buy into a thirty-year life term life insurance policy, you will only receive benefits from the policy if you die within the thirty-year period. If you die outside that timeframe, no benefits from the policy are received.
According to NerdWallet, term life insurance is generally cheaper to purchase than permanent life. However, permanent life policies accrue value over time and do not expire provided you have paid your premiums. And, as previously mentioned, term life policies have no value if you outlive the contract.
Permanent life insurance is also known as “whole life” insurance because, unlike term life insurance, a permanent life plan will cover the full duration of your life.
A life insurance policy can cover important financial obligations upon your death, including, among other things:
- Replacing some or all your income for a time;
- Paying off your mortgage or other debt;
- Paying for funeral and other final expenses;
- Covering the costs of your kids’ college education;
- Paying state and federal “death taxes;”
- Establishing an inheritance or savings for your heirs.
While it is important for families to have a life insurance plan in place, it is not only a concern for families. Since every death comes with accompanying expenses, anyone who wants to ensure their death does not cause a financial burden to their surviving family or beneficiaries should invest in a life insurance plan.
Regardless of which type of plan you choose, investing in a life insurance plan can provide an important safety net for those who survive you.
If you need help finding the life insurance plan that is right for you, working with a qualified life insurance agent can help. You may want to price options with several different insurance companies especially since coverage and rates will vary based on your age, health history, and other factors.
Additionally, there are other forms of life insurance you may choose to look into such as universal, variable, joint life, accidental death, group life, mortgage life, and others. While less common than term and permanent life policies, these types of life insurance plans provide unique benefits and payment structures that may be right for you.
While talking about life insurance is not as fun as talking about your vacation plans, it should not be something you dread, and it shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable.
As modern parents, we break down stigmas every day—related to the workforce, mental health, traditional gender roles, and more. This is no different. We can make talking about life insurance as easy as chatting about the weather—and we can keep our families more secure to boot.