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Common Life Insurance Questions and Answers
Shopping for life insurance can be frustrating, and you may have a lot of questions – not just about the specific policy you want to purchase, but how things will work once you own one.
LifeHappens.org is a non-profit organization that promotes life insurance awareness, and the company has a great life insurance calculator. Otherwise, see here for a detailed explanation of the factors to consider when purchasing coverage. The amount of life insurance your family needs is determined by your existing assets (e.g. checking/saving accounts, 401K/IRA/retirement accounts, pensions, social security, investment income, etc.) versus liabilities and cost of living (e.g. mortgage, car and student loan debts, medical expenses, credit card bills, education costs, etc.).
You may not be married or have children now, but you might someday, and purchasing your life insurance while you’re young and without health problems is more cost effective than waiting until you’re older. If you do eventually get married and have kids, your rates will be locked in by then and your “insurability” will be guaranteed, so you won’t have to worry about the costly premiums you’d have to pay if you purchased the policy in older age with worse health.
Be prepared to have your height, weight and blood pressure checked, as well as provide a urine and blood sample. Your insurance company will take into account your blood test results, age, gender, family health history, and the answers to any and all medical questions to decide what your premiums will be. If you have any questions regarding what criteria is looked at to decide what rate class you fall in, contact your insurance company.
Yes, you are allowed to have more than one policy. Many Americans get life insurance coverage as an employee benefit, but still need to purchase private coverage on their own.
You may decide to purchase both term and whole life insurance policies, or buy multiple term contracts as additional protection is warranted, such as when you decide to have more children. But if you apply for more protection than what you seem to need, your insurance company will want to know why.
Yes, but only if you have what insurance companies call an “insurable interest” in the other person. An “insurable interest” means that you have a vested interest in that individual’s well-being. This extends to spouses, domestic partners, or business partners.
Yes, the policyholder is allowed to pick whomever he/she wants as the beneficiary. Most policy owners pick a husband or wife, but you are also permitted to have more than one beneficiary. For example, a $500,000 term life policy may be split, with $250,000 going to your spouse and the rest equally divided among 2 surviving children.
If your employer offers life insurance as an employee benefit, you most likely will not have to take a medical exam. In general, employers providing group insurance policies will hold annual enrollments. If you are requesting to buy a large amount of coverage, you may be required to prove “insurability”. On the other hand, if you buy a “simplified issue” life insurance policy, you will have to answer some questions regarding your medical history, but you won’t be subjected to a full-on medical exam. To avoid the exam and questions altogether, you can get “guaranteed issue” life insurance. Unfortunately, your premiums will be significantly higher than a traditional term policy, compensating the insurance company for the added risk.