Life insurance is by far the most complicated type of insurance you can buy. Many life insurance plans combine financial protection against personal tragedy and lifelong investment returns into a single strategy. But whether you're trying to create peace of mind for the future of your family or preparing for retirement, you need to compare life insurance plans to make sure you have the right strategy for your situation. Here's a brief rundown of the pros and cons for the most common types of life insurance.
Compare Life Insurance Plans
- Whole Life Insurance: This is a permanent form of life insurance that protects your loved ones from financial hardship while accruing cash value toward your retirement savings or as a safety net in case of hardship. Premiums are set at the beginning of the plan and are generally much higher than in the case of term life insurance. This type of life insurance policy creates the strongest form of guaranteed and ongoing protection, albeit at higher premium costs and with an inferior return on investment.
- Universal Life Insurance: Universal life insurance is a relatively new type of life insurance that was devised to eliminate some of the common criticisms of whole life insuranceprimarily inflexible premiums and poor investment returns. You can buy universal life insurance with a large, one-time premium paid at the beginning of the policy, or you can make variable premium payments within a certain range. Beware, however, that interest rates will affect premiums and investment returns. Indeed, universal life insurance offers greater flexibility but also greater risk. It's also the most complicated life insurance policy, so you should go over the fine print of your policy before making any final decisions.
- Term Life Insurance: Term life insurance is the purest form of life insurance in the sense that it serves the sole function of protecting loved ones in the event of your death or serious injury or illness. These life insurance plans have a set term after which the policy expires. The best plans often establish a term length that coincides with a planned retirement age at which point financial protection is no longer needed. Shorter plans may also be purchased, but you should ask for a policy with an automatic renewal clause. Otherwise, if you become sick, you may not be allowed to extend your term life insurance policy because you've become too great a risk. Different term life insurance plans can establish premiums and benefits that are fixed or adjustable.
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment: This insurance offers additional coverage in the event of accidental death or certain other serious injuries including loss of limb or paralysis. Many people choose an accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy as a supplemental rider to low-cost life insurance. The suddenness of accidental death can create extra hardships for families and dependents, and these policies may create double indemnity coverage for these circumstances. Some employers offer this coverage as a perk, often for positions that require a great deal of travel.
Compare Life Insurance: Investment and Retirement Opportunities
Too many people get sucked into buying whole life insurance because of gimmicky cash value life insurance policies that do little more than combine term life insurance with retirement savings that produce a poor return on investment. Indeed, while over 70% of life insurance policies sold today are cash value policies, virtually every honest insurance expert will tell you these policies are a bad investment. By opting for term life insurance and putting the difference in premiums into your retirement portfolio, you'll come ahead in the long run. Financial guru Dave Ramsey even goes so far as to say "Cash value life insurance is one of the worst financial products available."
On the other hand, many people are immensely pleased with their whole life insurance as it has provided added peace of mind during their twilight years. And while it's hard to argue that permanent life insurance is a wise investment strategy, many people wouldn't have the discipline to keep up with a long-term investment plan without the structure of a permanent life insurance policy.
Compare Life Insurance Quotes Online
To compare life insurance is to shop for life insurance: Unless you already have extensive knowledge of various life insurance policies, you should consider several different plans. The fastest and most reliable way to compare life insurance plans is to get multiple quotes from an online referral service, like NetQuote. Not only will you be able to compare life insurance quotes from several different, reputable companies, but you'll be able to do so from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace so you can take however much time you need to feel confident about your decision.