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Which life insurance policy is right for me?

Types of life insurance

Term Life Insurance

A term life insurance policy covers you for a set period of time, usually during your working years. Its primary purpose is to replace your loss of income and cover your dependents’ living expenses if you pass away during the period of time you are insured.  

Permanent Life Insurance

A permanent life insurance policy covers your whole life and will not expire. Because permanent policies cover the duration of your life, premiums are usually more expensive than for a term life policy, however, permanent life insurance policies accrue a cash value that you can borrow tax-free later. 

What's the difference between whole life and final expense insurance?

Both final expense and whole life insurance fall into the permanent life insurance category. This means that the benefits never expire and build a cash value. However, these policies differ in a few ways: 

  • Purpose – One of the primary reasons for a whole life policy is wealth transfer while final expense policies are meant to specifically cover end-of-life costs.
  • Death benefit – Whole life policies typically have a significant death benefit while the average final expense policy usually maxes out at around $20,000.
  • Premium cost – Since final expense insurance has a lower death benefit, its premiums are often less expensive than whole life policy premiums.
  • Medical exam requirement – Final expense policies do not require a medical exam, making them accessible to a wider range of people than whole life insurance. 
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Which life insurance policy is right for me?

Permanent vs. Term

The main difference between permanent and term life insurance is the duration of the coverage. If your primary reason for getting life insurance is to help cover the costs of those who rely on your income, term life insurance would likely be the right fit. However, if you want to ensure your beneficiaries receive a payout regardless of when you pass or if you would like your policy to grow in cash value, permanent life insurance might be a better fit.

What need does it serve?What does it typically cover?BenefitsWho needs it?Death BenefitPolicy Length/ TermPremiumCash ValueOptionsMedical Exam Required?
Term LifeIncome replacement during working yearsLost income and living expenses including: Mortgage payments, funeral and burial costs, school tuition, debtLower Costs with fixed term
More Coverage
Flexible Policy Length
Guaranteed Death Benefit
Fixed Premium
Fixed Premium
Wage-earners who have dependents that rely on their incomeGuaranteed10 to 30 YearsFixedNoneLevel Term
Renewable Term
Convertible Term
Credit Term
Decreasing Term
Group Term
Return of Premium Term
Adjustable Premium Term
Child Term Rider
Typically required
Final ExpensePayment for end-of-life expensesFuneral Costs, Hospital Bills, Outstanding Legal and Credit Card BillsGuaranteed Benefit
Permanent Policy
No Medical Exam
Fixed Premium
Those planning for end-of-life expensesGuaranteedFor LifeFixedAccruesSimplified Issue
Guaranteed Issue
Pre-Need Insurance
Not required
Short-Term LifeTemporary coverageLost income and living expensesConvenient
Gap Coverage
Affordable Premiums
Those who will have a gap in coverage or need more coverage over a short period of timeGuaranteed1 YearFixedNoneAnnual Renewable Term
Temporary Life
Not required
Universal LifeWealth transfer, income protection and tax-deferred wealth accumulationLost income, living expenses, debt, funeral costs, school tuitionPermanent Policy
Cash Value
Flexible Premiums
Tax Benefits
Those that want a flexible permanent planFlexible Flexible; generally for LifeFlexibleAccruesTraditional (Non-Guaranteed)
Indexed Universal
Variable Universal
No Lapse Guaranteed
Typically required
Whole LifeWealth transfer, preservation and tax-deferred wealth accumulationLost income, living expenses, debt, funeral costs, school tuitionPermanent Policy
Cash Value
Guaranteed Death Benefit
Fixed Premium
Tax Benefits
Those who want predictable premiums and benefitsGuaranteedFor LifeFixedAccruesIndexed Whole Life
Variable Whole Life
Limited Payment
Modified Whole Life
Single Premium
Joint Life Insurance
Child Life
Guaranteed Issue
Simplified Issue
Typically required
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