How will your family support themselves if you die? It is a question ignored or dodged by many, often until it’s too late. It is probably not at the top of your list of priorities if you have relocated to the US and enjoy your new way of life.
Life Insurance vs Life Assurance
Although both terms are used interchangeably, technically speaking, they don’t actually mean the same thing.
Life Insurance is a contract between you and a life insurance provider, who, in return for your premium payments, agrees to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money when you die.
Like life insurance, life assurance also pays out a tax-free sum to whoever you choose when you die. The key difference is that life insurance usually covers the policyholder for a specific term (often until 85), whereas life assurance usually covers the policyholder for their entire life.
Like other forms of widely available insurance, life insurance only has a fixed value in the event of a claim. Life assurance, however, mixes investment and insurance. It pays out either a guaranteed minimum or its investment valuation at the time it is redeemed. These contracts are designed to produce long-term, tax-efficient capital growth and have become an invaluable tool for inheritance planning, asset management, and tax optimization.
Whilst you are working hard to look after your life right now, it can be easy to forget about what happens when you die. Especially, if this occurs unexpectedly. Yet, with a little careful planning now, you can be confident of protecting both yourself and your loved ones along the way.
Life or Death
You are probably familiar with the term ‘life insurance’, however ‘death insurance’ perhaps describes this protection in more appropriate terms.
What is life insurance?
It is a contract between you and a provider in the form of a plan which you contribute to for a specific period of time. The provider then pays a designated beneficiary a sum of money when you die. Essentially this insures your loved ones against your death.
These plans take the form of a legal contract, and often have predetermined limitations and exclusions such as act of war, suicide or civil unrest to protect the provider. Certain providers will insist on a health check before the plan is signed.
What are the other options?
An alternative to traditional life insurance which is rising in popularity is Indexed Universal Life Insurance (IUL) cover. This is largely due to it being considered one of the most flexible types of life insurance available today.
It provides you with flexibility to meet your changing insurance needs by adjusting the amount of insurance coverage and premiums paid. IUL policies also offer the potential to build cash in your policy, on a tax deferred basis. This can be accessed during your life should unexpected emergencies arise, or be used to supplement your income through retirement.
As your needs change over time, your policy’s benefit can be adjusted to meet them. IUL provides the option to increase your death benefit within your policy, thereby eliminating the need for multiple policies. Additionally, as your needs shift towards accumulating assets for retirement, you may decrease your death benefit protection and direct your premiums more toward cash value build-up.
IUL offers two death benefit options:
Level Death Benefit: This is where the death benefit remains level throughout the contract.
Increasing Death Benefit: This option allows the death benefit to increase as the accumulated cash value increases. Should your needs change after you have selected a death benefit option, you may switch options.