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Life Insurance

Take care of what matters most.

Your family is unique — your life insurance should be, too.

What is Life Insurance?

A life insurance policy is a contract with an insurance company. In exchange for regular premiums you pay over time, life insurance pays out after your death to the people you designate as beneficiaries — usually children, a spouse or other family members. It’s an important safety net if anyone depends on you financially. The life insurance payout can pay debts such as a mortgage, replace your income and provide college tuition funds.

Types of Life Insurance

  • Term life insurance covers a limited time period, such as 10, 20 or 30 years, and does not build cash value. If you die within the term, your beneficiaries receive the payout.
  • Permanent life insurance costs more than term but offers additional features like cash value that you can borrow against and grows over time. Whole life is the best-known form of permanent life insurance. Other types include universal, variable and variable universal.



term life

whole life

Universal Life

Choices in policy length

Builds cash value

Premium payments may be flexible

Death benefit amount may be flexible

Most affordable way to buy life insurance

Cash value usually can be linked to investments

*Details regarding premium flexibility and death benefit flexibility vary for universal life policies.

Who needs Life Insurance?

NerdWallet recommends life insurance for anyone who has loved ones who depend on them financially. This includes parents, homeowners with a mortgage, business owners and others.

For many people the best option is term life insurance, which lasts for a limited time. Others may need permanent insurance, which does not expire as long as premiums are paid.

How Life Insurance can help

Best Option


Life insurance can help replace your lost income so your family can continue to pay for everyday expenses.

Term life insurance can cover your working years.

Stay-at-Home Parent

Life insurance would cover the cost of paying for services the parent does for free, such as child care.

Term life can cover the years your kids are young.

Divorced parent

A policy could cover the support payments that a divorced parent makes.

Term life can cover the years of support payments.

Homeowners with a mortgage

A policy can cover mortgage payments, so your family doesn’t have to move.

Term life insurance can match the years of a mortgage.

Someone with co-signed debt (such as student loans or credit cards)

Life insurance could cover the cost of the debt.

Term life can be timed to end with the debt payments.

High net worth individual

Life insurance can provide funds for heirs to pay estate or inheritance taxes.

Permanent life insurance is best for those with estate tax concerns.

Someone who wants to provide an inheritance

If you don't have a lot of wealth, life insurance can provide a small inheritance to heirs.

Permanent life insurance will pay money for the inheritance, no matter when you die.

Business owner

Life insurance can pay off business debts, help heirs to the business pay off estate taxes, or fund a buy-sell agreement that allows a business partner to buy out your share.

Term life or permanent life, depending on the issue to be solved.

Investor who has maxed out other retirement plans

Life insurance with a cash value component can provide a supplemental source of retirement savings.

Permanent life insurance, which builds cash value that you can access.

People concerned about paying for their own funerals

Small life insurance policies can pay for your funeral and final expenses.

Permanent life, such as final expense insurance.

Parent of a special-needs child

Life insurance can make sure the child will have financial support after a parent dies.

Permanent life insurance provides a payout no matter when you die.

Term life is sufficient for most families. It costs less than whole life, and you can choose a term that matches the years when people depend on you financially. By the time the term ends, you may no longer need life insurance: Your house will be paid down, your kids will be grown, and you’ll have some money in the bank.

However, whole life insurance and other forms of permanent coverage can be useful in some situations.

Choose term life if you:

  • Only need life insurance to replace your income over a certain period, such as the years you’re raising children or paying off your mortgage.
  • Want the most affordable coverage.
  • Think you might want permanent life insurance but can’t afford it. Most term life policies are convertible to permanent coverage. The deadline for conversion varies by policy.

Choose whole life if you:

  • Want to provide money for your heirs to pay estate taxes. In 2020, estates worth more than $11.58 million per individual or $23.16 million per couple are subject to federal estate taxes. State estate taxes vary. Here’s a map of state estate and inheritance taxes from the Tax Foundation.
  • Have heirs who might be forced to sell off parts of your estate to pay the tax bill without an insurance payout.​​​​
  • Have a lifelong dependent, such as a child with special needs. Life insurance can fund a special needs trust to provide care for your child after you’re gone. Consult with an attorney and financial advisor if you want to set up a trust.
  • Want to spend your retirement savings and still leave an inheritance or money for final expenses, such as funeral costs.
  • Want to equalize inheritances. If you plan to leave a business or property to one child, whole life insurance could compensate your other children.

Want to learn more about Life Insurance?

Speak with an Agent now!

How to buy Life Insurance

Life insurance isn’t a purchase you make often, so you may not know where to start or how to get life insurance quotes. Here’s how to get the coverage you need.

  • Determine how much life insurance you need
  • Evaluate life insurance companies
  • Gather info you need
  • Compare life insurance quotes
  • If you can, apply when you’re healthy

When you apply for life insurance, you’ll need to have a few documents on hand. You’ll likely need to provide information about your current and past health conditions and your family health history. The insurer may need your consent to get medical records and ask you to take a life insurance medical exam. Insurers also check other data sources to determine term life insurance quotes, such as MIB Group, which collects data on medical conditions, your driving record and hazardous hobbies.

You’ll need to choose beneficiaries, who will receive the payout when you die. Be sure you have their Social Security numbers and dates of birth.

You also may have to answer questions about criminal convictions and driving violations such as a suspended driver’s license or DUI, particularly if they happened within the past few years.

Want to learn more about Life Insurance?

Speak with an Agent now!

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