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Life Insurance is a contract between the policy owner and the insurance company where the insurance company agrees to pay a sum of money upon the death of the policy owner. The money is paid to a beneficiary that you designate in the policy. Keep in mind, the intent of life insurance is to help your beneficiaries maintain their standard of living after your death. Don't confuse life insurance win an investment; they are different. Texas law actually prohibits agents and brokers from marketing life insurance as an investment or retirement income source.
There are generally two types of life insurance: term life or cash value life. Some policies are a combination of both. Term life policies pay a stated sum to a beneficiary when the insured dies during the coverage period. Cash value life policies can provide a variety of features and benefits in addition to the death benefit of a term policy. Cash value life insurance policies have a savings element built into the policy that accumulates over the life of the policy. The insured usually has the option to withdraw, invest or borrow money against the value. As you may have guessed, term policies are normally cheaper than cash value life policies.
There is no definitive guidance on how much life insurance a person needs. This will depend on your financial position, the number of beneficiaries that need to be supported and the number of years they will need financial support. For example, if you have a high amount of debt and a young stay-at-home spouse that will need to support four children for 15 to 20 years you probably need more coverage than a fifty five year old near retirement individual whose spouse works and children are financially independent.
Life Insurance Policies are legal contracts. The terms and conditions of the policy describe the limitations of the insured events. Normally there are specific exclusions in the contract that limit the liability of the insurer. For example claims relating to suicide, fraud, war, riot and civil commotion are generally not covered. Be sure to talk with your agent about the terms of your proposed policy.
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