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Life insurance helps provide peace of mind by giving you some financial protection for the life you’re building—and the most important people in it.  One of the biggest benefits is that it can provide income tax-free money to your beneficiaries when you die. Depending on the type of policy you get, you can enjoy other benefits, too.

There are 3 main factors to consider when choosing a life insurance policy:

  • Duration of your need. Term insurance is great if you need coverage for a limited length of time, say 10 or 20 years. However, if you need lifelong coverage, permanent insurance will meet your needs, and may offer the added benefit of accumulating cash value.

  • Cost. Term policies typically cost less than permanent policies. And with any type of life insurance, the cost of the coverage is based on your age, so the earlier you purchase, the lower your cost will be. Some term policies can be converted to permanent policies, if you’d like to change your coverage down the road.

  • Personal risk tolerance. This applies to policies that offer cash value. Different options for how cash value grows are available. These range from those policies that earn interest based on a fixed rate set by the insurance company to those that grow based on investment choices you make in separate accounts. Which type of policy you select should be based on the level of risk you're comfortable with.

Do I need a separate policy if I already have one through work?

Typically, yes. Your employer-provided life insurance policy (usually a term policy) offers a base level of financial protection, but isn’t designed to meet 100% of your needs.

If you switch jobs, you may lose your coverage—along with any benefits you may have accumulated. An individual life insurance policy stays with you. If your life changes, you’ll have the flexibility to change the amount of coverage you have and how much you pay.

Considerations

In exchange for the death benefit, life insurance products charge fees such as mortality and expense risk charges and surrender fees.

Withdrawals and policy loans may decrease the amount of death benefit and cash value. Surrender charges and other policy charges may apply to distributions taken from the policy. If the life insurance policy is a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), distributions may be subject to income taxes. Investing in variable universal life insurance involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

All guarantees and benefits of the insurance policy are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Policy guarantees and benefits are not backed by the broker/dealer and/or insurance agency selling the policy, nor by any of their affiliates, and none of them makes any representations or guarantees regarding the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

How term life insurance works

  • Lasts until a certain age or for a certain time period (anywhere from 1 to 30 years).

  • When the term is up, you can renew your policy or let it end.

 

Benefits

  • Can provide income tax-free money to your beneficiaries when you die. They can use it to help cover your final expenses, pay off a mortgage, or as additional income.

  • Tends to be less expensive than permanent insurance.

  • May be able to be converted to a permanent policy.

How permanent life insurance works

  • You can’t outlive coverage, as long as you pay your premiums.

  • Offers different policies, so you can customize your coverage to meet your needs. The four main types of policy options are:

    • Whole life: You pay a fixed premium (monthly or annual payment) and get a fixed death benefit (the amount of money provided when you die) for life. The policy also accumulates cash value, which you can use during your lifetime.

    • Universal life: Offers a flexible premium and death benefit. This means you can change the amount you pay (and the amount of coverage you have within limits) if you need to. Most of these types of policies accumulate cash value.

    • Indexed universal life: Provides many of the same benefits as a universal life policy, with one key difference—the way interest is credited to the cash value of the policy. Instead of being a fixed rate, the interest is based on stock market indexes. This means it potentially could accumulate more cash value over time.

    • Variable universal life: Combines the flexible premium and death benefit of universal life with the performance of investment accounts. Because these policies rely on investment performance, they may accumulate more or less cash value than standard whole life or universal life policies.*

 

*Before investing, carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the variable universal life policy as well as their investment options. This and other information is contained in the prospectus, which you should read carefully before investing. Prospectuses are available from your registered representative. variable universal life policies are subject to market risk. Your principal value may decline.​