Do You Need Life Insurance

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Do You Need Life Insurance

It can be very difficult to decide if you need life insurance. Life insurance can be an extremely onerous financial commitment and investment, and it will also last for a considerable period of time, so you should take careful consideration in deciding if it is the best way of achieving the financial and other goals you and your loved ones may have.

Life Insurance Policy

Basically, a life insurance policy will cause a sum to be paid to the named beneficiary upon the death of the insured. This sum will generally be paid to the beneficiary, free of income tax. So in which instances is life insurance generally used above its alternatives? Well its primary function is to provide death benefit protection in a tax efficient way. For example, if you would like to transfer wealth from your estate to your beneficiaries you can do it through life insurance.

You should now that it may still be liable to federal estate taxes. It can also be used to ensure the continuation or protection of a business and to provide financial benefits to your partners or employees who may otherwise be at risk financially. It may also be used to support your family or other dependents that rely on your income during life. It can replace this income and support them in your place for a period. It can also be used to supplement retirement income in various instances when other contributions are not possible.

Be Aware

You can access the money in your policy unless it is a Modified Endowment Contract. What’s more, it will be federal income tax free so long as you make the withdrawal by borrowing against the policy and do not exceed what you have paid into the policy. Withdrawals from an MEC are subject to federal income tax on the gains they have made. There is an additional 10% tax in certain situations.

You should be aware that all withdrawals and loans against a permanent life insurance policy would reduce the policy’s value and the amount of any pay out upon death of the insured. There may also be various fees and penalties associated with accessing the money early so you should be aware of these and if they are very onerous, you may wish to look for an alternative source of funds so that you don’t have to fall prey to these. Also, if your policy is invested on your behalf, the amount available for withdrawal or loans may be less or more than what you have paid in, depending on how your investments perform.

Criticism of Insurance

Insurance policies work by taking premiums from customers in exchange for baring the risk of certain costly events occurring. For example, if there is one fire in your town each month, everyone could just sit tight and hope their house doesn’t burn down next, or could pitch in and pay an insurance premium each month and this is then used to rebuild the house that burns down. Very simply this is how insurance works. It is a method of spreading a risk over a far wider area, so that it will not be as devastating as if it was concentrated solely on the person who experiences the loss.

Exclusion Clauses

There are a few problems with this however and they attract much criticism. One criticism is that by taking on the risk for people, insurance makes people take greater risks than they otherwise would. For example, if you know your home contents are insured against burglary, then you may not be as careful about locking the doors and windows every time you leave the house. Or if your bike is insured, you may not bother to lock it as much as if it wasn’t insured. In the insurance industry, this problem is known as the moral hazard.

Insurance companies protect themselves against this by inserting exclusion clauses into their contracts, which remove their obligation to pay out if the insured performs or fails to perform certain stated actions. They might for instance require that you fit smoke detectors, or use good locks on your doors, or other things that will reduce the risk of the insured against event occurring.

Too Complex

There are also certain risks that you are not allowed to insure against in most countries. This is first of all because it would be too difficult for the insurance companies to quantify, but mostly it’s because they are risks that governments want the person at risk to bare himself or herself. They generally apply to multinational companies.

There is also the criticism that insurance policies are far too complex for the vast majority of consumers to underst and. It is simply unreasonable to expect the customer to underst and lengthy documents that have been drafted by not one, but usually teams of specialised lawyers. This can lead to consumers being misled or buying insurance policies on unfavourable terms. To get around this, most countries regulate the content of insurance contracts to ensure that they remain fair to consumers.

There is also the option of using the services of an insurance broker to shop the market for you.