Life insurance is a very broad category of insurance that covers any number of products from annuities that pay dividends later in life to term insurance, a simpler policy that pays out a lump sum in the event of death. The reasons for purchasing a policy are as varied as people who purchase them.
Early in life ( after education as you start a career ) many people acquire debt, mortgage, car payments, paying off educational loans. As part of financial planning, buying insurance to cover your financial obligations in the event of your death can be a requirement ( of a mortgage for instance ) or just a measure to insure your debts are paid for your loved ones rather than leave a large mountain of debt for them to deal with, along with the loss.
Youth is also the preferred time to open an annuity, better described as an investment vehicle that pays back at a later date if the insured doesn’t collect. As opposed to “Term” life insurance which is just a fairly straight forward policy that states the amount paid in the event of death with as few circumstantial’ clauses as possible. For instance in the event of suicide most policies will not disburse benefits. In general avoid double indemnity’ clauses because they are calculated to profit the insurance company rather the the beneficiary.
As you get a bit older the cost of the term life goes up proportionally and if you haven’t already set up an annuity, you will probably want to look into other investment vehicles that are a bit more direct. At about mid forties, its a pretty straight forward term life with very specific benefits laid out. For the best rates from top carriers, you will need to get the dreaded physical. If you have a high risk career, known health risks ( smoking) or a preexisting condition, you will pay a higher premium for your problem, or in some cases be excluded entirely by a carrier.
What you need to determine is what you need as far as coverage, in most cases people working for a medium to large company will have some kind of policy provided by their workplace as part of their benefits package. Other sources of insurance are the values represented in their auto an homeowners packages, clubs and other associations also provide some insurance.
Spend some time totaling all the insurance you have and come up with a figure. If you have monthly budget information, calculate what it will cost for your family to go on for three years in your absence, if you have children approaching collage age, you might want to additionally add the cost of their education as well. This will give a rough idea of how much you will need to supplement your existing policies.
Once you have a rough figure, start on line by typing “term life insurance” and ask for quotes providing the information they request with in reason. Read the conditions of the policy they are offering carefully and bear in mind that independent’ agents get paid for their services. I recommend major carriers, while you may have to jump through a few medical hoops the odds on a given carrier going broke in any given year are pretty low. You can double check the carriers ratings on Standard and Poors for the financial health of the company in question. But generally the larger the provider the safer the policy.
Request quotes and evaluate the terms offered carefully, if one is way low on the cost of the policy, their almost always is a reason so read and if necessary ask questions. There are several bulletin boards that discuss insurance and other financial issues and in general you can get most of your questions answered by people who are fairly unbiased and knowledgeable.
As with any business transacted on the web, caution is the watch word. In my humble opinion, while you lose some of the personal relationship benefits of direct contact with an agent you make up for it in knowledge and a reduced cost for a given set of benefits.