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Insurance

Life Insurance

At some point in your life, you'll probably be faced with the question of whether you need life insurance. Life insurance is a way to protect your loved ones financially after you die and your income stops. The answer to whether you need life insurance depends on your personal and financial circumstances.

Understanding Term vs. Cash Value Life Insurance

Term life insurance provides life insurance coverage for a specific time period (the term). It is often referred to as pure insurance. The face amount of the policy is paid if you die during the term of the policy. When you live longer than the term of the insurance coverage, nothing is paid, as there is no cash surrender value.

Cash value, or permanent, life insurance is life insurance that is designed to be kept until your death--whenever that may be. Part of your premium pays for the "pure" insurance coverage and expenses, and the balance is held by the insurance company in a cash value account. The type of permanent life insurance you buy (e.g., whole, universal, variable) will influence the pace at which the cash value portion of your policy grows. The interest and earnings grow tax deferred until you withdraw the funds, and may be part of the income-tax-free death benefit if you die. However, these policies may require a higher cash outlay than term life policies.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Most people associate long-term care with the elderly. But it applies to the ongoing care of individuals of all ages who can no longer independently perform basic activities of daily living (ADLs)--such as bathing, dressing, or eating--due to an illness, injury, or cognitive disorder.

Disability Income Insurance

People ordinarily buy property and casualty insurance to protect their possessions (houses, cars, and furniture) and life insurance to provide income for their survivors. However, many people don't think about protecting their income with disability income insurance. But how well could you live if you weren't able to work? Disability is an unpredictable event, and if you become disabled, your ability to make a living could be restricted. Although you may have enough money in the bank to meet your short-term needs, what would happen if you were unable to work for months or even years? The real value of disability income insurance lies in its ability to protect you over the long haul.

Health Insurance

Let's face it--in today's world, health insurance is a necessity. In fact, most U.S. citizens and legal residents must have qualifying health insurance or face a penalty tax. Yet the cost of medical care is soaring higher every year, and it's becoming increasingly difficult (and in some cases, impossible) to pay medical costs out of pocket. Whether you already have health insurance or want to get it, here's some basic information to help you understand it.