Life is too precious, so much that it is difficult to put a price on it. Money surely can't bring our late loved ones back or buy us happiness and affection. But it can very well help us realize its significance for survival. A family's survival is risked if its sole earner dies unexpectedly. The demise of a loved one creates a void that is hard to fill but his/her absence must not disrupt the financial future of the family. As it is, the grief of losing a member is a lot to deal with; at least money woes should not be reason behind worries and miseries. It is therefore, essential to realize the value of your life and sign up for life insurance, which is a protection against financial loss resulting from insured's death. In legal terms, life insurance is a contract between a policy owner and insurer, wherein the latter agrees to reimburse the occurrence of the insured individual's death or other event such as terminal illness or critical illness. The insured agrees to pay the cost in terms of insurance premium for the service.
What Life Insurance Offers?
Life insurance offers you risk coverage and takes care of monetary needs of your family after your death. Besides providing coverage against all sorts of risks, it gives you an opportunity to grow your investments. It could also be viewed as a long-term investment tool that helps you to save for your child's future expenses or your post retirement expenses.
Depending on the diversified needs of every individual, various insurance plans are available in the market. Such customized plans are made in such a way that they suit the likes of majority of customers.
Following are the different forms of life insurance plans:
There are various types of life insurance policies available to aid you in meeting needs of various life stages.
1. Term life insurance: You get coverage for a tenure that you specifically choose. These policies could be availed by people who find it difficult to pay a lump sum amount for endowment assurance policy or whole life policy.
2. Whole life insurance: This policy covers you for as long as you live. You stay protected for your entire life, thus this plan is named as whole life policy.
3. Endowment policy: Risk is covered for a specific period and at the end of the period sum assured along with the accumulated bonus, is paid back to the policyholder. Endowment policy pays back the face value of the amount on the insured person's death or after a stipulated number of years. Some policies also make payment in case of critical illness.
4. Money back policy: This policy repays survival benefits periodically during the term of the plan.
5. Savings & investment plans: Help you save and invest to make your money grow.
6. Retirement plans: This plan is a retirement solution plan and does not cover life insurance. You can build your retirement corpus as per your risk appetite and on completion of the specified period, a certain amount of money is paid to the insured/beneficiary in the form of pension, monthly, half-yearly, or annually.
7. Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs): A part of investment goes towards providing life cover, while the residual portion is invested in stocks or bonds. It is a goal-based financial product, which is designed to impart safety and wealth creation opportunities.
8. Child insurance policy: These plans are designed to meet rising education and other needs of children. A child plan offers a lump sum amount on the death of the policyholder, but the policy doesn’t end. All future premiums are waived and insurance company continues investing money on the behalf of policyholder. The child gets the money at specified tenure as planned.
Life insurance is undoubtedly mandatory but availing it without understanding its functioning would make your purchase worthless and useless. Various terms and phrases need to be familiarized with prior to buying life insurance. Term life insurance and whole life insurance would differ in appeal if the consumers have a strong idea about their features and uses. The real motive behind life insurance would get defeated if you buy a plan without prior knowledge and your decision turn out be regretful, especially at the time of maturity of the plan or death of the policyholder. Let us see how:
Term life insurance protection plans give you coverage only for a specified term. The main advantages of term life insurance protection plans are that they are easy on your pocket, give you the highest amount of coverage, safeguard your family against financial liabilities and offer you tax benefits.
Term life insurance protection plans have no face value and hence the premium for such policies is comparatively lower when compared with other policies. In case of survival of policy term, the insured does not get any return. The premiums in such policies increase with rising age as the chances of death are high in old age. Once you cross 60 years, these policies become difficult to afford.
These life insurance investment plans offer you dual advantages of Investment and protection. The life insurance investment plans range from low risk to high risk investment propositions, depending on the risk profile of a customer.
The life insurance coverage is defined as the sum assured that you buy under the policy. You have the discretion to decide your sum assured but certain factors that affect the coverage are your annual income, your life stage and your risk group.
The most common terms used in a life insurance contract are:
Indisputable Clause: Your insurance company is entitled, usually during the first two years of the policy, to challenge the validity of your policy in case you hide any information from the insurer. If you are found guilty of concealment, your insurer could void the policy and return the premiums.
Suicide Provision: The suicide clause in your policy specifies that the insurance company will not pay you sum assured if the insured attempts or commits suicide within a specified period from the beginning of the coverage.
Reinstatement Clause: If your policy has lapsed due to non-payment of premium, you can revive it by paying all the past outstanding premiums along with interest. However, you need to prove to your insurer that you still continue to enjoy good health to qualify for this provision.
Settlement options: You have the provision to collect the settlement proceeds as per the options offered by your company.
Excluded Risks: Depending on the policy, death under circumstances like war or an aviation accident may or may not be covered.
Grace Period: There are times when you are unable to pay premiums due to financial crunch. Your insurance company provides a grace period within which you can make the necessary monetary arrangements and pay your premiums.
Life insurance claims can be classified under below heads:
1. Death Claims: In case of a claim under your life insurance policy, your beneficiary needs to submit following documents:
2. Maturity Claim: In order to avail maturity benefits of your life insurance you need to submit the following to your insurer
Due to the innumerable benefits of life insurance like life protection, financial security, tax benefits etc., it becomes difficult to avoid it. So, you must do a favor to your dear ones and protect yourself against death and disabilities by opting for life insurance. Air, water, food and shelter are indispensable for all of us, so why is it that we are ignoring insurance? Make life insurance your oxygen and provide respite to your family by insuring your life.