Life insurance is a contract between an insurance policy holder and an insurer, where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money (the "benefits") upon the death of the insured person. Depending on the contract, other events such as terminal illness or critical illness may also trigger payment. The policy holder typically pays a premium, either regularly or as a lump sum. Other expenses (such as funeral expenses) are also sometimes included in the benefits.
The advantage for the policy owner is "peace of mind", in knowing that the death of the insured person will not result in financial hardship for loved ones and lenders.
It is possible for life insurance policy payouts to be made in order to help supplement retirement benefits; however, it should be carefully considered throughout the design and funding of the policy itself.
Life policies are legal contracts and the terms of the contract describe the limitations of the insured events. Specific exclusions are often written into the contract to limit the liability of the insurer; common examples are claims relating to suicide, fraud, war, riot and civil commotion.
Life-based contracts tend to fall into two major categories:
- Protection policies – designed to provide a benefit in the event of specified event, typically a lump sum payment. A common form of this design is term insurance.
- Investment policies – where the main objective is to facilitate the growth of capital by regular or single premiums. Common forms (in the US) are whole life, universal life and variable life policies.
Famous quotes containing the words life and/or insurance:
“This soul, or life within us, by no means agrees with the life outside us. If one has the courage to ask her what she thinks, she is always saying the very opposite to what other people say.”
—Virginia Woolf (18821941)
“... business training in early life should not be regarded solely as insurance against destitution in the case of an emergency. For from business experience women can gain, too, knowledge of the world and of human beings, which should be of immeasurable value to their marriage careers. Self-discipline, co-operation, adaptability, efficiency, economic management,if she learns these in her business life she is liable for many less heartbreaks and disappointments in her married life.”
—Hortense Odlum (1892?)