Life insurance can have a dual purpose. It can be an effective tool for both protection and accumulation of assets. While it does provide a death benefit, some types of life insurance can also be used as a source of retirement income, funding for a child's education or as a source of cash in an emergency.
There are many different types of life insurance, so you should choose one that suits your circumstances now. Later, when circumstances change, you can amend the policy to cover such changes. Like all other types of insurance, you get double benefits from life insurance – financial and peace of mind.
Life insurance can be an important financial tool in the following situations:
Replace income for dependents
If people depend on your income, life insurance can replace that income for them if you pass. The most commonly recognized case of this is parents with young children. However, it can also apply to couples in which the survivor would be financially stricken by the income lost through the death of a partner, and to dependent adults, such as parents, siblings or adult children who continue to rely on you financially. Insurance to replace your income can be especially useful if the government- or employer-sponsored benefits of your surviving spouse or domestic partner will be reduced after your death.
Pay final expenses
Life insurance can pay funeral and burial costs, probate and other estate administration costs, debts and medical expenses not covered by health insurance.
Create an inheritance for your heirs
Even if there are no other assets to pass to heirs, an inheritance can be created by buying a life insurance policy and naming them as beneficiaries.
Pay federal “death” taxes and state “death” taxes
Life insurance benefits can pay estate taxes so that the heirs will not have to liquidate other assets or take a smaller inheritance.
Make significant charitable contributions
By making a charity the beneficiary of your life insurance, you can make a much larger contribution than if you donated the cash equivalent of the policy’s premiums.
Create a source of savings
Some types of life insurance create a cash value that, if not paid out as a death benefit, can be borrowed or withdrawn on the owner’s request. Since most people make paying their life insurance policy premiums a high priority, buying a cash-value type policy can create a kind of “forced” savings plan. Furthermore, the interest credited is tax deferred (and tax exempt if the money is paid as a death claim).