What Do You Need to Know About Life Insurance?

If something were to happen to you, would your family be financially able to support themselves? If the answer is no, or if you’re not sure, you may want to consider looking into a life insurance policy. Planning for your family’s future is so important, and one way to do so is by setting up a life insurance policy.

couple looking at papers and contemplating

What is Life Insurance?

Life insurance is a contract between a policy owner and an insurance company that states that if the insured person were to pass away during the policy period, then, subject to any potential exclusions or limitations, the company will  pay a death benefit. This death benefit is paid to the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the policy as stated in the contract. In order for the insurance company to pay out the death benefit, all terms and conditions of the contract must be satisfied by the policy owner. That means all premiums must be paid in full and on time, and any additional contractual obligations must be upheld.

What is a Beneficiary?

A life insurance beneficiary is the person or entity that is contractually designated to receive the death benefit upon the insured person’s death. When the insured dies, the death benefit is distributed to the beneficiary (or beneficiaries, in the event you designate more than one). Many insurance companies also require a contingent beneficiary to be listed in their contractual agreements. A contingent beneficiary is like the second option. If the primary beneficiary predeceased the insured, refused the death benefit, or can’t be found, the death benefit would then be allocated to the contingent beneficiary.

happy family taking a photo in the summer

What is the Difference Between Term Life Insurance and Whole Life Insurance?

When it comes to life insurance, there are two main categories: term life insurance and whole life insurance.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is a contract between the policy holder and insurance company that is only in effect for a specific period of time – for instance, 10 years, 15 years, etc.  The policy automatically terminates at the end of that time period.  If the insured person dies while the policy is still in effect, and provided that all policy terms and conditions have been satisfied, then the insurance company will pay out the death benefit.  No death benefit is paid if the insured person dies after the policy is terminated.

Pros to Term Life Insurance

  • Term life insurance is often cheaper than whole life insurance.
  • Some insurance companies allow you to convert to a whole life policy after the term is up.

Cons to Term Life Insurance

  • It doesn’t build a cash value.
  • The insured may outlive the term life insurance policy and the policy can expire leaving the insured with no benefit.

Whole Life Insurance

In contrast, a whole life insurance policy does not have an expiration date.  The policy remains in effect as long as the premiums continue to be paid, and as long as all policy terms and conditions are complied with, the insurance company will pay the death benefit regardless of when the insured person dies. 

Pros to Whole Life Insurance

  • Can cover the insured person for the duration of their life.
  • Builds a cash value that the policy holder may then borrow from or take loans out against increasing their financial portfolio.

Cons to Whole Life Insurance

  • Can be more expensive than term life insurance.

When Should You Start Looking into Life Insurance?

The cost of life insurance is based on a few factors, including your age, your health status, your gender, and the amount of death benefit you wish to purchase. Therefore, usually the cheapest time to get life insurance is when you are young and healthy.  Conversely, a life insurance policy will typically be more expensive as you age. While life insurance is cheaper when you are young, it is never a bad time to look into life insurance coverage.  Obtaining life insurance can be an important part of your estate planning process and can help to ease your family’s financial burdens in the event of your passing.

close up of woman signing document

Employer Sponsored Life Insurance Options

Another great option to obtain more affordable life insurance is to utilize an employer sponsored plan. Employer sponsored life insurance plans are often in the form of a group term life insurance policy. Since life insurance rates are generated by the insured’s age, health status, gender, and the amount of death benefit, a group plan is able to use the communal rate generated by all enrolled employees to often offer a cheaper alternative to individual term life insurance policies.

Life Insurance Quotes

If you are an employer interested in learning more about offering an employer sponsored life insurance plan or an employee looking or an individual life insurance plan, our team at Cross Insurance is here to help. To find out more, contact your local Cross Insurance today.




This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Cross Insurance shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained in this article. The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, insurance, accounting or other professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article are that of its author and do not necessarily represent the views of Cross Financial Corp. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Cross Insurance”) or Cross Insurance’s management or shareholders.


Request a Life Insurance Quote Today

More Resources