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What Is Life Insurance?

Learn about life insurance in this Howcast finance video with expert Gregory McGraime.


Life insurance is a way of protecting your family or your loved ones in the event that you pass away. And just as an example let's say I'm married and I have two little kids. My wife is at home with the kids right now, raising them, and if something happens to me there is a huge financial impact to my family. I have a big need for life insurance. So what life insurance really is I'm paying an insurance company each year a certain amount of money and in the event that I pass away my beneficiaries, my loved ones, my family members, will receive a lump sum of money? That's how life insurance works. And there are two main types of life insurance. Term life insurance, which protects you for a certain period of time, and the way that works is, you pay a small amount of money let's say it's for a twenty year period of time, if I die, my beneficiaries receive the money. If I don't die that's it. That money is gone. I paid for protection and didn't need it. That's what term life insurance is. There is also permanent life insurance which tends to be a lot more expensive, but permanent life insurance protects my family, in the event that I die, for the rest of my life, no matter when I die that policy is going to pay. The challenge is, that it becomes a lot more expensive, in a lot of cases, too expensive for the average person to buy. So when you're looking and reviewing your life insurance needs, the first question to ask, "Is somebody else financially dependent on me?" if the answer to that is yes, then yes you need life insurance. The next question you have to ask is "How much life insurance do I need?" Do I need one hundred thousand dollars? Do I need five hundred thousand? It depends on your unique situation. So do I need life insurance yes or no? If I do need it how much do I need? Once I determine how much I need, do I have a temporary need, do I need a term policy or a permanent need, and I should go with a permanent cash value policy. And there are a lot of other benefits and details about life insurance, but I think if you start with those three fundamental questions, do I need it? How much do I need? And what type is right for my situation? It's going to get you in the right ball park.

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