Life insurance as a risk mitigation element provides protection against casualties in life. The history of life insurance began with providing coverage for a particular period of time, and if the insured died during the period, the beneficiary got the death benefit. The disadvantage was that the period was limited, which led to the innovation of new products that gave death protection coverage for the entire life of the individual.
In term insurance, the premium increases during the time, as the chances of death are greater. The term policies include renewable, which means the policies can be renewed after the period with a higher premium; decreasing policy in which coverage lessens each year; and convertible in which the policy can be converted to cash value policy after the period. In whole life, the premium remains constant for the entire life. Generally, the premium for the whole life is higher than that of term.
The premium for term increases to cover the cost of the insurance. Therefore, in the beginning, the premium is less and it increases thereafter. In whole life insurance, the premium is higher than the cost of the insurance in the beginning. This extra amount is kept as a cash value component, which is invested to get an annualized return of 5-6%. In the latter years, when cost is more than the premium, money is taken from the returns of the cash value component and the cost is recovered.
The benefit of term is that since the premium is less, the extra money can be prudently invested elsewhere to get a higher return by the individual. Whole life provides cash value, which can be used to borrow money to spend for other purposes such as education of children. There are many innovative policies that provide many features such as guaranteed returns and dividend payments.
Before deciding between term and whole life insurance, it is important to consider the financial resources and the objective of the insurance policy. It depends upon the age of the insured, his or her future needs and the number of dependents.
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