9 Questions to Ask About Life Insurance
For life’s hard conversations, we’re here to help.
Let’s face it: Thinking about life insurance can be uncomfortable; you don’t want to leave your loved ones behind. But they’re also the reason being informed is so important.
Whether you’re considering life insurance for the first time or need a refresher on what to consider, use these questions as a guide when meeting with a life insurance specialist to discuss the basics:
1. Do I need more life insurance, even if my employer provides it?
This is one of the first questions people ask about life insurance, and usually, the answer is something along the lines of “probably.” This is because a policy through your employer may end if you stop working for them—and the policy may provide only a year or two of your annual salary.
That being said, it may be best to use your employer’s plan as a supplemental policy—but a life insurance specialist will be able to tell you if that’s the best course of action for your specific circumstances.
2. How much life insurance do I need?
As a general rule of thumb, your life insurance policy should equal six or seven times your current salary. Or, you can determine what your policy needs to cover by subtracting your assets from your financial responsibilities—but accurately finding that number is a lot easier said than done. Use this calculator to help inform your needs, then speak with a specialist to talk about life insurance options.
3. What’s the difference between term and permanent life insurance?
Having a positive discussion about life insurance means understanding its types.
Term life insurance is for a fixed period, such as 10 or 20 years. If you die during the specified period, your beneficiary will be paid a death benefit—or the face value of the policy.
Permanent life insurance is designed to remain in place for your entire life, for which your beneficiary receives the death benefit. In addition, you may actually be able to borrow from the cash value or surrender the value when canceling the policy.
AAA Life offers these and other types of insurance policies. A life insurance specialist can help you examine the details to find the one that best suits your needs.
4. Do I need a medical exam?
Many life insurance policies require exams, even though your employer-provided plan may not. The need for this isn’t to determine how healthy you are as much as it’s to help the insurance company determine what the risk is to insure you, in terms of your health and lifestyle.
With AAA Life, you’re not required to pay for an exam with an approved doctor, unless you opt to choose your own provider.
5. What happens if my health or lifestyle changes?
A healthier lifestyle can lead to a cheaper premium. But just because you’ve made the steps to live healthier doesn’t mean you’ll see an immediate change in your premium.
If you quit smoking, for example, the history of smoking, how much you smoked and how long ago you quit can still be factored into your premium. So consult a life insurance specialist to help you understand how your premium may change along with anything else that may be affected.
6. Who should be my policy’s beneficiary?
Your beneficiary can be anyone from a parent or significant other to a close friend or family member. You should also consider primary and contingent beneficiaries—to help avoid potential legal proceedings. Your life insurance specialist can help you consider all of the options.
7. Will my policy provide living benefits?
Some policies offer benefits before death, such as the Accelerated Death Benefit Endorsement (also known as the Living Benefit) or you can add optional riders to help out with things such as terminal illness expenses. Riders vary by insurance company, so talk about life insurance options with a specialist to learn what’s available.
8. How are the benefits paid out, and how long does it take?
With a covered claim, you can expect to have your policy’s death benefit paid—according to the provisions in your policy—to your beneficiary in a single payment or incrementally. However, the specifics for how it’s paid out and when depends on the policy type and additional riders.
9. What are the steps in the process?
If you’ve gotten this far in asking about life insurance, you know that finding the best policy can be a complicated process to figure out. That’s where a life insurance specialist comes in. To start, request a quote by filling in basic information about yourself from your zip code to annual salary, and then find contact information for your local AAA Branch, where an agent will help you figure out the rest.