Personal Finance

Life Insurance Q&A - w/ FAQ Section

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  • May 13th, 2017 11:53 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jul 27, 2009
116 posts
51 upvotes

Life Insurance Q&A - w/ FAQ Section

I invite you to ask me any questions about Life Insurance, and I will be happy to answer them. Feel free to ask anything about following areas:
- Life Insurance (Term, Universal, Whole)
- Living Benefits (Critical Illness, Disability Insurance)
- Buy/Sell Agreement Funding (Business Related)
- Tax & Estate Planning (In terms of life insurance)

Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED on November 29, 2010:
First, I would like to thank everyone for asking really good questions, presenting their scenarios and contributing to the discussion in general. I noticed that there are a lot of common questions that people have. In addition, I found out that some of the users are a bit misinformed about insurance products.

I decided to create a FAQ section in the first post to allow people to find info more easily. I will update the questions as new questions and issues come along.

1. How do I choose the right policy?
To choose an appropriate type of insurance, it is recommended to determine the need it will address. Temporary needs include outstanding mortgage, loans, education funds, etc. On the other hand, Permanent needs may include burial costs, estate taxation, charity donations, etc. The amount of the insurance policy is determined based on the personal circumstances and purpose of the policy.


2. What is Universal and Whole Life Policy?
Universal Life
In this type of policy you have two separate components, Insurance and Investment. Universal Life is flexible, because it gives you the option to pay just for Insurance component. If you chose to pay additional premiums, you will be funding the Investment side of the policy. This coverage will last until age 100 at which point the death benefit is paid out tax-free. You also get a guarantee that your premiums will never increase. Remember that there is a maximum amount of how much you can put towards investment side. If you go over that max, your policy loses tax-exempt status.

Whole Life
Updated!
In this policy, there is a Cash Surrender Value (CSV) and Insurance components, which are combined. There is one premium that cannot be changed. There are two types of whole life: Participating – your policy pays-out dividends. Non-Participating – just provides lifetime coverage, or if you lapse the policy you get the value CSV.
CSV is funded by the portion of your premium leftover after you paid for cost of pure insurance.
If you are looking just for lifetime insurance coverage, Universal Life is a better option, because it is cheaper than Whole Life. If you are looking for both insurance and investment sides, Universal Life gives you flexibility in terms of premiums, compared to Whole Life. In other words, Universal Life allows you to control the investment portion of you policy, while Participating Whole Life does not.



3. ”Buy term and invest the rest” Strategy
Several users mentioned this strategy during this discussion. This strategy consists of continuously buying a term insurance and investing the rest of money that one would’ve paid for a Whole Life Policy. It is often ignored that while permanent life insurance typically costs more than term life insurance initially, it often has a level premium for your lifetime.
When you buy term life insurance and invest the premium difference in non-registered investments, it’s possible to build greater short-term investment values while living, compared to permanent life insurance. However, in the long-run the “buy term and invest the difference” concept is likely to be outperformed by a permanent life insurance policy.

Added on September 10,2010:
When you using this strategy, you are continuously buying Term insurance at the expiry. Most of the term products are renewable, which means that you renew it at the expiry (regardless of your health condition). Premiums will be based on the age at the renewal. This means that cost of the coverage will be increasing as you get older, which means spending quite a bit.
Image

Added on September 20,2010:
An illustration comparing Whole Life Par to "Buy term, invest the rest" strategy. Follow the link for illustration.

Added on October 17,2010:
Justification of Whole Par dividend scale is here. Important post to review, as it is important point in the scenario.

4. Tax status of Insurance Policies
Death benefit is paid-out tax free. Insurance policies also have ability to be creditor proof and bypass probate. To prevent creditors claiming from claiming your assets upon death, you need to name a beneficiary who is an individual (opposed to an organization). Withdrawals from the investment side of the insurance policy will trigger tax consequences, but there are strategies to minimize the taxation.

Added on November 29,2010:
5. Critical Illness (CI) Coverage
This coverage provides a tax-free lump-sum benefit for an insured diagnosed with a specific illness. Basic conditions include Heart Attack, Life-Threatening Cancer and Stroke. There is an option to add 21 other conditions. Some background info on CI. This product was developed by doctors, because more people are surviving illnesses considered to be fatal in the past. The proceeds of this policy could be used to pay for medical treatment not covered by OHIP. Also, these proceeds could be used to seek medical attention in US.

Critical Illness has a unique feature: Return of Premium. This option allows you refund all the premiums paid into the policy after certain period of time. Another good feature is Graded Premium. This benefit allows you to get a lower premium at the beginning. The premium increases every five years and you have an option to lock-in the rates anytime during that time. In order to take advantage of this benefit, it is recommended to lock-in the rates within first five years (this aspect may vary between individuals).
By starting this coverage early, you are locking-in the rates for the rest of the life and getting a lower premium. And with return of premium option, you can always get your premiums back.


More to follow ...
2190 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 30, 2006
3568 posts
31 upvotes
why does anyone buy universal life?
shaka braddah!
Member
Nov 13, 2008
375 posts
40 upvotes
Kitchener
Does there have to be another "ask me anything about life insurance" thread? I swear there's been 3 or 4 on here in the last couple months.
Member
Jul 6, 2010
270 posts
11 upvotes
Gatineau
I would like your take on the pros and cons of Universal Life Insurance.

What's better...buying Universal Life Insurance or buying Term and investing the savings from the premiums over the pricier Universal Life?
Sr. Member
Aug 17, 2008
867 posts
256 upvotes
jheath wrote:
Aug 19th, 2010 1:44 pm
does there have to be another "ask me anything about life insurance" thread? I swear there's been 3 or 4 on here in the last couple months.
+1,000,000
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 8, 2009
2028 posts
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Edmonton
jheath wrote:
Aug 19th, 2010 1:44 pm
Does there have to be another "ask me anything about life insurance" thread? I swear there's been 3 or 4 on here in the last couple months.
Beat me to it. I was going to ask how many of these life insurance threads do we need. Maybe the threads could be merged and renamed as follows: The only life insurance Q&A thread you'll ever need.
Deal Addict
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Jul 8, 2009
2028 posts
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Edmonton
ottawa316 wrote:
Aug 19th, 2010 1:50 pm
I would like your take on the pros and cons of Universal Life Insurance.

What's better...buying Universal Life Insurance or buying Term and investing the savings from the premiums over the pricier Universal Life?
I'll handle this one. UL is way better for the advisor so many of them sell it (I don't) but term insurance is better for the client in about 98% of cases, so that's what I sell.

Disclosure for Neil: I'm proud to be a CFP in good standing.
Deal Addict
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Sep 15, 2009
2712 posts
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Toronto
simple answer....self promotion from new forum members.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

"Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan in which we fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success...."
Member
Jul 6, 2010
270 posts
11 upvotes
Gatineau
Wing Nut wrote:
Aug 19th, 2010 3:03 pm
I'll handle this one. UL is way better for the advisor so many of them sell it (I don't) but term insurance is better for the client in about 98% of cases, so that's what I sell.

Disclosure for Neil: I'm proud to be a CFP in good standing.

Can you please explain why Term is better in 98% of cases? In which 2% of cases would Universal Life be better for the client?

I have an insurance agent trying to sell me Universal Life (I'm single, 29 years old and own a home. No dependants yet). He says its good for an insurance and investment for the long term. Is there any truth to that?
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2008
1554 posts
67 upvotes
Ottawa
ottawa316 wrote:
Aug 19th, 2010 3:22 pm
Can you please explain why Term is better in 98% of cases? In which 2% of cases would Universal Life be better for the client?

I have an insurance agent trying to sell me Universal Life (I'm single, 29 years old and own a home. No dependants yet). He says its good for an insurance and investment for the long term. Is there any truth to that?
If the bolded part is true....why do you even think you need _any_ insurance?
Sr. Member
Feb 9, 2006
827 posts
24 upvotes
ottawa316 wrote:
Aug 19th, 2010 3:22 pm
Can you please explain why Term is better in 98% of cases? In which 2% of cases would Universal Life be better for the client?

I have an insurance agent trying to sell me Universal Life (I'm single, 29 years old and own a home. No dependants yet). He says its good for an insurance and investment for the long term. Is there any truth to that?
In short, insurance and investment shouldn't be mixed. Insurance company acts as the middle man who makes nice profits regardless of how well/badly your portfolio performs.

And, since you have no dependent, who are you trying to protect financially?
Member
Jul 6, 2010
270 posts
11 upvotes
Gatineau
m85d1 wrote:
Aug 19th, 2010 3:47 pm
In short, insurance and investment shouldn't be mixed. Insurance company acts as the middle man who makes nice profits regardless of how well/badly your portfolio performs.

And, since you have no dependent, who are you trying to protect financially?
You're right I don't need the insurance now , however, I plan on someday marrying and having children. The insurance agent claims its cheaper to buy the insurance when your younger and it will be paid for with lower premiums as a result of my age.

I basically declined home insurance since I think that's a scam and wanted to just get a term insurance but the agent is trying to get me into investments via the UL way.

I don't care about insurance today because if I die I don't really have to worry about leaving money to anyone...just thinking about the future and trying to take advantage of lower premiums if possible knowing that one day I'll require insurance.
Deal Addict
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Jul 8, 2009
2028 posts
470 upvotes
Edmonton
ottawa316 wrote:
Aug 19th, 2010 4:07 pm
You're right I don't need the insurance now , however, I plan on someday marrying and having children. The insurance agent claims its cheaper to buy the insurance when your younger and it will be paid for with lower premiums as a result of my age.

I basically declined home insurance since I think that's a scam and wanted to just get a term insurance but the agent is trying to get me into investments via the UL way.

I don't care about insurance today because if I die I don't really have to worry about leaving money to anyone...just thinking about the future and trying to take advantage of lower premiums if possible knowing that one day I'll require insurance.
Of course it's cheaper to buy insurance when you're younger, but do you want to pay for insurance for several years when you don't need it? I handle investments and insurance in my financial practice and I agree on one complaint about insurance advisors: Many of them must have values that I don't agree with because they seem to sell a lot of crap that gets them more commission but is the wrong product for the client. I believe in insurance for only the period of time you need it, then you get out of it when the need stops. Buy cheap term insurance. I'd rather be selling cigs at 7-11 than doing what these other insurance advisors do to make a living.

Ottawa316: Tell that insurance sales guy to take a hike. You shouldn't be buying UL. I don't think you need insurance at all, until you're married at least, but definitely not UL.
Deal Addict
May 20, 2003
2864 posts
24 upvotes
ottawa316 wrote:
Aug 19th, 2010 4:07 pm
I basically declined home insurance since I think that's a scam and wanted to just get a term insurance but the agent is trying to get me into investments via the UL way.
:eek: I'm guessing you meant mortgage life insurance, in which case you made a wise decision.
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