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Life Insurance

Life insurance is a contract between a policyholder and an insurance company that provides financial security to a policyholder's family, in case of their demise. The policyholder pays "premiums" to the insurer in exchange for a "life cover", also known as "sum assured". This amount is predetermined during the policy purchase and is based on the premiums to be paid. Premium payments are made over a period of time called a "policy term," which can be anywhere from two years to several decades. It is important to find a good balance between price and coverage as purchasing too little life cover can affect your family's financial security, in case of your accidental death.

Life insurance ensures that your dependents live comfortably after your death. Some life insurance plans pay you the sum assured and a "maturity benefit" if you outlive the term. This makes life insurance a good savings plan too.

1. Benefits of Life Insurance

A life insurance policy is the best financial protection plan as it offers several benefits.

Financial security: If you purchase a sizeable life cover, it will be paid as a lump sum death benefit to your dependants, in case of your accidental death. This can help them live comfortably, especially if they do not have a source of income and have young children or aging parents.

Wealth creation: Some life insurance plans offer the double benefit of investment plus insurance. The insurer invests a portion of the premium payments in equity funds to grow your funds, while the rest goes towards life cover.

Protection for every life stage: Whether it is financial security for your children's future, a steady source of income post the breadwinner's death, retirement planning or simply long-term savings, there is a life insurance policy for every need.

Tax savings: Section 80C of the Income Tax Act makes the premium payments tax-free, which reduces your taxable income. Furthermore, Section 10(10D) ensures that the pay-outs also remain tax-free. These tax laws make life insurance a worthy investment.

Retirement planning: Your work life may end, but your living expenses will still continue. A retirement life insurance policy offers coverage plus a steady source of income which can fund daily expenses, set up a small business or be reinvested in other financial instruments.

Safe investment: Financial products that offer market linked returns are subject to market volatility, which makes them risky. Life insurance, however, offers you assured benefits in exchange for premium payments.

Loan options: In case of an unexpected financial crisis, life insurance lets you borrow from the sum assured, depending on the policy terms and conditions.

Riders: Riders are additional benefits that you can purchase to make your life insurance policy stronger. Riders protect you from uncertainties such as critical illness, accidental death, or total permanent/partial disability that can cause loss of income.

2. Types of life insurance

A life insurance company in India offers many options and you will find a life insurance plan that best meets your needs

  1. Term insurance: Term insurance is an affordable pure risk coverage life insurance plan that protects your future earning power and your family's financial security in the event of an accident, illness or death by natural causes. If you die before the policy term ends, your beneficiaries receive the sum assured as a death benefit.
  2. Endowment plan: Endowment offers the double benefit of life insurance and savings, along with a certain level of guaranteed returns. It is ideal for building a corpus for future needs. If the insured survives the policy term, the maturity amount is paid. If not, the beneficiary receives the sum assured as a death benefit.
  3. ULIP: ULIP (Unit Linked Insurance Plan) is a form of life insurance that provides life cover, while growing your wealth through market-linked investments. ULIP offers customized options that can evolve to your needs.
  4. Retirement Plan: This gives life cover and helps build a corpus to fund your retirement expenses, which makes it a good life insurance for senior citizens.
  5. Annuity Plan: A type of retirement plan, in which the insurer takes a lump sum premium, invests it, and pays you back higher returns as a regular income.
  6. Child Plan: This life insurance cum investment plan helps build a corpus for your child's future requirements. In case of your death, the child receives the sum assured as a lump sum or in installments.

3. Factors You Should Consider Before Buying Life Insurance

While life insurance is an absolute must to safeguard your family's financial security, it is important to consider these factors when purchasing a policy.

  1. Take a cover you can afford: Life insurance cover is proportionate to premium paid - the higher the premium, the more the cover. Before arriving at this figure, consider all other household expenses and debts. Ensure that you can afford the premium payment for the entre policy term as a missed payment can affect your life cover.
  2. Policy tenure: The sum assured should be sufficient to finance your family's future expenses, such as children's education, healthcare for aging parents, as well as provide a steady source of income for daily needs. Choosing life insurance with the maximum tenure will ensure long term financial security.
  3. Compare plans: Different insurance companies offer different life insurance products. Compare different plans based upon their offerings, benefits, claim settlement ratio, life insurance claim settlement process and ease of purchase and renewal. Choose a reputed company and beware of spurious ones online.
  4. Be honest with your facts: If you suffer from any pre-existing medical condition or life-threatening lifestyle habits, disclose it during policy purchase as every insurance company in India rejects a life insurance claim settlement that is fraudulent.
  5. Claim settlement: Check the claims payment process and settlement ratio, to prevent your family's emotional and financial stress during the life insurance claim. A consistently good ratio is a good indicator of the life insurance company's willingness to pay.

4. Factors Influencing Life Insurance Premiums

The life insurance premium amount is determined basis the following:

  1. Age: The best life insurance policy is taken when you are young as you are healthy and expected to live longer. This makes you less of a liability to the insurer and you benefit from a lower premium payment.
  2. Gender: Scientific and statistical data prove that women outlive men by approximately 5 years. This increases their life insurance policy tenure, giving them the benefit of lower premiums.
  3. Medical history: Any prior illness or family history of certain genetic medical conditions could warrant a higher premium payment. To get the best life insurance policy, the insurer may subject you to a medical test.
  4. Lifestyle choices: A stressful lifestyle that includes alcohol and tobacco can impact your life insurance premium.
Frequently

Asked Questions

1. Who Should Buy Life Insurance?

Every individual, irrespective of age, occupation or marital status, should buy life insurance. Life insurance provides financial security. It can also grow your savings to fulfill future aspirations.

  1. Young working professionals can buy life insurance at an early stage to benefit from low premiums. This will help them fulfill their responsibilities that come with growing older.
  2. Newly married couples will eventually have children and other financial obligations. If they buy life insurance early, it will help them fulfill their responsibilities with ease.
  3. Young parents know that children are an investment. Life insurance can help them cope with all future expenses such as their higher education, marriage and others.
  4. Individuals with dependants such as aging parents, unmarried siblings, or physically or mentally challenged children must buy life insurance for their financial security.
  5. People with debts who have taken loans can protect their family from the burden of repayment with life insurance.
  6. People approaching retirement can have their post-retirement expenses taken care of with the income earned from life insurance.

2. How much life insurance do I need?

The simplest way to figure the minimum life cover to take is to multiply your current annual income by 10-15 times if you are under 55 years of age. For example, if your current annual salary is ₹ 10 lakh, you should buy a life insurance policy with a life cover of at least ₹ 1-1.5 crore. Your life cover depends on many factors such as age, number of dependants, the debts you have, and your financial goals so keep these in mind when you buy life insurance.

3. How does life Insurance work?

Different life insurance products offer different benefits. The simplest and most common form of life insurance, term insurance, provides higher life cover at affordable premium payments. Premiums can be paid on a monthly or yearly basis. Term insurance pays the life cover as a death benefit to the dependants on the policyholder's death. If the holder outlives the policy, there is no reimbursement or payment. Some life insurance products such as whole life plans offer a maturity benefit if the policyholder survives the plan term.

4. Why life insurance is important?

Life insurance is important as it provides financial security to your family in case of your accidental death. You also get a tax benefit as tax laws exempt the payouts and premiums, which reduces your taxable income. There are many types of types of life insurance policy that offer different benefits. Some plans like ULIP help grow your savings.

5. Do my life insurance policy's survivor benefits apply to me?

Some life insurance India policies allow the policyholder to claim the survival benefit if he or survived the policy term. For example, term insurance with return of premium option repays all the premiums paid as survival benefits after the policy matures. However, a pure term plan has no such benefits.

6. If the life insurance premium is not paid on time, what would happen?

It is important that premiums paid are within the due date, especially for term insurance. Some life insurance companies offer a grace period of up to 30 days post that. If the premium is not paid within this period, the policy will terminate. You will have lost out on all benefits including your investment.

7. How to choose the right sum assured under life insurance?

The sum assured should be able to cover your family's future expenses in case of your accidental death. To arrive at the right amount, consider the following factors:

  • Expected working years
  • Current regular annual expenses
  • Future life goals and aspirations
  • Current liabilities vs. savings and investments

ULIP is a good life insurance plan as it gives the double benefit of insurance and investment.

8. What Happens When You Purchase Life Insurance?

Life insurance gives you peace of mind knowing that your family's financial security will not be compromised, in case of your accidental death. A ULIP or an endowment plan is a best life insurance policy as they give you insurance cum investment, which helps build wealth.

9. Who is most likely to buy life insurance?

Life insurance is a necessity for anyone and everyone, regardless of age, occupation or marital status. It provides financial security, as well as the opportunity to invest money in ways that might help you reach your long-term goals. Even a retirement plan can earn you a sufficient income which can help you maintain your standard of living, post your working years, which makes life insurance for senior citizens very important.

10. Why prefer IndiaFirst Life?

IndiaFirst Life is one of the best life insurance providers in India as their life insurance products meet every individual need and life goal. Being technology driven, they make purchasing online life insurance seamless and simple. IndiaFirst Life is backed by two large public-sector banks - Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India, which makes them a credible company.

11. How do I file a life insurance claim?

A life insurance claim can be filed at the insurance company's branch, uploaded on their website, or emailed to them. However, the following documents must be provided for the claim to be addressed.

  • Claim form
  • Death certificate
  • Insurance policy document
  • Claimant's ID and address proof

The insurer has the right to ask for more evidence other than this, if required.

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