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Whether you have two or eight people in your immediate family, securing life insurance is an important step. But how do you focus on the best life insurance for families? We answer that question for you by outlining what family life insurance is, and sharing our favorite providers of family life coverage.
State Farm is routinely listed among the best life insurance companies for good reason: It's been in business for nearly 100 years and still enjoys some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry. The company's family life insurance policies provide coverage for families of all sizes. The coverage State Farm provides to children can be invaluable as the kids age. That's because children can convert the coverage purchased by their parents when they're older, even if they've since developed a health problem that would otherwise make them uninsurable.
Another well-known name on our list is Prudential. Prudential goes above and beyond by providing coverage to people with chronic conditions, like HIV. By adding a spouse and children onto the primary policyholder's life insurance plan, Prudential allows families to keep all their insurance in one place with one dedicated agent.
Read Prudential review
The first step in securing a family life insurance plan from MassMutual is to speak with one of its financial planners. Financial planners dig into the financial goals of potential customers and put a policy together that will help them meet those goals. It may be that one person wants their significant other to have a higher death benefit because that person earns more, or they want each of their children to have a rider of their own. The ability to mix and match coverage allows MassMutual financial planners to come up with a plan that meets the needs of the entire family.
Like other insurers offering family life insurance, the company allows customers to pick and choose the type and level of coverage that best fits the needs of each family member (including final expense coverage). What's unique is the fact that Transamerica offers several different types of term life, normally the most vanilla of all life insurance policies. The company also offers whole life and universal life insurance for those who want permanent coverage.
Read Transamerica review
Family life insurance can best be described as a "combo" policy. The principal policyholder carries either permanent or term coverage while their spouse and children are covered by term life insurance. Here's how it works:
With a family life insurance policy, the primary policyholder is covered by either a whole life or a term life policy. As the name suggests, whole life insurance is designed to last the policyholder's entire lifetime. It's the most common type of permanent life insurance policy sold today. And like some other types of permanent life insurance, a whole life policy offers a savings component from which the policyholder can borrow. Term life provides coverage for a specific number of years (typically, between 10 and 30).
A family life policy also includes a term life rider for the primary policyholder's spouse. If the spouse dies during that time, beneficiaries will receive their death benefits.
Finally, a family life policy covers children with a term life policy. This is important for a couple of reasons. If a child should pass away, the family has the funds they need to bury the child. The life insurance policy also stays with the children when they leave home. Say a family purchases family life insurance when their children are young. If they opt for a 30-year term life policy for the kids, those children will carry the coverage into their 30s. Further, if the policy they purchase is convertible, that means the children can convert it to permanent life insurance.
The cost of family life insurance is based on various factors, such as age, number of family members, death benefit, and length of term coverage. State Farm provides this example of how much a family life policy would cost a family of three. It assumes each parent has a term life policy with $250,000 in coverage and the child is covered by a $10,000 term life rider.
|Family Member||Policy/Rider Type||Annual Premium|
|35-year-old male||Select Term-20, Best Rate||$232.50|
|30-year-old female||Select Term-20 Rider, Best Rate||$115|
|Child||Children's Term Rider||$50|
|Total Annual Premium||$397.50|
In addition to being a hybrid of sorts, family life insurance is customizable due to the number of life insurance riders that can be added to a policy. The most common riders include:
As mentioned, a child rider provides a death benefit if one of the policyholder's children dies. Depending on the insurance company, a child may be covered without a medical examination. A single child rider covers all children in the family, unless one has a pre-existing medical condition.
Say a policyholder becomes seriously ill or disabled and can't make their premium payments. A waiver of premium rider allows the policy to remain in effect, even if payments are not made.
If a policyholder does not die during the term of their policy, a return of premium rider returns 100% of their premiums paid. The downside is that a return of premium rider increases the cost of insurance.
A terminal and critical illness rider allows a policyholder diagnosed with a terminal or critical illness to take out a percentage of their death benefit to use for anything they need or desire.
The "right" life insurance company is one that provides information along with a life insurance quote. By the time a person purchases a family life policy, they should know the differences between each insurance product. For example, they should have a clear idea of what term life insurance coverage will do for them as opposed to variable universal life or indexed whole life. Partnering with an insurance company that offers education along with financial stability is a win-win situation.
How much life insurance a family should have depends on their financial goals. If they want enough to pay bills after the death of a breadwinner, they should have a minimum of 10 times the breadwinner's average annual income. So, for a couple, that means having enough to cover either of their incomes. If they want to make sure the kids can go to college after the death of a parent, they should add in the average cost of a college education in their state. While some financial gurus say a person should have at least 20 times their annual income, 10 times is a safe place to start.
If they are minor children, the answer is yes. To buy a life insurance policy on an adult, the adult in question must provide written consent.
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