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What is Life Insurance?

Life Insurance Information Area

Life Insurance is protection for you and your family. You can buy a policy from a life insurance company which will pay a predetermined sum on your death within a specified time. It is designed to provide that additional financial support to those who need it after your death. It can also be combined with a savings or retirement plan which will pay a lump sum if you die within a specified period or if you survive to the end.

Life insurance offers valuable financial protection in the event of your early death to family members dependent on your earnings. But it may also be a means of saving. This combination of protection and saving makes life insurance unlike any other financial product. Some policies protect, some help you to save and some do both.

With a life insurance policy in place, you can:

  • Provide security for your family.
  • Protect your home loan.
  • Take care of your estate planning needs.
  • Look at other retirement savings/income vehicles.

A life insurance policy is a contract between the policy holder and a life insurance company where the latter promises to pay the legal heirs or a designated beneficiary a sum of money upon the death of the person whose life is insured.

The life insured need not be the policyholder but can be a third party provided that the policyholder has a lawful “insurable interest” in the life to be insured at the time of commencement of the policy.

This means that for a number of years, you have to pay an annual premium to your life insurance company. When you do a life policy, you have to be sure that you would be able to meet your annual obligations on time and in full. In normal circumstances, you would not be able to obtain the full value of your insurance premium paid over the years if you surrender your policy before its maturity.

Paying for your life insurance policy usually takes two basic forms:

  • Single Premium - a lump sum is paid at the beginning of the policy. No other payments are made for the whole duration of the policy. Some policies may allow you to “top-up” the amount at particular intervals during the life cover.
  • Regular Premium - this can be annual or monthly. A monthly payment would normally incur added charges to the policyholder as a result of added administrative procedures for the insurance company.

Remember that if you decide to change any aspect of your policy at any time during the duration of the life cover, the insurance company may reserve the right to charge you a small fee to cover administrative expenses.

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