The Gift that Keeps on Giving

When it comes to showing our love, we sometimes go over the top with extravagant gifts and parties. Other times we express our love quietly. All these things we do for love. When Christmas or birthday comes around, there is extra pressure to find the perfect gift – one that’s meaningful, enduring and won’t soon be forgotten.

Let’s see. Meaningful – you could frame a photo or memento that has special significance to your loved one. Enduring – perhaps a nice piece of jewelry. Memorable – maybe something unexpected like a surprise getaway weekend. But what gesture of love can meet all three of these criteria? Here’s one you’ve probably never considered: life insurance.

Life insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to giving a gift, but it is something that most people will appreciate and value. The 2011 Insurance Barometer Study revealed the vast majority of adult Americans – 86% – believe that it’s important for most people to have life insurance coverage. (LIMRA and LIFE Foundation) Yet, more than a third of them have no life insurance. (LIMRA International)

There is no time like the present. Life insurance rates are based on age, gender and health. The younger you are when the life insurance is purchased the less it will cost (premium). After major health changes, life insurance may still available but at a more expensive rate.  You do not want to wait. According to a recent report from the Insurance Information Institute, life insurance premiums have actually gone down in recent years.

Term insurance is the most cost effective way to purchase a life policy. This type policy is like renting a policy for a certain period of time (Term) and then it ends with an option to renew at a higher rate. It makes the most sense when your need for coverage will disappear at some point, such as a mortgage, children in college ore a debt is paid off. The most common term policies are available to last from 10 – 30 years or longer.

Permanent insurance provides lifelong protection and you can accumulate cash value on a tax deferred basis. One benefit to permanent insurance policies is their guaranteed and non-guaranteed values.  The cash built up in permanent policies can be used for a variety of purposes from helping out when you are in a tough financial spot, to providing funds to take advantage of an opportunity, to supplementing your retirement income.

There are life companies that offer more than just a death benefit for your family. Some offer living benefits to the policy holder when they need it the most. Terminally ill or critically ill are two of the most common living benefits (riders) some permanent policies offer. You need to check with your life insurance agent to see if these important benefits are available.

If you’ve worked hard to establish a solid financial framework for your family – investments, home equity, a savings plan, and retirement accounts – life insurance is the foundation upon which it all rests. It can guard against the need for your loved ones to make drastic changes to future plans when you die.

Tis the season to give memorable gifts that will last a lifetime. Life insurance is the gift that keeps on giving even when you are not. The thanks keep going for lifetimes of those you love the most.

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