We all know it definitely makes sense to have cash value life insurance because we all adore monetary value. Alright, let’s discuss it more. Getting life insurance is crucial, but a cash value policy might not be what you anticipate. It’s probably also a lot more pricey than you anticipated.
We’ll discuss cash value life insurance in this post, including what it is, how it works, and the many varieties. We want to make sure you fully comprehend it so you can choose the right life insurance policy for you.
The Meaning of cash value life insurance?
Life insurance with a cash value is more than just insurance. It is life insurance that also includes a savings account. Your loved ones will get a portion of your premium as a death benefit, and a piece will be invested in a savings vehicle. The majority of cash value insurance plans are permanent, which means they exist for as long as you live or as long as you continue to make premium payments.
The ways cash value life insurance works
Most insurance with cash value require a premium payment. You must pay this sum in order to cover the death benefit. Your loved ones will receive the death benefit if you timely pay these premiums. The savings vehicle is the cash value portion. Any additional funds are invested in the cash value of the policy. Depending on the type of insurance, it may earn interest or be invested in specific assets, such as stock market funds.
In any case, the value increases over time, if not already. By using the cash value to reduce the death benefit when it is paid out, the insurance company lowers its risk. But, you are free to use the financial value in other ways.
Types of cash value life insurance
You have a few options when choosing a cash value life insurance policy. Knowing the features of each can help you decide.
Whole life insurance
A whole life policy lasts for your entire life. It has the same premium and death benefit for the policy’s life, and the insurance company sets a set rate of return on the cash value. Most policyholders earn around 2% on their cash value.
Universal life insurance
A universal life insurance policy is more complicated because you have flexibility with the premiums and coverage amounts. As long as you cover the minimum premium for the death benefit, you can pay more or just the minimum amount each month. If you have extra money, you can pay it toward your universal policy and invest it in the cash value. You can also have your premiums deducted from the cash value when your cash value reaches a certain point.
Variable life insurance
If you want more than a ‘savings account’ for your life insurance’s cash portion, variable life offers investment options, such as stocks and bonds. It’s riskier because there’s no guarantee your cash value will appreciate (it may decrease). But the reward is often much more significant.
Cash value vs. term life insurance
Cash value life insurance is not the same as term life insurance. They have the same premise – a death benefit that pays your loved ones when you die, but that’s it.
Term life insurance doesn’t have a cash value. It’s also only applicable for a specified period. For example, a 10-year term policy expires after ten years. If you’re alive (that’s a good thing), the policy expires. Some insurance companies allow you to convert it to a permanent policy or renew the term. You may need to qualify, a.k.a. have a medical exam and undergo underwriting, which will likely increase your rates for your older age if nothing else.
Pros vs. cons of cash value life insurance
Every life insurance policy has many benefits and downsides. Understanding both sides helps you choose the right policy.
- It lasts for your lifetime. As long as you pay your premiums, your beneficiaries will receive what’s left of your death benefit.
- You may use the cash value to cover your premiums after years of paying premiums.
- You can borrow from the cash value and/or withdraw funds from it to use while you’re alive.
- The money grows tax-deferred. You don’t incur a tax liability until you withdraw the earnings.
- The premiums on a cash value life insurance policy are much higher than term life insurance policies.
- The fees are excessive. You may find less costly ways to invest the extra money you pay toward your life insurance.
- Cash value policies are often hard to understand. Some people buy them without fully understanding what they’re buying or investing in.
Who should and shouldn’t apply for cash value life insurance?
Like any financial decision, whether cash value life insurance is right for you or not depends on your situation. Young families usually stick with term life insurance policies. They are predictable and cover families when they have the least money available for a crisis, such as death. A term policy can cover events such as a mortgage, children going to college, or providing a surviving spouse with income.
Cash value policies are more expensive, but they provide another outlet for investing. If you’ve maxed out your retirement contributions in your 401K and/or IRA, a cash value policy may make sense. You should also make sure you’re secure in all other areas of your life. Do you have an emergency fund? Have you paid off all consumer debt? If you have disposable income you’re looking to invest, then a cash value policy may make sense.
5 ways to access your cash value life insurance
You can’t walk up to an ATM and withdraw the cash value of your life insurance policy. You may only access the cash in one of these five ways:
1. Take out a loan against the cash value
Once you accumulate a cash value, you can take out a loan. The insurance company determines the terms, and yes, you’ll pay interest. Even though you pay this interest to yourself, it’s still a cost. If you don’t pay the loan back, the insurance company decreases the death benefit dollar-for-dollar when you die.
2. Make a partial withdrawal
While you can’t get the money from an ATM, you can partially withdraw some of your policy’s cash value. This leaves your policy intact but decreases the total death benefit dollar-for-dollar. For example, if you have a $100,000 policy and withdraw $10,000 from your cash value, your loved ones get $90,000 rather than $100,000 when you die.
3. Surrender the policy
If you’ve decided you no longer want the policy, you can surrender it. You receive the cash value, minus fees and taxes, and the policy ends. Your loved ones no longer have a death benefit, but you also don’t have to pay premiums any longer.
4. Sell your policy for a life insurance settlement
Some brokers offer a life insurance settlement, which means they offer to settle your life insurance for a lesser amount. If your policy is worth $100,000, they’ll offer a payoff that’s less than $100,000. Settling may provide you with more than surrendering the policy, but if you settle for more than the total premiums paid, you’ll owe taxes on the capital gains.
5. Pay the premium with the cash value
If your cash value is high enough, you may use the cash to pay your premiums on your permanent life insurance policy.
Things you can do with the cash?
You can do whatever you want with the money. You don’t receive instructions or approval for how to use it from the life insurance company. Keep in mind that when you receive the cash, the death benefit is reduced or forfeited. Invest the money if you want to support a loved one financially, leave a legacy for your family, or assist your family with the costs of your estate. When you pass away, they’ll have access to it.
Now is a cash value life insurance policy a best choice?
There are advantages to a cash value life insurance policy, but only under specific circumstances. Investing in those places may yield a higher return on investment if you still owe money or haven’t used up all of your tax-advantaged retirement options.
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