Is life insurance worth it?

June 15, 2022

Life insurance sounds like something that is not necessary. Perhaps if you’re older, you’ll get some. But safeguarding your loved ones is never something you should put off. A policy is there to help your family financially if you pass away.

It’s understandable that no one likes to think about their own death, but it’s not something we have control over. But you can control how well your family is looked after if it happens sooner than you expect. With insurance, you’ll protect your assets and your loved ones, giving you peace of mind.

More than a nice-to-have, life insurance is a must-have if you have children and a spouse who depends on you,

What is a life insurance policy?

A life insurance policy is an agreement between you, the policyholder, and the insurance company. The agreement states that as long as you make regular payments on your insurance, your insurance provider will pay out a death benefit to your beneficiaries when you pass away.

You’ll be able to state who is a beneficiary and how much they receive. You can name your spouse, children, or even a charity. The cash sum or death benefit they are paid is meant to help them through a financially and emotionally difficult time. Your beneficiaries will be able to spend the money any way they like. They can use it to pay mortgages, credit card bill, utilities, taxes, college, groceries and even on your funeral. And they don’t have to claim it on their taxes.

Benefits of life insurance

If you’re asking whether life insurance is worth it, consider the benefits of having coverage, such as:

Peace of mind

One of the biggest benefits of life insurance is knowing that your loved ones will be looked after if you pass away. Having that peace of mind benefits you and them. And you can get this peace of mind with any type of insurance policy. Knowing your beneficiaries will have the death benefit to help them cover expenses is worth the effort of buying insurance.

Cash value

When you have permanent insurance, you’ll build up a cash value that you can use for yourself or your beneficiaries. For example, if you want to borrow against that money so you can finance your kid’s college costs or renovate your home, you can. However, it’s important to keep in mind that any money you take out of the cash value will be deducted from your death benefit. You don’t necessarily need to pay it back, but it will impact how much money your loved ones will get when you pass away.

Savings vehicle

Permanent insurance policies offer you coverage and an opportunity to save money for the future. That’s because some of the premiums you pay will be set aside. So, you’re saving some money each time you pay your premium. And you’ll earn interest on that savings. While it may not be as much as you’d make with other investment options, you’ll be taking less risk.

What you should know about life insurance policies

There are two types of insurance available in Canada. These are term life insurance and permanent or whole life insurance. Here are the differences between each type of insurance policy.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance covers you for a specified amount of time. It could be 10, 15, or 20 years. You can also buy term life insurance that lasts until you reach a certain age, such as 65 years. You’ll pay insurance premiums for the term. And with most insurance policies, your premiums will stay the same. If you pass away before the term is up, your beneficiaries will receive the death benefit.

When the term of your insurance policy is up, you will no longer be covered by insurance. However, many life insurance companies will allow you to extend your coverage at a higher premium rate or convert your insurance policy into a whole life or permanent one.

Term life insurance is less expensive than whole life insurance. It’s a good option if you want coverage for a short time like until your children have grown up and moved out or until your mortgage is paid off.

Permanent life insurance

The other type of insurance policy you can buy is a permanent or whole life one. This coverage won’t expire, but rather, you’ll be covered by life insurance for your entire life.

You’ll pay monthly premiums like term life insurance, and those payments will stay the same. However, with whole life insurance, your premiums will be higher than term life insurance. That’s because, with permanent life insurance, your beneficiaries will receive the death benefit at some point

Permanent life insurance has an added benefit that term life insurance does not. That is its cash value and investment potential.
The other type of insurance policy you can buy is a permanent or whole life one. This coverage won’t expire, but rather, you’ll be covered by life insurance for your entire life.

You’ll pay monthly premiums like term life insurance, and those payments will stay the same. However, with whole life insurance, your premiums will be higher than term life insurance. That’s because, with permanent life insurance, your beneficiaries will receive the death benefit at some point

Permanent life insurance has an added benefit that term life insurance does not. That is its cash value and investment potential.

Whole life Whole life

Whole life insurance allows you to use some of your premiums for investment so you can earn some money through your insurance. Your insurance company will manage your investment portfolio and usually aim for low-risk and moderate growth investment options. Another way to earn money from your whole life insurance policy is by sharing in the insurance company’s profits. If you choose a participating policy, you’ll be paid dividends. You can cash out that money, use it to pay future premiums, or add it to your death benefit. Over time, your whole life insurance policy will increase in cash value. You’ll be able to benefit from that in a couple of ways. The first is to use it as collateral to secure a loan. The second is if you decide to cancel the life insurance policy. When you surrender your policy, you can get most of the cash value paid out to you.

Whole life insurance cash value

If you’re considering buying whole life insurance, keep in mind that the cash value that accumulates is not added to the amount your beneficiaries get. In other words, unless you use that money before you pass away, you’ll lose it. Here are some of the ways you can take advantage of the cash value of your whole life insurance policy.

Policy loan – you can take a loan from your insurance company and use the cash value as collateral. You don’t have to pay the loan back, but you do need to pay interest on the loan. If you don’t pay the interest, it gets added to your outstanding balance. If your outstanding balance is more than your cash value, your policy will be void. But if you pass away and there is an outstanding balance, it will be deducted from the death benefit.

Cash – dividends can be taken out as cash. And there is no tax charged on them.

Partial withdrawal – your insurance company will allow you to take a certain amount from your cash value. There may be a fee to withdraw money, or what you take out may be deducted from your death benefit. Speak to your insurance broker about the terms and conditions of your life insurance.

Sell your policy – in some cases, if you no longer need life insurance to protect your loved ones, you may be able to sell your policy.
Cancel the policy – if you don’t want life insurance anymore, you can contact your life insurance company and cancel the policy. When this happens, you will get the cash value back.

Universal life

Universal life insurance policies are very similar to whole life insurance. However, they offer you more freedom over your investments. With universal life insurance, you don’t have to pay monthly premiums. Rather, you can put as much money into your account as you want and manage your investments. Your insurance company will deduct premiums from this account. With this life insurance, you’ll also be able to increase or decrease your coverage if your financial situation changes. You can borrow money from your universal life insurance account and also take cash out of your account if you want. But, you will be required to pay tax on the amount you withdraw. Universal life insurance policies are designed to serve wealthier Canadians. It can act as an investment option when TFSA and RRSP accounts have been maxed out.

How much life coverage do I need?

There is no set amount of life insurance coverage you need. While experts recommend having a death benefit that is seven to 10times your yearly salary, it depends on your circumstances and financial situation.

When calculating how much insurance coverage you need, add up all your debts, including your mortgage payments and other expenses. It is a good idea to include funeral costs in this calculation, so your family does not have to worry about paying for those during an emotional and stressful time. Next, consider your assets and how much money your family currently has to cover those debts. You’ll want to get enough insurance coverage for your beneficiaries to pay for all their expenses for as long as possible.

If you’re looking at buying term life insurance, consider how long you’ll need the policy in place. If you’re younger, you’ll want to opt for a longer-term. Remember that you can always increase your coverage later on or convert it to whole life insurance or permanent life insurance policy when you’re older. Finally, if you cannot afford as much life insurance as you’d like, buying the option that fits your budget will still be worth it. It’s better to provide your family with some financial support rather than leave them with nothing if you pass away suddenly.

Do you need a medical exam to get life insurance?

While you may not need to undergo a medical exam to qualify for life insurance, you will be asked some health questions. Life insurance companies want to know how much risk you are to cover. In other words, how long are you expected to live based on your lifestyle and behaviours? Keep in mind that the healthier you are, the lower your premiums. So, if you’re a smoker, it might be worth quitting before you apply for life insurance.

Some life insurance policies require you to have a medical exam. It’s important to be clear about the requirements before you apply. Talk to your life insurance broker if you’re not sure whether you need a medical exam. They’ll be able to clarify the terms and conditions of the life insurance.

Why Shelter Bay Insurance?

At Shelter Bay, we understand your desire to provide for your family if something should happen to you. We are insurance brokers, which means we aren’t here to push any particular insurance product. Instead, we’ll get to know you and your situation, to help you find the right life insurance for you. We have access to a range of life insurance products from different life insurance companies, meaning that you’ll be able to get the best deal on life insurance.

When you’re ready for a life insurance policy, contact the team at Shelter Bay Insurance, and let us help you find the best policy that fits your lifestyle.

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