If someone will suffer financially when you die, chances are you need life insurance because it provides cash to your family after your death.
This cash, known as the death benefit, replaces your income and can help your family meet many important financial needs like funeral costs, daily living expenses, and college funding. In addition, there is no federal income tax on life insurance benefits.
To help you understand how life insurance might apply to your particular situation, we’ve outlined a number of different scenarios below.
Many people mistakenly believe they don’t need to think about life insurance until they have children. This is not necessarily true. If you or your spouse dies unexpectedly, would there be enough money to pay off debts like credit card balances and car loans and cover the monthly bills such as utilities, mortgage or rent? If you’re planning to have children, you may want to buy life insurance now instead of waiting until you are pregnant as some companies may not issue policies during pregnancy.
You’re Married With Kids
Most families depend on two incomes to make ends meet. If you died suddenly, could your family continue to meet all of their financial obligations — from paying rent or a mortgage to daily living expenses? Could your family continue their standard of living on your spouse’s income alone? Would their plans for the future — like college stay intact? Life insurance can help make sure your plans for the future can continue.
You’re a Single Parent
As a single parent, you’re the caregiver, breadwinner, cook, chauffeur and so much more. With so much responsibility resting on your shoulders, you need to make doubly sure that you have enough life insurance to safeguard your children’s financial future.
You’re a Stay-At-Home Parent
Just because you don’t earn a salary doesn’t mean you don’t make a financial contribution to your family. Childcare, transportation, cleaning, cooking, and other household activities are all important tasks, and the replacement value of which is often severely underestimated. With life insurance, your family can better afford to make the choice that best preserves their quality of life.
You Have Grown Children
Just because your kids are through college and the mortgage is paid off doesn’t necessarily mean that you no longer need life insurance. If you died unexpectedly, your spouse will still be faced with daily living expenses. Would your financial plan, without life insurance, enable your spouse to maintain the lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to achieve now and into retirement?
Depending on the size of your estate, your heirs could be hit with a large estate-tax payment after you die. The proceeds of a life insurance policy are payable immediately, allowing heirs to take care of these taxes, funeral costs and other debts without having to liquidate other assets, which may occur at a fraction of their value. Life insurance proceeds are also generally income tax free and won’t add to your estate tax liability, if properly structured.
You’re a Small-Business Owner
Besides taking care of your family, life insurance can also protect your business. What would happen to your business if you, one of your fellow owners, or a key employee died? Life insurance can help in a number of ways. For instance, a life insurance policy can be structured to fund a buy-sell agreement. This would ensure that the remaining business owners have the funds to buy the company interests of a deceased owner at a previously agreed upon price. To protect a business in case of the death of a key employee, key person insurance, payable to the company, provides the owners with the financial flexibility needed to either hire a replacement or work out an alternative arrangement.
Single people may think they do not need life insurance, but there may be exceptions. For instance, some single people provide financial support for aging parents or a sibling with special needs. Others may be carrying significant debt that they wouldn’t want to pass on to family members who survive them. Insurability is another reason to consider life insurance when you’re single. If you are young, healthy, and have a good family health history, you may be eligible for a more affordable life insurance rate.