For individuals purchasing life insurance, the cost of the policy is affected by several factors that will be evaluated at the time of your application.
For example, your age, health, family medical history, job risk factors, and habits (such as smoking) will all affect the policy’s cost. The amount your policy is worth (face value) to beneficiaries will be a major factor in determining the size of your premiums. In addition, policies are priced differently depending on whether they are permanent or term. Generally premiums for permanent insurance are level and spread out over a long period of time.
You can expect to answer questions about your health at an initial meeting with an agent. Standard questions include age, medical condition, family medical history, and personal habits. The answers to these questions are factored into the price of your policy. In general, the younger and healthier you are, the lower the cost of premiums.
Fees may apply for canceling (surrendering) a policy and interest will be charged on cash-value loans. All costs and fees are spelled out in a life insurance contract. In addition, an agent will often provide an illustration that outlines the coverage as well key factors that affect the cost of your premiums.
Fees may be charged for late payments and lapses. While there are some allowances for missed payments, payments on a life insurance policy must be made regularly or the policy will lapse. If you miss a payment, you normally have a 30-day grace period in which to make the payment. If you die within the grace period, your beneficiary will receive the benefit minus the overdue payment. If you miss the grace period, the policy will lapse. (See Lapses and Surrenders.)
Publications and Resources
What You Should Know About Life Insurance. An ACLI guide to help you choose the right life insurance products to meet your needs.
Tips on Buying Life Insurance (PDF). Choosing a life insurance product is an important decision. As with any major purchase, it is important to understand your family's needs and the options available. Use this list of buying tips to help you choose.
State Insurance Department Directory. The State Insurance Department Directory, with contact information for 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Includes names and phone numbers for key personnel and specific subject contacts.