Life insurance provides families with financial security should a spouse or parent die. Once you have dependents, the question "What if you got hit by a bus?" requires serious consideration.
A Life insurance policy allows you to make provision for your dependents when you die or become permanently disabled. You can also ensure financial security when you retire with a Retirement Annuity.
A Life insurance policy pays a lump sum (based on the policy's terms and conditions), after your death, to provide for your family or settle any debt (i.e. outstanding amount on your car or home). Some life policies allow you to include disability cover.
A wide spectrum of life cover is available in the South African market. Term Life insurance or Credit Life Cover would be ideal if you only want life cover for a certain period of time, i.e. while paying a bond on your house.
Term Life insurance is relatively cheap, but does not have an investment/cash value. When the agreed cover period has passed, the cover merely expires.
Whole Life Cover expires after the policy holder's death or when you surrender the policy. Your premium is invested by the insurance company and you can borrow against the policy as soon as it has a cash value.
Universal Life Cover has an investment component included. Your return on investment depends on the performance of the investment. The growth rate is not guaranteed, but rapid growth is a possibility.
Deciding how much really just depends on your circumstances. If you're single with no dependents, you probably don't need any at all. The key time to get Life insurance is when you have children. In addition, get coverage if you have a spouse who doesn't work. (See the video "How much life insurance is right?")
A rule of thumb for life insurance is five to 10 times your annual salary. (Also see the video "A lifetime of life insurance.")
Consider these tips:
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