Common Life Insurance Terminology

Before you go shopping for a plan, you’ll want to be familiar with the terminology of the industry. Here are some common phrases to help you get started:

  • Beneficiary: Someone other than the policyholder– typically a spouse and/or children– who will receive the benefits.
  • Convertible Term: A plan permitting the exchange of a term policy for a permanent counterpart at a certain time.
  • Insurable Interest: A requirement specifying that, if you want to take out a policy on another person, you must have an interest in that person remaining alive or expect lost, either emotional or financial, from the death of that person.
  • No-Load: A specific variety of insurance product that allows insurers to deal directly with the consumer without the need for an intermediary (e.g. an agent or broker) and resultant charges.
  • Permanent Cash Value: A type of protection in which a death benefit is combined with a cash value element that increases over time, and this ensures lifetime protection.
  • Risk Factors: When calculating the premium, insurers take certain factors into consideration, such as: age, current state of health and preexisting conditions, family history, whether you smoke, the type and amount of protection you’re requesting, and so on.
  • Term: A variety of plans providing for a specific period of time– typically one, ten, twenty, thirty years, or until the policyholder reaches the age of sixty-five of seventy.
  • Universal: A variety of permanent life insurance with a cash value depending on the policyholder’s payments and the insurer’s returns.
  • Variable: Another variety of permanent coverage with a fluctuating cash value dependant on the customer’s portfolio investments.

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