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Life insurance: Beyond breadwinners

By JeffRose · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Life insurance is something most people would prefer not to think about or discuss. That's not surprising since most people don't like talking about money or mortality anyway. But these are precisely the reasons life insurance is so important. Particularly (but not only) if you are the breadwinner for your family, life insurance is a critical means to make certain your loved ones are taken care of should anything happen to you.

The unfortunate reality

While no one wants to think that something tragic will befall them, the fact is no one knows what tomorrow will bring. Unfortunately, there is no recourse should a worst-case scenario crop up. For many families, the only fallback in the event of the unexpected death of a provider is adequate life insurance.

Beyond the primary breadwinner

In today's world, many families can't get by on a single income. For two-income families, the loss of one income earner can be devastating. For those families, obtaining life insurance on both income earners is a must to protect the family's future in the event of a tragedy.

Even for one-income families, multiple policies may be a good idea. Many people have a tendency to massively undervalue a stay-at-home parent. When you take into account child care, tutoring, housework and transportation, to name a few, hiring someone to provide these services alone to replace the parent is a sobering experience for many families.

Tangible benefits

If a tragedy takes place, the tangible financial benefits of a good life insurance policy are numerous and substantial.  They include:

  • Replacement of income. This is the most obvious benefit. Loss of future income can be huge, running well into the millions of dollars in some cases.  This loss, on top of the emotional grief of death, can be devastating to families, who may find themselves unable to cover basic expenses they previously took for granted. This is the reason why it's so important to select a policy with sufficient coverage.
  • Liquidation of debt. Any debts held at time of death are transferred to that person's estate.  Life insurance with adequate coverage can help dependents pay that debt.
  • Funeral costs. Many people who go through this unfortunate process are shocked at the expenses related to funerals. Life insurance benefits can cover these costs, at a time when no one is interested in dealing with bills.
  • Education costs. Loss of income may make it impossible for a surviving spouse to pay for a child's college expenses. The benefits from a good policy can address this headache.

Peace of mind

For many people, the single biggest advantage of adequate life insurance coverage is the peace of mind obtained by knowing their dependents won't face a host of financial problems should something happen to them. It's impossible to place a value on the relief people feel when they know that, by having a good policy with adequate coverage, they can put this worry behind them.

Life Insurance Awareness Month is just around the corner.

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Update:

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Congratulations to Tim of FaithandFinance.org who won the Kindle Fire. Kudos to Elizabeth of WomensMoneyWeek.com who won the Google Nexus. And congrats to Denise from Ohio who won the iPad!

Thanks to everyone for participating, and thank you to GoodFinancialCents.com and InsuranceQuotes.com who sponsored this giveaway with us.

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22 Comments
Mark Doung
October 02, 2012 at 1:37 am

Obtaining a lifeinsurance is one of the things that everyone should consider very significant to have. over 50s life insurance

Earlene Pangle
September 05, 2012 at 6:06 am

@Jeff fantastic job with the article i think i can add few more things. Life insurance plan is inexpensive and the plan lasts for a few years after which it needs to be renewed. You must be aware that the rate rises when you renew the plan. On the other hand the whole life insurance plan allows you to earn dividends but is recognized by higher premium prices. Each of these insurance plans has its benefits and drawbacks so you need to weigh these properly while choosing.

P. James Phillips
August 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Really need any of your prizes. Excited about the opportunity to win!

Dave DeMorrow
August 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Great!