What every young parent needs to know about life insurance.

Becoming a new parent is one of the greatest moments in life. You’re about to experience something wonderful, but also challenging. You’ll have to handle an entirely new level of responsibility – another human being depends entirely on you.

If that thought makes you a little nervous, you’re definitely not alone. That’s why people since the time of the Roman Empire have turned to life insurance for peace of mind. Modern life insurance can financially support your child and spouse if anything were to happen to you.

Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision about life insurance.

Pick an insurance type

There are three main kinds of life insurance, with some big differences between them. Term life insurance pays a simple death benefit, while whole life insurance and universal life insurance offer some additional perks.

Term life insurance is often best for young families on a growing budget. It’s relatively inexpensive and will cover you for a limited period of 10, 20, or 30 years. In the event of death, your family will receive a set benefit payment. After the initial fixed term, your premium can increase, sometimes quite rapidly. However, term life insurance also locks in your ability to convert to a whole or universal life policy based on your health status at the time that the term policy was written. As long as this option is exercised during the period of the initial term policy, your permanent policy will be available at the lowest possible rates.

Whole life insurance is often more expensive up front, but it allows you to lock in a fixed payment for as long as you live. And, while the primary reason to consider whole life insurance is to protect your loved ones, whole life often also pays dividends, and a policy has a cash value that grows over time.

Universal life insurance is similar to whole life insurance, but more flexible, because it allows the policy owner to shift money between the separate insurance and savings components of the policy. For example, if the savings portion of a policy is earning a low return, it can be used instead of external funds to pay the premiums. Also unlike whole life insurance, the cash value of a universal life policy grows at a market-driven variable rate, giving the potential for greater returns.

This means that when a policyholder ages and has less need for a death benefit (for example, after their children are supporting themselves and they have sufficient retirement savings to support their spouse), the accrued cash value of a whole life policy or universal life policy can be borrowed against for various reasons, and eventually cashed out.

Most interesting of all, there are several tax benefits protecting your payments and the value of a cash value life insurance policy. In some states, in the event of bankruptcy, the cash value is protected from creditors. Florida is one of those states, thanks to Florida Statute 222.14.

Protect yourself and your spouse

Today, both parents are likely to contribute to the household. In the case of the loss of one partner, the surviving spouse will be left to pay for mortgage expenses, car loans and college tuition. If both parents are insured, however, the family will be covered no matter what the circumstances.

Establish priorities, think of the future

Young parents should try to tie life insurance to specific needs. Before shopping for insurance, calculate what your family will need in the long run to cover everything from college tuition to mortgage payments and car loans. This can range from $500,000 to $1,000,000 or more for parents with at least one child.

For young parents, life insurance is often very affordable. A 20-year-old man who is healthy and doesn’t smoke would pay about $28.00 a month for a 20-year term life policy with a $500,000 benefit. Contrast that with $97.13 a month for 20-year term life insurance for a healthy 50-year-old man.

Consult an expert

Finding the right life insurance plan can be challenging. As one of the top life insurance providers in South Florida, Scarr Insurance has a staff of experts ready to guide you. We have offices all over South Florida, including Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa. Come in for a consultation, and let us help you decide which plan works best for you and your family’s future.

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