7 Ways to Use Your Life Insurance…Before You Check Out

Most people think of life insurance as just insurance that can pay for funeral expenses and leave some money for those who are left behind. But life insurance is misunderstood and has uses far beyond what you might imagine. While paying for final expenses and having income replacement is really important for those you love, life insurance can be so much more.

Check out these seven ways you may be able to use your permanent life insurance before you—well, check out.

  1. Provide access to the death benefit if you are terminally, chronic or critically ill or injured1
  2. Pay mortgage and debts
    • A policy with sufficient cash value allows you to use policy loans and withdrawals and pay down debt or pay down your mortgage.2
  3. Create an estate or legacy
    • If you do not already have an estate, life insurance can provide one. The death benefit is generally paid out income tax-free3 providing the opportunity to grow your legacy. Plan your legacy now and include whomever you wish in your legacy, including funding charitable organizations.
  4. Provide income in retirement
    • Some policies come with riders that use the cash value in your policy to create a stream of income you can’t outlive in retirement.4
  5. Equalize an inheritance
    • Trying to fairly distribute assets has been known to create a lot of conflict for families. The death benefit in a life insurance policy can be used to equalize an inheritance or off set other assets. Put a plan in place today so your wishes will be known and followed.
  6. Pay for college
    • It requires a lot of planning and resources to pay for college. The cash value in a life insurance policy isn’t included in calculations for federal financial aid. Loans taken against the policy also aren’t included in your credit report like federal student loans and private loans are.2
  7. Take out a loan/borrow against
    • Roof leaking? Need some money for an emergency expense? If you have sufficient cash value in your policy, you can take a loan against the cash value in your life insurance policy to cover those immediate needs.

Life insurance has evolved like the music industry. You can stream your favorite jams whenever and wherever you are and life insurance is no different. With proper planning and funding, it can be can be used throughout your life, at different stages for different reasons. Are you ready to take your life insurance to the next level?

1. Living Benefits are provided by optional Accelerated Benefits Riders. Payment of Accelerated Benefits will reduce the Cash Value and Death Benefit otherwise payable under the policy. Receipt of Accelerated Benefits may be a taxable event and may affect your eligibility for public assistance programs. Please consult your personal tax advisor to determine the tax status of any benefits paid under this rider and with social service agencies concerning how receipt of such a payment will affect you.
Riders are supplemental benefits that can be added to a life insurance policy and are not suitable unless you also have a need for life insurance. Riders are optional, may require additional premium and may not be available in all states or on all products. The use of one benefit may reduce or eliminate other policy and rider benefits. This is not a solicitation of any specific insurance policy.
2. The ability of a life insurance contract to accumulate sufficient cash value to help pay expenses or meet accumulation goals will be dependent upon the amount of extra premium paid into the policy, and the performance of the policy, and is not guaranteed. Policy loans and withdrawals reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit and may result in a taxable event. If remaining policy values and scheduled premiums are insufficient, additional out-of-pocket payments may be needed to keep the policy inforce. Surrender charges may reduce the policy’s cash value in early years.
3.Internal Revenue Code § 101(a)(1). There are some exceptions to this rule. Please consult a qualified tax professional for advice concerning your individual situation.
4. Life Insurance income riders typically have limitations and restrictions to exercising them, including but not limited to, minimum and maximum age requirements, years policy has been inforce and minimum policy values. Receipt of other policy benefits that reduce policy values may also reduce the ability to exercise the income rider. Receipt of income benefits will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit, may reduce or eliminate the availability of other policy and rider benefits, and may be taxable. If you are considering a life insurance policy with an income rider, please refer questions about the rider to your agent.

This post was originally published in February 2016. We thought it was worth sharing again.