Life Insurance

About Life Insurance

Just like with so many other types of insurance, a consumer has a lot of options when it comes to life insurance. Contrary to an auto or home policy, the first decision a client needs to make is which type of policy is right for them. At the DOK Insurance Agency, we have licensed staff that can help to walk you through the decision process. Once a decision is made, we look at over 25 different companies that each may sell different types of products and resulting in a number of choices that are in the hundreds. Therefore, we want to make sure that you understand your needs and choices and then help you find the best solution.

The first step is to understand what main life insurance options there are and which of those options fits your needs best. The table below gives you a basic breakdown of the different options that are available.

Product Term (Fully Underwritten) Term (Guaranteed Issue) Term (Annual Renewable)
Coverage Amount $100,000 & Up 25,000 – $350,000 $100,000 & Up
Coverage Length From 1 year to 30 Years From 1 year to 30 Years 1 Year
Age Eligibility 18 – 80 Years 18 – 75 Years 18-80 Years
Premiums Lowest for clients with excellent to average health Usually higher than fully underwritten term Lowest of term products but may increase each year
Medical History Most require a medical exam Health questions only Most require a medical exam
Who It’s For The higher face value and lower premium make it an excellent choice for most individuals who know they have people who depend on their income. Since no medical exam is required, this type of policy is usually for those who don’t want to take the exam or feel that their health my not be as optimal. For those with short-term life insurance needs, such collateral for a business loan as a key person.
Product Final Expenses Whole Life (Fully Underwritten) Universal Life
(Generally Indexed)
Coverage Amount $5,000 – $50,000 $10,000 & Up $25,000 & Up
Coverage Length For Life For Life For Life (if funded correctly)
Age Eligibility 18+ 0+ 18+
Premiums Lowest Permanent Life Policy due to lower face amounts and waiting period. Guaranteed premium for life with guaranteed payout. Flexible premiums. Minimum premiums levels should be avoided over long
periods of time.
Medical History Some companies will ask a few health questions, others do not. Medical exam required for higher face amounts and/or higher age. Most require a medical exam.
Who It’s For This policy is generally purchased by someone who is only looking for a small guaranteed death benefit. This may also be the only option for someone who faces a major illness such as cancer or heart disease. There are usually two different types of buyers for a whole life policy. One is someone that wants a guaranteed death benefit while being able to cash out the policy. Another is someone looking for tax free withdrawals in retirement. Due to its premium flexibility and indexed growth, an IUL purchased by someone looking for a tax-free income in retirement while having some flexibility in the premium payments.

What are coverage options riders?

Riders are benefits that can be bought and added to an insurance policy. Below is a list of the most common riders. Please note that terms vary by states and companies:

Accidental Death:

This rider pays out an additional amount of death benefit if the insured dies as the result of an accident. Usually, the additional benefit paid out upon death due to accident is equal to the face amount of the original policy, which means that it doubles the benefit. The cost and availability of this rider varies and is relatively inexpensive. Be aware that there are accidental death policies only as well. We strongly advise against such policies since the vast majority of deaths are due to causes other than accidents.

Waiver of Premium Rider:

With this rider, future premiums are waived if the insured becomes permanently disabled or loses his or her income as a result of injury or illness prior to a specified age. Disability of one of the income earners can have a devastating effect on a family. The premium is waived under these circumstances until he or she is ready to work again. The definition of the term “totally disabled” may vary from one insurer to another, so be aware of the terms and conditions of your specific rider.

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider:

Under an accelerated death benefit rider, an insured person can use the death benefits if he or she is diagnosed with a terminal illness that will significantly shorten the insured’s life expectancy. On average, insurers advance 25-50% of the death benefit of the life policy to the insured. Usually, this money is used to pay for expensive (trial) treatments that are not yet approved and/or covered by insurance or simply to allow the terminally ill individual to enjoy life.
Insurance companies may subtract the amount you receive, plus interest, from what your beneficiaries receive on your death. Most often a small premium or, in some cases, no premium, is charged for this rider. Insurers have different definitions of “terminal illness,” so check what the rider covers before purchasing it.

Child Term Rider:

A Children’s Term Insurance Rider pays a life insurance benefit if any of your children pass away. This includes your biological children, stepchildren and legally adopted children at the time of application. Most companies will have some sort of minimum age such as 15 days after birth. Children adopted or born after the policy is issued are also covered. Your children are covered until they reach the a certain age in young adulthood or if they are married, whichever comes first.

Long-Term Care Rider:

In the event the insured has to stay at a nursing home or receive home care, this rider offers monthly payments. Although long-term care insurance can be bought individually, insurance companies also offer riders that take care of your long-term care costs which is becoming a lot more common nowadays. (For related reading, see: Long-Term Care 101)

Return of Premium Rider:

With this rider, you pay additional premium so that at the end of the term, your premiums are returned to you in full. In the event of death, your beneficiaries will receive the paid premium amount. Insurers sell this rider with many variations so we make sure you understand the ins and outs before paying the additional premium, especially since this option isn’t for everyone.

Understanding the provisions of your insurance policy are your responsibility. It is our job to educate you on the details. Riders may provide much-needed options so we strongly advise to discuss your options with one of our licensed agents. For more information, please give our licensed agents a call at 425-242-5252 or send us an email to life@dokagency.com.

Frequently asked questions

Does the financial strength of a life insurance company matter?

It depends. In our opinion, a company’s track record (history) and financial strength matter when it comes to whole and universal life policies. Since a company’s ability and – quite frankly – willingness to provide a desirable growth on the cash value for the life of the policy, we want to take a close look at their portfolio. Term and Final Expense policies are very straight forward and leave essentially no risk to the consumer that, for example, the company cannot pay out the benefit or tries to avoid paying a claim. Life insurance is a very strictly regulated insurance product that protects the consumer very well.

Can a life insurance claim be denied?

Yes, but under only a handful of circumstances. If a client passes away during the first two years of a life insurance policy, the insurance company has the right to review the claim. The company would want to make sure that the applicant didn’t lie, for example, about a cancer diagnosis right before applying for the policy. This two-year timeframe, which is also called period of contestability, ensures that applicants cannot simply apply for a life insurance policy right after they have been diagnosed with a (terminal) illness or are planning on committing suicide. However, once the contestability period expires, the life insurance company must pay out a death benefit, no matter the cause of death (including suicide) or if the client lied on the application.

What is the point of life insurance for babies and children?

You have probably seen commercials from a well-known baby food producer about buying a life insurance policy for a baby. The main point is that the policy will accumulate cash and that cash value can be used for the child’s college, wedding, down-payment on a house or whatever else you desire. It is a very good idea to compare these types of policies to college savings plans since life insurance policies have no restrictions as to what the cash value can be used for. More importantly, the right policy may also provide a larger benefit than other saving plans.

Benefits of child life insurance

Locking in a low rate

Due to the child’s age, the rate charged for the policy is as low as they can get during their lifetime. Qualifying for life insurance isn’t a guarantee, especially to qualify with the best available rate.

Lifetime protection

With an in-force policy, as long as the premium payment is made, no health issue or other life event will negatively impact the policy. There are also options for a one-time single pay premium that allows for the fastest cash value growth without needing to make another payment during the life of the child.

Cash-value accumulation

As long as you continue to make the required premium payments, the cash value in your child’s policy has the potential to grow over time. You can also pay off a policy to take advantage of fast cash value growth without making premium payments in the future.

Our Insurance Partners

The great thing about an independent insurance brokerage like the DOK Insurance Agency is that we can offer insurance policies from literally hundreds of insurance companies and still be your advocate to each one of them.

We are an independent insurance brokerage that offers a wide variety of services.

We have seen and gone through a lot of changes since we opened our doors in 2008, but one thing hasn’t changed: We are a family owned business that not only care about our clients but also about the communities that we live in.

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