Life insurance is a contract between the policy owner and the insurer, where the insurer agrees to pay a sum of money upon the occurrence of the insured individual’s or individuals’ death or other event, such as terminal illness or critical illness to the designated beneficiaries if an insured event occurs which is covered by the policy. In return, the policy owner agrees to pay a stipulated amount called a premium at regular intervals or in lump sums. There may be designs in some countries where bills and death expenses plus catering for after funeral expenses should be included in Policy Premium. In the United States, the predominant form simply specifies a lump sum to be paid on the insured’s demise. The value for the policyholder is derived, not from an actual claim event, rather it is the value derived from the ‘peace of mind’ experienced by the policyholder, due to the negating of adverse financial consequences caused by the death of the Life Assured.
Types of Life Insurance
Life insurance may be divided into two basic classes: temporary and permanent; or the following subclasses: term, universal, whole life, and endowment life insurance.
- Term insurance
- Permanent life insurance
- Whole life coverage
- Universal life coverage
Upon the insured’s death, the insurer requires acceptable proof of death before it pays the claim. The normal minimum proof required is a death certificate and the insurer’s claim form completed, signed (and typically notarized). If the insured’s death is suspicious and the policy amount is large, the insurer may investigate the circumstances surrounding the death before deciding whether it has an obligation to pay the claim. Proceeds from the policy may be paid as a lump sum or as an annuity, which is paid over time in regular recurring payments for either a specified period or for a beneficiary’s lifetime.