What Is Life Insurance? Financial Protection For The Future

Written by

What is life insurance? Turns out it’s much more than just a simple policy. It’s a powerful tool that could offer financial protection and peace of mind for you and your loved ones. 

Life insurance is a financial contract that provides benefits, typically tax-free, to designated beneficiaries upon the insured person’s death. In today’s unpredictable world, having a life insurance plan may be indispensable in securing your family’s financial future.

Before you run out and buy a life insurance policy, it’s important to understand how it works and whether you need it. In this blog post, we will delve into the ins and outs of life insurance.  Also, keep reading to see how you can get personalized offers from our trusted partners through MoneyLion!

What is life insurance and how does life insurance work?

Life insurance is a financial product that provides a form of protection and financial security to individuals and their loved ones. It is designed to pay out a sum of money, known as a death benefit, to the beneficiaries upon the policyholder’s death.

Life insurance works through a simple principle of risk pooling. When you purchase a life insurance policy, you pay regular premium payments to the life insurance company. These payments are based on factors such as your age, health, lifestyle, and the coverage amount you choose. In return, the insurance company promises to pay out a predetermined amount of money to your beneficiaries upon your passing.

There are different types of life insurance policies to choose from, including term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific period, such as 10, 20, or 30 years. If the policyholder dies within the term, the death benefit is paid to the beneficiaries. However, if the policyholder outlives the term, there is no payout at the end.

On the other hand, permanent life insurance provides coverage for your entire lifetime, as long as the premiums are paid. It includes an investment component known as cash value, which grows over time and can be accessed by the policyholder during their lifetime. This type of insurance offers more flexibility but tends to have higher premiums compared to term life insurance.

Aside from which type of policy you buy, the price of life insurance may also depend on:

  • Your policy length
  • The amount of coverage you want your death benefit to pay out
  • How risky you are to insure based on your age, health, and hobbies

What is the purpose of life insurance?

Life insurance is essential because it allows individuals to provide financial protection and ensure their loved ones are taken care of after their death. Death benefits could cover funeral expenses, replace lost income, pay off debts, or create an inheritance. In a way, life insurance may bring peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones will have a financial cushion once you’re no longer around.

Unlike car or medical insurance, your life insurance payment is not linked to a particular expense. Instead, your benefit functions as a financial safety net and temporary income for your family. Your beneficiaries may use your death benefit to pay for anything, including:

  • Your end-of-life care
  • Funeral expenses
  • Rent or mortgages
  • Education costs
  • Groceries
  • Utility bills
  • Unpaid debts or loans
  • Daily living expenses

Does my life insurance kick in right away?

Depending on your policy and insurer, your life insurance payment benefits may kick in immediately. However, in some cases, there may be a waiting period before the death benefit takes effect. This can be up to five years, but the average is usually one or two years. Some companies do offer policies with no waiting period, though these could come at a higher cost.

The best thing to do is to shop around and compare different life insurance coverage policies. Make sure to read the terms and conditions thoroughly to get a full grasp of your benefits.

What is not covered by life insurance?

Life insurance pays out the death benefit following most natural and accidental deaths, such as illnesses, car accidents, or workplace incidents. But some cases may not qualify for payout at all, or if they do, only for reduced payouts.

Such cases may include:

  • Application fraud
  • Suicide within the first few years of opening a policy
  • A beneficiary murdering the policyholder
  • Dying during risky activities such as skydiving, auto racing, or mountain climbing
  • Dying while working as a logger, offshore oil rig worker, or underground miner
  • Dying from illegal activities

Note that in the event of deaths resulting from risky activities, your beneficiaries may still qualify for life insurance if you pay higher premiums. But some insurers may tack on an exclusion that prevents payouts if you die while working or doing a dangerous activity.

Can you be denied life insurance?

You might be surprised to learn that life insurance can be denied or even canceled. Common reasons to be denied coverage include:

  • Old age
  • Poor physical health
  • A history of mental health issues
  • Risky lifestyle choices, hobbies, or occupations
  • Having a criminal record
  • Having a bad driving record

Additionally, your insurer may cancel your life insurance policy in limited cases including nonpayment of your premium or application fraud.

Do you have to have good credit to get life insurance?

Did you know that having bad credit could make it difficult to get life insurance coverage? As of 2018, 90% of U.S. life insurance companies were found using or considering using credit-based scoring. While a low credit score doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be denied coverage, it could make your premiums more expensive.

If you’re worried about your credit score affecting your eligibility for life insurance, you’ll want to dedicate time to improving your credit score. You can accomplish this by focusing on these actions.

PRO TIP! Building your credit is easier than you think. It starts with knowing and understanding your score, creating goals, and then monitoring your credit as you take steps to build it.

Pay your bills on time

One of the most significant factors affecting your credit score is your payment history. Pay your bills, including credit card payments, loans, and utilities, on time. Late payments could  have a negative impact on your credit score.

Reduce credit card balances

High credit utilization, which means carrying high balances compared to your credit limits, can harm your credit scores. Aim to keep your credit card balances low and pay them off in full each month if possible. Reducing outstanding debt could improve your credit utilization ratio.

MoneyLion helps you find personal loan offers based on your background and info you provide. You can get matched with offers for up to $50,000 from top providers. You can compare rates, terms, and fees from different lenders and choose the best offer for you. 

Build a diverse credit mix

A mix of different types of credit accounts, such as credit cards, installment loans (auto loans or personal loans), and retail accounts could be important. Demonstrating responsible management of various types of credit could boost your creditworthiness.

Stay in the know on your credit report

Regularly review your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) for errors or inaccuracies. If you find discrepancies, dispute them and have them corrected promptly. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year from each bureau through AnnualCreditReport.com.

Avoid opening too many new accounts

Each time you apply for credit, a hard inquiry is made on your credit report. Too many hard inquiries in a short period could lower your credit score. Try to be selective about applying for new credit accounts and only open accounts when necessary.

Advantages of life insurance

Life insurance comes with several key advantages. Take a look at some of the most common. 

Financial protection for loved ones

One of the primary benefits of life insurance is that it provides a tax-free death benefit to the policy’s beneficiaries upon the insured person’s death. This payout could help replace the policyholder’s income, cover funeral expenses, pay off debts, and provide financial support to surviving family members. It can help deliver peace of mind to yourself and your family as they know that they will be covered in the event that the worst of the worst happens.

Enhanced estate planning and wealth transfer

Life insurance is a strategic tool for estate planning, allowing for efficient and tax-advantaged wealth transfer. It could help individuals pass on their assets and wealth to heirs or beneficiaries while minimizing estate taxes. Life insurance proceeds are generally not subject to income tax or probate, making the transfer of assets more efficient and less costly.

Peace of mind

Life insurance provides peace of mind to policyholders, knowing that their loved ones will be financially secure in the event of their passing. It could alleviate worries about the financial impact of unexpected events and allow individuals to focus on their families and personal well-being.

Disadvantages of life insurance

Life insurance is not immune to potential drawbacks. Take a look at the three main disadvantages of seeking out a life insurance policy.

Potentially high cost

Life insurance premiums may be relatively expensive, especially for policies with significant coverage amounts or certain types of coverage, such as whole life insurance. The cost of premiums could strain the budgets of individuals or families, particularly if they have limited financial resources.


Life insurance policies may be complex and difficult to understand, especially for individuals who are not well-versed in insurance terminology and concepts. Choosing the right policy can also be challenging, and policyholders may not fully grasp the details of their coverage. Make sure to discuss the details with your potential life insurance provider and ask as many questions as you need to ensure you understand the ins and outs of your specific policy.

Potential Lapse

If you miss a premium payment, your insurer may cancel your life insurance policy altogether. This can happen if financial circumstances change, making it difficult to afford premiums, or if you forget to pay the premiums. A lapsed policy may result in the forfeiture of accumulated cash value and the loss of death benefit protection. If this happens, you’ll likely have to reapply and face the possibility of paying more for your new policy.

Life insurance vs. annuity

Life insurance and annuities are both financial products designed to provide security for the future, but they serve distinct purposes. Life insurance is a tool enabling people to financially protect their loved ones and ensure that they are taken care of after they are gone. The death benefits could  provide funds for funeral expenses, income replacement, and any outstanding debts.

On the other hand, annuities are geared towards providing an income stream during retirement. Annuities are essentially a contract between an individual and an insurance company. When you purchase an annuity, you’re essentially investing a lump sum of money in exchange for guaranteed regular payments for a fixed period of time or for the rest of your life. Annuities offer a way to supplement your retirement income and provide a stable source of funds for living expenses throughout your retirement years.

Another key difference between life insurance and annuities is the way they accumulate cash value. Permanent life insurance policies, in contrast to term life insurance policies, build up a cash value over time that you can borrow against or withdraw. This cash value may be used for various purposes, such as paying for education, supplementing retirement income, or funding emergencies. Annuities, on the other hand, do not typically accumulate cash value. Instead, they provide a guaranteed income stream based on the amount of money you have invested.

Both life insurance and annuities could be important tools in financial planning. Make sure to consult with a professional to understand whether life insurance or annuities or both would be a worthwhile solution for your situation.

Building Your Financial Safety Net One Step at a Time

Life insurance could be a powerful financial tool, offering protection and peace of mind. It serves as a safety net for loved ones, ensuring that they are financially secure in the face of unexpected events. While life insurance comes in various forms, the fundamental goal remains the same: to provide for those who depend on you when you can no longer do so.

Whether it’s covering final expenses, replacing lost income, or facilitating wealth transfer, life insurance may help you safeguard your family’s financial future. However, understanding the different types of policies available and tailoring your coverage to your unique needs and goals is the key. Make sure to consult with a professional to understand whether a life insurance policy is the right fit for your situation.


Can I adjust my life insurance coverage in the future?

Yes, you may be able to adjust your life insurance coverage in the future to better align with your changing financial needs. It will ultimately depend on the type of policy you have and the terms and conditions set by your insurance company. Make sure to reach your contract and get in touch with your company to understand your options for changing coverage. 

How do I choose the right life insurance provider?

Make sure to assess your coverage needs and compare insurance quotes from multiple companies. You’ll also want to research a provider’s financial stability and customer service reputation, to ensure they’re legitimate and trustworthy. 

Is it possible to borrow against a life insurance policy?

Yes, it’s possible to borrow against the cash value of certain life insurance policies to fund things like education or even emergency expenses. However, whether you’re able to or not will depend on your specific policy. Make sure to get in touch with your life insurance provider for all the relevant details. 

Sign Up
Sign Up

Discover effortless investing

We’ll help grow your money using the same techniques trusted by some of the countries’ wealthiest investors, even if you start with $5. Get your personalized, fully managed portfolio now.

Sign Up