DARIEN, Ill., May 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Life Quotes, Inc., the Internet life insurance brokerage that allows you to compare the rates of 30 leading life insurance companies in seconds and have the freedom to buy from any company, wants to thank military service members for their sacrifices and remind them to ensure their families are financially protected by updating their current life insurance plan.
Armed services members can be deployed without much advanced warning, often leaving them with little time to address their family's financial affairs. And according to the latest estimates issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, there have been 4,769 United States and Coalition casualties in Iraq since the war began in 2003. The number of U.S. and Coalition forces casualties in Afghanistan reached 2,446 in May 2011.
If a family is just starting out, insurance experts suggest buying a term life policy to cover no less than ten times the household income since the rates per thousand of coverage on these policies are much lower than other forms of life insurance—especially if you are young and in good health.
- A healthy, 30 year-old male can purchase a 10-year, $1 million term life insurance policy for only $260 per year.
- A healthy, 30 year-old female can purchase the same policy for only $258 a year.
Term life insurance is also extraordinarily popular with families today because it pays for death by any cause at any time in any place, except for suicide within the first two policy years (one year in some states). And for men and women in uniform, the industry's old "war exclusion" is almost entirely gone from the marketplace. Every application asks about future plans to travel overseas, so expect to get postponed or declined if you know that you are headed directly into a combat zone. But other than that specialized exposure, military men and women now pay the same low rates as civilian applicants.
The following is a list of some of the factors service men and women should consider when buying a life insurance policy:
Decide how much you need
Insurance experts suggest making a list of your ongoing expenses and have your insurance agent put together a life insurance needs analysis.
A life insurance needs analysis determines how much coverage your family would need to pay off their debt and continue their present lifestyle if something were to happen to the primary income earner.
Which policy best fits the needs of your family
Not all life insurance policies are alike, and some may be more conducive to the needs of your family than others.
Term life insurance is typically the most affordable option. A standard term life insurance policy provides coverage for an initial "term" which can range from 10 to 30 years. After the term is up, you may have the option to renew the policy without an exam. And for some set period of time, you can also convert the term life policy to a permanent life insurance plan, again, with no exam required. In most cases, the policy can be converted up to age 75. It's these flexible features, combined with low cost, that makes term life insurance popular with young families.
Also, as your family grows and your needs change, you may want to convert a term policy to a whole life policy without having to take a paramedical examination. But be prepared to pay higher premiums in this case. A permanent life insurance plan also builds cash value, which can be withdrawn or borrowed for immediate expenses.
Shop around to save money
Prices vary in the marketplace among competing insurers for the same coverage, so it's a good idea to research each company to see which carrier has the best deal.
There are several leading online life insurance price comparison sites such as www.lifequotes.com, www.selectquote.com, matrixdirect.com and www.efinancial.com that can show you competitive life insurance prices and help you determine which policy best fits your budget. While the U.S. military provides health and life insurance, some private insurers have become more attuned to the needs of military service members. Most commercial life insurance carriers offer "Private Military Term Life" coverage for military members who want to supplement their life insurance coverage provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Whether you decide on a policy provided by the U.S. military or a private plan from a commercial insurer, there are a number of insurance options for soldiers to choose from.
In times of war, often retired or discharged members of the military will be involuntary recalled to active duty.
If you already have commercial coverage as a civilian, it is imperative that you contact your agent or broker and ask about how your reenlistment will impact your coverage. Rather than ending your coverage or allowing your policy to lapse, ask your agent if the company would be willing to suspend your coverage while you are away.
Should you look out for war exclusions?
You should read any new or existing life insurance policies carefully to be certain that there is nothing that can stand in the way of protecting your family in the event of your death.
There is often talk of a "war exclusion provision" on an insurance policy. This simply means that the insurance company will not pay benefits to the beneficiaries of the policy if the policyholder died from war-related injuries. However, according to Brian Ashe, CLU and spokesperson for the Life Foundation and president of Brian Ashe and Associates, Ltd. in Lisle, Ill., war exclusions no longer exist in commercial life insurance policies… if the applicant is not being deployed to a hot spot. And since all U.S. life insurers ask about intended foreign travel, most companies may decline or suspend coverage or charge you a higher rate for insurance if you are heading into a war zone.
"There are a number of things that can happen if you are member of the military applying for life insurance, " says Ashe. "Most companies will write new lines of insurance on active military personnel, unless they are being sent to a place like Afghanistan. In that case, they would wait until the military member leaves the war zone before writing a policy for them."
Ashe adds that everything depends on what happens at the time of application. If the military member applied for life insurance and is not being sent to a war zone at that time, and the application goes through and six months later he or she is sent to Iraq, the policy will cover them. However, if the military member applying for insurance cannot disclose the location where they are being sent, the life insurance company will not write the policy. Ashe says that life insurance companies commonly take location, rank and pay guidelines into consideration when they write an insurance policy.
Free burial for military veterans
Veterans are eligible for "Military Funeral Honors" if they were not dishonorably discharged from active duty or if they were members of the reserve.
The ceremony consists of folding and presentation of the American flag by two uniformed members of the military and a musical send off of Taps, which is traditionally played at the end of the memorial service.
Can you renew early or have your premiums paid for through an automatic debit?
Some insurance plans will accommodate members of the military on active duty to ensure that their policy is renewed once the term ends and that the premiums are paid on time.
Activation of the policy
Ask your agent when the coverage goes into effect.
If you failed to find out, the worst-case scenario would be for your family to learn that your policy wasn't in effect yet when you were deployed and something happened to you that would void the benefit.
Policy Expiration and Lapse
Insurance companies determine who qualifies for coverage and how much a policyholder will pay for insurance based on payment history and continuity of coverage.
Therefore, it is critical that military service members make the proper arrangements with their insurer to make certain that their premiums are paid on time if they are deployed overseas.
For more, see "Life Insurance Tips For Members Of The Military" http://www.lifequotes.com/articles/life-insurance-tips-for-members-of-the-military/
About Life Quotes, Inc.
Originally founded in 1984, Life Quotes, Inc. owns and operates a comprehensive consumer information service and companion insurance brokerage service that caters to the needs of self-directed insurance shoppers. Visitors to the Company's website, www.lifequotes.com, are able to obtain instant car, life, health, home and business insurance quotes, and have the freedom to buy online or by phone from any company shown. Life Quotes, Inc. generates revenues from receipt of industry-standard commissions, including back-end bonus commissions and volume-based contingent bonus commissions that are paid by participating insurance companies. We also generate revenues from the sale of website traffic and insurance leads to various third parties.
SOURCE Life Quotes, Inc.
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