Whether you are a new parent engaged in financial planning for your child’s future or a senior implementing an estate plan, life insurance is a tool that many people use to ensure the financial security of their loved ones.  

What types of life insurance are available?

Basically, life insurance policies can be divided into two broad categories: permanent and term.  Permanent life insurance provides coverage until the death of a policyholder regardless of age as long as the insured continues paying premiums.  This form of life insurance is typically an estate planning tool that involves an investment component to the policy.  Because of this investment function, which can be used as a wealth transfer mechanism, the premiums are usually higher for permanent life insurance.

Term life insurance provides coverage against premature death for a fixed term, such as twenty years.  Once the end of the term period has been reached, the insured generally is relieved of the obligation of making premium payments, and the coverage ceases.  Term policies are intended for income replacement in the event of the death of a family breadwinner rather than as a mechanism for inter-generational wealth transfers.

How does life insurance function?

Life insurance provides a way to transfer wealth or to hedge against the risk of a premature death.  If you die, life insurance provides financial security, so your family can continue making mortgage payments, college tuition payments and other expenses necessary to continue your family’s lifestyle without the benefit of your income.  A life insurance policy is essentially a contract between the policyholder and the insurer agreeing that if the policyholder makes premium payments the insurance company will pay out a preset amount to an insured’s beneficiaries.

How do you know that you need life insurance?

If you and your spouse have financial obligations like a mortgage that depend on your income for continued payment, life insurance is a way to facilitate payment of that obligation if you pass away.

Can you rely on social security benefits instead of life insurance?

Survivor benefits under a social security policy are only paid if the surviving spouse has dependent children under the age of 18 or if the surviving spouse is age 60 or above.  This criteria means families may face a considerable period of time without social security benefits.  Even if your surviving loved ones qualify for social security survivor benefits, the government imposes a “family cap”, so the amount received does not meet the needs of most families.

Why do you need to be aware of the contestability period?

This period is important because the insurance company can rescind the policy based on material misrepresentations during this period.  In Florida and most other states, the contestability period is two years.  When an insured passes away during the contestability period, the insurance company will investigate the information provided in the application for insurance.  The insurance company has the burden of proving that incorrect or missing information would have impacted the decision to issue coverage or substantially affected the premium amount.  If the insurance company can prove this, then the claim will be denied and payment under the policy will not be made.  Always consult with an experiennced life insurance claims lawyer  in the face of a life insurance claims denial.

Can a life insurance policy be cancelled without notice?

No, the insurance company must provide written notice to the policyholder if the policy is in jeopardy of cancellation because of non-payment of premiums.  The life insurance company must provide notice to the policyholder before the expiration of the grace period regarding the need to make the premiums current.

You can reach Miami Life Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.
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