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Finding a Low Cost
Life Insurance Policy

After you have decided which kind of life insurance fits your needs, look for a good buy. Your chances of finding a good buy are better if you use two types of index numbers that have been developed to aid in shopping for life insurance. One is called the Surrender Cost Index and the other is the Net Payment Cost Index. It will be worth your time to try to understand how these indexes are used, but in any event, use them only for comparing the relative costs of similar policies. LOOK FOR POLICIES WITH LOW COST INDEX NUMBERS.

 

What Is Cost?

Cost is the difference between what you pay and what you get back. If you pay a premium for life insurance and get nothing back, your cost for death protection is the premium. If you pay a premium and get something back later on, such as a cash value, your cost is smaller than the premium.
The cost of some policies can also be reduced by dividends; these are called "participating" policies. Companies may tell you what their current dividends are, but the size of future dividends is unknown today and cannot be guaranteed. Dividends actually paid are set each year by the company.
Some policies do not pay dividends. These are called guaranteed cost or nonparticipating policies. Every feature of a guaranteed cost policy is fixed so that you know in advance what your future cost will be.
The premiums and cash values of a participating policy are guaranteed, but the dividends are not. Premiums for participating policies are typically higher than for guaranteed cost policies, but the cost to you may be higher or lower, depending on the dividends actually paid.

What Are Cost Indexes?

In order to compare the cost of policies, you need to look at:

  1. Premiums

  2. Cash values
  3. Dividends

Cost indexes use one or more of these factors to give you a convenient way to compare relative costs of similar policies. When you compare costs, an adjustment must be made to take into account that money is paid and received at different times. It is not enough to just add up the premiums you will pay and to subtract the cash values and dividends you expect to get back. These indexes take care of the arithmetic for you. Instead of having to add, subtract, multiply and divide many numbers yourself, you just compare the index numbers which you can get from life insurance agents and companies:

  1. LIFE INSURANCE SURRENDER COST INDEX
    This index is useful if you consider the level of the cash values to be of primary importance to you. It helps you compare costs if at some future point in time, such as 10 or 20 years, you were to surrender the policy and take its cash value.

  2. LIFE INSURANCE NET PAYMENT COST INDEX
    This index is useful if your main concern is the benefits that are to be paid at your death and if the level of cash values is of secondary importance to you. It helps you compare costs at some future point in time, such as 10 or 20 years, if you continue paying premiums on your policy and do not take its cash value.

There is another number called the Equivalent Level Annual Dividend. It shows. the part dividends play in determining the cost index of a participating policy. Adding a policy's Equivalent Level Annual Dividend to its cost index allows you to compare total costs of similar policies before deducting dividends. However, if you make any cost comparisons of a participating policy with a nonparticipating policy, remember that the total cost of the participating policy will be reduced by the dividends, but the cost of the nonparticipating policy will not change.

How Do I Use Cost Indexes?

The most important thing to remember when using cost indexes is that a policy with a small index number is generally a better buy than a comparable policy with a larger index number. The following rules are also important:

  1. Cost comparisons should only be made between similar plans of life insurance. Similar plans are those which provide essentially the same basic benefits and require premium payments for approximately the same period of time. The closer policies are to being identical, the more reliable the cost comparison will be.

  2. Compare index numbers only for the kind of policy, for your age, and for the amount you intend to buy. Since no one company offers the lowest cost for all types of insurance at all ages and for all amounts of insurance, it is important that you get the indexes for the actual policy, age and amount which you intend to buy. Just because a "shopper's guide" tells you that one company's policy is a good buy for a particular age and amount, you should not assume that all of that company's policies are equally good buys.
  3. Small differences in index numbers could be offset by other policy features, or differences in the quality of service you may expect from the company or its agent. Therefore, when you find small differences in cost indexes, your choice should be based on something other than cost.
  4. In any event, you will need other information on which to base your purchase decision. Be sure you can afford the premiums, and that you understand its cash values, dividends and death benefits. You should also make a judgment on how well the life insurance company or agent will provide service in the future, to you as a policyholder.
  5. These life insurance cost indexes apply to new policies and should not be used to determine whether you should drop a policy you have already owned for awhile, in favor of a new one. If such a replacement is suggested, you should ask for information from the company which issued the old policy before you take action.

Although the indexing procedure may appear to be complicated it is important for you to understand as rates on similar coverage vary dramatically. Some people are able to save upto 50% on their life insurance. Shop around on your own or talk to an independent insurance agent to make sure you get a plan that's right for you. For more information indexing and rates on life insurance visit our specialist site below.

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