The most basic Ferndale life insurance is an annual renewable term policy. Each year, the premium is a little higher as a person ages. The insurance companies designed a level premium policy, which stopped the annual premium increases for policyholders. The insurers basically added up all the premiums from age 0 to age 100 and then divided by 100. That means that in the early years of the policy, the policyholder pays in more money that it takes to fund the pure insurance cost, and then in later years the premium is less than the pure insurance cost.
The same level term product can be designed for terms of any length, like 5, 10, 20, 25 or 30 year terms. The method of premium averaging is much the same in each case.
But this new product caused some problems. Insurers know that the vast majority of policyholders do not keep a policy for life. Consequently the level term policyholders were paying future premiums and then cancelling their policies. The insurance companies were delighted because they got to keep the money. But over time, they developed the concept of Cash Value.
Cash Value Insurance
With Cash Value insurance, a portion of the unused premium you spend is credited to an account tied to your policy. The money is not yours...it belongs entirely to the insurance company. If you cancel your policy and request a refund, they will refund that money to you. Otherwise, you have other choices:
1. Use the cash value to buy more insurance
2. Use the cash value to pay existing premiums
3. You may borrow the money at interest
4. If you die, the insurance company keeps the cash value and only pays the face amount of the insurance policy.
So, does this cash value product make sense? My response is "NO!"
Cash Value Life Insurance comes in lots of other names, such as:
- Whole Life
- Universal Life
- Variable Life
- Interest Sensitive Life
- Non-Participating Life (no dividends)
- Participating Life (pays dividends)
Many life insurance agents and companies tout their products as an investment product. But cash value insurance is not an investment. Investment dollars and insurance premiums should never be combined into one product. And investment dollars should NEVER be invested with an insurance company. They are middle men. They will take your investment and invest it themselves, and keep the difference.
Think about the methods that agents use to sell life insurance, and compare them to any other type of insurance. What you'll see is that life insurance sales tactics and techniques are ridiculous when compared to other insurance products.
Would you ever consider buying a car insurance policy, or homeowners policy, or business insurance policy in which you paid extra premium that the insurance company kept, or made you borrow from them? But, curiously, life insurance agents have been wildly successful convincing otherwise intelligent people that cash value life insurance is a good product to buy.