Life insurance: What’s in it for me while I’m still alive?

Let me take you on a journey.

You’ve just purchased a life insurance policy and it felt like slipping into a soothing tub of adult responsibility. (Huh?)

You know! The type of satisfying feeling that only comes from finally tackling something you’ve been putting off for a long time or flossing two nights in a row.

When you lay your head on your pillow, you sleep soundly knowing your family is protected should anything happen. Peace of mind never felt so good!

Policy in hand, you file it away with your important financial documents. And as you slide it into the folder, you realize “Huh, if I’m lucky, my family will never have to use this”.

Then your monthly premium is deducted from your account. And this repeats each month until eventually the initial contentment you felt starts to fade just a little and you begin to wonder – “but what’s in it for me?”

Aside from the security of knowing your family is protected, it can sometimes feel like you’re not getting anything tangible from your life policy. After all, life insurance isn’t really meant for you – it’s for your family or dependents. But while you’re still here, you might be surprised to learn that your insurance is an asset that may open a lot of opportunities for you.

Here are a few of the ways that your life insurance policy may benefit you now, while you’re still alive.

1. A cash value policy that could benefit you down the road

These types of policies have the word “cash” in it, and this article is about what’s in it for me while I’m alive – so it seems like we’re off to a good start here.

But what does a ‘cash value policy’ actually mean? Simply put, it’s a permanent life insurance policy (provides lifetime coverage) that has a cash value component (accumulates value during the policyholder’s life).

There are two types of cash value policies: whole life and universal life.

Whole life policies typically provide a guaranteed cash value. And some whole life policies pay a dividend. Your dividends can be used to purchase additional insurance or you can leave them untouched to accumulate interest. You may be able to access the cash value by taking a loan out against your policy or withdrawing the dividends.

With a universal life policy, a portion of your premium payment goes towards the cost of your insurance and the remaining balance accumulates in a cash-value account. This account generally earns modest interest and is designed to be tax-sheltered. You may be able to access your money by taking a loan out against your policy or making a withdrawal from the cash-value account.

2. Riders that protect you from unexpected risks

Riders have nothing to do with cowboys or motorcycles (like I had originally hoped). But don’t be disappointed because in the world of life insurance, they’re still pretty exciting.

A rider is essentially an add-on to your basic life insurance policy that allows you to further customize your coverage. It enables you to purchase additional benefits that will protect you today and in the future as your coverage needs change and evolve.

And you guessed it, some riders even offer you benefits that you can tap into now if you need to. Here are a few examples:

  • Accelerated death benefit riders – protection if you get sick

In certain circumstances, this benefit gives you the option to accelerate a portion of your eligible death benefit and receive a payment.

Think of it kind of like an advance on your death benefit – you can access some of the money that would have been paid to your beneficiaries when you pass away. The rest is kept untouched to be paid out to your beneficiaries, just like you had originally planned when you purchased your life insurance policy.

Usually, this benefit is accessed by policyholders that are diagnosed with a terminal, critical or chronic illness. The money can help relieve the burden of paying for short or long-term care needs, like medicines or nursing homes.

  • Disability riders – protection if you become disabled

Your earning potential is one of your greatest assets! So you definitely want to protect that.

Think about it – what if you became unable to earn an income? That can have a severe impact on you and your family.

Disability income protection can provide you with a regular monthly income benefit to help prevent total disability due to an accident or illness from leading to financial disaster.

This is a perfect example of how life insurance really can protect you and your family throughout your life, not just after your death.

  • Health benefit riders – health protection from natural disasters

Part of the reason why we purchase life insurance is to prepare for the unexpected. And natural disasters definitely fall into this category.

Some health benefit riders are designed to pay a benefit that you can use to help pay certain family health expenses that may occur as a result of some natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

You don’t know when or where a natural disaster might strike, but if it does this rider can help you get back on your feet.

3. Member Benefits that give you more

Here’s where I shamelessly promote Foresters Financial. But I have a good reason!

Because at Foresters one of the ways we do more for our members and their families is through our unique package of member benefits1, many of which are complimentary. Some of these benefits include:

  • Competitive scholarship opportunities for you, your kids or your grandchildren
  • Free tickets to fun family events like movies and major league sports
  • Opportunities to volunteer and make a difference in your community
  • Personalized financial counseling services
  • Discounted expert legal services
  • Emergency assistance grants in the event that you’re affected by a disaster

You can see how there’s a lot of value that you – yes, you – can access. And over time these benefits can really add up.

Check out all of the benefits that Foresters Financial has to offer.

So the next time you find yourself quoting Janet Jackson by asking your life insurance policy “what have you done for me lately?”, remember that in addition to protecting you and your family throughout your life it can also help you have fun and give back to your community.

Also read:

Five tips for preparing for your first meeting with a potential life insurance agent

Starting a relationship with a life insurance agent

Busted! 8 False myths about life insurance

Your top 5 life insurance questions answered

Why would I get life insurance if it’s not mandatory?

414217 CAN/US (09/16)

¹Description of member benefits that you may receive assumes that you are a Foresters Financial member. Foresters member benefits are non-contractual, subject to benefit specific Eligibility requirements,  definitions and limitations and may be changed or cancelled without notice.

The information contained herein is not intended as a recommendation of a specific insurance, security, estates, tax, financial or investment strategy and is not legal advice. Rather, it is intended to be general and informational in nature. Speak with your Representative or the appropriate financial or legal professional to discuss your specific situation and financial goals.

Foresters Financial and Foresters are trade names and trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters (a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9) and its subsidiaries. Life insurance and annuities are issued by The Independent Order of Foresters and Foresters Life Insurance and Annuity Company and distributed by Foresters Financial Services Inc. and independent agents.

0 2683
Jennifer Peckett

Jenn has a background in partner management and content marketing. She loves to tell stories through a variety of mediums including blog articles, videos and media materials. Jenn covers community outreach and personal finance topics. She enjoys putting a personal spin on her articles to help make finance topics relatable – while still educational!