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The Intelligent Life Blog

Helping millions of Americans become educated
in making intelligent decisions around their life needs

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Are Life Insurance Rates Lower for People with a Healthy Lifestyle?

Sep 13, 2016 6:00:00 PM

You probably (hopefully) grew up learning that it was a good idea to eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise on a daily basis, and get plenty of rest at night. What you likely weren't told was that not only will these activities make you a healthier person who may live longer, but they will also save you money and even make you richer. In fact, according to a new research series from Money, there is a positive correlation between good health and good finances. One of the ways that a healthy lifestyle puts more money in your pocket is by giving you access to lower life insurance rates.

Health Matters With Life Insurance Rates

Life insurance companies investigate your health and habits before agreeing to issue you a policy and setting your rates. The things that are tested and reported include height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, medications, and questions related to habits and daily regimen. Whether or not you smoke is a key factor in determining your life insurance rates.

Aside from the fact that smoking is bad for you, your life insurance rates will be much lower if you ditch the habit before trying to purchase a policy. The savings are significant. According to a NerdWallet study, consumers who quit smoking or don't smoke at all save over $10,000 a year on life insurance premiums. When you quit smoking also factors into your savings. On average, it takes being tobacco-free for five years to attain the same life insurance rates as non-smokers. However, quitting for just a year can bring in savings of as much as 67 percent.




What Should You Do With Life Insurance Proceeds?

Sep 4, 2016 3:30:00 PM

It's often devastating when a loved one passes away, whether suddenly or otherwise. There are details to handle in a time of grief and financial decisions to make that could be far-reaching. Fortunately, many families have planned ahead and have a life insurance policy in place. The question then becomes what to do with the life insurance proceeds once they are paid out.

Payout Options From a Life Insurance Policy

According to the Insurance Information Institute, over $600 billion is paid out in life insurance claims each year. If you are the beneficiary on a life insurance policy, you'll likely be presented with several different payout options for your life insurance proceeds. You can receive the entire amount as a lump sum payment. A "specific income" option allows you to receive a specified amount each month, quarter, or year until the entire death benefit is paid out. The "life income" option provides fixed monthly payments for the rest of your life and will cease upon your death. Other options include receiving interest only payments, advance payments, and partial payments.



Life Insurance Policy Basics

Aug 7, 2016 7:30:00 PM

Choosing which life insurance policy to buy can be confusing. You want to have life insurance to protect your loved ones financially, but there are so many different types, and each of these types has many different options within that type. With a little help, though, it is possible to make a choice that is personalized to meet each person's individual needs.

Term Life Insurance

Term insurance has the lowest cost, so it might be right for those on a tight budget or for those who would like to carry a large amount of insurance without paying high premiums. Because it only pays when the insured dies and has no cash value, it is not an effective savings tool like some other types of insurance can be.




Prepare for the Worst of Times: Purchase a Life Insurance Policy

Jul 29, 2016 4:30:00 PM

You may spend a great deal of time making plans for the important things in life - spending time with loved ones, buying a dream car, starting a business, buying your first home, having a baby, etc. And while health, homeowner's and car insurance are requirements of state and local governments or financial institutions, these policies are a way to prepare for unfortunate "worst of times" scenarios.

Insurance can protect you and your loved ones from costs you couldn't possibly pay on your own. If disaster would strike and leave your home, your health, or even your car destroyed, insurance would provide the needed funds to rebuild, replace, or repair what is needed (or to treat your medical situation for as long as is needed).

The Option of Life Insurance
Life insurance, however, is not required for anyone to buy. It is left up to the individual to make decisions about the purchase as well as the type of insurance and optional coverages. Nearly half (44%) of Americans didn't have any life insurance in 2013, according to LifeHealthPro as cited in TapInto.

What will happen to your family and loved ones if you die without having life insurance in place? How will your spouse replace your income, send the kids to college, or prepare for retirement without your help? For many households, both incomes are required to make ends meet. Life insurance is a tool that can provide that second income if the worst (your death) should happen.

How To Prepare for the Worst
It is also important to have a will that specifies who you want to get your assets if you pass away. You may think it's obvious that your spouse or your kids will inherit your assets, but it's important that you have your financials set up properly in order for this to happen as you wish. Talking to a financial advisor or estate planner will help you get everything in order so that your wishes will be carried out.




Finding the Best Life Insurance for Women

Jul 26, 2016 7:30:00 PM

It's a fact that women have made incredible strides in the past several decades. Whether stay-at-home spouses or primary breadwinners, women today have more opportunities than ever in history. With those opportunities also comes a great deal of responsibility. Interestingly, while both men and women today need life insurance coverage, it's the women who often aren't selecting the best life insurance for their needs.

Why Aren't Women Getting Life Insurance?

Did you know that one hundred years ago women weren't even able to buy life insurance? We've come a long way but, now that women can buy life insurance, they aren't doing it in sufficient numbers. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study, women make up 57 percent of the workforce in this country yet they carry 31 percent less life insurance than men. Because today's households consist of either two breadwinners or a single parent, the need for life insurance on each person in the family is more important than ever.




Millennials Aren't So Different After All: 4 Things They Need to Know About Life Insurance

Jul 12, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Many Millennials believe that they're different and that the tried and true retirement and estate planning principles don't apply to them. While Millennials are unique in many ways, this may not be one of them. As a class, Millennials are the most educated generation. They are also the most optimistic about the future and the most diverse generation in American history. Yet, these differences and optimism could be a setback if they prevent this group from purchasing the one thing that most of them truly need - a life insurance policy. Here are just four things about life insurance that every Millennial should know.


While Millennials are unique in their own way, the need for life insurance cuts across generations.




Top Reasons to Compare Term Life Insurance Quotes to Mortgage Protection Insurance Costs

Jun 22, 2016 5:30:00 PM

You've recently completed the difficult, time-consuming process of purchasing a home. Congratulations!

Now that you're a homeowner, you get to experience other difficult and time-consuming processes that may include  figuring out your new neighborhood, repainting walls and/or recarpeting floors, and searching for new furniture and home accessories to suit your new surroundings.

Oh, and your mailbox will probably be bombarded with offers for mortgage protection insurance. Is that something that you should consider buying?

What Exactly Is Mortgage Protection Insurance?

Mortgage protection insurance is a type of coverage that offers to take over your mortgage payments if a specific event were to occur, such as if you were to lose your job, become disabled and unable to work, or die unexpectedly. The idea is to protect you against the possibility of being unable to make your mortgage payments if something bad happens - which would leave you at risk of losing your home.

Traditionally, this insurance lasts for the same length of time as your mortgage, though it can be purchased for shorter timeframes. Unlike most other types of insurance, mortgage protection insurance is also commonly offered by mortgage banks and other lending institutions.

But is mortgage protection insurance really a better product than, say, standard term life insurance?




Understand the Terminology in Your Life Insurance Policy: 12 Terms You Need to Know

Jun 16, 2016 1:00:00 PM

The most fundamental thing to understand about life insurance is that you need it. Beyond that, it's quite common that people avoid having anything to do with life insurance products because they appear to be filled with unfamiliar terminology that may seem intimidating. Here are just a dozen of the most common insurance policy terms that will help you better understand life insurance and make sense of this process as you plan for your family's future.

Life Insurance Policy Terminology

  • Beneficiary - The beneficiary on a life insurance policy is the person to whom the death benefit will be paid. The amount paid will vary depending on your particular policy and its selected benefit levels.
  • Cash Value - Cash value is the amount that accumulates during the policyholder's lifetime, which can be borrowed against or returned upon termination of the policy.
  • Death Benefit - The death benefit is the amount that is paid out when the insured on the policy dies.
  • Insured - The insured is the person who is covered by the terms of the insurance policy.
  • Lapse - If a policy's renewal premium isn't paid by the end of a given grace period, the policy will "lapse", or there will be a termination of coverage.
  • Policy - The policy is the printed life insurance policy, which is a legal document outlining the terms of your insurance contract.
  • Policy Loan - A policy loan is an advance secured by the cash value component of a permanent life insurance policy.
  • Policy Proceeds - Policy proceeds are the total amount paid on a life insurance policy either at death or if the policy is surrendered. This may be different than death benefit if there is a cash value component.
  • Policyowner - The policyowner is the person who owns the life insurance policy. This is generally the insured but could also be a relative or anyone else with an insurable interest.
  • Premium - The premium is the amount paid to the insurance company in exchange for the life insurance policy.
  • Rider - Also sometimes called an "endorsement," a rider can add additional benefits to an insurance policy such as a waiver of premium or guaranteed insurability.
  • Underwriting - Underwriting is the means by which an insurer decides whether or not to issue a policy and the rates to charge for it based on a set of criteria, such as health, age, and other factors.