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What is whole life insurance?

If you are a little confused by some of the terminology surrounding whole life insurance and life cover in general, you may find the following to be of use.

Whole life insurance: It is a form of cover that will pay out in the event of your death - at whatever age that may be (some policies may have upper age limits of 90 or 95 years etc).

What is the difference between life insurance and life assurance?

In modern times, the two terms are becoming increasingly used interchangeably to mean the same thing.

Technically, there is a difference. Life insurance covers events that may or may not happen. This would therefore be appropriate for, say, joint life quotes where the policy ran alongside a mortgage for perhaps 20 years.

During that period of time, the policyholders will typically hope to survive but wish to protect their interests just in case of their premature death.

By contrast, whole life insurance covers an event that is a certainty, the policyholder's eventual death, though when that will happen is not known. That is, therefore, technically life assurance.

What is term life insurance?

This is simply life insurance that is valid for a specific period of time (unlike whole life cover) - commonly called the term.

There are various forms of such cover typically available including level term cover (where the sum payable remains the same for the whole period of the policy) or decreasing term cover (where the sum payable reduces over time because it is typically aimed at covering the reducing debt on a mortgage).

What are joint life quotes?

It is possible to insure a couple based upon their joint lives. Should one or the other die during the term of the policy, it will pay out to the surviving policyholder.

These are commonly seen where there are joint property and/or family commitments.

Why are medical examinations and questionnaires required?

In fact, they may not be though medical declarations are relatively common and some situations may require a medical examination also.

These arise from the basic fact that insurance is meant to offer financial protection against events or circumstances that have not yet happened.

If you are, for example, suffering from a previously diagnosed potentially life-threatening condition at the time you apply for life insurance, then the insurer has a right to know that, as it may significantly change the risk profile of offering you cover.

They may then offer you cover on special terms or they may decide not to cover that particular condition - that will be a matter for discussion between you.

This is perfectly normal but it is important, whether you are taking whole life insurance or any other form of cover, to honestly and completely respond to all health related questions.


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