Life insurance is there to pay for funeral and burial costs, right?
Yes! That’s correct. And many Americans understand that. In fact, it’s the No. 1 reason people state for having life insurance, according to the 2021 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA.
This year, the study also dove more deeply into the perceptions and attitudes of the Black community through a special report, “Black Americans: Life Insurance Attitudes and Ownership.” The report found that Black Americans have an even deeper appreciation for what life insurance does when someone passes away. Around half of Americans (48%) say they have life insurance to cover final expenses, and that number surges to 66% for Black Americans.
But that’s only part of the story.
What happens to the family — the home, the bills, the education for the kids, the planned retirement — if a key source of income disappeared with the death of their loved one?
How do those bills and dreams get paid for tomorrow, the next day, next year and into the future?
That is what life insurance is there for, too. But many people don’t realize the full scope of what a robust life insurance plan can do longer-term. In fact, only a third of Americans say a major reason to own life insurance is to cover lost wages or income (35%) and that number is a bit lower for Black Americans (31%).
Here are things that people can use life insurance to cover:
- funeral and burial costs
- medical expenses
- mortgage or rent
- car loans
- credit card debt
- estate settlement costs
Ongoing expenses and bills
- health care and insurance
- continuing a family business
- College costs
Living Benefits of Life Insurance
Beyond replacing income, your policy can have living benefits. Permanent life insurance (versus a term life insurance policy) accumulates cash value over time. And you can use that cash for whatever you like: to help buy a home, cover an emergency expense or even supplement your retirement income — no questions asked! (But remember that withdrawing or borrowing funds from your policy will reduce its cash value and death benefit, and may have tax implications, if not repaid.) In addition, life insurance can help you leave a financial legacy for your house of worship, alma mater or any other organization you love.
Keep in mind that life insurance is so much more than “burial insurance.” It truly can be the gift that keeps on giving long after you are gone. You can explore the life insurance 101 section of this site for more information or contact an insurance professional to help you find coverage that fits your budget.