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Term insurance or life insurance: Which is right for you?

Term insurance or life insurance Which is right for you

When it comes to securing the financial future of your family members, making appropriate insurance plan decisions is a must. In India, two popular options stand out: term insurance and life insurance. First of all, what makes them different and what is the most suitable for your purpose? Now, let’s explore the details of both modes to help you make the right choice.

Understanding term insurance: Term insurance is an example of life insurance that is for a defined period of time, and it is called the policy term. In the event that the insured individual dies during the term, the beneficiaries are paid a death benefit. Nevertheless, if the insured lives till the end of the term, there is no maturity amount. It is a pure protection plan meant to guarantee financial security to your beneficiaries in case of your unplanned death.

Understanding life insurance: On the contrary, life insurance protects you throughout your lifetime. In addition to a death benefit, it has a savings or investment component that is known as the cash value. This savings value grows with time, and it can be used for various purposes like loans, and withdrawals or even can be used as a source of income in retirement.

Key distinctions between term insurance and life insurance – 

  • Duration of coverage: The term insurance covers the period from 5 years to 30 years. It is an agreement; you pay the premiums, and the insurer promises to pay a predetermined sum to your beneficiaries if you die during the policy term. However, a life insurance policy extends the coverage from the beginning to the end of the insured individual’s life. The policy remains active as long as the premiums are paid. The death benefit is paid out regardless of when the insured person expires.
  • Premiums: Term insurance often has a cheaper premium than life insurance. This affordability is one of the primary reasons why people frequently go the term insurance compare route before selecting a plan. Life insurance premiums, on the other hand, are often greater because of the savings/investment component, which elevates it above the level of a death benefit policy.
  • Death benefit: Term insurance pays out a death benefit only if the insured dies within the policy period. If the insured survives the period, no benefit is payable. However, life insurance provides a death benefit regardless of when the insured dies, as long as the policy is current. This makes life insurance a more reliable solution for long-term financial security.
  • Maturity benefit: If the insured lives out the policy term, he or she receives no maturity benefit. This is because term insurance is purely a risk-management tool. A life insurance policy, on the other hand, contains a maturity benefit that pays out a lump sum if the insured lives longer than the policy term.
  • Investment component: Term insurance is simply for financial protection and has no investment component. On the other hand, a portion of the life insurance premium is used to create a savings account or investment that increases over time. This component promotes wealth growth, making it a popular choice for consumers looking for both protection and savings.
  • Flexibility: Term insurance allows you to choose the policy term and coverage amount that best meets your needs. It may be adjusted to meet your specific financial needs while also protecting your dependents. Life insurance, on the other hand, offers greater flexibility in terms of premium payment alternatives and the capacity to tailor the policy to your own financial objectives, resulting in a more personalised approach to insurance and investing.
  • Risk coverage: Term insurance is appropriate for those wanting pure risk coverage at a reasonable price. It provides extensive coverage for a reasonable price. However, life insurance is appropriate for people seeking both risk protection and long-term savings/investment rewards. It offers a comprehensive financial solution by combining protection and savings.
  • Tax benefits: Income tax exemption is available for both term insurance and life insurance. Premiums paid towards term insurance are tax deductible u/s 80C of the Income Tax Act. Furthermore, premiums under Section 80C and maturity proceeds under Section 10(10D) of our Income Tax Act, 1961 provide a tax advantage, thereby turning it into a tax-efficient investment instrument.
  • Surrender value:  Term insurance does not accrue any surrender value because of the absence of a savings/investment component. On the other hand, a life insurance policy builds up a surrender value which can be recovered by surrendering the policy before maturity. This feature eliminates uncertainties in case of financial emergencies.
  • Coverage amount: Term insurance permits high coverage amounts at much lower premiums and is ideal for providing significant financial protection. However, the covered amount in a life insurance policy may be limited due to the savings/investment component included in the premium calculation.
  • Policy term options: Term insurance allows you to select a term that suits your particular preferences whether it is short- or long-term cover. Despite this, life insurance usually has fixed terms, but some policies may provide some degree of flexibility on this.
  • Riders and add-ons: Both term insurance and life insurance are optional riders such as critical illness cover, accidental death benefit, waiver of premium, income benefit, and others for more protection. Such riders can be added to the basic policy for an extra premium as well.
  • Income replacement: The term insurance is intended to replace the income of the insured person and provide financial assistance in case of death for the dependents. Life insurance does the same as income replacement, but there is the possibility of capital accumulation through the savings/investment component.
  • Affordability: Term insurance is often less expensive, making it available to a wider variety of people, particularly younger generations. Life insurance is slightly more expensive because of the additional savings/investment component, but it provides long-term financial rewards, making it a good investment.
  • Purpose: Term insurance is primarily intended to provide financial safety and stability to the covered individual’s dependents. However, life insurance serves more than one function. Aside from offering financial security, it also helps with asset creation and legacy planning, making it a versatile financial instrument.

Conclusion: The decision between term and life insurance is based on your own financial goals, risk tolerance, and cost. If you want pure protection at a reasonable price, term insurance is the way to go. However, if you want both risk coverage and long-term savings/investment rewards, life insurance is a better option. Evaluate your needs carefully, consider the important characteristics stated above, and talk with a financial expert to identify the best plan that corresponds with your financial goals while also providing appropriate protection for your loved ones.


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