Are Your Spending Habits Creating Wealth? 4 Revealing Facts

Your environment, peers, family background, and other factors can affect your spending habits. But are you a debtor, a wealth creator, or another type of spender? Did you realize that the way we choose to pay for items can have more of a long-term financial impact than what we buy? We will discuss how major capital purchases can affect your wealth. And you will learn to identify the type of spender you are and how it affects your wallet.

What Is a Major Capital Purchase?

A major capital purchase is something we buy but cannot pay in full, so we must finance it. Cars, weddings, a new roof on our home, or vacations are significant expenses for many Americans. And they pay for them with a credit card or another type of financing. For many consumers, the result of some major capital purchases is owing creditors more than they accumulated.

What Is Your Buying Profile?

Your buying profile is the way you spend money and make purchases. Spending habits vary. But are you the type to pay with a credit card, save money until you can pay cash, or are you a wealth creator who tries to find a low-interest loan?

Consider the graph below:

Chart of spending habits to identify wealth creator, debtor, ors saver

Spending Habits and Wealth Creation: Revealing Facts

Each line on the above graph is described below with a buying profile that describes spending habits to help you identify your buying profile. And the profile will help you understand if you are on track to becoming a wealth creator. Can you identify your profile?

1. Zero Consumer

A zero consumer is a person who neither has nothing nor owes anything. The black line in the graph represents the zero consumer. But whenever you owe more than you own, it positions you below the zero line.

2. The Debtor

A debtor is someone with no savings or resources who must borrow to pay for expenses. The debtor’s spending habits often involve borrowing money against future earnings and working to pay them off to rise above the red line and return to the zero line. If you are a debtor, you financial advice can help you get out of debt.

These factors also characterize the debtor:

  • Working to pay off debt before another need arises
  • Spend life working to pay off debt with interest
  • Depend on future earnings to support their lifestyle
  • Loss of control of resources, because creditors control them, not you

3. The Saver

A saver is a person who remains aware of the costs of borrowing at interest. Rather than spending money they don’t have, a saver postpones purchases until they have enough money to pay upfront. The saver pays with cash—in full. The blue line in the above graph represents the saver.

What are the effects of a saver’s spending habits?

  • Consuming their savings for major purchases that move them closer to the zero line.
  • Continuously moving through a cycle of having access to money then needing to spend their saving.
  • Draining savings accounts to avoid paying interest.

Although saving money to pay with cash seems to be the best way to pay for things and avoid interest, it has some disadvantages:

  • Eliminates the ability to earn interest on savings
  • Requires saving money—and that takes time
  • Often becomes taxable income
  • Increase risk of draining savings on a major or unexpected event

4. The Wealth Creator

The wealth creator takes responsibility for creating wealth through an approach that saves and spends money while still earning interest and not depleting income. Represented by the green line in the above chart, the wealth creator has unique spending habits. They save and use savings as collateral for a loan with lower interest than the interest rate on their savings.

Advantages of the wealth creator’s strategy include:

  • Helps you avoid draining your savings for purchases
  • Allows uninterrupted compounding interest on saving
  • Ability to negotiate on loan interest rates
  • Savings increase as the loan is repaid and continues to earn interest

Uninterrupted compound interest works best in the long term. Moving interest-earning dollars from one account to another is not an efficient purchasing strategy. And the wealth creators understand that.

Schedule a Consultation to Help Create More Wealth

Did you identify your buying profile? Are you a saver, debtor, or wealth creator? If you think you need to improve it by making the most of your available resources, contact John Hunt of Raleigh. We will teach you how to become as efficient as possible while avoiding wealth transfer.

You will learn how to spend money wisely—to foster wealth creation, not depletion—and get out of debt. And it is easier than you think. Contact us today to discuss the relationship between owning life insurance and improving your purchasing efficiency.

Can I Get Life Insurance Regardless of My Health?

Estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services show that 19 to 50 percent of non-elderly Americans have a preexisting health condition. If you are thinking about life insurance, you may wonder how your health will affect your ability to get it. Can you get life insurance regardless of your health? We will give you a straight answer. And we will explain what to expect as you search for a life insurance policy.

Can You Get Life Insurance Regardless of Your Health?

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In most cases, you can get life insurance regardless of your health. But depending on your health condition, the death benefit—or the payout to your survivors—may be limited. And your monthly insurance premiums may be higher than average. Your insurance company may request that you complete an exam or additional health screenings for many health conditions. But other companies offer no-exam insurance, which may be an option for you.

Will Your Health Affect the Cost of Your Life Insurance Premiums?

Your health is one factor that will affect the cost of your health insurance premiums. But other factors can affect your rates, too. Consider seven:

  • Age – As we age, the cost of life insurance premiums increases.
  • Gender – Women live longer than men and generally pay less for life insurance.
  • Health history – Your history of illnesses, diseases, surgeries, and prescription medications can affect the cost of life insurance.
  • Family health history – A history of genetic diseases can affect your premiums.
  • Lifestyle – If you smoke or participate in high-risk sports or hobbies, it will affect your life insurance premiums.
  • Occupation – Some jobs are riskier than others. Loggers, pilots, roofers, garbage collectors, and others have an increased risk of accident, injury, and death. And their insurance premiums are higher.
  • Policy and coverage amount – Generally, whole life insurance premiums are higher than term life insurance premiums. Also, insurance policies with a higher death benefit have higher premiums. For example, you will pay more for a policy with a $500,000 payout than one with a $50,000 payout.

Which Health Conditions Can Contribute to Higher Life Insurance Premiums?

Various health conditions can contribute to higher life insurance premiums. But having a preexisting condition does not automatically increase your premiums. The insurance company will consider several factors, including the history and severity of your illness, the diagnosis, and the treatment plan.

These conditions might contribute to higher life insurance premiums:

  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular or heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Lung disorders
  • Mental health disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Obesity
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Pulmonary heart disease
  • Renal failure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Tuberculosis

What If You Have Cancer and Need Life Insurance?

If you have cancer and need life insurance, guidance is available. Please download the Consumer’s Guide to Cancer Insurance on the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s website. The document gives you practical suggestions, offers caution, and lists several factors to consider before purchasing a life insurance policy.

What Type of Life Insurance Is Available If I Have Health Issues?

If you have health issues, several types of life insurance are available. Options include term insurance, no-exam insurance, and guaranteed acceptance life insurance. Consider the benefits and disadvantages of each type of insurance.

  • Term life insurance – Although your health will impact your term life insurance premiums, you will have the flexibility to choose a higher death benefit.
  • No-exam insurance – You can get term or permanent life insurance without an exam. But your coverage amount will be limited. Depending on the insurance company, certain medical conditions may disqualify you from purchasing the policy.
  • Guaranteed acceptance life insurance – No medical exam or health questions are required. Most insurance companies offer guaranteed acceptance insurance as a whole life policy with a maximum death benefit—often around $25,000. Guaranteed acceptance life insurance policies usually have terms that limit your beneficiary’s payout when your policy is new. For example, If you decease within one or two years after purchasing the insurance, your beneficiary will receive little or no death benefit.

For information on how term and whole life insurance compare, read our post Term Life vs. Whole Life Insurance – How to Decide.


In most cases, you can get life insurance regardless of your health. Below are four key takeaways:

  • You can find term and whole life policies—some that do not require an exam.
  • Although a preexisting medical condition does not automatically mean higher life insurance premiums, sometimes premiums are higher than average.
  • Insurance companies may limit the amount of life insurance coverage you can purchase.
  • Request prices from different insurance companies to compare your options.

Want to Know the Cost of Life Insurance Premiums?

If you have a preexisting medical condition and want to know how much life insurance will cost, contact Hunt Insurance of Raleigh. We offer personalized, hassle-free service. John Hunt will be upfront in explaining your options and the cost.

Should I Get Life Insurance Privately or Through My Job?

Almost everyone needs life insurance. But you may wonder if you should get private insurance, insurance through your job, or both. How can you decide which option is right for you?

Should You Get Life Insurance Privately or Through Your Employer?

Whether you should get life insurance privately or through your employer depends on several factors, including the available choices, how much coverage you need, and how many family members need coverage. Compare the coverage offered, check the prices, and weigh the pros and cons. We will explain other factors to consider.

Life Insurance Through Your Job vs. Private Insurance

Life insurance through your job has pros and cons. But so does private insurance. So let’s review the differences.

Life Insurance Through Your Job

If you are thinking about getting life insurance through your job, some factors to consider include:


Many employers offer free, basic life insurance or low premiums at group rates. And you may be able to buy additional insurance at affordable prices. The options can make life insurance affordable for you.

Coverage amount

Middle-aged man sittiing at a computer and thinking - perhaps about private vs employer life insurance

Employer-sponsored life insurance may limit the amount of coverage you can buy—sometimes four to six times your salary. But the maximum coverage may not provide for your surviving dependents long enough. So consider if the total amount of coverage available will last to support these expenses:

  • Mortgage
  • Outstanding debt
  • Education
  • Medical expenses
  • Everyday living expenses

Visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website for a list of questions to ask yourself and determine how much insurance you need. Also, read our post, How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

If you change employers

If you change employers or lose your job, it will affect your life insurance coverage. Although some employers offer continued coverage after you leave the business, your premiums will likely increase. And due to changing economics, your employer may decide to stop offering life insurance to employees or to increase premiums drastically.

Changes in your health

Declining health may prevent you from working. And if you lose your job, you may lose your life insurance. You can review plan details to determine how your insurance will be affected if you are sick and cannot work.

Coverage for your spouse or children

If you need a life insurance policy for your spouse or children, employer-sponsored insurance may not offer it. Or the coverage amount may be limited. Still, it may be less expensive for you to take advantage of life insurance through your job and get private policies for the rest of your family.

Private Life Insurance

You can get private life insurance regardless of your employer. Although some occupations are more dangerous than others and incur higher premiums, you still can find personal coverage. Consider the facts.


Although the cost of employer-sponsored life insurance is often less expensive than private insurance, you may not be able to get the type of insurance you need. However, some private term-life insurance policies are just as affordable as getting insurance through your job.

Coverage amount

Most insurance companies will allow you to get a policy for up to 25 times your annual income. Having one policy for all the coverage you need may be the most cost-effective option in the long term. A Bureau of Labor Statistics study published by LIMRA comments on households that depend on two incomes but only have employer-sponsored coverage. The study notes that “42% of families would face financial hardship within six months, and a quarter would suffer financially within a month.”

If you change employers

You will not lose your private life insurance solely because you lose your job. If you keep your premiums current, your coverage will continue.

Changes in your health

If your health declines and you cannot work, you can keep your private life insurance coverage if you pay your premiums.

Coverage for your spouse or children

Private life insurance offers coverage for the entire family. And you can consider a joint policy for you and your spouse. In addition, riders (add-ons) allow you to get basic coverage for children.

Questions About Life Insurance?

If you have questions about employer-sponsored vs. private insurance or would like to compare your options, an experienced life insurance agent can help. In North Carolina, contact John Hunt, a Raleigh life insurance agent.

Are Life Insurance Premiums Tax Deductible?

A life insurance premium is your payment toward the cost of life insurance. An insurance provider can allow you pay your premiums monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly. But if like many people you are on a budget, how can you save money on life insurance premiums? Are life insurance premiums tax deductible?

Are Life Insurance Premiums Tax Deductible?

Dictionary definition of tax deductible - for life insurance premiums information

Generally, life insurance premiums are not deductible. The government views life insurance premiums as a personal expense—not a medical expense—so in most cases, you cannot include them in your deductions for taxable income. But at times, such as a business expense, your premiums may be tax deductible.

The IRS says that life insurance premiums are not deductible because they are not a medical expense that is “used primarily to prevent or alleviate a physical or mental disability or illness.” For information on what types of premiums are tax deductible, refer to Internal Revenue Service Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.

What Are the Exceptions for Tax-Deductible Life Insurance Premiums?

  • Life insurance purchased to secure alimony payments – If you purchase life insurance to ensure your surviving ex-spouse will receive continued financial support, the premiums may be tax deductible.
  • Life insurance gifted to a charity – When a life insurance policy is gifted to a charity, a portion of the premiums may be tax deductible. For details, see an article published by the Planned Giving Design Center on charitable gifts of life insurance.
  • Life insurance purchased by a business – A business may purchase life insurance for its officers or employees. The life insurance premiums may be tax deductible if the business is not a direct or indirect beneficiary.

If you think your life insurance policy may be tax-deductible, contact a tax advisor for an accurate evaluation. For additional information on life insurance and taxes, read out post Is Life Insurance Taxable?

Do You Want to Save Money on Life Insurance Premiums?

If you want to save money on life insurance, the Life Insurance Institute discourages looking for the lowest premium. A low premium can lead to buying the wrong benefits or not having enough coverage for your survivors.

Factors to focus on:

  • Investigate the history and reliability of the insurance provider
  • Consider group life insurance through your employer
  • Ensure you are in good health to get better rates
  • Compare prices from multiple insurance agents
  • Determine if term insurance might be right for you

Where Can You Get Advice About Life Insurance Premiums?

You can get personalized advice about life insurance premiums by talking with an agent. In Raleigh, NC, John Hunt of Hunt Insurance can help. Call us for a free consultation and to ask about pricing.

What Life Insurance Is Best?

Forty-six percent of people living in the U.S. do not have life insurance. And one of the top reasons they do not have it is not knowing which insurance to get. If you are comparing life insurance companies and policies, how do you know which life insurance is best for your needs?

Which Life Insurance Company Is Best?

Young Asian mom and duagher looking at a computer

The best life insurance companies offer resources to help you understand your policy and when you need to adjust it. A stable life insurance company has a long, reliable history of providing policies and paying out death benefits.

Although many life insurance companies use names that convey strength, the Insurance Information Institute recommends verifying the company’s full name, location, and affiliation with other companies.

Also, research to find these facts about a company:

  • Identity
  • Reputation
  • Ethics
  • Financial status
  • Product range

What is the quality of customer service?

Choose an insurance company that makes it easy to learn about the types of life insurance policies available and get help understanding them.

Look for these services:

  • A comprehensive selection of policies
  • Online articles and educational resources
  • Online insurance calculators
  • Accessible, knowledgeable, personalized customer service

What Is the Best Life Insurance Policy for You?

The best life insurance satisfies your reasons for purchasing a policy. Find a policy that fits your budget and offers enough coverage to care for your surviving dependents. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners advises that you select a policy that provides enough coverage based on your age and financial responsibilities.

Look for a plan that offers enough coverage to satisfy your potential needs:

  • Replace up to ten times your income
  • Pay off debt
  • Care for aging parents or disabled dependents
  • Pay for children’s education

Term or permanent life insurance?

Term life insurance is in effect for a limited period, or term. Terms are set in increments of five (5, 10, 15 years, etc.) and can last up to 30 years. A whole life insurance policy lasts your entire life and builds cash value over time.

Before you purchase an insurance policy, ensure it fits your needs based on these factors:

  • Your age
  • The policy type and features
  • The amount of insurance you are purchasing
  • Cost of premiums

Many insurance policies offer riders—add-ons to enhance your policy. But riders will increase your premiums. Please read the post, Term Life vs. Whole Life Insurance – How to Decide for a comparison of term and whole life insurance.

In Raleigh, John Hunt of Hunt Insurance offers personalized assistance to help you identify an insurance policy that fits your needs and budget. Contact Hunt Insurance by phone or e-mail to request a consultation and a customized quote.

How Does Life Insurance Work?

If you understand how life insurance works, it will help you decide if you need insurance, how much you need, and the type of plan you want. Without understanding the facts, you can over- or underinsure yourself—or do nothing at all. So how does life insurance work?

How Does Life Insurance Work?

Life insurance works by entering a contract with an insurance company. You will make regular payments (premiums) to the company for a life insurance policy that will pay a tax-free death benefit, or payout, to your beneficiaries if you die.

Do You Need Life Insurance?

Brunette man wearing a pale pink shirt and looking unsure - perhaps about how life insurance works

You might need life insurance to leave enough money to help your spouse, partner, children, or other dependents pay for expenses if you are no longer living.

Some potential expenses include:

  • Debt
  • Education
  • Everyday living expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Income replacement
  • Mortgage
  • Out-of-pocket medical care

What are the Types of Life Insurance?

The main types of life insurance are term life insurance and permanent life insurance.

What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance is effective for a specific term, usually in increments of five years. When the period ends, so does the policy. But you may be able to renew it or convert it to a permanent life insurance policy.

Types of term life insurance

  • Level term – Premiums stay the same throughout the term
  • Increasing term – Premiums increase as you age

What is permanent life insurance?

Permanent life insurance does not have an expiration date. But lifelong coverage costs more than term life insurance.

Types of permanent life insurance

  • Whole life – It is valid for your whole, or entire, life and has a cash savings component. Your premium payments insure you for a specific death benefit. Unused cash savings are not included in the death benefit.
  • Universal life – The policy allows you to increase your death benefit, adjust your premiums, and combine cash value with your death benefit to increase the payout.
  • Variable life – You can authorize your insurance company to invest your cash value in an account that the company manages. And you can use the investment earnings toward your premiums or the death benefit.
  • Variable-universal life – You can adjust your premiums within the limits the insurance company specifies. And you can choose how to invest cash accumulation—which may result in gains or losses.

For a comparison of term and permanent life insurance, read our post: Term Life vs. Whole Life Insurance – How to Decide.

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

How much insurance you need depends on your survivors’ immediate expenses, long-term expenses, and the financial resources you already have. But many experts recommend that you multiply your annual gross income (before taxes) by 10 to 15. Ten to fifteen times your yearly income will give you an idea of the death benefit you need to care for your dependents.

Read our post, How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?, for details on the expenses to include in your calculation.

Can You Get Life Insurance If You Are Not Healthy?

Up to 50 percent of non-elderly Americans have a chronic illness. If you are one of them, you may wonder how your health will affect your chances of getting life insurance. But chronic illness does not automatically disqualify you from getting the coverage you need. Even a history of serious illness might not disqualify you. But it can increase the cost of your life insurance premiums.

For details on how your health affects your ability to get life insurance, read our post Can I Get Life Insurance Regardless of My Health?

Which Insurance Company Should You Choose?

With so many choices, how do you know which life insurance to choose? Look for a financially stable company with a long history of providing policies and paying death benefit claims. Although scores of high-quality life insurance companies exist, exercising caution always helps.

For easy-to-understand tips on selecting a company and policy that is right for you, read our post, Which Life Insurance Is Best?

Do You Need Help or Have Questions?

You are not alone. According to a Motley Fool article, one reason people say they do not have life insurance is not knowing what kind of policy to get. Hunt Insurance of Raleigh, NC, can help you navigate the decision-making process. Call or text us or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation or get a free, customized quote.

Life Insurance for Seniors – A Quick Guide

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If you are a senior, it is not necessarily too late to buy life insurance. Whether you want coverage for funeral expenses or to help your loved ones pay off debt, you can find an option to help protect your family. We’ll give you questions to ask before you buy and an overview of your options.

Questions to Ask Before Buying Life Insurance for Seniors

Before you buy life insurance for seniors, review your needs to determine if you need life insurance and how much. Consider your financial circumstances, and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I already have a life insurance policy?
  2. Will my current assets, including retirement income or investments, be enough to cover funeral expenses and care for my dependents?
  3. Will my dependents need a life insurance payout to cover my estate taxes?

Term Life vs. Whole Life or Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance

You can find term life, whole life, and guaranteed universal life insurance policies for seniors. The right option for you will depend on your age, financial goals, and your overall health.

Term Life Insurance for Seniors

Term life insurance for seniors is a temporary insurance that can help your survivors pay off debts or a mortgage.

  • Details – Most term life policies for seniors are available up to age 70 or 75. You can get a policy for a 10-, 20-, or 30-year term. Depending on the insurer, death benefits range between $100,000 and $250,000.
  • Availability – The term length of your policy will be based on your age.
  • Qualifying – Your term life insurance application will include questions about your health and lifestyle. You may need a medical exam.

Whole Life Insurance for Seniors

Whole life insurance for seniors lasts your entire life if you pay the premiums on time. If you purchase a whole life policy in your senior years, it is among the most expensive life insurance types.

  • Details – You can find policies for seniors between the ages of 50 and 85. Depending on the insurer, death benefits range between $1,000 and $40,000.
  • Availability – If premium payments are current, the policy will be active throughout your life.
  • Qualifying – Your whole life insurance application will include questions about your health and lifestyle. You may need a medical exam.

Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance for Seniors

Guaranteed universal life insurance for seniors blends term and whole life insurance features. Instead of choosing a term of 10, 20, or 30 years, you choose the age at which you want the policy to expire.

  • Details – You can find policies for seniors between the ages of 45 and 85. Depending on the insurer, death benefits range between $25,000 and $100,000.
  • Availability – You can select a policy that expires when you reach a certain age – usually up to age 120
  • Qualifying – Your application will include questions about your health and lifestyle. And a medical exam is usually required.

Do You Need an Insurance Rider?

Some insurance companies offer riders—or add-on features—to policies for seniors. Get an overview of how insurance riders work from the article, Do You Know How to Use an Insurance Rider or Endorsement, published by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

A life insurance rider might offer:

  • An accelerated death benefit if you become terminally ill
  • Long-term care coverage
  • Smaller benefits for children and grandchildren under the age of 18

If you are interested in life insurance for seniors, Hunt Insurance of Raleigh can help. Call or text us or submit our contact form to start the conversation and get a hassle-free quote.

How many life insurance policies can I own?

Woman standing in front of a green fence thinking, perhaps about how many life insurance policies she can own

Owning a life insurance policy makes sense. When you are no longer living, a life insurance payout helps your dependents manage debt, pay for education, and cover daily living expenses for a limited time. But how much life insurance do you need? And how many life insurance policies can you own?

How Many Life Insurance Policies Can You Own?

No rule limits the number of life insurance policies you can own. Many people own more than one policy. There are reasons to buy another policy—and reasons to consider alternatives.

Reasons to Buy Another Life Insurance Policy

  • You need additional coverage – Your current policy might not be enough if you get married, have children, or start a business. The monthly premium for a new policy might be less expensive than increasing coverage on an existing policy.
  • You want enough to pay off current debt but decrease coverage over time – Some consumers buy multiple term life insurance policies of varying length—10, 20, or 30 years. The insurance policies expire as they pay off specific debts, like a mortgage or another large loan. Or you may choose an additional policy that expires when you start receiving retirement benefits.
  • You don’t want to rely on one company – Just as many investors prefer to diversify their portfolio, many insurance policy owners want to buy coverage from more than one company. Although it is rare for an insurance company to go out of business, a policy from more than one company can give you peace of mind.

Reasons Not to Buy Another Life Insurance Policy

  • Cost of premiums – Buying another life insurance policy means paying another premium. And that might not be the most cost-effective option for you and your family.
  • An insurance policy rider might be enough – A policy rider is an add-on feature that features more benefits for an existing policy. Ask your life insurance company about policy riders that can increase your coverage and prevent the need to buy another policy.

Examples of benefits from a policy rider:

  • Purchase coverage at later dates
  • Convert a term life policy to a permanent policy
  • Pay for long-term care
  • Cover loans if you own a business

Before You Buy Another Policy

Before you buy another insurance policy, look at your current contract terms, and ask your insurance company about policy riders. Weigh the pros and cons of paying premiums for a second policy. If you decide to buy a new policy, ensure the terms satisfy your purchase goals. For more insight, read the post, How Much Life Insurance Do I Need? You can also visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website to download the Consumer’s Guide to Life Insurance.

Hunt Insurance of Raleigh is here to help you navigate the process of deciding if a new policy is right for you. Call us or complete our contact form.

Is Life Insurance Taxable?

Life insurance can replace some of your income, pay debts, and take care of your beneficiaries’ expenses. But is life insurance taxable?

Is Life Insurance Taxable?

Generally, your life insurance death benefit is not taxable. Your beneficiary will receive a tax-free sum. But if you do not have term life insurance, there are exceptions.

When Is Life Insurance Taxable?

Is life insurance taxable infographic from Hunt Insurance of Raleigh, NC

Life insurance is taxable in specific situations related to permanent life insurance, which includes whole life, universal life, and variable life policies. Term life insurance, however, guarantees a payout, and no taxes are involved.

Taxes for permanent life insurance:

  • Delayed payout – If you add a clause in your policy for the insurer to hold the death benefit before releasing it to the beneficiary, interest will accrue. And your beneficiary must pay taxes on the interest. Or, if your beneficiary asks the insurer to hold the fund temporarily, taxes are due on the interest income.
  • Incremental payout – When the full death benefit is paid in installments (e.g., monthly) until the funds are exhausted, your beneficiary will not owe taxes. But you may be taxed on the interest gained as the policy ages.
  • Cash value life insurance
    • Outstanding loans against a cash value policy are taxable. If you don’t pay back the loan before you die, the balance is subtracted from the death benefit.
    • If you surrender a policy for cash and make a profit, the profit is taxable.
    • Withdrawals greater than what you paid into the policy are taxable.
  • Sell a policy – If you sell the policy’s rights to a third party and make a profit, the profit is taxable.
  • Group life insurance – If you receive group life insurance from your employer, the amount above $50,000 is considered taxable income. And the death benefit is taxable.
  • Inheritance tax – If you name your estate as your life insurance beneficiary and live in a state with an inheritance tax, the death benefit might be taxable. Retirement accounts, savings, your home, and other assets increase the value of your estate. If your estate’s value exceeds the tax threshold, the death benefit may be taxed.

How to Avoid Taxes on Life Insurance

If the value of your estate is significant, you can avoid taxes on life insurance:

  • Don’t name your estate as beneficiary.
  • If your estate’s value exceeds $11.58 million (as of 2020), transfer policy ownership to another person. Visit the Estate Tax page on the Internal Revenue website for details.
  • Create an irrevocable life insurance trust if you want to maintain control of the policy but not be the legal owner.

Note: If you die within three years of transferring ownership of a life insurance policy, the full death benefit is automatically included in the value of your estate.

Professional Advice on Life Insurance Taxes

Hunt Insurance of Raleigh, NC, offers free consultations and professional guidance to help you find a life insurance policy that is right for you. Call, text, or submit our contact form to request a free consultation.

Whole Life Insurance Policy – 5 Questions to Ask First

Woman sitting at a laptop and thinking - for information on Raleigh, NC whole life insurance

A whole life insurance policy provides lifetime coverage and has a cash savings component. Sounds good, but is this option right for you? Ask yourself these questions before purchasing a policy.

1. What Is a Whole a Life Insurance Policy?

A whole life insurance policy is insurance that lasts your whole—or entire—life if you pay the policy premiums. It is a type of permanent life insurance. The policy has a guaranteed death benefit, and it accumulates cash value at a rate that your insurer determines.

2. Is Whole Life Insurance Right for Me?

Whole life insurance might be right for you in these situations:

  • You need coverage that lasts the rest of your life.
  • You can benefit from tax-deferred benefits of cash accumulation, which build over time.
  • You can afford to pay higher premiums.

3. How Much Insurance Do I Need?

The amount of insurance you need depends on how much income you need to replace, the number of dependents you have, and what expenses your dependents will incur if you are no longer living.

Factors to include in your calculation:

  • Income
  • Mortgage
  • Education for children
  • Expenses, including debt and funeral expenses
  • Savings

4. How Much Insurance Can I Afford?

Although it is ideal to purchase enough insurance to replace your income and care for your loved ones for several years, other factors may prevent you from doing so.

What to consider:

  • Your budget may limit the amount of insurance you can afford.
  • Still, life insurance is protection for your family.
  • Without buying a policy with premiums that you cannot afford, consider your essential expenses and whether limiting your spending on hobbies, recreation, or other activities can help you cover end-of-life expenses for your family.
  • Whole life insurance premiums are higher than term life insurance premiums.

5.  How Does Term Life Insurance Compare?

Term life insurance differs from whole life insurance in several ways:

  • It provides coverage for a term, or limited period—usually between 10 to 30 years.
  • It does not include a cash savings feature.
  • It is less expensive than whole life insurance.

For more information on the differences between term life and whole life insurance, read our page, Term Life vs. Whole Life Insurance – How to Decide.

Hunt Life Insurance of Raleigh, NC offers hassle-free quotes and advice to help you choose an insurance policy that is right for you, your family, and your budget. Call or text us or complete our contact form for more information.