Life Insurance Terms Explained

By: Peter Kenny

Buying life insurance can seem confusing if you don't know the terms that are used within the industry. Understanding the jargon involved will not only make the process of finding this type of insurance easier, but will also help you to find the best deal for your needs. Here are some of the most common life insurance terms explained:

Term life insurance

Term life is the most common form of life insurance. The policy is taken out over a specific time length, with premiums paid out each over this period. If you die within this period then a lump sum is paid out. If you come to the end of the term and you are still alive then your cover stops. This type of insurance is popular because although it doesn't guarantee payout it is relatively cheap.

Whole life

Whole life does exactly as it says by insuring you until you die. Premiums are paid until you die, at which time a lump sum is paid out. This type of insurance guarantees a payout, but it does cost a lot more money than term life.

Life insurance vs. life assurance

Many people get confused when they hear the terms life insurance and life assurance mentioned, and want to know the difference between them. Simply put, there is no difference. Life and life assurance are two terms for the same thing. If you are offered a life assurance policy this is basically life under another name.

Qualifying policy

The term qualifying policy refers to life insurance that pays out a tax-free sum. If you see this term used or offered it means that when you die your policy will pay out a lump sum that your family will not have to pay tax on. This obviously depends on the payout amount and eligibility, but if you can get a qualifying policy you should do so.


When people here the term estate they might think you mean an actual property or estate. However, in this type of insurance the term simply refers to the total assets that an individual has. This can be worked out by subtracting any debts from the value of savings and property. When you die your estate is how much you leave behind in monetary value.


If you are in the process of churning, this means you are surrendering one insurance policy and then taking out another one. If possible you should try and avoid this because it will mean that you lose money, as any money you have already paid to one policy will have been wasted and you will need to start all over again.

Waiver of premium

Some policies offer a clause that means if you can no longer pay your premiums then they will be covered for you for a length of time. This means that should you fall ill or into financial difficulty your cover will remain and you won't lose out all the money you put into the policy. Although this feature can be useful it is likely to mean your premiums will be higher. Make sure that you only sign up for clauses that you really need. This will allow you to find the best policy for your needs.

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Peter Kenny is a writer for For additional articles and an extensive resource for everything about credit cards, please visit us at Credit Cards 0% and Life Insurance

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