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Many financial experts consider life insurance to be the cornerstone of sound financial planning. It can be an important tool in the following situations:

   1.  Replace income for dependents
If people depend on your income, life insurance can replace that income for them if you die. The most commonly recognized case of this is parents with young children. However, it can also apply to couples in which the survivor would be financially stricken by the income lost through the death of a partner, and to dependent adults, such as parents, siblings or adult children who continue to rely on you financially. Insurance to replace your income can be especially useful if the government- or employer-sponsored benefits of your surviving spouse or domestic partner will be reduced after your death.

   2.  Pay final expenses
Life insurance can pay your funeral and burial costs, probate and other estate administration costs, debts and medical expenses not covered by health insurance.

   3. Create an inheritance for your heirs
Even if you have no other assets to pass to your heirs, you can create an inheritance by buying a life insurance policy and naming them as beneficiaries.

   4.  Pay federal “death” taxes and state “death” taxes
On Jan. 1, 2011, the estate tax returns. According to a new law enacted in December 2010, estates valued at $5 million or less are exempt from the tax. Estates worth more than $5 million are taxed at a 35 percent rate. Although there was no estate tax due in 2010, some heirs encountered larger-than-expected capital gains taxes upon sale of inherited assets. This was due to the requirement that the basis of such assets be carried over from the decedent to the heir.

With the return of the estate tax in 2011, the stepped-up basis on inherited property also returned. This means that an asset's basis is its fair market value on the day of the original owner's death.

   5.  Make significant charitable contributions
By making a charity the beneficiary of your life insurance, you can make a much larger contribution than if you donated the cash equivalent of the policy’s premiums.

    6.  Create a source of savings
Some types of life insurance create a cash value that, if not paid out as a death benefit, can be borrowed or withdrawn on the owner’s request. Since most people make paying their life insurance policy premiums a high priority, buying a cash-value type policy can create a kind of “forced” savings plan. Furthermore, the interest credited is tax deferred (and tax exempt if the money is paid as a death claim).


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There are two major types of life insurance—term and whole life. Whole life is sometimes called permanent life insurance, and it encompasses several subcategories, including traditional whole life, universal life, variable life and variable universal life. In 2003, about 6.4 million individual life insurance policies bought were term and about 7.1 million were whole life.

Life insurance products for groups are different from life insurance sold to individuals. The information below focuses on life insurance sold to individuals.

Term
Term Insurance is the simplest form of life insurance. It pays only if death occurs during the term of the policy, which is usually from one to 30 years. Most term policies have no other benefit provisions.

There are two basic types of term life insurance policies—level term and decreasing term.

•  Level term means that the death benefit stays the same throughout the duration of the policy.
•  Decreasing term means that the death benefit drops, usually in one-year increments, over the course of the policy’s term.

In 2003, virtually all (97 percent) of the term life insurance bought was level term.

Whole Life/Permanent
Whole life or permanent insurance pays a death benefit whenever you die—even if you live to 100! There are three major types of whole life or permanent life insurance—traditional whole life, universal life, and variable universal life, and there are variations within each type.

In the case of traditional whole life, both the death benefit and the premium are designed to stay the same (level) throughout the life of the policy. The cost per $1,000 of benefit increases as the insured person ages, and it obviously gets very high when the insured lives to 80 and beyond. The insurance company could charge a premium that increases each year, but that would make it very hard for most people to afford life insurance at advanced ages. So the company keeps the premium level by charging a premium that, in the early years, is higher than what’s needed to pay claims, investing that money, and then using it to supplement the level premium to help pay the cost of life insurance for older people.

By law, when these “overpayments” reach a certain amount, they must be available to the policyowner as a cash value if he or she decides not to continue with the original plan. The cash value is an alternative, not an additional, benefit under the policy.

In the 1970s and 1980s, life insurance companies introduced two variations on the traditional whole life product—universal life insurance and variable universal life insurance.


With Permission © Insurance Information Institute, Inc. - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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Testimonials

  • "I have been a client of Sanor Insurance for some 25 years plus and find their concern and attentiveness to my insurance needs have been above reproach.
    Their staff is friendly, knowledgeable, efficient and attentive.
    Thank you for your years of caring for me."

    Rita Joseph O'Leary, Salem, OH

  • "Sanor Insurance has been our family's insurance agency for over 13 years for home, auto and life insurance. Everyone there has always been very helpful,friendly and prompt with any information I've needed. They were extremely helpful after my auto accident last year. It's nice to deal with hometown people who care!!"

    Tonya Tolley, Lisbon, OH

  • "I've been a customer of Sanor Insurance for many years. I have always had courteous, friendly and quick service. Everyone at Sanor Insurance is great, especially Donna Sanor. She is the 'greatest'."

    Alvahn Mondell, Salem, OH

  • "The staff at Sanor Insurance are always approachable and committed to serve our needs. They are friendly and courteous."

    Karen Bulford, Salem, OH

  • "We have had our home and auto insurance with Sanor Insurance for years. The service is great. The staff is always helpful and courteous. Great job Sanor Insurance."

    Sue Meyers, Leetonia, OH

  • "We have had our insurance with Sanor Insurance for many years. They handle our home, auto and business accounts with courteous, professional service. We call with questions and they provide the answers. All their staff is topnotch! Thanks so much Sanors!"

    Wayne & Doreen Smith, Lisbon, OH

  • "Always great, dependable service with quick response and no unnecessary delay when needed."

    Roy G. Szanny, Salem, OH

  • "I have had auto coverage with Sanor Insurance since 2007. I recently had an accident with my truck on a Sunday. By Thursday of the same week, my claim was settled. Donna and David were extremely helpful with information during this stressful time. The adjuster Sanor Insurance had provided was the best. Great service and caring people."

    Bruce R. Blankenship, Salem, OH

  • "Today's business world is too commercialized. It is our privilege to deal with hometown people that are also our friends and neighbors. We can be assured that when we deal with Sanor Insurance Agency, they have our needs and best interests at heart, and provide a product and service not available by national companies or the internet."

    Frederick and Donna White, Beloit, OH

  • "I am very happy to have such friendly, accessible help. Wish all of my accounts were managed by companies like Sanor."

    Terry Bowlin, Salem, OH.

  • "I have had very good coverage and service with Sanor Insurance since day one. David and Donna do a wonderful job. It is so nice to deal with them. Thank you!!!"

    Shirley Dragomier, Mineral Ridge, OH

  • "My wife and I carry life, home, automobile and catastrophe insurance with Erie Insurance through the Sanor Insurance Agency. We like receiving the multi-policy discount on premiums. We especially like the great service from the Sanors and the quick/fair claims processing from Erie Insurance. Thanks Again!"

    J. Mike Seidner, Lisbon, OH

  • "Been dealing with Sanor for over 30 years. Great People."

    Deborah Freudenberg, New Waterford, OH

  • "The Sanor's offer professional service and hometown friendliness. They take pride in our communities and offer great choices in the companies they do business with. They have my life, home and auto insurance. I will continue to trust them with all my insurance needs."

    Linda Eells, Lisbon, OH

  • "I have dealt with Sanor Insurance for many years. They are very thorough with their process. When you have a claim because of their meticulous applications, you totally know where you stand. Every item that needs to be covered is! My family had a large claim and we were very happy with the results. It was handled quickly and professionally. I give them a 5 Star rating!"

    Marilyn McCullough, Lisbon, OH

  • "I have been with this Insurance Co. for over 30 or more years. They have been fair in their cost of insurance. I've only had 2 or 3 small claims and they were very prompt in taking care of them."

    Dorothy Bennett, Salem OH

  • "We have been clients for more than 20 years. No one could be more courteous, efficient, professional and friendly. Thanks!

    Gene and Nancy Smith, Salem OH

  • "Our family switched to Sanor Insurance a few years ago. We dumped a couple of teenagers and assorted cars, trucks and hobby projects on them. I couldn't hardly keep them straight. Dave and Donna untangled everyone's rides and found us good coverage at the best rate."

    Virgil & Janie Wherry, Lisbon OH

  • "I would just like to say that the people at Sanor Insurance have always been kind, courteous and very good at taking care of all of my needs in regards to insurance."

    Karen A. Flenner, East Palestine, OH

  • " As always, excelllent customer service!"

    Frederick & Susan Mattix, Canfield, OH

  • " I've been with Sanor Insurance forever. The personal, professional service this company provides is priceless."

    Edwin Dolby, Poland, OH

  • "I have been with Sanor Insurance for 26 years. Donna and staff have always given excellent customer service and best rates bar none. Anytime I've had a claim, it was processed fast and correct. I would never go anywhere else for my insurance needs."

    Lloyd Morris, Beloit, OH


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