Life insurance is one of the oldest financial products in existence, with roots going back beyond the ancient Roman Empire.
Today, there are many different kinds of life insurance available, most representing variations on the main categories of term life, whole life, and universal life. It can be written in a private contract, but most often it is offered as packaged products to the public.
Life Insurance’s main purpose is to ensure that dependents of a deceased provider or caretaker will have some financial resources to fall back on, but it can also be used as a means to create a guaranteed legacy or a tax-advantaged pool of money.
The first recorded instance of life insurance was as a pool of funds meant to take care of the widows and orphans of soldiers, where every soldier put some money into the fund in case he was one of the ones to die.
Life insurance contracts come in many varieties today, some providing temporary (term) coverage, and some providing permanent coverage, with or without cash value, some with a fixed death benefit, some with a death benefit that changes with market conditions or increases with dividends paid in by the life insurance company.
It can be used as insurance to protect a family, as an asset on a business’s balance sheet, or as part of an estate plan, perhaps owned in a trust. Other articles in this section explain some of the types and uses of life insurance contracts.
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