Ashley Dannelly has a Master of Arts in English and teaches English at Columbia International University and other higher education institutions. She is also a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise and trains clients in both individual and group settings. Ashley’s background in English and fitness has allowed her the opportunity to write and create content for many ...

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Written by Ashley Dannelly
Certified Personal Trainer Ashley Dannelly

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Apr 20, 2022

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right life insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident life insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one life insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different life insurance companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

Facts You Should Know

  • High costs for the elderly and unhealthy are one of the disadvantages of life insurance
  • An advantage of life insurance is peace of mind
  • Term and whole life insurance both have the advantage of a guaranteed death benefit and fixed rates

A life insurance policy protects your family from bearing the financial burden if something happens to you, but is it really necessary?

Many people believe that life insurance is necessary, as it gives them peace of mind that their families are taken care of if anything happens to them. Depending on the type of life insurance policy you get, you may even be able to have cash available to use for emergencies.

As beneficial as it can be, there are still plenty of disadvantages of life insurance. For instance, the older you are, the higher your life insurance rates. Additionally, life insurance policies are often complex. A few other cons turn people away from buying life insurance.

Keep reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of life insurance, including the pros and cons of different types of life insurance, like term and whole life insurance.

Before learning more about the disadvantages of life insurance, enter your ZIP code to get free life insurance quotes from companies near you today.

What are the disadvantages of life insurance?

Although life insurance is beneficial in many ways, there are still quite a few disadvantages of life insurance that keep people from investing in a policy. Some disadvantages of life insurance include:

  • It’s expensive if you are old or unhealthy
  • Without proper research, it’s easy to be misled
  • You have to plan ahead
  • Some insurance companies may not pay out benefits
  • You have to pay insurance premiums

As you may already know, life insurance premiums for the same plan are much higher for older people than for younger people. This increase in rates reflects the insurance company’s risk of paying out a guaranteed death benefit if you pass away.

Similarly, those with high health risks will also have higher life insurance rates. Again, since there is a higher risk of these individuals passing away and the company paying out a death benefit, the company drastically increases rates.

Even still, some insurance companies may not pay out the death benefit to a person’s beneficiaries. This is because an insurance company’s priority is not to cover you but rather to keep itself from losing as much money as possible. Because of this, insurance companies often use tricks or hidden charges to reduce the payout amount.

Understanding your life insurance policy

It is critical to understand your life insurance policy to keep yourself safer from an insurance company reducing your death benefit amount. So often, people run into complications with their insurance companies because they do not fully understand the parameters of their life insurance policies. Without proper research, it is very easy to be misled.

Another disadvantage of life insurance is that you have to pay monthly insurance premiums. Buying a life insurance policy requires making room in your budget for the payments each month. However, as stated above, for young and healthy individuals, this premium may not be costly at all.

However, for those that need life insurance coverage — such as the elderly or unhealthy individuals — the adjustments made to their budget will be much more significant. The best way to reduce the amount of life insurance is to shop around and compare multiple life insurance companies and policies. Talking with an insurance agent also helps narrow down your options.

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What are the advantages of life insurance?

Despite the disadvantages of life insurance, there are also plenty of advantages to consider. Some advantages of life insurance include:

  • Peace of mind
  • Affordable coverage
  • Tax benefits
  • Retirement income
  • Loan availability
  • An increased net worth

The most important advantage of life insurance is that it provides you and your loved ones with peace of mind. Paying premiums every month is often a price people pay for their families’ financial security if they pass away. A life insurance policy provides your beneficiaries financial protection from the total weight of hefty end-of-life expenses after you pass away.

Life insurance policies are generally less expensive than most people realize. Depending on your current health situation, a life insurance policy could be very affordable for you. Many companies specialize in lowering life insurance premiums for seniors and those with preexisting conditions, as they often have higher rates.

Cash Value and Tax Benefits

Another life insurance benefit is the tax benefits associated with cash value and death benefit payouts. Most of the time, death benefits are not taxed, and many people invest in a life insurance policy solely to prevent their estate from being taxed after they pass. Life insurance policies not only save your loved ones from financial burden, but they also help make sure they get the entirety of your estate once you pass away.

If you pay for a life insurance policy that includes a cash value aspect, the interest your account accrues does so without you having to claim it on your taxes. You may also access your cash value without the money being taxed.

There is also the option to invest in a life insurance policy to have a regular income after retirement. These life insurance policies are called annuities and are sold by almost every life insurance company. If you have an annuity policy and pay a premium until your retirement age, then the insurance company pays your retirement income monthly.

Another advantage of life insurance is loan availability. Through your life insurance policy, you can take out a loan in the event of any emergency, such as a college fee or property purchase. Many life insurance companies are offering a loan option as its popularity has increased.

Finally, life insurance policies with a cash value aspect, like permanent life insurance, can grow your net worth over time. It collects money as you pay your premiums and accrues interest as you go, since cash value acts as an investment or savings account. Also, the cash value is often a living benefit because you can access it before death.

Term vs. Whole Life Insurance Pros and Cons

The two most popular life insurance policies are whole and term life insurance. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of each.

What are the benefits of whole and term life insurance?

Is whole life insurance a good investment? Some of the benefits of whole life insurance are:

  • Guaranteed death benefit
  • Insurance coverage for a lifetime
  • Fixed premiums
  • Dividends

A lot of life insurance companies pay dividends to their policyholders. Dividends can be used as cash, but many people reinvest them into their policy for cheaper premiums.

The benefits of term life insurance are:

  • Cheap, fixed premiums
  • Guaranteed death benefit
  • Conversion option
  • Straightforward

Apart from low rates and straightforward insurance, a great feature of term life insurance is the option to convert to a permanent policy during or at the end of the policy term.

What are the disadvantages of whole and term life insurance?

Although there are plenty of advantages of whole and term life insurance policies, there are also disadvantages of both. Let’s look at a few of the disadvantages of whole and term life insurance.

Why is whole life insurance bad? Many people feel that the cons of whole life insurance outweigh the benefits because you are often paying for far more than just life insurance coverage.

Some disadvantages of whole life insurance are:

  • High premiums
  • Not much return on investment
  • Complicated

Whole life insurance policies are multi-faceted and expensive. The cash value feature typically grows interest very slowly over time. So, although the cash value is beneficial, there may not be enough for you to gain until later.

Some disadvantages of term life insurance are:

  • No cash value feature
  • Expiration date

Because term life insurance is life insurance without any extras, you lose the perk of a living benefit. You also run the risk of outliving your insurance policy.

At this point, you may be wondering: should I buy whole life insurance or term life insurance? If you are unsure which life insurance policy to choose, research a few companies and policies and talk with an insurance agent to narrow down your options.

The Disadvantages of Life Insurance: the Bottom Line

Life insurance can be an excellent investment for those that need it. However, it is vital to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of life insurance before investing in a policy.

Is term or whole life insurance worth it? Life insurance may not be for you, depending on your and your family’s needs and financial situation. In addition, you will have to account for the cost of premiums, and life insurance companies could mislead you without fully understanding your policy.

If you choose to invest in a life insurance policy, it is also helpful to be aware of the term and permanent life insurance pros and cons.

Compare at least three different life insurance companies and policies to get the best life insurance rates and coverage. After researching companies, talk with your life insurance agent if you are still unsure.

Now, you know more about the advantages and disadvantages of life insurance. Enter your ZIP code into our free online tool for instant life insurance quotes from companies near you.