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Researching life insurance

The words "life insurance" have been called a euphemism for death insurance, but who wants to think about it that way? The important thing is you think about it, and get insured, if needed.

• A primer was posted by the Boston branch of the Better Business Bureau. The post has simple explanations of the many kinds of life insurance policies, most of which are variations on two: whole life (policies that build cash value) and term life (policies that are cheaper than whole life, offer protection only for a set number of years and have no cash value if the term ends while you're still alive).

• writer Jay MacDonald talks to experts about "myths about buying life insurance." "Insurance is insurance; it's not an investment vehicle," says Tony Steuer of the insurance consumer group United Policyholders. James Hunt, with the Consumer Federation of America, recommends term-life and 401(k) investments as an alternative to whole-life policies, saying, "The problem is, 40 or 50 percent of the buyers drop out within 10 years and never get a good return on their money."

• Tips at explain more about term insurance. "If you are in a situation (where) your dependents will not rely on you financially forever, your best bet is probably a term-life policy," writes contributor Jessica Bosari.

• If you get life insurance and then die, how likely is it that your beneficiaries can collect on the policy? That's an important question to ask before you buy. You can look up Standard & Poor's ratings for insurance companies from this tool page at, an independent insurance website.

Researching life insurance 05/23/14 [Last modified: Sunday, May 25, 2014 9:53pm]
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