Policy features vary across providers, so here's what to consider when selecting a policy:
Check whether the insurer you're considering is highly rated, based on their A.M. Best rating. Top ratings indicate an insurer's financial strength and ability to meet its ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations. The Haven Term policy is issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), which has the highest rating possible, A++ from A.M. Best.**
If you want life insurance for 10 years or more, we recommend you choose a policy with guaranteed level premiums instead of a policy where the premium increases over time. This ensures the premiums remain the same regardless of your age or health and reduces the risk of you not being able to afford your premium later on. With level premiums, your guaranteed premium rate is locked-in for the term length of the policy.
When selecting your policy's term, consider choosing a duration that lasts for the entire timeframe of your financial obligations. For example, if you anticipate your mortgage taking 18 years to pay off, get a 20-year term policy instead of 15. If your policy's term runs out while you still need insurance, your premiums will likely be higher if you get another policy. In our opinion, it's better to be covered for more than you need than to need more than you're covered for.
Choose a policy that includes a Guaranteed Renewability feature, which allows you to renew your policy at the end of its term, no matter what. For example, if you get diagnosed with a terminal illness and want to renew your policy once it expires, the insurer cannot deny you a renewal. Your premium will be more expensive than it was during the original term length, but at least you're not without coverage options.
Choose a policy that offers a waiver of premium rider. This rider prevents your policy from lapsing should you become disabled and unable to work. The time period for waiver of premium payment varies by insurer but is typically for 12 months or until up to the age of 65. If you are young and healthy, this rider can cost as little as a couple dollars per month. This rider isn't a necessity for everyone but you should at least have the option or know it exists, if you want it.
This feature allows you to access a significant amount of money from your life insurance policy death benefit if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and are expected to die within 12-24 months (the time period can vary by insurer and by state). While none of us want to think about dying, this feature can be very valuable in helping get your affairs in order, such as paying medical bills or upcoming expenses, if you know you're going to die and that your family will need to tap that life insurance policy death benefit. The amount advanced plus interest is subtracted from the death benefit. An accelerated death benefit can be a feature inherent to the policy, or more often, it's a rider that can be added to your policy, and may include a fee when exercised. For Haven Term buyers, this feature is inherent to the policy.
Of course you must consider cost. Fortunately, many life insurance sites offer comparisons to other insurers. We do. Premium rates are calculated based on your risk level. The younger and healthier you are, the lower your premiums will be. If you need life insurance, purchasing when you are younger could save you a lot of money in the long run.
**MassMutual and its subsidiaries C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company are rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of September 15, 2016 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received other ratings from different rating agencies.