UPDATED: Nov 26, 2011

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Daniel WalkerUPDATED: Nov 26, 2011Fact Checked

Purchasing a life insurance policy to cover your father’s final expenses can be a very wise choice, especially if he lives alone. While men generally make excellent family providers, they can sometimes be very stubborn when it relates to affairs that deal with their own mortality.

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If your father passes away without proper life insurance, the financial burden must be placed somewhere. As an adult child, you have the ability to provide security for your dad and other family members who may need someone to step in and accept responsibility for funeral costs, hospital bills or any other expenses that may be present.

What type of life insurance is available?

The three main types of life insurance are, term life, guaranteed life and burial. Each has specific benefits and specifications. To make sure you have the correct type of insurance coverage, you will need to understand the difference between these types of insurance.

What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance pays the beneficiary of the policyholder a certain amount once the policyholder is deceased. Term life insurance is one of the most popular types available because it will provide coverage for final expenses like mortgage payments, burial costs and any additional financial debts. You can purchase a policy for a specific timeframe, like one year or fifteen years, depending upon your needs.

What is guaranteed life insurance?

Guaranteed life insurance is a little trickier to understand because the amount of coverage available is based on contingencies. For instance, you can buy a short-term policy with limited benefits for the first two years.

If a death occurs within the first two years of issuing the policy, a full pay out is not an option. Rather than receiving a full payout, the amount received will be the equivalent of the total sum of the monthly premium payments and interest. After the two years pass and if the monthly premiums are current, full benefits are applied, including a total payout after the insured passes away.

What is burial expense insurance?

This type of policy is specific to burial costs and expenses. A full death benefit is paid to the beneficiary if the policyholder dies. Because the policy is simple and straightforward, the beneficiary payments do not usually exceed $30,000, as opposed to other policies, which pay much higher death benefits.

What is the average cost of life insurance for senior citizens?

There are several factors to consider when pricing life insurance for anyone over the age of 50. Chronic illness, poor health history, and pre-existing conditions all play a role in the type that you will qualify for and the price you will pay.

On average however, a relatively healthy, non-smoking senior should be able to qualify for a policy that starts at approximately $15 per month. You should remember that a cheaper policy might equal a lower death benefit payout. You must weigh your options carefully; it may not be worth it to save a couple of bucks each month. If you incur major expenses that exceed the death payout, you will still be responsible for settling any additional debts out of your own pocket.

Is a health examination required for life insurance?

This really varies from company to company. Many life insurance companies exercise this option as a way to ensure the current health condition of a new applicant. Others will take the risk of offering a life insurance policy without requiring a medical examination. Make sure you ask questions regarding the examination process. If they do not require a physical, they may not pay as high as the companies that do.

How do I get started?

First, you need to research a few life insurance companies and get some comparable quotes. Once you have an idea of the type of insurance you need and the price points, you should work with the agent you select to complete the application. You will need the signature of the insured, so make sure they come with you to finalize the process.

Does the policy premium increase with age?

This depends on the type of policy you purchase. There are policies that are adjustable and fixed. An adjustable policy can allow for increases during the life of the policy, while fixed policies remain stable. If this is a major concern, be sure to discuss this with the life insurance agent so there aren’t any surprises later.

How does the renewal process work?

Some policies are automatically renewed 30 to 60 days before expiration. Other policies must be renewed manually. Verify this information with your life insurance agent before you make any decisions.

Is there an age that is considered too old for life insurance?

The age maximum is 85. After the age of 85, you cannot purchase a new life insurance policy. Time is a luxury that does not exist in the life insurance industry. You must purchase a life insurance policy before your 85th birthday.

Thinking about the time when your father will no longer be with you is difficult. Unfortunately, death is a reality of life and plans must be made. You can help simplify the situation by being pro-active. Purchasing the right type of life insurance policy will help ease the financial responsibilities that accompany this emotional time.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent Daniel Walker