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Glossary

Accelerated benefits

Benefits available before death in some life insurance policies, to help pay the costs of long-term care or terminal illness.

Accidental death benefits

A provision added to a life insurance policy for an additional benefit if death is caused by an accident, often referred to as "double indemnity."

Agent

An authorized representative of an insurance company who sells and services insurance contracts.

Automatic premium loan

A provision in a life insurance policy that any premium not paid by the end of the grace period (usually 30 or 31 days) will be paid automatically by a policy loan if there is sufficient cash value.

Beneficiary

The person or financial instrument (for instance, a trust fund) named in a life insurance policy as the recipient of policy proceeds in the event of the policyholder's death.

Cash value (cash surrender value)

The amount available in cash upon surrender of a permanent life insurance policy before it becomes payable upon death or maturity.

Evidence of insurability

Proof of physical or medical tests, such as blood pressure or cholesterol screening, required by life before an applicant can purchase an individual life insurance policy.

Face amount

The amount stated on the face of a life insurance policy that will be paid in the case of death or policy maturity. It does not include dividend additions, or additional amounts payable under accidental death or other special provisions.

Grace period

A period (usually 30 or 31 days) following each insurance premium due date, other than the first due date, during which an overdue premium may be paid. All provisions of the policy remain in force throughout this period.

Insured

The person on whose life an insurance policy is issued.

Lapsed policy

An insurance policy terminated at the end of the grace period because of nonpayment of premiums. (See nonforfeiture values.)

Nonforfeiture values

The value of a life insurance policy if it is cancelled, either in cash or in another form of insurance. Also available to the policyholder if required premium payments are not paid.

Permanent life insurance

Life insurance designed to provide lifelong financial protection. As long as you pay the necessary premiums, the death benefit will be paid. Most permanent policies have a feature known as cash value that builds up, tax-deferred, over the life of the policy and can be used to help fund financial goals, such as retirement or education expenses.

Policy

The printed document issued to the policyholder by a company stating the terms of the insurance contract.

Policy illustration

Shows how a life insurance policy works, illustrating premiums, death benefits, cash values, and information about other factors that may affect costs.

Policy loan

Under an insurance policy,

The amount a policyholder can borrow from the issuing company at a specified rate of interest. The policy's value is collateral for the loan. If the policyholder dies without fully paying the debt, the insurance company deducts the amount borrowed, plus any accumulated interest, from the amount payable to beneficiaries.

Premium

The payment, or one of a series of payments, a policyholder makes to own an insurance policy.

Reinstatement

The restoration of a lapsed insurance policy. The company requires evidence of insurability and payment of past-due premiums plus interest.

Rider

An amendment to an insurance policy modifying the policy by expanding or restricting its benefits or excluding certain conditions from coverage. (See accelerated benefits, accidental death benefits.)

Settlement options

One of several ways, other than immediate payment in a lump sum, in which the insured or beneficiary may choose to have policy proceeds paid.

Term insurance

Insurance that covers the insured for a certain period of time known as the "term." The policy pays death benefits only if the insured dies during the term, which can be one, five, 10 or even 20 years.

Underwriting

The process of classifying applicants for insurance by identifying such characteristics as age, gender, health, occupation and hobbies. People with similar characteristics are grouped together and are charged a premium based on the group's level of risk.

Universal life insurance (Adjustable life)

A type of permanent life insurance that allows you, after your initial payment, to pay premiums at any time, in virtually any amount, subject to certain minimums and maximums. This policy also permits you to reduce or increase the death benefit more easily than you may under a traditional whole life policy. To increase your death benefit, the insurance company usually requires satisfactory evidence of your continued good health.

Waiver of premium

A provision that sets certain conditions under which an insurance policy is kept in full force by the company without premium payments. Waivers are used most frequently for policyholders who become totally and permanently disabled, but may be available in certain other cases.

Whole life insurance (Ordinary life)

The most common type of permanent life insurance. Premiums generally remain constant over the life of the policy and must be paid periodically in the amount specified in the policy.

Life insurance and annuities are offered by or through Church Life Insurance Corporation, 19 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016.

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