Life insurance is an important financial tool that provides financial security for your loved ones in the event of your death. Choosing the right life insurance policy can be confusing with so many options available. MetLife is one of the largest and most trusted insurance providers in the U.S., offering a variety of life insurance policies. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain exactly how MetLife life insurance works and the key factors to consider when shopping for coverage.
What is Life Insurance?
Life insurance is a contract between an insurance policy holder and an insurance company that pays out a lump sum of money to designated beneficiaries upon the policy holder’s death. This money can be used to pay for funeral expenses, cover outstanding debts, fund college savings for children, and provide ongoing income replacement for dependents.
There are two main types of life insurance:
- Term life insurance offers coverage for a specified period of time, typically 10 to 30 years. It pays out only if you die within the term. Term policies are the most affordable option for younger buyers looking for temporary coverage.
- Permanent life insurance provides lifelong coverage as long as you pay the premiums. Types of permanent life insurance include whole life, universal life, and variable life. Permanent policies build cash value that you can borrow against or withdraw. They offer more benefits but at higher premium costs.
Why Choose MetLife?
Founded in 1868, MetLife is one of the largest and oldest life insurance providers in the U.S. They have paid out over $600 billion in claims to policyholders to date. Here are some key reasons to consider MetLife for your life insurance needs:
- Financial strength and stability: MetLife has over 150 years of experience and is financially secure, currently holding over $7.5 billion in capital reserves. All policies are backed by MetLife, Inc. which has earned strong financial strength ratings from major independent rating agencies.
- Wide range of plans: MetLife offers nearly every type of life insurance product including term, whole life, universal life, and variable universal life insurance. They also provide accidental death policies, group life, and coverage for children.
- Customizable coverage: MetLife policies allow flexibility to change coverage amounts, terms, and premium payments as your needs change over time. You can add optional benefits like disability waivers and accelerated death benefits.
- Convenient services: MetLife policies come with helpful services like digital claims processing, access to financial planning assistance, and grief counseling. You can also manage your policy through the MyMetLife online portal and mobile app.
How MetLife Life Insurance Works
If you’re considering buying life insurance from MetLife, it’s important to understand how their policies work. Here are the key factors that go into a MetLife life insurance policy:
Choosing a Policy Type
The first big decision is choosing between term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Term life is the most affordable option that covers you for a set number of years, while permanent policies cost more but last your entire life. Most financial experts recommend buying term life insurance if your needs are temporary and considering a permanent policy only if you need lifelong coverage.
MetLife offers several types of term life insurance, including:
- Level term: Offers a death benefit that stays the same for the length of the term. Terms are available from 10 to 30 years.
- Decreasing term: The death benefit amount decreases over the term duration but premiums remain constant. A good option if you need a large amount of temporary coverage.
- Return of premium term: Returns all premiums paid at the end of the term if no death benefit was paid out. A good choice if you want temporary coverage but also want your money back later if you outlive the term.
For permanent coverage, MetLife provides both whole and universal life insurance options:
- Whole life: Offers guaranteed death benefits, predictable premiums, and cash value that grows over time that you can borrow against. It’s the most traditional type of permanent life insurance.
- Universal life: A more flexible permanent policy where you can adjust your death benefit and vary premium payments based on changing needs. Cash value grows tax-deferred.
Determining Coverage Amount
Once you decide between term and permanent coverage, the next key factor is determining how much coverage you need. A general guideline is to buy a policy that covers 10-15 times your gross annual income. This amount will allow your beneficiaries to maintain their current lifestyle, pay off debts like mortgages, and cover college costs for children.
Some other factors that influence your ideal coverage amount include:
- Funeral and medical expenses
- Existing debts and loans
- Daily living expenses for dependents
- Future education costs
- Outstanding taxes
MetLife has an easy online life insurance calculator that suggests recommended coverage amounts based on your unique situation. A licensed agent can also work with you to determine the optimal amount of protection.
Comparing Plan Options
Within MetLife’s selection of term life and permanent life products, there are various options and “riders” you can add on for additional customization and benefits. Some add-ons to consider include:
- Accidental death benefit: Provides an additional payout if you die from an accident.
- Waiver of premium: Waives premium payments if you become disabled so coverage can continue.
- Living benefits: Allows early payout of a portion of the death benefit if diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- Child term rider: Adds inexpensive term life insurance for your children for additional protection.
When comparing plans, look closely at the included features versus additional riders. This helps ensure you get the right mix of benefits tailored to your family’s needs and budget.
Getting a Life Insurance Quote
The amount of life insurance coverage you need and the type of policy will determine the premium cost. Premiums are also based on personal factors like your age, health, lifestyle, and family medical history.
MetLife makes it simple to get a fast, free quote for life insurance either online or over the phone with a licensed agent. You’ll just need to provide some basic personal information like:
- Date of birth
- Tobacco use
- Existing medical conditions
- Family medical history
- Beneficiary relationship
After inputting these details, you’ll receive quotes showing estimated monthly, quarterly, or annual premium costs for your preferred coverage amount and types of policies. Comparing quotes across a few different coverage options can help you find the right balance of cost and benefits.
How to Apply and Enroll
When you’re ready to move forward with a MetLife policy, you can complete the application process online, over the phone, or by meeting with an agent locally. Here are the steps for applying:
- Fill out the full application providing personal details, lifestyle information, and medical history. This part can be completed electronically or with paper forms.
- Schedule a paramedical exam so MetLife can verify your health status. This quick exam tests things like blood pressure, cholesterol, and other vital health markers.
- Submit your initial premium payment to activate coverage once approved.
- Review and sign your policy contract documents.
- Name primary and contingent beneficiaries who will receive the payout.
- Set up online access via MetLife’s portal for convenient account management going forward.
The approval process is generally quick, taking 2 to 3 weeks. Once approved, your beneficiaries will be protected upon your death, giving you peace of mind.
Ongoing Policy Management
One advantage of choosing such a large provider like MetLife is the wealth of resources available for managing your policy year after year:
- Mobile app: Download the MetLife app to access your account, make payments, adjust coverage, file claims and more from your smartphone.
- Online portal: Log in anytime to view your policy details, update info, make changes, access statements, and handle other tasks related to your account.
- Automated premium payments: Set up auto-pay from your bank account so you never miss payments. You can also pay via mail, phone, or online as needed.
- Annual statements: You’ll receive an annual summary of your policy’s cash value, any paid dividends, loans against the policy, and other updates on its status.
- Personal service: Speak to a knowledgeable MetLife representative anytime you need assistance with your policy at no added cost.
- Beneficiary updates: Don’t forget to review your beneficiary designations whenever there is a major life change like marriage, divorce, or birth of a child.
Understanding Tax Implications
There are some important tax considerations to keep in mind with a life insurance policy:
- Premium payments are not tax deductible for individual policyholders.
- Benefits paid to beneficiaries are generally not subject to income tax.
- With permanent policies, if you withdraw or borrow against cash value, gains are taxable as ordinary income.
- Permanent policies avoid probate because proceeds are distributed directly to named beneficiaries.
To maximize tax benefits, it may make sense to keep a permanent life insurance policy until death instead of cancelling it. An accountant can help explain how buying life insurance specifically affects your tax situation.
Why MetLife is a Life Insurance Leader
In summary, MetLife is a leading choice if you want to purchase high-quality life insurance from a reputable national insurer. Key advantages of choosing MetLife include:
- 150+ years of experience as an established insurance provider
- Wide range of policy options including term, whole, and universal life
- Ability to adjust coverage amounts and customize benefits
- Convenient digital tools and apps for account management
- Strong financial strength and claims-paying ability
- Personalized guidance from licensed agents
With education and research, you can feel confident that MetLife life insurance provides trusted protection for you and long-lasting security for your loved ones. The right policy lets you rest easy knowing your family’s financial future is secure.