What is life insurance?
A life insurance policy is very simply a contract between you and an insurance company. In that contract, you agree to make regularly scheduled premium payments in exchange for a death benefit if you die while the policy is in force. The policy can be in force for a specific number of years or the duration of your life.
Your premium payment can be paid monthly, twice a year, or annually depending on your preference or the options made available to you. The contract is legally binding and regulated by the Departments of Insurance in all 50 states, including Washington DC. If you continue to make premium payments for the duration of the policy, and you die while your policy is in force, the insurance company must meet its obligation to provide your beneficiaries with the stated death benefit. You should refer to your policy for specific details regarding the determination and payment of your death benefit.
Your beneficiary is the person (or persons) who will receive the death benefit proceeds of your life insurance policy if you die while your policy is in force. You may name multiple people as beneficiaries or you can name just one. If needed, most policies allow for a beneficiary designation change. Refer to your specific policy for details.
You are not locked into a life insurance policy, and can typically cancel it by ceasing to pay the premiums or by requesting that the policy be terminated by the insurance company.