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By Chuck Wells

I know, buying life insurance is a horrible experience and no one likes it. But if you have decided that you want to buy some to pay off debts or provide an income to someone after you die, you should know the basic kinds of life insurance.

Term Life Insurance: coverage only goes for a certain period of time and when you get old, the premiums are so high you cannot afford them. Great policy if you want cheap life insurance for a limited period of time. No good if you need the coverage for the rest of your life. No cash value so you get nothing back on this policy if you do not die. The policy is designed to terminate shortly before you do.

Whole Life: coverage goes for your entire lifetime and the premiums are level and do not increase with your age like term life insurance. The policy also builds cash value so you get some of your money back which can be used to off-set future premiums. Good policy if you need coverage for the rest of you life but premiums are much higher than term life.

Universal Life: this is a combination of the term life and whole life policies. Premiums can be increased or decreased and the coverage is for your entire lifetime. The policy builds cash value (not as much as whole life) and the premiums are lower than whole life but more expensive than term.

Variable Life: this can be either whole or universal life offering a combination plan of insurance and investments. The policyholder assumes the risk for the growth in the policy and the investment performance has a direct impact on the death benefit and cash value in the policy. If you are young and like the idea of your life insurance policy reflecting investments over a long period of time, this may be good for you. Not good if you need a large amount of protection for a low premium to cover short-term obligations.

So you have it in a nutshell. One other word of caution. Don’t buy life insurance through the internet or mail unless you a sure the company is licensed in New York. You should buy it through a New York State licensed agent who will be around when you aren’t. After all, you won’t be able to fight for the money if there is a problem. Your agent will.


Three vegetarians, including two Hindus who don’t eat meat, sued McDonald’s in 1991 because McDonald’s did not tell them that the fries were cooked in beef-flavored oil.

McDonald’s had to fork out $10 million (think about that the next time you buy a Big-Mac) and Harish Bharti, the Seattle attorney who brought this humanitarian lawsuit in the first place, is steaming because of the distribution of the bucks. Vegetarian groups would get $6 million, Hindu and Sikh groups were to get $2 million, and the rest goes to children’s nutrition and hunger relief and to promote an understanding of Kosher foods and practices. Really. It seems that some vegetarian activists (now we have vegetarian activists) didn’t like some of the groups on the list of benefactors. Hopefully, none of the lawyers sit down with a cup of McDonald’s hot coffee while arguing about this windfall.

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