As with most insurance policies, life insurance is a contract between the insurer and the policy owner whereby a benefit is paid to the designated beneficiaries if an insured event occurs which is covered by the policy.
The value for the policyholder is derived, not from an actual claim event, rather it is the value derived from the 'peace of mind' experienced by the policyholder, due to the negating of adverse financial consequences caused by the death of the Life Assured.
To be a life policy the insured event must be based upon the lives of the people named in the policy.
Insured events that may be covered include:
- Serious illness
Life-based contracts tend to fall into two major categories:
- Protection policies - designed to provide a benefit in the event of specified event, typically a lump sum payment. A common form of this design is term insurance.
- Investment policies - where the main objective is to facilitate the growth of capital by regular or single premiums. Common forms (in the US anyway) are whole life, universal life and variable life policies.