This is one of the most important financial tools every family in the church should have in place. Here’s why…
Term life insurance should really be called “death insurance.” It protects a family from a sudden, unexpected loss of income if a working husband or wife dies. There are several benefits associated with buying term life insurance:
- It’s cheap – You can get a large death benefit for a cheap annual rate.
- It’s flexible – You can choose the lifetime of the policy. The most common terms are 10, 20, and 30-year policies. The longer the policy, the more expensive it will be, but it will be guaranteed no matter what happens as long as you keep paying.
- It’s easy to understand – the terms are simple. If the insured person dies, the insurance company pays the beneficiary (surviving spouse or children) the amount of money specified by the policy.
- The beneficiary and policy owner can both be the surviving spouse – It is important that term life policies be owned and paid for by the spouse named as the beneficiary. This protects the wife from a cheating husband who runs off with a girlfriend by preventing her adulterous husband from removing the wife from the policy or cancelling it altogether by stopping payments. As long as the wife continues to pay for the policy, an adulterous husband can’t cancel or change the policy (or vice versa).
Insurance generally protects against a possible catastophic, though unlikely event that could occur in a person’s life. The event is usually a severe one which can severely disrupt your life and bring you to financial ruin.
Insurance is a financial tool that lets a person or family transfer the financial risk associated with experiencing an unlikely but detrimental financial loss to an insurance company. The risk is unlikely, but financially catastrophic. It probably won’t happen, but they couldn’t afford it if it did. The insurance companies agree to accept this risk in exchange for a small annual fee, called a premium. The insurance protects the insured from financial loss. The insurance company compensates you for the loss. They agree to do this because they know they probably won’t ever have to pay you.
That’s a good thing for both of you. They make money, and you don’t experience the terrible event. But if it does occur, a man’s family–and the church– will be protected from financial ruin.
Insurance is made possible by the modern developed economy. The mathematical application of probability and statistics allows companies to predict with relative precision just how frequently these “random” events will occur given a large enough population. By insuring a large enough group of people who all pay regular premiums, the insurance company makes enough money to pay out the coverage benefit, stay in business, and make a profit.
Life insurance protects a person from financial devastation that would otherwise send their family into poverty.
SAFEGUARDING A FAMILY’S INCOME
Work is how most families support themselves. The very rich don’t necessarily have to work. They may receive income from an inheritance or from investments. But for the rest of us, for the typical Christian family, the husband, the wife, or both must work to support their family.
Usually, the husband is the primary breadwinner. He probably makes the most money. This is all the more true in a family in which the husband works and the wife doesn’t.
This is why it is such a serious situation when a husband loses his job.
If he were to unexpectedly die without any plan in place, this would ruin his family. His wife and children would be facing poverty. They depended on his income to pay the bills and buy food, clothes, and shelter. With his income gone, and without a life insurance policy in place, the only hope they have is to have a large savings in place. But many families don’t have any savings at all, and even the best prepared families may only have 6-12 months of expenses stored in an emergency fund.
PROTECTING THE CHURCH
A family who suffers this kind of unprotected loss of income would almost immediately become dependent on charity. The responsibility for their care would fall on their church. Since widows and the fatherless are the special responsibility of the church, the deacons would become responsible for helping keep this family afloat and out of poverty.
The church’s budget may not be prepared for this level of expense and support. The financial support wouldn’t be permanent, but it could last longer than anyone expected.
Term life insurance protects against the possible, though unlikely, loss of this income.
It also protects the church. This is because untimely death can be planned for. Term life insurance offers cheap protection for the family and the church. Deacons should recommend that every member of their congregation put a term life policy in place.
HOW TO SHOP FOR TERM LIFE INSURANCE
It is probably cheapest to shop for term life insurance online through independent brokers. This is possibly the purest form of price competition you can find. Independent brokers don’t work for a single life insurance company. Instead, they shop for you to get you the best deal possible.
Here’s a short guide on how to shop for term life insurance.
Here is another helpful article that discusses purchasing insurance online: How to Buy Life Insurance the Easy Way.
A good website to find cheap policies is PolicyGenius. Deacons can send their congregation members to the website to search for themselves. They can also help walk families through the process on a church computer or even on a smartphone.
Owning a term life insurance policy should be a pre-requisite for any family who wants to be eligible to receive financial assistance from the church.
This is because it a moral obligation for the head of the household to provide for their family (1 Timothy 5:8). A husband who dies and leaves his family destitute because he chose not to pay the pittance required to buy a term life policy is unconscionable.
The deacons should establish this expectation and communicate it regularly.
This is because it is so important to a family, and it is also so important to the church. The head of the household is responsible to their family and is morally obligated to protect them. Term life policies are a cheap way to protect them from impoverishment if he or she dies. Buying cheap term life policies also protects the church by safeguarding her resources. Churches should not be forced to financially provide for a family who should have been prepared.
There is no reason for a family to be unprepared for death. People hesitate to buy life insurance because they don’t want to think about their death. They feel it’s too much to think about. They find it emotionally overwhelming. But they should not delay. They must think about their spouse and children. They must think about the situation they would put their spouse and children in if they die without insurance in place.
Deacons must communicate the moral requirement for all families to buy cheap term life policies. One way to do this is to require families to have term life policies in place on the husband and wife as a condition for being eligible to receive church aid.
Putting term life policies in place will eliminate the sudden death of a breadwinner as one outcome that will bring families to the church for support. This will let the church allocate her resources to charity and other less foreseeable causes.