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Policy owners can decrease the amount of their term life policy, though the amount can vary depending on the policy and the insurer, says Frank Citera, a vice president at New York Life. But they cannot increase the amount of coverage without purchasing an additional policy.

Term life insurance provides protection for a certain time period, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years and pays out to beneficiaries if you die within that term, or covers you until you reach a certain age, such as 65 or 70. It’s designed to replace your income if you die, so your family can cover expenses, such as mortgage payments or college tuition for your kids.

Beyond purchasing an additional life insurance policy, some life insurance companies offer a conversion feature on term life policies, which allows clients to convert some or all of their term insurance policy to a permanent policy like whole life, regardless of health, for a limited amount of time, Citera says.

“This feature enables buyers to benefit from lower initial premium payments but still gives them access to purchase a permanent policy with the opportunity to build cash value later,” he says.

Whole life insurance, he points out, provides lifetime protection through guaranteed fixed premiums, death benefit and cash value accumulation.

“Whole life is ideal for individuals who want guarantees and the ability to accumulate savings,” Citera says.

Before you go shopping for any new life insurance products, though, review your finances and your dependents’ needs to determine how much insurance you need. Take into account short- and long-term expenses they will bear if you die as well as the financial resources you already have.

In fact, it’s a good idea to do a life insurance checkup every year to ensure you have enough insurance or you don’t have more than you need. If you decide to apply for a new policy, make sure you understand the coverage and answer all the questions on the application accurately. 

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