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Life Insurance: Questions & Answers

Life insurance is an essential part of any financial strategy. It provides peace of mind by helping protect the security of the most important people in your life. It can replace income for dependents, create inheritances, provide charitable contributions, and much more.

Understanding Life Insurance

What is Life Insurance & How Does it Work?

Life insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. You pay premium payments in exchange for a potential lump sum (known as a death benefit) that beneficiaries receive after your death. This death benefit can be used towards bills, mortgage, college tuition, and other expenses.

Why is Life Insurance Important?

Life insurance can offset the financial burden on your loved ones if you pass. It can cover virtually any type of living expense, including burial costs, medical bills, housing, and retirement.

What Types of Life Insurance Are There?

The two most popular types of life insurance are term life insurance and whole life insurance. Term life insurance is temporary protection because it only provides coverage for a specific period of time. There is usually a maximum age above which coverage will not be offered or at which coverage cannot be renewed. Whole life insurance (or permanent insurance) is a general term used to refer to various forms of life insurance policies that build cash value and remain in effect for the entire life of the insured (or until age 100) as long as the premium is paid.

How Does Group Term Life Insurance Work?

Group Term Life Insurance is an annually renewable term insurance. Coverage is issued by an insurance carrier (New York Life Insurance Company) to a policyholder (WAEPA) for the purpose of insuring the policyholder’s members. This allows for group rates for each policy issued under a single contract and, as a result, rates are typically lower.

How Are Group Term Life Insurance Benefits Paid?

Group Term Life Insurance benefits are payable in a lump sum, at the time of death. One major advantage of term life insurance is quick liquidity at the time it’s needed. Term Life Insurance does not build cash value like whole life insurance; thus, premiums are generally lower than whole life plans during the guaranteed paying years. It typically would not be subject to delays that can occur in probate while final medical, funeral, and household expenses continue to accumulate.

Who Needs Life Insurance?

Life insurance is an integral part of financial planning for anyone that wants to protect their family’s future in the event that the unexpected should happen. There are any number of life-changing events that current and former Civilian Federal Employees should consider when re-evaluating their life insurance needs, including getting married, starting a family, buying a home, and more.

New Family Member

A new child brings added financial responsibilities.

New Home

Adjust insurance to offset increased debt.

New Job

Coverage should keep pace with your current income.

Change in Marital Status

Ensure your family remains adequately insured.

Increased Assets

Protect your family from the added financial burden.

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

Financial advisors recommend having enough life insurance to cover ten times your salary, but individual life insurance needs differ based on your family’s overall financial wellness plan. The best thing to do is think about your current expenses, your plans for your family’s future, and what might happen if you were to die unexpectedly.

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?

Life insurance costs vary based on three primary factors: age, risk factors, and the amount of coverage. Generally speaking, life insurance is less expensive when you are younger, and grows progressively more expensive as you grow older. This is because your risk factors, the odds that an individual will suffer an untimely death while covered by a policy, increase as you age. As with any type of premium, you pay more money for more coverage, and less money for less coverage.

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How Do I Buy Life Insurance?

Choose Your Coverage

Use our Coverage Calculator to determine the right amount of coverage for you and your family.

Apply for Coverage

Once you’ve determined your coverage amount, you can apply for coverage or learn more about the life insurance application process.


Once the underwriter has reviewed your application, you will be notified by email if approved or by mail if not approved.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions

How much Group Term Life Insurance coverage is available to me?

With WAEPA, you can apply for up to $1.5 million in Group Term Life Insurance coverage.

Don’t I already have life insurance through my work?

Civilian Federal Employees are automatically offered FEGLI through their benefits package. However, because there is no underwriting process with FEGLI, rates can be higher than an individual would find with an alternate policy. No underwriting process mean that the young, old, healthy, and sick are all covered without examining their risk factors. Due to this, WAEPA’s rates compare favorably to FEGLI across multiple ages and coverage amounts.

When is the right time to get insurance?

Life insurance is an important part of your overall financial wellness plan, but it gets more expensive as you get older, so it is beneficial to purchase it when you are young and your risk factors are low. It is also important to evaluate your life insurance coverage after “life changing events” such as getting married, starting a family, and buying a home.

What do I need to know before buying life insurance?

Prospective WAEPA members seeking to purchase life insurance need to determine what coverage amount is right for them based on their ability to pay the required premium, serve their individual financial needs, and protect their family’s financial future. Once you’ve determined the coverage amount for your needs, it’s a simple application process to apply for a WAEPA policy.

Are there any factors that don’t affect the cost of life insurance?

Yes, race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, and sexual orientation (among other factors) will not impact the cost of life insurance.

Some of the insurance terminology is confusing – where can I go to better understand?

Visit our FAQ section on life insurance terminology for definitions on key terms.