Should I buy my life insurance through my employer or on my own?

Many companies offer their workers employer-sponsored life insurance coverage as part of their employee benefits package. If you’re offered this opportunity, it may be in your best interest to accept. Buying life insurance through your employer can be a relatively inexpensive and hassle-free way to get some of the life insurance coverage you need.

With a group life insurance plan, your employer purchases a single policy that covers all employees. This policy is subject to a single group premium payment. Some employers may pay the entire cost of the group policy (which is tax deductible to the employer). But if the plan requires you to pay a portion of the group premium, that amount will probably be lower than what you would pay for the same type and amount of individual insurance coverage. And you generally don’t need to pass a medical exam when applying for group life insurance.

A disadvantage of employer-sponsored life insurance is that it may not be portable. If you leave your job, your group life insurance coverage may end–potentially leaving you underprotected, especially if you can’t purchase an individual policy at a reasonable cost because of your age or changes in your health.

However, you may be allowed to convert your group insurance to an individual policy, which would allow you to keep your insurance coverage, regardless of your age or health, but you’d have to pay the entire premium out-of-pocket.

Another disadvantage of group life insurance is that the policy may not be tailored to your individual needs. For example, the amount of coverage may be less than what you require to be fully protected. If so, the group policy may give you the option of purchasing more coverage for an additional cost and for which you may be asked to answer medical questions. But even if you end up buying supplemental insurance through a separate company, your employer-sponsored plan gives you a head start in meeting your life insurance needs.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2012