I have been advising consumers to buy a Decreasing Term Insurance (DTA). This will cost less than half of a Level Term Insurance.
For example, a male aged 30 can insure for $300,000 for 25 years by paying an annual premium of (say) $500. If this person buys a DTA, the annual premium can reduce by at least half, i.e. $250. (Note: the actual premium is likely to be lower, if you ask for competitive quotes from several companies).
Under a DTA, the sum insured will reduce proportionately each year. In the above example, the sum insured is $300,000 during the fitst year, and will reduce by $12,000 each year (i.e. $300,000 divided by 25). In the final year, the sum insured will only be $12,000.
It make sense to buy a DTA as the consumer is likely to have savings each year that will cover the reduction in the sum insured. For example, the savings can be $12,000 a year in the above example.
In the event of premature death, the sum insured under the DTA can be added to the accumulated savings to make a total sum that is sufficient to take care of the needs of the dependents. The policy payout can be invested with the accumulated savings in a low cost investment fund to earn a market rate of return (perhaps 5% per annum, after averaging out the good and bad years). The family can make a monthly drawdown (say $1,500 a month) from the accumulated savings to meet their needs. The total amount can last for many years, depending on the amount that has been saved.
A good combination is to have a DTA to provide a large sum to be supplemented with monthly savings that are invested in a low cost, well diversified fund.
A DTA is similar to the cover provided by a life insurance policy. Although the policy provides a level sum insured, the amount that is being insured actually reduces over the years, as the cash values are built up from the investment of the net premiums.
Many of the insurance companies in Singapore do not offer attractive rates for DTA. It may be neccessary for consumers to buy DTA outside of Singapore. You can try to get quotes from websites in America that offer this type of policy. When consumers have a choice, the life companies in Singapore will be forced to offer this type of policy on competitive rates.
Tan Kin Lian
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