A Guide to Life Insurance for Police Officers
- Law enforcement officers face many dangers on the job. Keep reading to learn more about how life insurance for police officers can provide extra peace of mind.
Due to the high level of risk they face each day, many police officers worry about what would happen if they were seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. One way to protect your family is to purchase a life insurance policy as soon as you start working in law enforcement. Although police work is risky, many companies offer affordable life insurance for police officers and their families.
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Why Do Police Officers Need Life Insurance?
In 2020, more than 60,000 American police officers were assaulted while on duty; 30.9% of them sustained injuries. One of the major reasons police officers need life insurance is because they put their lives on the line with each call.
An attack against law enforcement officials can happen at any time, not just when officers are chasing a suspect on foot or engaging in a high-speed chase. Serious injuries and fatalities occur during routine traffic stops, homicide investigations, disturbance calls and more. Police officers may even be involved in ambush attacks.
Another reason police officers need life insurance is that they're often required to respond to traffic accidents or direct traffic. This type of police work increases the risk of injuries caused by reckless drivers. Between 2011 and 2020, 33% of line-of-duty deaths were linked to motor vehicle accidents.
Life Insurance and Risk Classes
Although police officers face many on-the-job dangers, they're not necessarily considered high-risk for the purposes of obtaining life insurance. It's also important to note that police officers don't face the same level of risk throughout their entire careers. A police officer who starts out on traffic duty is likely to move to a different department at some point, reducing their risk of line-of-duty accidents.
Some officers spend most of their time sharing information with the public or working to build positive community relationships, further reducing their risk. As a result, being a police officer doesn't disqualify anyone from obtaining a life insurance policy.
Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance for Police Officers
Many police departments offer group life insurance coverage for their employees. Unfortunately, this coverage usually isn't enough to meet the needs of surviving spouses and children. Relying on group life insurance coverage has several drawbacks:
- The death benefit is usually a small multiple of the officer's salary. In 2021, the median annual salary for police officers and detectives was $66,020. Even if a policy paid three or four times this salary amount, the death benefit would add up to less than $275,000. For an officer with a spouse and several children, this just isn't enough coverage.
- If an officer dies outside the line of duty, their family may not receive the full death benefit.
- The coverage is tied to employment, so it goes away when the officer retires or changes careers.
Determining How Much Insurance You Need
The amount of insurance you need depends on many factors. A young police officer with no dependents will have different needs than an older officer with a large family, for example. When you look into life insurance for police officers, here's what you need to consider.
- How much money does it cost your family to live each year? Don't forget to include medical expenses, groceries, utilities, rent/mortgage payments and other expenses.
- Is your home paid off, or do you have a mortgage balance?
- Do you have children who plan to attend college? If so, how much do you think it will cost to cover their educational expenses?
- Does your family have any debt that needs to be repaid?
- How much does the average funeral/memorial service cost in your area?
- How much does your spouse need for retirement?
Types of Life Insurance for Police Officers
When it comes to policy types, life insurance for police officers is no different from the life insurance available to people in other professions. Your main options are term life insurance, permanent life insurance and no-exam life insurance.
Term life insurance pays a death benefit if the covered individual passes away during the term of the policy. Most policies have terms lasting up to 30 years. Because the coverage is active during a limited period, term life insurance is usually the cheapest option.
Permanent life insurance covers you for as long as you pay the premiums. This type of policy also builds cash value, which can be used to pay your premiums when you get older. Whole life and universal life are the most common types of permanent life insurance. The main difference between the two is that universal life is more flexible, as you have the option of changing the amount of the death benefit while the policy is active. Universal life is also less expensive.
No-exam life insurance may be offered in a term policy or a whole-life policy. This type of insurance is ideal for police officers who don't want to undergo a medical exam to qualify for life insurance coverage. These policies are typically more expensive because the insurance company is assuming a greater risk.
The Cost of Life Insurance for Police Officers
When you buy life insurance, your premium is determined through a process known as underwriting. This process looks at factors, including your age and health, to assess your risk level. As a police officer, you may be asked the following:
- Do you do most of your work at the precinct, or are you out in the field every day?
- How often do you carry a firearm at work?
- Do you handle homicides or other major crimes?
- What safety precautions do you take at work?
- Have you received any special job training?
Companies Issuing Policies to Police Officers
Many insurance companies issue life insurance policies, but these are some of the best ones dealing in life insurance for police officers:
- Protective: This company offers competitive pricing, policies with terms of 35 to 40 years and policies that can be renewed up until age 90. One drawback is limited options for no-exam life insurance. Protective also charges much more for policies issued to tobacco users.
- Banner Life: Banner Life is known for low rates, excellent customer service and policy terms of up to 40 years. The company doesn't issue policies exceeding $1 million in coverage, however.
- Lincoln Financial Group: LFG offers several types of life insurance, makes coverage decisions quickly and offers no-exam life insurance to nonsmokers. One drawback of working with this company is that it doesn't issue whole-life policies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Line-of-Duty Benefit?
A line-of-duty benefit is a type of insurance some police departments provide to their officers. If you're killed or injured in the line of duty, your beneficiaries may receive additional funds if a line-of-duty benefit is active.
Do Police Officers Qualify for Life Insurance?
Yes, police officers qualify for life insurance. You have to go through the same underwriting process as everyone else, so you may not qualify if you have a serious medical condition, but being a police officer doesn't automatically disqualify anyone from coverage.