How to Read a Life Insurance Policy

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Understanding Your Life Insurance Policy

  1. Identification Section: This part includes basic information like your name, the policy number, and the insurance company’s details.
  2. Coverage Details: Here, you’ll find the type of life insurance (term, whole, universal, etc.), the coverage amount, and any riders or additional benefits.
  3. Premium Information: This section outlines the premium amount, frequency of payments (monthly, annually), and any factors affecting the premium.
  4. Beneficiary Designation: It lists who will receive the death benefit. Check for primary and contingent beneficiaries.
  5. Policy Terms and Conditions: This includes clauses, exclusions, and specific terms under which the policy will pay out or won’t.
  6. Policy Riders and Amendments: Any extra coverage options or changes made after the policy was issued will be here.
  7. Claims Process: Details on how to file a claim, required documentation, and the process timeline.


Consider a term life insurance policy. The identification section might list John Doe, policy number 123456. The coverage details show a $500,000 benefit for a 20-year term. Premiums are $30 monthly. His wife, Jane Doe, is the primary beneficiary. The policy might exclude death from high-risk activities. A rider for accidental death benefit could be added.

How To Read Life Insurance Policy

Understanding Life Insurance Terms

PremiumThe amount you pay for the policy
BeneficiaryThe person(s) who receive the death benefit
Term Life InsuranceProvides coverage for a specific period
Whole Life InsuranceCoverage with no expiration, includes a savings component
RiderAn addition to the standard policy offering extra benefits
Life Insurance Guide


Understanding your life insurance policy ensures that you’re aware of the coverage, costs, and processes. Review each section carefully and consult with your insurance provider for any clarifications. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about your life insurance coverage.

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Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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