Term insurance is the best safety net against financial crunches in the absence of the person who is the primary source of income in a family. This tool is especially useful if you are self-employed. The reason is that self-employed individuals are often exposed to high financial risks. As you are your own boss, you do not have the option to fall back on a regular salary or employer provident funds. Thus, in case of any eventuality, your family may lack a financial cushion against monetary hardships. In this case, the payouts from your term insurance can provide economic security to your loved ones.

Why do you need term insurance if you are self-employed?

  • Unstable revenue: A regular job assures a definite sum credited to your account every month. You can plan your expenses and savings accordingly. However, as an entrepreneur, to stabilise and grow your business, you may often funnel your earnings back into your venture. It might leave behind limited cash for savings and investments. Moreover, there is no surety for the monthly profit amounts. If you are a freelancer, your source of income may not be consistent. Thereby, your earnings might vary from one month to another. Inconsistent revenues can erode savings for meeting day-to-day living expenses, leaving little reserve funds.
  • Loans and debts: At the nascent stage, your business will need seed capital. You may have to take substantial business or personal loans to build a strong foundation for your company. Even with an established enterprise, you may require finances for procuring raw materials, buying machinery and more. Arranging for such funds may lead to sizeable debts. Moreover, you may use your credit card to buy groceries and medicines, pay school fees, cover electricity bills or rent, etc. If the dues accumulate, the interests levied can make the outstanding credit staggering. In addition to this, if you have a home or a car loan, the equated monthly instalments (EMIs) can be an extra burden if your earnings stop.

How can term insurance help?

To understand the benefits, first, consider how its absence can affect your family members. Life is uncertain, and if a mishap occurs, scarcity of liquid assets can jeopardise your family's lifestyle.

The effect of uneven income and debts on the financial future of your family:

  • Covering their living costs can become difficult.
  • If you leave an outstanding loan, it can be a challenge to repay it in the absence of a cash reserve.
  • The lack of funds can make your children compromise on their higher education plans.
  • If you have dependent parents at home, their medical treatments might suffer.
  • Your spouse will need money for old age-related expenses.

Without your income, your family will struggle to find sufficient resources to cover their needs. Herein lies the importance of life insurance. In case of an unfortunate outcome, your nominee will receive the sum assured. This will act as a replacement for your income. If the amount is adequate, your family can utilise this sum to cover every necessary expense.

Term insurance is extremely affordable, and you can acquire extensive life cover for a very reasonable premium. Thus, even if your cash flow is uncertain, you can ensure ample funds for your family's well-being.

What options to look for while buying term insurance to make a complete solution for your needs?

As a self-employed person, you are likely to have some particular financial requirements distinct from salaried individuals. Term insurance plans by reputed insurers can be customised to suit every such need. Here are a few alternatives that you can consider while buying term insurance to maximise its benefits:

A) Select a limited pay option

Life insurance offers multiple premium payment terms:

  • Single: You pay the entire premium at the time of purchase.
  • Regular: You pay the premium throughout the policy tenure on a monthly or yearly basis.
  • Limited Pay: This option allows you to pay the premium for a limited period, but the life insurance cover continues throughout the policy tenure. The number of years of premium payment is typically lesser than your policy term.

What are the benefits of a limited pay option over other premium payment modes for a self-employed person?

  • The shorter premium payment term is especially beneficial for entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals with variable incomes. While your income is on the rise, you can pay off all premiums and enjoy risk protection until an advanced age.
  • As a self-employed person, you may continue earning beyond the usual retirement age of salaried people, i.e. 60 years. Thus, a longer risk coverage will be appropriate as an income replacement in your case. In a limited pay plan, the premium payment term is complete within a few years. As a result, you can enjoy an extended coverage even if you lack the surplus income for servicing the policy later in life. Many reputed insurers offer coverage till 85 years with the option to extend it up to the age of 99.
  • This plan is useful if doubts about your capacity to pay the premiums to the full policy term are holding you back from buying term insurance. The payments end within a short duration, freeing you from the burden of premiums at an older age.
  • The lower the payment term, the lesser is the risk of missing any instalment. The limited pay option thus reduces the chances of a policy lapse, preventing your family from losing the benefits.
  • Even though term insurance plans do not have any surrender value with regular premium payment, the limited pay option can be different. If you voluntarily surrender the policy during the policy term, many insurers will pay an unexpired risk premium value.

How can the limited pay option with an annual premium payment mode and regular monthly instalment payout option reduce the premium outgo?

  • Life insurers can offer discounts of up to 68% on the total premium when you choose the limited pay option.
  • If you are 35 years old now, and pick a policy tenure of 25 years, with a 10 year premium payment term, your payments will be over by the time you become 45 years old. Yet, you will enjoy life coverage until you are 60.
  • You can get further discounts if you choose the annual payment mode over the monthly option.

Moreover, if you select the regular income payout option, whereby your nominee receives a monthly income, your premiums will cost less.

B) Take advantage of the Married Women's Property Act (MWPA) option

  • What is the Married Women's Property Act, 1874?: Under the Married Women's Property Act (MWPA), any life insurance policy that a married man buys to benefit his wife or children becomes protected from the husband's creditors. The benefits of this policy are not considered as a part of the husband's estate.
  • How can MWPA help you as a self-employed individual?: As a self-employed person, you may have to avail credit for business expansion or to meet any other monetary shortfall. If such loans remain unresolved in your absence, your creditors may claim the proceeds from your term insurance as repayment of your debts. You can buy your term insurance policy under the MWPA to protect your family from such claims.

C) Add riders to increase coverage

For a nominal cost over your premium, you can protect yourself and your family against different contingencies.

  • Critical illness^ rider: This option offers payouts on the detection of life-threatening diseases that often require long-term, expensive treatments. As a self-employed person, you may not have regular wages to fund your medical costs. Also, if ill health compels you to give up your profession, you will not have the support of pensions. In this scenario, the proceeds from this rider can help you pay for adequate healthcare.
  • Accidental death benefit: Look for a policy that allows the addition of this rider either at the time of purchase or later. Since accidents can strike at any time, they may leave you unprepared to provide for your family's financial needs. This rider benefit will provide extra funds to your family in case you meet with an accident.

Final words

Term insurance is the perfect solution for self-employed individuals looking to shield their families from undesirable economic situations. If you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer carving out your success journey independently, consider buying a term plan. It will safeguard your family's living standards against several adversities.

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^ Critical Illness Benefit is optional and available under Life and Health and All in One options. This benefit is payable, on the first occurrence of any of the 34 illnesses covered. The CI Benefit is accelerated and not an additional benefit, which means the policy will continue with the Death Benefit reduced by the extent of the CI Benefit paid. The future premiums payable under the policy will reduce proportionately. If CI Benefit paid is equal to the Death Benefit, the policy will terminate on payment of the CI Benefit. To know more in detail about the CI Benefit and terms & conditions governing it, kindly refer to the sales brochure. Critical Illness Benefit is available till the age of 75.

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