Getting Benefits Before You Die

More and more companies are offering policies that provide accelerated death benefits or "living benefits." These products allow policyholders, under certain circumstances, to get access to part of the death benefits of their life insurance policies prior to death.

Most accelerated death benefit policies fall into three basic models. They are the longterm care model, which gives policyholders access to benefits should they require extended health care; the catastrophic illness or dread disease model, for benefits needed to help pay medical costs resulting from a number of specified conditions; and the terminal illness model. Under this last model, the insured can obtain his or her death benefits following a diagnosis of terminal illness, if death is likely to occur within a specified number of months.