Term life insurance can offer protection for a small business and its owners in surprising ways. If you own a small business, you probably pay property and liability insurance, and are protected against fire, theft, flood and other disasters. But what would happen if you or one of your key employees was suddenly unable to work due to disability – or death? If something happens to you or one of your partners, what happens to your business? Who will pay outstanding business loans and other obligations?
That’s where term life insurance comes in.
As your company grows, there are very likely to be one or two key people without whom you’d find it difficult to function. Besides you, there may be an accountant who understands the books inside and out, or the sales manager who drums up most of your sales. By taking out a term life insurance policy on each of those people, you can insure your company against the losses it would inevitably face if one of them were to become unable to work because of death or disability.
Why term life insurance? Especially for a young company, the lower premiums and limited term of coverage make more sense. As the company grows and becomes more stable and successful, a term life insurance policy can often be converted to a whole life key person policy – a life insurance policy that is specifically designed to cover the loss of a key person in an organization.
A term life insurance policy can also be used to cover partners in a business who agree to a buy-sell arrangement. In this case, if one partner dies, the death benefit is used as a ‘buyout’ to purchase his half of the company from the family. That way, the family of the deceased partner isn’t stuck with a business in which they have no interest, and the surviving partner isn’t forced into accepting the family as a partner.
Sometimes term life insurance isn’t the best option. A whole life policy, for instance, allows you to use your investment in the policy to finance and fund projects, can help provide the basis for a retirement plan, or provide a cushion for the business to borrow against for expansion.
Whether you choose whole life or term insurance, though, key person insurance is a protection that your company shouldn’t be without.