Cryonics Institute Life Insurance Information
There are many options for funding a cryonic suspension with the Cryonics Institute. One of the most affordable is purchasing a Life Insurance Policy with CI named as the primary beneficiary. Depending on a person’s age, health and other factors, some basic policies can cost just a few dollars per month for the average person.
Please note, the Cryonics Institute does not offer financial, investment or insurance consulting. However, we do have experience with patients who have successfully used this funding option, and we recommend you explore Life Insurance as a potential funding option for yourself with a qualified insurance or investment professional.
To help you get started, here are some considerations and suggestions to keep in mind.
HOW DOES IT WORK:
In its most basic terms, a member purchases a life insurance policy of a sufficient amount to cover their cryopreservation costs and additional expenses and names CI as the primary beneficiary. Upon your deanimation, CI will have access to those funds to pay for your suspension and perpetual maintenance. Essentially, your funded policy becomes an "IOU" to be paid when you need to be placed in cryonic suspension at CI. Therefore, it is critical to insure the policy is of sufficient value to cover all your costs and, especially, to make certain that the policy doesn't lapse, which most commonly occurs due to failure to pay the annual premiums.
It is also important to remember a person can also purchase more than one life insurance policy, so you can have one policy earmarked exclusively for your cryonics costs and another in place with the traditional insurance goal of providing for your family. Whenever possible, we do recommend you purchase insurance coverage for cryonics as a separate policy in order to avoid potential legal challenges with the disbursement. Situations can, and have, happened where a family member or other interested party contests cryonics funding in a policy in an attempt to get that money for themselves. Therefore, it is a safer option to have a separate policy with the Cryonics Institute as the sole beneficiary to ensure that money will be available to pay for your suspension and associated expenses when the time comes.
WHAT IF MY POLICY DOES LAPSE?
If you are planning to use a Life Insurance policy to fund your suspension, CI does require certain guarantees to safeguard that funding. Obviously, we don’t want a situation where a contracted patient needs cryonic suspension but no longer has the funding available to cover the costs.
For suspension agreements to be funded by a life insurance policy, we require proof of insurance, updated annually at a minimum, that the policy is of sufficient value, and that the Cryonics Institute is the named beneficiary. Typically, CI requires a copy of the original policy documents for our records and annual statements thereafter confirming the policy is paid in full and active.
One smart way to make sure CI stays updated is to sign full or joint ownership of the policy over to CI. If CI owns the policy we get all statements and have immediate proof of insurance thus halting delays in cryopreservation. A member can always change their mind and CI's policy is to transfer policy ownership back to the member upon simple written request. If you want to still retain control over the policy then joint ownership should serve all of your needs.
HOW MUCH INSURANCE DO I NEED?
The cost of perpetual Human Cryopreservation with the Cryonics Institute is $28K (US,) for a Lifetime Member and $35K (US) for an Annual Member, so these amounts would be the absolute minimum amount required to fund your particular agreement. We do, however, strongly urge members to overfund their policies in order to cover additional costs, including transport, standby, funeral director services or any other specialized arrangements. Overfunding provides an extra level of security for yourself and your family to cover these additional costs or other unforeseen expenses.
We recommend at least $50K as a reasonable amount that provides for cryonics-related expenses above and beyond the basic cost. Depending on your financial situation and insurability, you may be in a position to choose to add additional coverage for a relatively modest increase in the monthly premium.
Additionally, we encourage members to overfund with proceeds above and beyond the basic cryopreservation (and additional) expenses donated to CI for cryonics research, facility maintenance and improvements and furthering the cryonics movement.
WHICH IS BETTER, TERM INSURANCE OR WHOLE LIFE?
Both Term and Whole Life insurance offer a "death benefit," paid out at the insured’s time of passing to the Primary beneficiary designated in the policy. Term insurance is less expensive, but Whole Life includes investment features that Term insurance doesn't.
Term Insurance provides coverage at a fixed payment rate for a fixed amount of time, or "term" of the policy. If the insured passes away during the term, the contracted benefit is paid out to the designated beneficiary. Term insurance is generally regarded as the least expensive life insurance option, offering an inexpensive way to purchase a substantial "death benefit" for a fixed rate over a pre-determined period of time. However, there is no investment option involved, so no monies accrue and if you stop paying the premiums, you don’t receive any money back. If you are going to buy Term Life, it is important that you invest the difference you would save over buying Whole Life. If you don’t have the willpower to invest the difference, or don't want to take the risk of outliving your insurability, then perhaps Whole Life is a better option.
Whole Life is a considerably more expensive option, however there is a savings component built into the policy and the "term" is understood to be the insured’s lifetime rather than a fixed period of time. In addition to the savings and investment component built into such policies, whole life insurance also includes a death benefit to be paid out to a specific beneficiary.
Insurance policies vary from state to state and company to company, in terms of costs, benefits and other details. However one critical factor doesn't change, and that’s the fact that the older one gets the more difficult it becomes to acquire insurance and that coverage typically becomes more expensive the older a person is. The plain message is to start early before it’s too late to even get insurance. Once you have been accepted for coverage and acquire a basic term policy, you have many more options in the future, regardless of your age.
We strongly recommend you do some research online or meet with an insurance professional to discuss your options and at a minimum, purchase a basic term plan to get started. Once you have established basic term coverage, you give yourself more options for the future.
WHAT POLICY RIDERS SHOULD I REQUEST?
A "Rider" is a special addition to your policy that provides for additional benefits. Two of the most common are the "Accelerated Benefit" rider and the "Double Indemnity" rider.
Accelerated Benefit Rider
This rider provides for the insurance company to pay a portion of the death benefit before you pass. This rider can provide up to 50% of the death benefit for persons with a terminal medical condition to use in any way they choose. Cryonics Institute members can use this advance payment to pay off their suspension contract while they are still alive, as well as standby arrangements, transportation and other anticipated expenses.
The double indemnity rider requires the insurance company to pay double the death benefit if the insured dies by accidental means. Usually, the money one would spend on this rider is better spent on additional life insurance which pays off regardless of the causes of death. Also, many insurance companies will require or encourage the next of kin to order an autopsy as a means of determining that death was indeed accidental. Autopsies are definitely not a good idea for anyone planning to enter cryonic suspension.
WHERE CAN I BUY "CRYONICS LIFE INSURANCE?"
You can’t. No insurance companies sell "cryonics insurance." What they sell are life insurance policies (for any legal purpose) where the policy owner can name a cryonics organization like CI (or any person, organization or cause you choose) as the beneficiary. The goal is to fund a cryonic suspension, but it’s still a normal Life Insurance policy, not a special "cryonics policy." Any of the hundreds of life insurance companies in the US or other countries can sell you such a policy.
This is an important consideration to keep in mind as you approach agents to discuss your options. If you approach an agent looking for "cryonics insurance," you run the risk of being forced into a debate on the subject of cryonics rather than focusing on the more important subject at hand, which is purchasing a sufficiently funded policy. Life Insurance is essentially a financial transaction, and as the insured it's your money, and your right to designate the beneficiary.
When buying life insurance, it pays to shop. Many web-sites or individual insurance agents can do this for you by comparing rates for many insurance companies. If you have an agent that you work with to buy other insurance, you might want to ask for proposals from him or her.
There are also dozens of companies that will give you a term insurance quote online. Keywords: “term insurance”, “life insurance”, or “life insurance quotes” will turn up a number of informative and helpful websites you can use to compare policies and costs.
Please note, these links are intended for information purposes only and do not express an endorsement by the Cryonics Institute.
Glossaries of Insurance Terms
Helpful references explaining a number of life insurance terms and principles.
Sites providing online insurance quotes
Insurance Agents and Agencies
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UK based financial advisers with specialist knowledge of Insurance for the purpose of funding Cryonics. Visit their web page for details of services and a free Cryonics and Insurance Fact Sheet.