FAQ | Life Insurance | HSBC


Life insurance frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Types of insurance

What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance provides protection for only a specified period of time – usually 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. There is no cash value associated with term life coverage, which is why premiums are often lower than for other types of insurance. Some term life policies may offer greater flexibility such as terms for return of premium and the potential to convert to whole life insurance.

What is permanent life insurance?

Permanent life insurance lasts for the life of the insured. The policy accrues cash value and the payout is assured at the end of the policy if the policy is kept current. Whole, universal, variable, and single premium life are all types of permanent life insurance.

What is whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance provides protection for the entire life of the insured and provides a set level of security for your loved ones. You can borrow against the policy's cash value, as it accumulates over time, to help cover unforeseen expenses.

What is universal life insurance?

Universal life insurance provides protection for the entire life of the insured and builds cash value over time while offering flexible premiums and a flexible face amount. This type of insurance may be ideal for retirement planning or any number of other long-term goals.

What is variable life insurance?

Variable life insurance is a policy whose cash value is based on the performance of an investment sub account. The cash value can be invested in a variety of investments that can include stocks, bonds, and money market funds. There is no guarantee on the cash value of this type of policy as you are subjected to investment risk. However, capital gains and other investment earnings may accrue tax deferred as long as the funds remain invested in the insurance contract.

What is variable universal life insurance?

Variable universal life insurance is coverage where the entire value of the policy is regulated as a security. This means that the cash value and the death benefit will fluctuate with the value of the investment sub account. The risk is higher with this type of policy.

What is long term care coverage?

Long term care coverage can pay for a wide range of health and social services for those with chronic conditions. Coverage often includes nursing home care, home-based care and respite care.

What are policy 'riders'?

A policy rider is an additional benefit under an existing insurance policy that provides additional coverage to an insurance policy. Generally, policy riders are sold separately from insurance policies.

Does term life insurance policy have cash value?

No, term life insurance policies do not have a cash value or any amount you can borrow against.

Purchasing and premiums

How much life insurance do I need?

Generally the amount of protection you need is a combination of what it would cost to help your surviving family members and dependents meet their current needs (like taxes, food, clothing, utilities, mortgage payments, etc.) plus future obligations (like college and retirement funding) – minus the resources that your surviving family members could draw upon to meet those obligations (spouse's income, savings and investments, other income producing assets, and any life insurance you might already own).

You may also want insurance for wealth accumulation or distribution purposes during your lifetime.

Why buy life insurance?

One of the most important reasons to purchase life insurance is to ensure your loved ones are provided for financially. Life insurance is also useful in helping your survivors pay bills and debts after your death, as well as for funeral expenses. It may be used for wealth accumulation and distribution as part of an overall financial strategy.

What type of policy should I buy: term or permanent (whole, universal, variable)?

Insurance needs can vary widely from person to person. The kind of coverage that's right for you depends on your personal circumstances and needs. Find out more about choosing life insurance from our Guide to Life Insurance or talk to one of our HSBC financial professionals1 at your local branch.

How do I buy life insurance?

If you are interested in purchasing insurance through HSBC, you should contact your local branch or call 866.586.4722 to set up time to discuss your needs with a licensed financial professional1.

What if I already have insurance coverage?

Even if you already have a life insurance policy, it's a good idea to review it periodically to make sure it still meets your overall needs. There are times in life you need to take a look at your financial situation, such as if you:

  • Were recently married or divorced
  • Had or adopted a child (or became a grandparent)
  • Have children or grandchildren who are about to enter college
  • Provide care or financial help to a child or elderly parent
  • Received an inheritance
  • Retired or your spouse has retired
  • Started a business
  • Changed/lost your job or salary
Can I purchase a policy for my children?

You may purchase a rider to add a child or children to your policies with a variety of term and permanent life policies. Please visit a branch or call 866.586.4722 to find out more.

How can I save money when buying life insurance?
  • Buy it now. Premiums for the same face amount of coverage increase the older you become. The more you wait, the more you risk developing a health condition that could increase your premium, or disqualify you from coverage.
  • If you want permanent life but you're on a budget, term life or a combination of term and permanent may offer lower premium payments.
What factors generally drive insurance calculations?

Premium rates for life insurance are typically based on factors such as:

  • Age, gender, height, and weight
  • Health status, including whether or not you use tobacco or nicotine
  • Participation in high-risk activities or occupations
What should I look for in an insurance company?

In addition to being financially secure, the life insurance company you choose should have a good claims payment history and good customer service. Independent sources such as A.M. Best Company rate insurance companies. HSBC works with insurance carriers who have a rating of A- rating or better by the A.M. Best Company.

Will insurance help my beneficiary pay off my debt?

Once a claim is paid, use of the funds is at the discretion of the beneficiary you've designated.

Do I need to have a medical exam?

Most life insurance requires a medical exam. Please talk to an HSBC financial professional1 at your local branch or at 866.586.4722 for specifics.

Do I need to meet with an agent?

We recommend that you meet with a licensed HSBC financial professional to determine the right policy for your needs. Please call 866.586.4722 to speak to a financial professional or visit your local branch.

How long does approval take?

Depending on the type of insurance and the steps involved, it may take as little as several days or as much as several weeks for a policy to be approved.

How soon does the coverage start?

Generally your life insurance coverage will begin as soon as you are approved and your first payment is received.

Do you have some written information you can send me?

Please visit our branches or call 866.586.4722 for more information about the complete range of available insurance options.

After you've purchased insurance

How can I pay my premiums?

When buying life insurance from HSBC, you have many flexible payment options. Different insurance carrier's payment options vary. Monthly automatic secure transfers from a checking account are a popular method. However, credit card or a secure funds transfer directly from your checking or saving account are also options.

Can I increase my insurance coverage?

Depending on the type of policy you have, you may be able to increase your coverage within that policy or you may purchase additional policies to increase your coverage.

Can I cancel my policy?

Yes, you can cancel if you decide it is not the right choice for you and your loved ones. Just contact your HSBC financial professional1 or insurance carrier.

What is the contestable period?

Most policies have a 2-year contestability period, which means during the first two years after buying life insurance, if it is found your insurance policy was issued under misrepresentation, withholding of information by the insured or the owner, or similar reasons, the insurance company can declare your insurance policy and any associated riders void. However, if fraud is determined, your insurance policy and any associated riders can be made void at any time. Additionally, if your policy is reinstated, the contestable period generally will start anew from that date of reinstatement.

Investment and certain insurance products, including annuities, are offered by HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. (HSI), member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC. In California, HSI conducts insurance business as HSBC Securities Insurance Services. License #: OE67746. HSI is an affiliate of HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Whole life, universal life, term life, and other types of insurance are provided by unaffiliated third parties and offered through HSBC Insurance Agency (USA) Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Bank USA, National Association. Products and services may vary by state and are not available in all states. California license #: OD36843.

Investment, Annuity and Insurance Products:

All decisions regarding the tax implications of your investment(s) should be made in connection with your independent tax advisor.

Research backgrounds of brokers and brokerage firms for free by visiting FINRA's BrokerCheck website

1 Financial professional refers to Premier Wealth Advisors (PWA), Premier Relationship Advisors (PRA) and Financial Advisors (FA). PWA/PRAs primarily focus on a full suite of Premier products and services while FAs primarily focus on a full suite of Advance products and services. Both offer bank products through HSBC Bank (USA) N.A., investments and certain insurance products, including annuities, through HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. and traditional insurance products through HSBC Insurance Agency (USA) Inc.

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†† Investments, Annuity and Insurance Products:


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