Different types of insurance

The more you know about the basics of insurance — how it works, coverage types, how much you need — the more clarity you’ll have. You’ll make more educated choices about what’s best for you and your family. 

Put simply, if you were to pass away, life insurance will help protect your loved ones financially. There are two primary types of life insurance — term or permanent. The most common is term life insurance, where the insurance protection lasts for a set period — typically 10 to 30 years.

The other type is permanent insurance, which includes whole life. Whole life insurance lasts for your entire life, provided you make premium payments. The policy has an extra component called cash value, that can build up a significant, tax-advantaged asset, money that can be used during your lifetime. You could borrow against it, withdraw some as cash, purchase more life insurance coverage or eventually use it for retirement, while staying protected for life.  1, 2, 3

Get an instant quote

Disability insurance replaces a percentage of your regular income if you’re too sick or injured to work. It covers things like serious accidents and a variety of medical conditions, like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. It can also supplement short-term and long-term disability coverage that you may have through your employer. And employers can offer disability insurance that helps their employees get back to work sooner.

Get an instant quote

Dental insurance plans can help reduce the cost of dental care. Providers typically negotiate lower fees with in-network dentists and pay (cover) a percentage of the reduced fee. You pay the rest out of pocket. Besides price, you may also consider a plan’s annual spending maximum, waiting period, and what procedures are covered (e.g., orthodontics, crowns, root canals).

How dental insurance works

Vision insurance provides coverage for routine eye exams, as well as offering discounts on eyeglasses and contacts. These benefits are not typically covered under major medical plans and are an elective part of your overall wellness checkups. Though often optional, access to quality vision care can be critical, as regular eye exams can detect diseases like glaucoma and diabetes.

More on dental and vision plans

Supplemental insurance helps pay for unexpected costs not covered by medical insurance, particularly medical benefits offered by an employer, and offsets the costs of high deductible health plans that may still leave people with high co-pays and deductibles. Supplemental insurance helps with this financial burden – helping to protect your savings.

It can include four primary supplemental health products. Accident Insurance covers accidental injuries requiring treatment, urgent care, or hospitalization. Critical Illness Insurance provides a lump-sum benefit for the diagnosis of major, chronic and debilitating illnesses. Cancer Insurance covers a cancer diagnosis or related procedures, treatments, or screenings. Hospital Indemnity Insurance provides benefits for a hospital or intensive care unit (ICU) for a covered sickness or injury. 

How supplemental insurance works

How to get insurance

Want to better understand how to get insurance? Select an option below.

From dental to vision, to life and disability insurance, employee benefits can help you feel more financially confident.

Talk to your employer for more information.

Choosing employee benefits tips

Talk to your broker about insurance options to offer your employees.

Why offer group benefits

As a business owner, you can purchase different types of disability and life insurance policies that can safeguard your business and help protect your cash flow if you are unable to work.

Small group insurance

We offer dental, vision, accident and pet insurance online.  You can buy it directly here.

For coverage like life, disability, retirement planning and investments, talk to a financial professional about which options will best fit your needs.


What impacts pricing?

There are also several factors that could affect the cost of your financial coverage. We’ll use life insurance as an example. Term life typically doesn’t cost as much as whole life insurance, but doesn’t offer the lifetime coverage or additional financial benefits. Age, health, gender, driving record, occupation, your health, and the amount your loved ones would receive all impact the pricing of life insurance.

How much does life insurance cost?

You can get a quote on term life insurance with this tool. And how much coverage you need depends on many factors, such as how many dependents you have, how much you expect to earn, what lifestyle you hope your loved ones can experience, and more. A simple rule of thumb is that if you’re in your 20s, an ideal amount of coverage would be 30 times your income, and as you age, less may be required. In your 50s, you might need only 10 times your income. This is based on how many earning years before retirement you’re covering. 

What does disability insurance cost?

How much does it cost to help protect your income? Use this calculator to estimate the monthly cost of disability income insurance in less than one minute.

How can I use HSAs to help pay for medical expenses?

If you have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account, use it to set aside money to help cover any out-of-pocket expenses. You can make pre-tax contributions into an HSA, which will help you save on taxes.

Funds can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for or reimburse out-of-pocket medical, dental, and vision costs. But keep in mind: HSAs cannot be used to pay health insurance premiums, the monthly cost you pay for your coverage.

Tools to help you plan for the unexpected

Figure out how much coverage you may need and what it could cost



Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation.


Some whole life polices do not have cash values in the first two years of the policy and don’t pay a dividend until the policy’s third year.  Talk to your financial representative and refer to your individual whole life policy illustration for more information


Policy benefits are reduced by any outstanding loan or loan interest and/or withdrawals. Dividends, if any, are affected by policy loans and loan interest. Withdrawals above the cost basis may result in taxable ordinary income. If the policy lapses, or is surrendered, any outstanding loans considered gain in the policy may be subject to ordinary income taxes. If the policy is a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), loans are treated like withdrawals, but as gain first, subject to ordinary income taxes. If the policy owner is under 59 ½, any taxable withdrawal may also be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty.

Dental, Vision, Accident, Critical Illness, Cancer and Hospital Insurance coverages are underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY.  Products are not available in all states.  Policy limitations and exclusions apply.  Optional riders and/or features may incur additional costs.  Plan documents are the final arbiter of coverage. Dental policy provides DENTAL insurance only. Vision policy provides vision care limited benefits health insurance only. Accident policy provides Accident insurance only.  It does not provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Department of Financial Services. IMPORTANT NOTICE –THIS POLICY DOES NOT PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR SICKNESS. Critical Illness and Cancer policy provides limited benefits health insurance only.  Hospital policy provides limited hospital insurance only. Vision, Critical Illness, Cancer and Hospital policies do not provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

GUARDIAN® is a registered service mark of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®

#2019-85006 Exp. 8/21