As the days get crisper and shorter, children head back to the classroom and Life Insurance Awareness Month gets under way, it’s a good idea to take a fresh look at all the different ways life insurance can help families.

While some people might dismiss it as a product for “when you die,” it serves a great variety of other purposes, too. And September is the perfect time for financial professionals to talk to their customers and prospects about all of life insurance’s merits.

It can help people pay off loans, keep families in their homes and provide a steady stream of income. And this time of year, parents may be wondering, what about helping pay for college?

The U.S. Labor Department says the cost of college tuition grew by nearly 80 percent between 2003 and 2013. And LIMRA research has found that for those under 35, education loans make up almost 70 percent of their debt.

With statistics like these, financial professionals can encourage consumers to invest early in a whole life policy for college savings, and reap the benefits that can’t be found in traditional college-savings plans. Another boon for parents saving up for their children’s college education? Life insurance policies typically are not figured into financial-aid eligibility.

LIMRA research has found that some, but not many, are using life insurance to help pay for college. This year’s Insurance Barometer Study revealed that one in five consumers said it was one of the reasons why they bought life insurance.

Financial professionals can use Life Insurance Awareness Month to strike up conversations with consumers about the importance of saving for college — not to mention their own retirements. Building awareness can help Americans get the kind of coverage they need.