If you are like most people you are inundated with information all day long. Commercials on television, radio and social media are everywhere for every kind of product. From the ubiquitous car insurance commercials with lizards to mobile phone companies, it seems that every company out there is doing their best to drown the others out.
There was an insurance company commercial in the late 1990's where the man was walking down the beach with a little boy. It was very sappy and ended with the man saying, "Did I mention he has his mother's eyes?" Not many people remember it, which is why that company changed gears altogether and decided to take their advertising campaign in a whole new direction, resulting in the Aflac duck.
The problem with life insurance advertising is that it really isn't very good at explaining why people need it. A giant whale jumping out of the ocean doesn't motivate people to protect their family any more than a business card.
In my personal experience I have noticed that people will make that insurance purchase when they see something happen to other people they know. Personal stories from their friends and family will move the needle.
An example of this is long term care insurance. It seems that no one wants it until they have a sudden onset of health issues, like a stroke or cancer, or they see Grandma go into the nursing home and realize how much it costs. I have had many calls over the years because of the latter situation, by the way.
And it is the same with life insurance. People will call me after they find learn that someone they knew has passed away without any coverage and see the devastating effects it has on the family. GoFundMe pages and potluck dinners will only go so far. Having a young widow ask me "Will I be okay?" and knowing that her spouse wouldn't buy a policy is a punch in the gut for me. I feel like I didn't do my job somehow, even though I tried and tried.
If you don't think you need life insurance, please watch the video below.
As you can see, we don't buy life insurance for ourselves, but rather for our loved ones. Many of my clients say, "I don't want anyone getting rich off of my death." That's fine, but making sure your family can maintain their current lifestyle if you die will take some money that you probably don't have.
When I sit down with a client to discuss life insurance I ask a lot of questions, especially about finances. It can be uncomfortable sometimes but we discuss items like:
- Debt. Credit cards, mortgage, car loans, etc. can be paid off with life insurance proceeds. Why would you leave your family with a bunch of bills?
- Income. It doesn't matter if you are the main breadwinner or working a part-time job, you still contribute and that loss of income will need to be replaced.
- Education needs. Do you want your kids to go to college or technical school? Wouldn't you like them to concentrate on their studies instead of worrying about student debt?
- Final expenses. Yes, this is your funeral costs, but should also include the costs "associated with death". Odds are you may be in the hospital for a few days before you die, and of course, that won't be cheap either.
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life and disability insurance coverage. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!