Each February the life insurance industry deems the month "Life Insurance Awareness Month" (DIAM). The Valentine's Day theme, "Insure Your Love", is used to get their message out: Life insurance really is not for the person who is insured, but instead, their loved ones.
Making sure that your are doing the best job possible in that respect means ensuring that you have the right coverage. As I stated in a previous post, after an insured dies, especially unexpectedly, their beneficiary and I will have a conversation. Usually this person is a grieving spouse and nearly all of the time they ask a simple question. "Will I be okay?"* How do want your agent to answer that?
Knowing how important life insurance is to making sure that your loved ones can stay in their home and maintain their lifestyle, you definitely want to make sure you have the right coverage. Here are a few items that you may need to consider.
- You only have insurance through your employer. For the most part, life insurance through work can be incredibly cheap, especially if you work for a large company. I encourage people to get plenty of coverage. However, relying solely on group life insurance can be a huge mistake. This coverage is generally just term life and you may not be able to take it with you when you leave your job. If you develop any health conditions while you are working there you may not be able to get coverage later. Instead of thinking of your group life insurance plan as your only coverage, think of it as a supplemental policy.
- You don't have enough coverage. More often than you would think, people will have a specific amount of coverage in mind when I talk to them about their life insurance. "I only need $100,000 because that will pay off the house," for instance. By doing a quick analysis and asking some questions, I discover that they need much more coverage. Life insurance, when formulated correctly, should be able to pay off the mortgage and other debt, replace income for a few years, pay for funeral costs and other expenses related to death. Also, if there are small children in the picture, the proceeds can pay for future educational needs. Talk to your agent or use a handy life insurance calculator** to find the actual amount of coverage you need.
- Your term life insurance policy is not covering your long enough. One of the crazy things about our lives is how much a situation can change in just a few years. In the span of a decade one can go from being single and renting an apartment to married with kids and a mortgage. In that time, financial needs vary drastically, meaning that your life insurance needs will too. This is why a life insurance "check up" may be a good idea every year or so. If you realize you need more coverage you can purchase more coverage, or you can convert some or all of your current term plan to something permanent.
*I will dig deeper into that topic in the next post.
**We have a calculator available on our life insurance quoting tool on the upper right side of this blog.
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!