Many of us who are self-employed don't always get to enjoy the perks of group benefits, like medical coverage and paid time off. But for those who do have jobs where the company pays for extra perks, those perks may be good, but not awesome.
One of the issues I run into quite often with people who have "bennies" through work is the idea that their group life insurance program is all they need. For some it may be, but for many people that coverage is much less than what they actually need and it more than likely won't be there if these people leave their jobs.
One of my first real jobs was working for a large company that did offer life insurance. They offered me coverage of my annual salary, which was next to nothing, and I could buy additional coverage, like 2 or 3 times my salary for a few dollars each month. There were no exams or health questions, and I got as much as I could for the price of a coffee at Starbucks. I was single and didn't have much debt, so I figured that if something were to happen to me, my family would have enough to pay for a funeral and maybe even have some hor d'oeuvres. In other words, the life insurance plan was appropriate for my needs.
However, there were co-workers of mine who were married and had children. These folks also had mortgages, car payments and other expenses that I didn't have. I seriously doubt that the small amount of life insurance offered was enough to give their families the safety net they needed if they were to die. And when the company was sold and employees started to jump ship like rats, they lost the little coverage they had.
Having life insurance coverage through your work is good, and most agents will take that into account when trying to determine how much you actually need. There are several other items to consider when you calculate your family's needs.
- Outstanding debt. Mortgage balance, credit cards and car payments should be included.
- Final expenses. Funeral costs and other costs associated with dying. For instance, many people will spend time in the hospital before passing away, and those deductibles may need to be met.
- Replacing lost income. Your survivors depend on your income to take care of everyday expenses, as well as those bills that happen to pop up unexpectedly, like repairs for appliances and vehicles.
- Education costs. If you have small children, you may want to include the costs of higher education.
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. 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!