Know the reason why you are looking to purchasing a life insurance policy. Are you looking to pay off debt when your significant other passes away? Do you need income to replace the primary wage earner? Are you looking for a policy to cover final expenses (aka burial costs) only? Knowing the reason for the policy will help determine the direction to take next.
How much coverage you need? The answer to this question will depend on the answer to the 1st question. If you are looking to pay off debt, you’ll need to know how much debt you currently have. If you are looking to cover final expenses, you’ll need to have an idea of the type of burial you want (cremation or in-ground).
Educate yourself on the different types of policies available (term life, whole life, universal life). Each provides coverage for a separate need. Term life provides coverage for paying off debt, whole life provides coverage for final expenses/burial costs, and universal life provides a combination of the two. It is important that you understand how each policy works, especially Universal Life.
Obtain a quote. Many financial advisors and insurance agents offer life insurance policies. I suggest obtaining a quote from a company with a strong financial background and good customer service. You want to be able to talk to someone that has knowledge in the products they are offering and is there when you need them.
Fill out the application. Provide honest answers, without being too honest. Remember, the carrier only needs to know the health conditions you’ve been diagnosed with, not the conditions you think you may have.
Prepare for the phone interview. Once an application has been submitted, the carrier will reach out to ask you additional questions. This is to verify the information on the application is correct and to obtain additional information that may not have been asked originally. Have a list of your doctors available along with medications and dosages.
Schedule a life insurance medical exam. The carrier will contact you to schedule an exam based on your schedule and at your preferred location (work or home). The medical exam typically consists of height, weight, mouth swab (to check tobacco use), urine sample, and blood. *NOTE: Not all plans will require a medical exam. *
Wait for approval. The whole process takes about 1-2 weeks depending on your medical history. If the carrier needs additional information from your doctor, it can take longer.
While the process may seem overwhelming to some, working with a good agent that can answer your questions and provide updates along the way is important. If you are unsure on how to begin, don’t over think it, something is better than nothing!
*Healthcare: Open Enrollment has been extended until January 15th. Current policy holders can submit changes to their existing plan or submit a NEW plan. Once the 15th has passed, you will not be able to make any plan changes. NEW policies submitted during this time will take effect February 1st.
*Medicare: Medicare Supplement policy holders ages 65-75 have the option to change to another Medicare Supplement plan without requiring underwriting approval. To qualify for the Birthday Rule, you must enroll in a plan with the same or lesser benefits. The change must be done within 45 days AFTER your birthday.
*Medicare: Medicare Advantage policy holders are currently in a second Open Enrollment period until March 31st. During this time, you can change to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
*Auto/Home Insurance: Many policies renew during the month of January. When reviewing rates consider these tips:
+Always review the total package (i.e. home and auto). Often, some carriers will have a better rate on the home as opposed to the auto however, the total calculation needs to be reviewed when determining the best scenario.
+Make sure you are matching coverages. Some carriers are notorious for removing full coverage to reduce the rate. Sadly, some people do not realize that until they have an accident. Full coverage means the carrier will fix your vehicle in the event of an at fault accident. On the flip side, liability only means your vehicle is NOT getting fixed in the event of an at fault accident.
*Life Insurance: With the start of the New Year, many will review their financial goals for the year and discuss any gaps. Many people will not buy Life Insurance because they overestimate the cost of a policy. Costs depend on a number of factors, including your health, age, tobacco use, and gender. As one example, a healthy 35-year-old male can expect to pay about $20 per month for $250,000 on a 30-year term.
*Business Insurance: We’ve received LOTS of calls lately regarding employees injured on the job. A workers compensation policy provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured as a result of their job. Premiums are based on the annual payroll and type of work performed.
It is less than you think! Costs depend on a number of factors, including your health, age, tobacco use, and gender. As one example, a healthy 35-year-old male can expect to pay about $20 per month for $250,000 on a 30-year term.
Myth #2: I’m single and young, so I don’t need life insurance
Single people often forget that they need at least enough life insurance to cover the costs of debts, medical and funeral bills. If uninsured, you may leave behind unpaid expenses for your family. Don’t forget, the earlier you buy life insurance, the better because the premiums are based on age and your health is on your side!
Myth #3: My Term Life Insurance Coverage at Work Is Sufficient
This one comes up A LOT. You should know in most cases; coverage goes away if or when you leave the employer. This means if you quit, get fired, or RETIRE you will lose the coverage. Put that in perspective with the premium quoted in Myth #1 and you’ve just cost yourself significantly more in premium. Most people retire in their 60’s. That same estimate quoted in Myth #1 will now cost $105 per month for a 20-year term vs the 30-year term.
Also note, the amount of coverage is generally restricted to 1–2 times the salary, which in most cases wouldn’t be sufficient to meet the expenses of dependents in case of the unfortunate incident of death.
Myth #4: Only Breadwinners Need Life Insurance Coverage
The cost of replacing the services formerly provided by a deceased homemaker can be higher than you think. Insuring against the loss of a homemaker may make sense, especially when it comes to cleaning and daycare costs. Put into perspective some of the responsibilities of the homemaker…getting kids dressed, fed, off to school, back from school, off to extra-curricular activities, cleaning, homework, and dinner. Go to www.care.com for an estimate of these services. The average costs range from $15-$20 per hour, costing you $2,400 per month for a typical 8-hour day. Wouldn’t it be easier to buy a life insurance policy for $20 per month??
Myth #5: I Have Existing Health Issues. I Cannot Get Life Insurance.
There’s more to it! There are a number of other variables that insurers look at before offering coverage at certain rates for specific health problems. Although premiums may be slightly higher, most life insurance companies are willing to offer you coverage if you are suffering from conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol and arthritis. Past history of cancer; no problem. Depending on the stage and how many years in remission you can qualify for a standard rate! The point is, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Most carriers provide pre-screening which allows an agent to get an idea if the carrier will offer coverage and at what cost before submitting an actual policy.
Myth #6: It’s Only Good for Funerals & Inheritances
That’s just not true! An unfortunate stigma attached to life insurance is that of death. Traditionally, people bought life insurance for its death benefits, and these benefits are why many still do. But, life insurance offers several living benefits
Cash value could be used to supplement retirement income
Help pay for college tuition
Benefits paid from life policies aren’t subject to tax.
Immediate expenses such as medical bills, taxes, loans
Payoff mortgage debt
Payoff student loan debt
With more parents being listed as a co-signor for student loan debt, many people purchase a term life insurance to cover the debt for the length of the loan. This way, should the unexpected happen, the parent is not stuck holding the debt.
February is the month of love, and although Valentine’s Day is over, your love for those close to you never stop. The act of insuring your love with Life Insurance is no better way to protect your loved ones and show them you how you feel. It can provide security when those left behind need financial help the most. “There are no guarantees. You have to prepare for those ‘what ifs.’” Lifehappens.org presents Real Life Stories. These are True Love Stories that illustrates why it’s so important for people to include life insurance in their financial plans. These families highlighted in these stories could have anticipated the challenges they’d face.
Think!! How would you and your family manage financially if faced with similar challenges!
Stephen Miller: Protecting the Future
A mutual friend with a new dog brought Stephen and Katie together. Stephen had headed to his friend’s house to meet the new furry member of the family, and when he got there, he saw Katie playing with dog in the backyard. “Katie was so outgoing,” says Stephen. “She was the nicest person you’ll ever meet.”
That first meeting led to beach outings and concerts, and over time to getting married and thinking about starting a family.
It was Katie who suggested they get life insurance. Stephen admits he wasn’t too happy about the idea. They were young and healthy, so he didn’t see the point. Katie, however, convinced him to sit down with insurance professional Rose Goheen, who walked them through the process and presented them with affordable options. They both decided to get life insurance coverage.
When the couple welcomed Chase, they decided to reevaluate their life insurance. Given their expanding family and responsibilities, they both bought additional life insurance. It was during her recovery from giving birth to Reid that Katie realized something was wrong. Her doctor confirmed her suspicion that the abdominal lump she felt was something much more serious. In fact, it was an aggressive form of cancer.
Katie, with the love and support of her family, valiantly fought the disease, but just over a year later it claimed this young mom’s life. She was just 30.
Michael, 32, was a fit and healthy family man. As he left to run a 10K race, he kissed his wife, Traci, good-bye along with newborn Calvin and “big” sister Josie. He never made it home. As he crossed the finish line, Michael collapsed and died. The Kovacic family would never be the same.
Thankfully, they had life insurance. Even though the young couple had been living paycheck to paycheck, their insurance professional had convinced them to buy an affordable policy.
Traci says the hardest part for her was knowing that the love of her life was never coming home. “But the reality is that everything else stayed the same,” she says. “The paychecks stopped immediately, but I still had to keep the lights on, buy food, pay the mortgage and take care of the kids. Having life insurance meant I didn’t have to make any immediate decisions or sell the house.”
“The life insurance saved us—and it still does today,” she says.
Jenny was single and in her 20s, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t thinking about the future. In fact, she knew she wanted to have a family one day and that saving for retirement—even this early on—was a priority.
That’s why after meeting with insurance professional Jim Silbernagel, she decided to buy a permanent life insurance policy. She knew it would help her with both goals: provide the life insurance coverage she sought and the ability to accumulate cash value to help with saving for retirement.
Jenny’s dream of having a family did come true. She met Jim on a blind date, and once married, they welcomed a son, Michael, and then several years later twins, Samuel and Nathaniel. As often happens with growing families, finances got stretched tight, and Jim suggested they cancel Jenny’s policy to save money. Jenny was adamant that they keep it. Instead, they used some of the accumulated cash value to pay the premium and keep the policy in force.* That decision would be life changing for her family.
The Chich family was looking forward to welcoming their fourth child—a girl, but tragically Jenny died while giving birth. The shock to her family was overwhelming. While life insurance could never replace their vibrant wife and mother, Jim says that Jenny’s policy helped the family in the aftermath of her death. He was able to take a yearlong leave of absence from his job to care for newborn Emma and the boys, who were all younger than 6. “I was able to focus on my kids and not worry about how I was going to buy a gallon of milk,” says Jim.
You may not always be there for your loved ones but you can always take care of them. These Life Insurance Love Stories are examples of the benefits a policy will serve if an unexpected or tragedy occurs, and you know your loved ones will not bear a financial burden in addition to the loss they feel.
If you’d like more information on life insurance or would like to purchase a new life insurance policy, I can help. Kelly Burke Insurance represents the brand-name insurance companies you know and trust. Contact us at (708) 444-0050 or [email protected]