The one constant in life is … wait for it…change! That’s right! In our longing for things to be predictable, we all know the truth–life is ever-changing.
I can also think of one other thing that remains predictable and constant. And that is your life insurance policy.
Unless you contact your insurance agent and make changes, your life insurance policy will remain the same each year – your premium, your beneficiaries, your death benefit will all stay the same.
Unfortunately, this may not be best for you and your family as you plan for the future. With life’s changes, your life insurance may need some changes.
So how can you assess if your life insurance policy still provides the coverage you need?
You can schedule a brief review of your life insurance policy with your life insurance advisor.
So, here’s the insurance question of the day: What life changes should lead me to look at my life insurance policy? When should I review my life insurance policy?
As a life insurance advisor, I reach out to our clients to schedule periodic insurance reviews for their home, auto, and life insurance policies. I am committed to ensuring our clients have the coverage they need to protect themselves and their loved ones.
When I call a client, I ask them about their life changes. Here are the eight instances that I encourage them to schedule an insurance review.
- You get married.
- You have a child.
- You purchase a house.
- You get a promotion or increase your annual income.
- You take on new debt.
- You are preparing to retire.
- You get a terminal illness.
- You are estate planning.
Let’s look at these life changes and how they might impact your life insurance planning.
1. You get married.
When you’re in love and getting married, you may not be thinking about life insurance. But, if you already have a life insurance policy in place, you’ll want to review that policy after you tie the knot.
First of all, you’ll want to make sure that you add your spouse as your beneficiary. This will protect both you and your spouse if something tragic happens.
You may also want to adjust the type of life insurance policy you have. Couples can choose between having independent life insurance policies or a survivorship policy offering joint coverage.
Because you join your lives together when you get married–including income and debt–you need to review your death benefit to ensure it would cover you or your spouse in the case of an untimely death.
If something tragic occurs, you or your spouse may find yourself financially responsible for paying for a funeral and paying off medical debt, school debt, car payments, or a mortgage.
By meeting with your life insurance advisor and reviewing your life insurance policy, you can make sure that your death benefit will provide the finances needed for you or your spouse.
2. You have a child.
The most common time that individuals purchase life insurance is after the birth of a child. There’s something about becoming responsible for a sweet new baby that makes parents consider the importance of life insurance.
If you already have a life insurance policy when your first baby is born, you’ll want to schedule a review with your life insurance advisor.
Raising a child takes a significant amount of money. It’s estimated that it costs more than $230,000 to raise a child to adulthood without including college expenses.
To financially protect your spouse and your children, you may need to adjust the death benefit on your life insurance policy.
You might also want to add your child to your life insurance policy by purchasing a child life insurance rider.
By adding your child to the policy, you would have the financial resources needed if something unthinkable happens.
3. You purchase a house.
If you buy a home and have a mortgage, you need to schedule a visit with your life insurance advisor. Again, the focus of this review would be to see if you need to make any adjustments to the amount of your death benefit.
In the case of your untimely death, your spouse, any co-signers to a loan, or even your children might be responsible for paying for your home’s mortgage.
With life insurance, you can make sure that these individuals would have the financial resources to pay off the mortgage to your home. It would also prevent them from incurring debt on your behalf.
4. You get a promotion or increase your annual income.
Getting a promotion or earning more income is a wonderful thing! And most people would not associate this good thing with a life insurance review.
However, promotions and raises are important reasons to meet with your life insurance advisor. (And not so they can sell you something else and take your hard-earned money.)
You sometimes qualify for a higher death benefit when you make more money. You may be eligible for more life insurance to cover the needs of your loved ones
If your spouse and children are dependent on your income, you’ll want to make sure that your life insurance policy reflects your income and that your family will be able to maintain their current lifestyle.
5. You take on new debt.
Another good reason to look at your current life insurance policy is to make sure that your death benefit amount would cover your debt.
At various points in life, we take on new debt–maybe it’s the purchase of a car or an even bigger purchase of a business. You might incur new debt if you head back to school for a graduate degree.
If something tragic were to happen to you, your debt would become the responsibility of your loved ones.
You can redesign your life insurance to protect your loved ones from acquiring your debt.
6. You are preparing to retire.
Most people don’t think about their life insurance policy as part of their retirement plan. However, your life insurance policy can impact how you allocate your retirement dollars.
Here is one example of how life insurance and retirement planning are best done hand in hand.
Retiring with a Pension
Let’s use the case of receiving a pension upon retirement. You may have to choose between taking the maximum monthly benefit amount or a lesser survivorship pension amount.
The maximum pension amount typically guarantees payment to you until your death. It will also make payments to your spouse if you pass away, but only for a set number of years after your retirement. This may leave a gap in income for your spouse if you pass away before your spouse.
To practically understand this gap, let’s say that upon retirement, you are entitled to $1,200 a month until your death if you take your total benefit amount. Now, let’s also say that you pass away a year after your retirement.
This arrangement may only agree to pay your pension amount to your spouse for seven years after your retirement. Because you passed away only a year after retirement, your spouse will only receive payments for the next six years. After this time, your spouse will no longer receive that income.
The other option is a survivorship arrangement in which you agree to take a lesser monthly amount, but even after your death, your spouse will continue to receive payments until their death.
Often, life insurance can cover the gap if you opt for taking the total amount of your pension.
Meeting with your life insurance advisor before making your pension decisions may help you create a better financial plan for your retirement years.
7. You are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Having a life insurance policy in place is an enormous comfort before being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Because you have a policy in place, you can concentrate on your health and spend time with your family without the added burden of worrying about their finances.
However, it is good to speak with your life insurance advisor after your diagnosis. You will need to ensure that you have the correct beneficiaries on your policy.
And, if you have a whole life insurance policy, you may be able to use some of your policy’s benefit amount toward your medical care. This can relieve the medical bills’ financial strain on you and your family.
8. You are estate planning.
The last instance that you’ll want to schedule time with your life insurance advisor to review your policy is when you engage in estate planning.
Passing on your assets to your family after your death can result in tax penalties that your family will have to cover.
Your life insurance policy can be one way to address those tax implications.
Your life insurance advisor can add to the discussion of the most effective way to allocate your assets upon your death.
It’s been a while since I’ve had my life insurance reviewed. How can I schedule time with an advisor?
If it’s been a while since you’ve had time with your life insurance advisor or if you’ve recently had a life change, it’s important to get some time to sit down with your advisor and review your current life insurance policy.
Usually, these appointments last no more than thirty minutes. We’ll discuss those things that matter most to you during that time, talk about your financial security goals, and investigate what your family would need if they suffered a family tragedy.
Whether you need to review your current life insurance policy or want to explore what it would cost to get life insurance in place, I would love to connect with you.
As a life insurance advisor, I am committed to helping your family create the best life insurance plan for your family’s unique needs.
My priority is to help you understand your life insurance. I will never sell a product to you that you don’t fully understand. One of my primary goals is thoroughly answer your life insurance questions so that you are confident about your life insurance purchase.
That’s why I love being an insurance advisor at Baily Insurance. As a whole, Baily Insurance is dedicated to equipping our clients with the insurance protection they need and the knowledge to help them understand all their insurance products.
Please spend more time in our learning center if you have other insurance questions. Our team has written many articles to answer our clients’ most asked questions.
And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, be sure to let us know that you have a question you’d like answered, and someone from our team will get back to you.
Looking forward to serving you,