There are many people (and you might even be one of them) who view family insurance plans as entirely unnecessary. After all, the only person that really needs a life insurance policy is the person who “brings home the bacon” – right? Wrong.
Congratulations! You’ve just stumbled upon one of the biggest myths in all of life insurance. This is one that’s been around for quite some time, and the closer you look at it, the more mystifying it becomes as to how anyone could ever think it to be remotely accurate.
While it’s true that it’s critical to have a life insurance policy on the head of the household who’s responsible for bringing in the majority of the income, there’s just as great a value in a family insurance plan that covers your spouse or children – even if none hold a job.
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A term life insurance plan is a good way to provide peace-of-mind, knowing that your loved ones will have the income they need to maintain their current standard of living if you die. Losing a spouse or parent is hard enough without financial concerns during this difficult time.
To determine exactly how much term life insurance coverage you’ll need, follow these steps.
- Discuss your burial wishes with your loved one and estimate funeral expenses, typically between $5,000 and $15,000.
- Calculate your debt, including your mortgage. Your family will be able to live on less if they can pay off all outstanding debt in one lump sum from your life insurance settlement.
- Include college education for your children. Estimate college costs to rise by about 5 percent per year. If your child intends to work to pay for part of school, you may get away with slightly less.
- In most cases, you won’t need to replace 100 percent of your income, especially if your spouse works as well and you’re already paying for childcare. Instead, estimate amounts totaling 50 percent of your pre-tax earnings until your retirement.
- Subtract income from other sources to get a final term life insurance coverage estimate. Any investments you have that your spouse can tap into (not counting retirement accounts) can help defray life insurance costs.
You’ll want to reassess your term life insurance coverage requirements over time, as your debt drops, your salary rises, or if your family or living conditions change. Look for a flexible policy that permits you to change the amount of coverage over time.
Are you shopping for affordable term life insurance? Here are some questions to ask life insurance companies when you shop around for a term life insurance quote.
- Are insurance rates fixed or variable? Variable rates on a term life insurance policy can give you a nasty surprise with your budget. If the policy does have variable rates, find out the exact terms and amounts.
- Is the policy renewable at the end of your term? You’ve paid a lot of money into a life insurance plan. Make sure you can renew it at the end of the term to continue your coverage uninterrupted. You may also want to find out if a medical examination is required at the end of the term before renewal.
- What exclusions exist with the policy? Many term life insurance plans have reasonable exclusions—but you’ll want to find out what they are so your loved ones don’t find themselves without term life insurance coverage if something happens to you.
A solid term life insurance policy or whole life insurance is a smart investment for anyone. But if you have children, insurance is another one of the responsibilities that comes with parenthood.
Many single people have no dependents, therefore, they can get away with a modest insurance policy that will cover their funeral expenses when they die. But when you get married, buy a house, and become a parent, your lifestyle expenses mount. There’s a lot to think about and to pay.
Here are just some of the expenses you’ll want covered for your spouse and children. Insurance can help take care of it all.