Life happens...a quote we've all heard, and probably even contemplated once or twice. Heck, it's even the slogan for a non-profit (https://lifehappens.org/) that advocates for average Americans to protect their incomes and families' livelihoods.
There are times that we are reminded that the antithesis of living happens too. I'm writing this while riding to Kansas to bury my godfather and uncle. I'm compelled at this point to write about one of the most sensitive topics in the insurance industry: life insurance.
Pretty much everyone realizes that they should have some - but how much, what kind and where should they get it? For most of us, it is akin to my 9-year-old doing her math homework - it's not fun, and it can be complex. She knows she should do it, and that she’s got to do it, but she can always find something she'd rather do!
According to statistics, only 57% of American adults had life insurance in 2019. ...Only 30% of Americans with life insurance have sufficient coverage. 51% of Americans would rather discuss their insurance needs in person. Fewer than 40% of Americans own individual coverage. Less than 1/3 have coverage through their employer.
While 28% of millennials and 29% of baby boomers are comfortable researching and buying their policies online, I often run across clients who don't remember exactly what they bought all those years ago, or even how much coverage they have. Obviously, having some protection is better than having none at all.
But no matter where you're buying insurance, you're paying someone a commission. Why wouldn't you work with someone willing to get to know you and your needs personally in order to earn it?
The best analogy I can come up with is this: Would you rather your 12-year-old learn how to shoot from buying a video tutorial, or would you rather Michael Jordan teach them tomorrow in person (for the same price)? A local insurance agent can help you with the following:
How much coverage do I need? Replacing income for my family, paying off debt, or both? Just because two people may do the same job and make the same income, their insurance needs may be different, based on family, age, or financial obligations.
What kind of coverage do I need? Should I own permanent, or term, or some combination of both? The answer is different for everyone, of course. Many made-for-tv "Financial Gurus" give generic advice, but the fact of the matter is, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. There's a reason that many Fortune 500 companies own permanent insurance on board members and executives. Even with term insurance, there may be a need for several policies with different timelines to protect different needs.
How much should I be paying? When you call an 800 number, they are going to give you the cheapest quote possible. If you are 6 ft tall, 160 lb, and run marathons for fun in your spare time, the cheapest quote may be pretty accurate. For the rest of us, a professional will help you determine a realistic price range for the coverage you need.
Price is important, but it's far from the only factor you should take into consideration. Can the agent get you quotes from several companies? You are trusting a company that you're giving your money to today to be financially stable 20, 30, or even more years into the future. Would you really want your 80-year-old widow to confer with an 800 number or a robot?
My uncle was a great guy, and a great provider. I know my family is glad that he planned accordingly.
We've all heard the adage, "Measure twice, cut once." You only live, and die, once. Once you’re gone is not the best time to find out if you were insured properly or not.