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imageIt can be a fun play on words for us life insurance types, but wife insurance is serious business.

I’m not getting into the stay at home mom vs. career mom debate, and please hold those thoughts to yourself. And I’m not saying wives are more important than single mothers, because I’m going to include mothers of all kind in my #insuremomtoo campaign. My plight is not about these age old ridiculous arguments and judgements. It’s about protecting families, whatever structure and circumstance they have and pointing out that there is a need to insure mothers. Somewhere along the line we’ve discounted that need.

I hear it all the time when I’m talking to people about life insurance. The wife calls our office to research policy options for herself. I return the call and the husband answers. When he asks what the call’s about and I say “life insurance” it’s always the same response: “Oh no, she didn’t mean for her. She must have been calling about my policy.” Whether she stays at home or works, this is always the conversation.

Today, 61% of mothers work outside of the home, yet most families solely rely on the husbands life insurance policy for protection of their family. Simultaneously, far too many families undervalue the financial impact of a stay at home mother’s work, having little or no life insurance in place to protect that value.

The gap in coverage levels between husbands and wives is so extreme we really need to consider it a concept all to its own. Wife insurance. An Australian insurance company has put together a very tongue-in-cheek website using the term. Depending on your sense of humor you may think it funny. But they’re in Australia and we need to take care of the issue here in the US.

In February we kick off a three month campaign focused on educating families on the life insurance needs of women. All women. For pennies on the dollar we can reduce these risks and sleep better at night. I promise.

Reasons(Back in October, we stopped by the CoverHound blog with our top 10 reasons to review your life insurance…)

AKA…leave me alone creepy life insurance agent.

You may not hear it all the time. But I do.

And as good as my intentions are when I say, “when’s the last time you reviewed it?” the person I’m talking to ducks and dodges, squirms even.

“I have life insurance. Thank you.”

Somehow, we’ve come to believe that life insurance is a static fixed object and once you’ve handled it, you’re done. WRONG. Some of this belief is myth, some avoidance behavior. More of the latter most honestly. Who wants to talk about death and provide “samples.” Did someone say needles? Ick.

But here’s the deal…products change, you change, your life changes. What worked for you last year may not be working for you this year. And if you don’t take a look at it, you’ll never know. Don’t ask don’t tell was repealed last year, so let’s not hang on to it when it comes to life insurance.

Here are the top 10 reasons why you should take a look at whatcha got:

1) You may have too much and reducing the amount you have can save you money.

2) You may have too little and you’re putting those who count on you at risk.

3) You might be able to get the same amount for less because products have gotten cheaper since you purchased.

4) You might be able to get more for the same amount if that’s what you need.

5) If you were rated for a health concern that’s gotten better you can get your current policy rerated or buy a new one…both options will save you money (PS…health stuff for life insurance is like accidents and tickets for car insurance. The longer it’s been, the cheaper your rates might be).

6) If you’ve had changes occur in your life and haven’t adjusted your coverage you might be exposed where you don’t want to be.

7) The type of product you’re in may not be suitable for where you are in your lifespan.

8) If you own a policy with cash value you can move that cash tax free to a new policy that can save you money or increase your coverage amount.

9) Your need for life insurance may have expired before you did and you can dump it.

10) You might just have the perfect coverage and you can move on like a happy little bee.

Our suggestion? Review it annually (no matter what’s going on in your life) with your insurance advisor or an independent broker who can compare your coverage to all the carriers available and give you an unbiased review.

Want to check rates your self? Head on over to our Resources page and pull some quotes. Best part is it’s free and you won’t have some annoying life insurance guy breathing down your neck (unless you’re into that sort of thing of course).

Last but not least, you can always call us. We’ll try not to be too creepy.

Monday, Monday…

I continue to hear people say they can’t afford life insurance. When they haven’t even looked into it. Term life rates are so low right now, it’s my mission in life to make sure those who need it have at least SOMETHING.

At $7 a month, EVERYONE should  have a policy. Every 35 year old, that is. But keep looking down the chart. STILL affordable.

Just take a look at these rates:

 

AGE

MALE

FEMALE

$100,000 Death Benefit

35

$7.27

$7.01

40

  8.04

7.87

45

10.29

9.34

50

13.23

11.50

55

18.94

15.66

60

29.06

20.85

$250,000 Death Benefit

35

$10.06

$9.08

40

12.02

11.25

45

17.80

14.92

50

25.37

20.33

55

40.05

30.71

60

66.13

43.68

 

While these term life rates are based on the best possible underwriting decision for 10 year term insurance, they are representative of just how little it can take to protect your family.

We’re here to help.

Open Enrollment

A little personal myth busting for you…

More than likely, you’re dealing with open enrollment at work. Depending on your company, it can be an easy no brainer process, or it can add to your holiday pressures. Let’s hope, for you, it’s the first one.

I’ve been working with “Felicia” the last few weeks to supplement her life insurance coverage. She was of the impression she had maxed out her group coverage at $100,000. We submitted paperwork for a $1,000,000 10 year policy to cover the needs of her son through college (he’s 14 and she wanted to cushion the few years after graduation too).

When her open enrollment notice for 2013 arrived, she sent over a copy for me to evaluate. She realized she had additional optional coverage available to her and wanted my opinion.

I have always recommended clients max out their group coverage before supplementing with additional life insurance coverage. Reason being the group coverage is almost always the cheapest and you can add on from there. Most people are not adequately covered by group insurance alone.

In this example, the group coverage wasn’t the best option.

For Felicia, the best deal was found in sticking with the policy we were underwriting and foregoing the additional insurance offered by her employer. She was able to add an additional $203,000 of life insurance for $17.54 per month if she enrolled in the optional coverage while the policy we were underwriting through another carrier was $22.06 for $1 million of additional coverage. The employer provided coverage required underwriting and wasn’t portable.

My point? Don’t go on auto pilot during open enrollment. Get online, talk to someone like us, and weigh your options.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!!

term policyI see a lot of things on the internet that peak my curiosity. Particularly when I can’t find the facts to back them up.

Lately, one of these topics has been the joint term policy. Why do I find the subject curious? Because I can’t seem to find a product that doesn’t require some sort of association membership or other qualifying factor beyond basic underwriting, and even these are hard to come by. I’ve come to think of the joint term policy as some sort of urban legend.

What I do know is a joint term policy will only be suitable for a short amount of time in most cases. Here’s why…

What is meant by most when they discuss “joint term life insurance” is a policy that pays the benefit upon the death of the FIRST spouse. Why is this important? Because most joint life insurance policies are what is known as “second to die” and are used for legacy purposes as opposed to protection purposes. The two are often confused and this is dangerous. We’ll get back to this in a bit, but first let’s look at where a joint term policy with first to die provisions is suitable.

In a new marriage.

There are business uses for a joint term policy, but that’s a conversation for another day.

In a new marriage, life insurance is needed to protect each spouse in the event of the loss of the other if they have financial dependencies, which is typically the case. Two individual policies can also accomplish this, but the general thinking I’m seeing is that PERHAPS it is less expensive to purchase one of these joint term policies. Maybe. If this is true for a certain couple, the trouble I see is this policy will not be suitable for very long. At a minimum, it will need to be supplemented with individual term policies once the couple starts a family because coverage is now needed for both parents. And in today’s world  the window between marriage and having a first child is getting shorter and shorter. There is no reason not to be underwritten at the time of marriage and then again a bit later when children enter the picture, it just may be an inconvenience many do not want to endure to POSSIBLY save a couple of pennies.

The other type of joint life policy is known as a “second to die” product and is generally used for legacy purposes and to fund estate tax liabilities. NOT to protect young families. Just like it sounds, the policy only pays the benefit at the death of the second spouse, so for protection purposes the chance of this happening is so statistically small that the family is likely better covered by two individual policies. Again, the story is different for legacy purposes which typically become a concern in later years.

In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for GOOD joint term policies with first to die provisions for those times when they are suitable. If I find a good product, you’ll be the first to know.

Ciao for now. M

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