Life Insurance: Buy What You Can Afford

There are a myriad of formulas that can help you determine how much life insurance you should carry. Some use a multiple of your annual income, others will consider your current debt and dependents. Is there a simpler way to determine how much life insurance a person should have?

It may be as simple as purchasing an amount that you can afford.

You see, if you secure more life insurance than you can afford or if you place a priority on other things in life, you may not be motivated to keep that life insurance in force. Of course, if the policy is not kept in force through timely payments, it fails to do its intended job. So while some large amount of life insurance may be warranted and beneficial, if it doesn’t fit in your budget, it does little good. This is particularly true with whole life insurance that can build value the longer it is kept in force.

What this means, of course, is that even if you don’t feel you can afford the amount of life insurance that may be appropriate for your situation, you should at least acquire something to get started. Perhaps you’ll start with enough to cover final expenses and debts like credit cards and student loans. This will at least provide some comfort and peace of mind for those left behind. As your financial situation improves, revisit your life insurance plan to see if you can adjusted upward. The point is to get started at some level now.

We can help. Our independent insurance agents can shop multiple companies to find the best coverage and price for you. They can explain your options when it comes to term or whole life insurance. They can help you get started while perhaps even setting a goal for future coverage.

The process is simple. Just answer a few basic questions and make your first premium payment to bind your coverage. If you are in reasonable health, there likely won’t even be a physical medical exam required. You’ll have at least some coverage and be started on your path to more financial security for your family.

Don’t wait. Remember, the younger you are when purchasing life insurance the less expensive it can be. Contact us today.

Why an Independent Agent is Your Best Option for Life Insurance Quotes

Congratulations! You made the decision to either acquire or increase the amount of life insurance coverage you carry. Maybe the decision is participated by a marriage, the birth of a child or maybe you just decided it’s time to start adulting. The next question is where to get started. Who can help you through the process?

There’s cousin Billy but last week he was cleaning pools. There’s that guy from high school but you haven’t talked to him for years. How about you seek out the help of a professional? Great! Now what?

You should understand that insurance agents fall into two basic camps. There are what are called captive agents, those that represent the products of the insurance company they work for. Captive agents may work for some pretty big, well known, name brand companies. On the other hand, there are independent agents. These independent agents offer the products of a multitude of insurance companies. Some are well-known companies you have heard of and others are smaller, lesser known companies who offer some terrific life insurance programs.

Why is an independent agent your best option when it comes to life insurance?

First, while a captive agent works for a insurance company, an independent insurance agent works for you. They will seek out life insurance programs from different companies to see which may work best for you. They are not held captive to offering just one company’s products.

Independent insurance agents tend to know a lot about the various plans offered by a variety of companies. They know what companies specialize in various forms of insurance. This knowledge can be put to work for you in finding optimum coverage at a price you can feel comfortable with.

See for yourself. Contact one of our independent agents and request a no-obligation quote for life insurance. They can help you determine whether term or whole life insurance is better for your situation. They will then go in search of an insurance company to best fulfill your needs.

Choice is good. It is just one reason an independent insurance agent can work best for you. Contact one of our agents today to get started.

Getting Married? Now’s a Good Time to Consider Life Insurance

It is no secret Americans are waiting longer and longer to tie the knot. It may be a surprise, however, to realize how much longer young people are waiting to get married. Today the average woman is 27 when they first get married while men are 29. That is up from 23 and 26 respectively in 1990. It is really eye opening to realize that in 1960, the average age of a woman at first marriage was just 20 and men were averaging 22 years old.

This has some interesting impacts as couples are waiting longer to buy a home and will ultimately have less time together following marriage. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the importance of life insurance once one gets married.

Marriage is a good time to consider getting, or increasing, life insurance for several reasons. Married couples are now responsible for each other, both emotionally and financially. There may be more financial responsibilities like a mortgage, car payments, credit card payments and student loans. With more couples both employed outside the home, these financial responsibilities are often significant. Children may already, or soon be involved. Couples should also be looking forward to protecting and investing in their financial futures and even retirements.

There are other advantages to reviewing your life insurance upon getting married as well. You can make sure your beneficiary is up-to-date. Life insurance is also less expensive when purchased young. Our independent life insurance agents can help.

Our agents can help guide you through the differences and benefits of both term life insurance and permanent insurance. They will discuss your current situation and your financial goals. They will then search out various insurance companies who can best provide the protection you deserve. There is no-obligation.

Whether you presently have life insurance or will be securing it for the first time, we can help. Simply contact us and answer a few simple questions. We can quickly get you competitive quotes. If you are getting married, take the time to review your life insurance coverage. We would be pleased to assist you.

Why Life Insurance Should Be a Fundamental Part of Your Financial Plan

There are plenty of elements to a sound financial plan. It frequently starts with a solid, workable budget you can live with. There are short and long term investment strategies. It may involve the purchase of real estate, the acquisition of liquid assets and retirement planning.

As assets become increasingly valuable and important in your financial plan, protecting them becomes more and more vital. It is the primary purpose of loss prevention products like homeowners insurance. One often under-appreciated asset you have is your ability to make a living. It is why life insurance should be a fundamental part of your financial plan.

Consider, for example, that if you make $50,000 annually, you will generate a million dollars over the next 20 years. If you make $100,000 annually you’ll achieve that mark in just ten years. You are, in fact, like a money making machine. How would your family reproduce that income in the event of your death? It can be accomplished through life insurance.

Life insurance assures that in the event of your death, a certain amount of your income would be replaced through proceeds from the policy. One of the best aspects is that you can choose just how much of that income you insure. You could replace several years of income or provide for your home and debts to be paid. You can decide to secure enough coverage to pay for your children’s college education or to leave a trust fund.

You may be surprised at just how affordable even a significant amount of life insurance coverage can be. Term life insurance, particularly when purchased young enough, is often a good option. To discuss your choices, please contact one of our independent life insurance agents today. We can go to work, comparing the rates from a variety of companies we work with. You decide your budget, you determine the coverage.

Having a solid financial plan is an excellent path to the future. Just make sure you are sufficiently protecting your assets including your life. We can help. We look forward to assisting you.

What is Decreasing Term Life Insurance?

There are two broad, basic forms of life insurance. There is permanent, whole-life insurance that generally builds value and remains in force as long as premiums are  paid. There is also term insurance that is intended to be in force for a specific period of time. Term insurance is often less expensive than permanent insurance, and can be purchased in level term, increasing term, and decreasing term coverage. Level term coverage remains the same over the course of the term of the coverage. Increasing term coverage provides increasing coverage over the lifespan of the policy. But what is decreasing term insurance and when may it be of most value?

Decreasing term insurance starts at its maximum coverage and decreases over the length of the policy period. For example, a $500,000, 20 year decreasing term policy may start by providing $500,000 of coverage in year one, and by year five reduces to $375,000. By year ten, halfway through the term, the policy may also reduce in coverage by half to $250,000. At year 15 coverage may reduce to $125,000 until it finishes out its term at 20 years. This is only a sample of how coverage may reduce over the term period.

Decreasing term insurance can be valuable in many situations. It can help cover the balance of a mortgage payments over 20 or 30 year mortgages. As the mortgage is paid down, coverage is reduced at a similar pace. Young families can find decreasing term insurance valuable in obtaining a large amount of coverage while the children are at their youngest. In smaller amounts, decreasing term insurance can be used to insure car payments will be covered in an untimely death. In general, decreasing term insurance allows you the flexibility to only pay for the coverage you need as time progresses, and your financial obligations lessen.

The appropriate type and amount of life insurance varies by family, circumstances, age and budget. It is one of the reasons working with an independent insurance agent can be so valuable. We work with a variety of insurance companies and can seek out the most valuable coverage for your specific situation. Do you have the right coverage? Contact one of our independent insurance agents for a no-cost, no-obligation life insurance review and quote today. We look forward to assisting you.

Three Ways Life Insurance May Help Pay For College

One of the many benefits of life insurance is how versatile it is. It can be purchased in virtually any amount (depending on age and health) and proceeds aren’t processed through an estate. It can be purchased as term insurance or as permanent/whole life insurance. Most appreciate that there are no restrictions on the use of life insurance proceeds so they may be used for any purpose.

Many families purchase life insurance for the specific purpose of helping ensure a college education. Here are three ways that life insurance can help pay for higher education.

  1. Insuring the Life of a Parent or Breadwinner

One of the main ways life insurance can help ensure college costs are provided for is by sufficiently insuring the life of a parent or main breadwinner in a family.. The death of a parent will not only have a significant emotional impact on a child, but it potentially changes the trajectory of that child’s education. When determining how much life insurance is sufficient for young families, they should take in consideration the costs of a college education for each of their children. The proceeds don’t necessarily have to be used for that purpose but it can be comforting to know funding will be in place should a parent’s death occur.

  1. It Can Build Cash Value That Can Build Value 

Younger families, in particular, can find it challenging to set aside money for the future, including a college education. This is why many families will take out a whole life or permanent life insurance policy on a child. A life insurance policy on a child provides coverage and assures the insurability of the child. When purchased in sufficient amounts, permanent life insurance can build enough value to be very helpful in paying for college. Families may find paying for life insurance easier than trying to save money separately. When it comes time for college, the value of the policy can be tapped into through a loan or cashed in for the purpose of helping to pay for college.

  1. It Becomes a Financial Asset

Because a permanent life insurance policy can build cash value, it becomes a financial asset. This is true whether the policy is on the student or the parent. If a young parent, for example, would take out a significant whole life insurance policy when a child is born, not only will they have additional life insurance protection through some critical years, but their life insurance policy will grow in value. This is an asset that can be used when acquiring college funding for a child if the parent should so choose.

If you are a young parent looking for ways to help ensure your child can attend college, contact us to discuss how life insurance may play a role. We can help you take the steps today to help ensure the education of your child tomorrow.

Life Insurance as a Gift

In its truest sense, life insurance is a gift. The proceeds from a life insurance policy can help reduce stress and worries for those left behind. It can not only pay for final expenses but can extend a family’s lifestyle and perhaps even pay for college. But there are also ways in which a life insurance policy can serve as a gift. Here are just a few.

A Gift for a Child or Grandchild

Many parents or grandparents will purchase a whole life insurance policy on a newborn, with the intent of gifting the proceeds for some future use, possibly a car or college. There are plenty of reasons this makes sense. Life insurance on a child is very inexpensive. A permanent or whole life insurance policy will build value through the years, funds that can be tapped into at some future time. There are other benefits to this “gift” as well, including ensuring the child will have life insurance coverage. Life insurance can be paid for monthly or annually or even totally prepaid.

A Legacy for a Non-profit or Charity

You don’t have to be wealthy to leave a financial gift to a favored non-profit organization or charitable cause. You can do it by having them benefit from the proceeds of a life insurance policy. This can be done by either naming them as a beneficiary on a policy or by establishing a trust. You could also have a trusted beneficiary administer the funds to the charity. You may be able to affordably leave a sizable gift as part of your legacy.

A Gift to Each Other

A unique gift new marrieds should consider is that of a life insurance policy. A whole life insurance policy that builds value can not only provide protection through your married life, but can build value through the years. This value can be used to help make a down payment on a home or for retirement. This is a practical gift that has lasting benefits.

We may not often consider life insurance as a gift, but it certainly will be appreciated when needed. Do you have sufficient life insurance? Is there someone in your life that can benefit from such a gift? Contact us and let’s discuss your situation and your options. We can even compare policies from multiple companies to find the best value for you. We look forward to assisting you.

What it Takes to Qualify as a Beneficiary

A beneficiary is the person designated to receive the proceeds of a life insurance policy in the event of the death of the insured. The beneficiary is named in the policy itself. What does it take to qualify as a beneficiary and what should you know about naming a person as your beneficiary?

To qualify as a beneficiary, a person needs to have an insurable interest in the insured. This means that there must be some sort of relationship between the beneficiary and the insured, and that the beneficiary would suffer some form of loss in the event of the death of the insured. In many cases this is a spouse or other close relative but it could also be a business partner or even a business itself.

While a minor can be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, they may not have access to the actual proceeds until attaining legal age. If the intent is to have proceeds benefit a minor, it is better to have a trusted friend or relative of legal age be beneficiary to administer the funds if your wishes are to establish a trust in the name of the minor.

Many married couples will name each other as beneficiaries, which may be understandable, but could cause problems if both were to die in the same accident. This is where a contingent beneficiary can be useful. A contingent beneficiary is secondary to the main beneficiary, and would receive the proceeds only if the main beneficiary is not alive or otherwise incapacitated. Naming a contingent beneficiary is a good way to help ensure proceeds will not go into the estate.

One of the challenges with beneficiaries is making sure they are up to date. Life happens and major changes to our lives may occur to warrant a beneficiary change. These changes my include a marriage, divorce or death in the family. Like all of your insurance policies, life insurance coverage should be reviewed occasionally for accuracy and to determine if coverage is still sufficient.

If you would like to have a life insurance policy review, get a quote on life insurance, or perhaps have an entire insurance protection overhaul, we invite you to contact us. As independent insurance agents, we are qualified to review the policies from any company for just about any type of insurance.

How will you know if you are paying too much unless you compare? We would be glad to assist you.

Unique Benefits of Life Insurance You May Not Be Aware Of

For most, life insurance is purchased to lessen the financial burden in the event of the death of the insured. That burden could include final medical bills, funeral expenses or even to provide for living or education expenses for those left behind. Life insurance, however, may also have some other unique benefits you may not be aware of.

It Can Build Cash Value

Permanent or whole life insurance policies can actually build value over time. This is cash value that can be accessed in several ways for emergencies and opportunities. Policy holders may be able to borrow against the cash value of a policy at attractive rates or may even decide to cash the policy in for its surrender value.

It is a Form of Equity

A life insurance policy with cash value can serve as a form of equity, adding to your net worth. It my even be used as collateral when applying for a loan. Simply put, permanent or whole life insurance can be a financial asset as it builds value.

You Still Maintain It It Even If Your Health Deteriorates

One of the more under-appreciated benefits of life insurance is that permanent or whole life insurance can’t be cancelled by the issuer should you become ill or injured. As long as you maintain premium payments, once you secure a life insurance policy, it is yours to keep. Keep in mind, this does not apply to term insurance, which is intended to only covered the insured for a predetermined “term”.

It May Have Disability Benefits

Many life insurance policies may have benefits that can provide assistance should the insured or policy owner become disabled. A “waiver of premium”, for example, waives premium payments if the insured becomes disabled. Many policies also have “loss of limbs” provisions that will pay benefits should the insured lose an arm or a leg.

Accidental Death Coverage

It is not uncommon for life insurance policies to pay a multiple of the insured amount should death occur by accidental means. This amount is most commonly twice the policy’s face amount.

Peace of Mind

An often overlooked benefit of life insurance is the peace of mind it provides for both the insured and his or her family. This is one positive aspect of coverage that is hard to put a price on.

When considering life insurance, consider all of its unique features and benefits. Contact us for a no-obligation quote on life insurance today. It is valuable protection you can live with.

What You May Need to Know About Filing a Life Insurance Claim

Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with how to file an automobile insurance claim. Few, however, may have experience with filing a life insurance claim. If you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, here’s what you may need to know about filing a life insurance claim.

Claims May Only Be Filed By the Beneficiary

The first step in filing a claim on a life insurance policy is making sure you you are listed as the primary beneficiary on a policy. If you are a secondary beneficiary on a life insurance policy and the primary beneficiary is no longer alive, proof of the death of the primary beneficiary will likely be required.

Obtain Several Copies of the Death Certificate

You will likely need several copies of the death certificate for multiple purposes. It can be helpful to obtain several copies initially. These can be obtained through the health department or through the assistance of your funeral director.

File Your Claim

Submit a notarized copy of the death certificate with your claim forms with your insurance company.

A Few Notes

There is a possibility that the check received by the beneficiary in a life insurance claim may not be the full face value amount on the policy. If there have been loans against the policy in the past or if premiums have been paid using the policy value, those amounts will be deducted from the face amount prior to payment.

Contact Your Insurance Agent

Your life insurance agent can obtain the forms necessary to file your claim and even assist you in filling them. Your agent can serve as your intermediary in the filing of a claim with the insurance company. This is another good reason to have a life insurance review and request a policy status report occasionally so you are aware of any outstanding loans. You can then make the conscious decision to address those loans or increase your coverage if necessary.

From securing your initial life insurance policy through filing a claim, our independent insurance agents are here to assist you every step of the way. As independent agents, they can “shop” for coverage that fits your situation and budget. Contact us for a no-cost quote on life insurance today.