With many of us choking even more increases to health insurance this open enrollment period we have been dealt, the last thing anyone wants to think about is probably more insurance advice! I know that from personal experience, it takes quite a toll paying all that money every year for health insurance I rarely use, but have just in case something major happens. It hits considerably closer to home for me now, having just had my father-in-law pass suddenly and having been talking over the prospects of a life insurance policy with another elderly direct relative of mine. Life insurance is a very important topic along the same lines as health insurance, but that seems a little easier to swallow, since it is inevitable that we will have to move on from this life at one point or another and make use it. For me, knowing it is a matter of “when I need it” and not “if I’ll need it”, seems to make it a little easier to justify than other types of insurances I may never need to use at all.
Although it is a subject many of us do not like thinking or talking about, if you have loved ones, it is inevitable that you will one day leave some of them behind when you “shed this mortal coil”. As the wise Benjamin Franklin once said, "In this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes." So as to not put too dreary of a mood on this blog, I would like to concentrate more on alleviating the burden of death, rather than the actual thought of death itself.
Driving around I often see heartbreak as a result of not having planned ahead, where families are forced to come together with things such as car washes and curbside donation collection to raise enough money just to bury their deceased loved ones. In my eyes, the pain of losing someone close should not have to be compounded any further with the financial worries of how to now put their deceased loved one to rest. This is something I never want a loved one of mine to have to worry about when I pass, that’s for sure!
Being that the average North American funeral costs between $7,000 and $10,000 (funeral-tips.com), even for the most modest of burials, planning ahead is critical to ensure all costs are taken care of. Life insurance is likely to cost you more with age, which is a major deterrent for many from purchasing coverage. Many other factors go into determining your premium rate including lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking, etc.), past diseases and illnesses, family disease history, your occupation, and even your gender. Depending on the issuing company, you may even be subject to certain tests (blood, respiratory, sleep study, etc.) prior to underwriting. So what should one do to decrease their potential out-of-pocket monthly premium?
My personal recommendation consists of two things; alter your lifestyle to eliminate as many of the negative factors as you can and lock in your term policy before the premium outweighs the benefit. A healthy lifestyle is not always the easiest thing to incorporate, but the rewards are two-fold, as you may live a longer life and decrease your life insurance risk. Shopping for a policy when I was younger benefitted me immensely, since I was able to lock in a low monthly premium for a considerably long period of time.
With all of the insurances that we have to think about paying in case “stuff” happens, a good life insurance policy is one that you know will have to be used for certain one day. Having young children of my own, I could not bare to know I left them without a means to survive without me being the sole income for the household, let alone having to bear the burden of putting me to rest. It was of the utmost importance that I made sure they could continue to live as they have become accustomed to, even if the unfortunate event may occur that I may pass away. The money I pay each month for my policy is not money wasted, but more a small price to pay for peace of mind when I am gone!