Life insurance is a topic many people don’t want to talk about. They hate talking about their death, and it worries them to wonder if everything will be taken care of after they are gone. The reasons they should think about life insurance are the reasons they avoid it completely. As a truck driver, you know the dangers of your job. You know that things could go south while you are on the road, so you should double check to see if you have adequate insurance coverage. But how much is adequate? Here is the quick way to figure out your coverage needs.
If You Are Not an Owner-Operator
If you are an owner-operator, you will need a little more coverage than if you drive for someone else. We will look at those added expenses in a minute. Here is how to calculate what you need if you don’t own the rig that you’re driving:
- Annual Salary X 10
- Sum of All Debt
- College Tuition for Dependents
This number can add up quite a bit faster than you realize. For instance, suppose you earn $50,000 per year, have a mortgage on your house where you still owe $150,000, and you have two children. With the average cost of college at around $10,000 per year (public university, in-state tuition), you will need approximately $500,000 (salary X 10) plus $150,000 (debt) plus $80,000 (college tuition), or a total of $630,000. Factor in the increase of college tuition costs, and that number easily hits $700,000. Figure in that your spouse may need income for longer, and that number bumps to over $1,000,000.
If You Are an Owner-Operator
If you own the truck you’re driving, and you have some debt on the truck (or if you have people who work for you, or other business assets such as a facility in which to store your truck), that number goes up even more. The easy way to determine your life insurance needs as a truck driver is to add your business debt on top of the amount of insurance that you already need to cover your family and personal assets.
Sounds Like Too Much?
These numbers may seem like they are outrageously high. But you would be surprised how quickly that money will be depleted if you are not around to provide an income for your family. You may be tempted to reduce the amount because your surviving spouse could simply sell the business assets instead of paying for them. But keep in mind that it could take several months to years before everything finally sells. Your family will be stuck making payments until it does.
Don’t let the death benefit amount deter you. Term insurance is fairly cheap; in fact if you are healthy you could likely get the coverage that you need for around $50 per month (depending on your age and other factors). Don’t take my word for it though, get some actual quotes and determine a way that those premiums will fit your budget.
Life Insurance for Truck Drivers
If you talk to any financial advisor or financial planner they will tell you that the foundation for a good financial plan is to cover the risks first before you try to accumulate wealth. If you don’t have any life insurance, start small right away (enough death benefit to cover your debts) so your family isn’t completely struggling without you. Once you are comfortable with those premiums, bump your coverage up to what you truly need.
Do you have life insurance? Have you checked to see if it is enough?
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