Amanda Eyles, Hefren-Tillotson Insurance Specialist
The time for life insurance is now. This is the message being delivered by actor and Life Happens campaign spokesperson Brooke Shields for the September 2020 Life Insurance Awareness Month nationwide campaign.
Only a little more than half the population has life insurance protection. In a recent Life Happens survey, nearly 25 percent of Americans said they had purchased life insurance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and roughly 12 percent said they had increased their life insurance coverage in response to the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has increased awareness to what life insurers have been asking all along: “How will those you love manage financially if you were suddenly gone?”
It’s Really About Perception
Although COVID-19 has raised consciousness of the risk of an early, unexpected death, old habits are hard to break. People do not have life insurance because they do not believe in having it, and because they don’t believe there is any real benefit to them. They may have money that they are leaving to people who would be beneficiaries of a life insurance policy, but feel it is not necessary to have it.
In addition, some people have never been in a position to understand what a loved one goes through when a parent or a grandparent dies. However, I have been through it.
Other people think life insurance is too expensive. There are so many different options, and some may be pricier than others, so it is natural for some people to be apprehensive. There are those who don’t want to talk about it, because the outcome – and the reason why they would even be talking about it – is death. So, look at it for what it is, and then look at it for what it will be: costly to not have it. Those that say, “I’m young, healthy, I work out. I don’t need it. It’s for old people,” will miss the real focus of Life Insurance Awareness Month.
Insurance Works When You Need It To … If You Have It
Life insurance can be used for more than just a payment at death. It is used in estate planning. Depending on the type of policy, you could use the cash value to pay for obligations at death. I tell people to always leave some death benefit to the policy too.
Basically, you get insurance based on your income. Who is at home with the children if they cannot go to school or daycare? If the breadwinner loses a job to the coronavirus, or worse yet, gets the coronavirus, what if he or she passes away? How would you afford a tutor, an all-day babysitter and a house cleaner? Whatever the scenario, the coronavirus has brought heightened awareness to people in situations that weren’t as common before the pandemic.
Life insurance is available through workplaces all across the country. Why don’t more employees have it? They don’t want any extra funds taken out of their paycheck to pay for life insurance. It’s plain and simple. It is nothing more than an expense to them, as if it has no value.
For new parents, the type of coverage we feel is best is a packaged deal. When you are getting insurance, it’s best to get as much of it together as possible so that you only have to go through the underwriting process once, and while you are typically at the youngest, healthiest age.
I would recommend getting a term policy. Having kids, you probably just got married, got a mortgage and bought a house, right? But you want to make sure you are covering the time after that term length at your healthiest age, and the best option is to get permanent life insurance on top of the term policy. At the same time, consider disability insurance because underwriting can be combined.
With insurance, it is always about what you can afford and what you want to achieve in life. You could always pick up or transfer another policy down the line because it is always best to get it early in life and then adjust as needed down the line. The message from the Life Insurance Awareness campaign and me is: the earlier you can get insurance – get it!
How I Know This
Until you understand the real need for insurance – what it is for and how it works – and feel that real pain when someone you love dies and you have to ask, “What are we going to do now?” you don’t know what it takes to get through the emotional part, and won’t know how comforting it is to have enough insurance to get you through the financial part.
My personal experiences have shown me why I am so passionate about what I do at Hefren-Tillotson, and why I love helping our advisors understand what to get, and why it is important to get certain products for their clients.
My father was strong and healthy. But at age 54, he was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a terminal illness that his doctors treated using experimental methods and radiation as if it was cancer. Unfortunately, at 59, my dad passed away – not from the disease, but from the treatment. Ultimately, if we did not have life insurance, we could not have paid for the funeral or the property taxes my mom was left with. Dad had a lot of property that he invested in so it was beneficial to our family, to my Mom’s survival, and to her continuation of life because Dad was the provider.
Sadly, I lost my grandmother, my grandfather and my cousin that same year. Funerals can be very costly. Understanding these policies, what they provided for my family, and being able to have those final ceremonies for our loved ones in the ways they wished to do so was extremely important to our family.
That’s why I feel September’s Life Insurance Awareness Month is so worthwhile. Dad’s death at a young age made me understand the value of life insurance and why it is needed. Call your financial advisor today for more information and to determine the best type of affordable life insurance coverage for you and your family.