As you shop for life insurance this year or consider whether you really need it, keep in mind the following six myths that many consumers believe:
1. Single people don’t need coverage. Just as married couples and families need life insurance, so do single people. Even if you’re single, you likely have the same debts as married couples, such as school loans, car payments, mortgages, and credit card bills. You will also have funeral expenses.
These unpaid debts will be left for family members to handle if you choose not to purchase a life insurance policy.
2. You only need life insurance from work. If you talk to your HR person, you may discover that your life insurance policy through work doesn’t offer enough coverage. Many employer-sponsored policies are not portable (i.e., they don’t continue after you leave your place of employment), offer coverage that decreases and premiums that increase over time, and are situation-specific.
Many employer-sponsored life insurance policies provide adequate coverage for single workers with no dependents, but they rarely offer enough coverage for people with larger expenses and obligations.
3. You should always buy term. Many people are told that term life insurance is best, but term coverage eventually runs out. When your policy does renew at the end of the term, it will do so with an astronomically high premium. You also run the risk of becoming uninsurable after the coverage ends, and you will have paid thousands of dollars in premiums that will not be refunded to you once the term expires.
4. Only primary breadwinners need life insurance. If you are a stay-at-home parent, consider the costs that your spouse will be faced with if you pass away. Your surviving spouse will have to cover expenses such as childcare and cleaning and may need to take time off of work and pay for funeral expenses.
5. My insurance agent will watch my policy for me. After the sale has been made, many insurance companies fail to watch over a life insurance policy for the insured. It is your responsibility to monitor your coverage, premiums, fees, returns, and performance. Sit down with your insurance agent each year to review all of your life insurance policies.
If you have a universal life product, stay on top of your annual statements and review your premium payments. Many times, these policies go underfunded and run out of money, leaving the insured with no coverage at all.
6. Children don’t need life insurance. Life insurance can be purchased for children just weeks after they are born. While you may feel that purchasing life insurance for your newborn is morbid, remember that it can benefit your child in the future. Purchasing life insurance for your child now helps assure the likelihood that he or she will have coverage well into the future.