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Family Coverage Is it Time to Re Evaluate Your Insurance Needs?

by Dale Kiefer |
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When you were single, chances are you had little or no insurance. And with good reason. Despite what persistent insurance agents may tell you, singles with no dependents have no need of life insurance. But after you started working steadily and got married, it's a good bet you signed up for at least minimal life insurance. If something were to happen to you God forbid you wouldn't want your spouse to end up on the street. And funeral expenses are one of life's unpleasant, but unavoidable certainties. If the loss of your income or financial assets would unfavorably impact your spouse, you need life insurance.

If you own or rent a home, you undoubtedly have homeowners or renters insurance. Homeowners have no choice, and renters go without at their own peril. But what about the changing needs of your family, now that you're expecting, or have already welcomed a baby into the family?

Your insurance coverage could probably use some beefing up. As soon as dependents enter the picture, adequate life insurance becomes vital. Please note, however: There is absolutely no need for insurance for your children. Again, ignore the sales pitches. Your children do NOT need costly life insurance (with the possible exception of child movie stars who're supporting the family). Simply put: life insurance is for wage earners. Its purpose is to replace lost POTENTIAL income.

When the time comes to wade through the confusing smorgasbord of insurance choices, remember this: the insurance salesman works for himself and his company, NOT YOU. His commission is at stake, so he's motivated to sell you whatever policy brings him the fattest paycheck, not necessarily th eone that actually suits you best. That said, it might be best to do the research yourself. Although it's more expensive, in the long run, whole life is a better bargain than term life. Buying direct can save loads on commission.

One way to purchase "low-load" whole life insurance is to contact one of the prominent low-load companies listed below:
Ameritas: 1-800-552-3553
USAA: 1-800-531-8000
Lincoln Benefit: 1-800-525-9287
Fee for Service: 1-800-874-5662

Whole life can be expensive, but if you can afford to make payments for 12 to 15 years, they'll be paid off and you'll be insured forever. You can cash in the policy after you retire if you decide you no longer need the coverage.

Term-life policies don't build up value, but they are more affordable. They only pay off if you die, however, and do not build cash value. Premiums are likely to be quite low if you're young. Expect them to rise incrementally each year. One money-saving strategy for those choosing term life: switch companies ever four to five years. You'll reap the benefit of lower costs granted to new customers.

According to Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, some of the nation's best insurance companies include the following:
Allstate
Connecticut General Life
Hartford Life
John Hancock Mutual
New York Life
Principal Mutual
Prudential
State Farm
Teachers Insurance and Annuity

You can find more in your telephone directory or on the Internet

Dale Kiefer is a free-lance writer living in northern New Jersey with his wife and two young sons. Born in New Jersey some 40 years ago, Dale was raised in Kentucky, where he spent most of his life, graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Biological Sciences. You can see more of Dale's articles at his Suite 101 page devoted to expectant fathers


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