Getting Married? Make An Insurance Plan
Congratulations on your marriage. You’ve promised to have and to hold each other for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. But did you promise to have adequate insurance?
Insurance promises are usually missing from wedding vows. But now’s the time for you and your spouse to review your coverage. Having the right type and right amount of insurance will help ensure that your finances are protected from lawsuits and accidents.
So here’s what to consider and what steps you should take to get the coverage you need as a couple.
Why you need it: When you were single, you likely didn’t have anyone counting on you for financial support. That may have changed now that you’re married. If you and your spouse count on each other’s income to support your lifestyle, you both need life insurance that will keep the other financially afloat if something happens.
A life insurance payout can be used to pay for funeral costs, the rent or mortgage, and household bills and debts. It also can be used to help pay for child care and, eventually, college for any children you might have. It can also leave a legacy for those you love.
How to get life insurance: Your employer might offer supplemental life insurance as an employee benefit. But the amount of coverage you get through a group insurance plan might not be enough. Also, you likely can’t keep that coverage if you leave the job. That’s why you should get an individual life insurance policy.
There are two main types of life insurance: term and permanent. Term life insurance lasts for a certain number of years, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30. Permanent life insurance lasts for a lifetime and, therefore, is more expensive than term life.
The policy’s term should be long enough to cover the needs of children—such as the years until they graduate college. Look for a policy that offers the option to convert to permanent coverage “so you have the option if you want to maintain the policy after the term runs its course,” he says.
You can shop for life insurance policies online, including options for getting instant life insurance. However, consider working with an independent insurance agent who can help you determine how much coverage you need and will shop around for you to find the best policy for your needs.
How to save money on life insurance: Life insurance likely is a lot cheaper than you think. A survey by LIMRA and Life Happens found that half of respondents thought a $250,000 term life policy for a healthy 30-year-old would cost $500 or more a year. However, the average cost of such a policy is only about $160 a year, or about $13 a month.
Your age, health, policy type and amount of coverage you want will affect the price you pay for life insurance.
“The younger and healthier you are when you get coverage, the more affordable it is,” says Amy Shepard, a Certified Financial Planner with Sensible Money. She suggests it can be worth it to pay a little more for a policy with a bigger benefit now in order to ensure the payout will be enough to cover any future expenses you might have, such as a house with a mortgage or children.
You could also buy more life insurance in future, but you’ll be paying rates based on your older age and any health problems that develop in the interim.