It’s not usually something we like to think about, but what would happen to your family if something happened to you? The answer might be life insurance. For many of us you couldn’t find a more dull or scary topic both at the same time. But learning even a little bit may help your family if something happens to you, says Pat Parker from State Farm. ” It’s a very selfless act, it’s after all it’s not for the person who passes, it’s for his or her family,” he says.
A new survey says up to 40 percent of all American families have no life insurance at all, and about one third of those that do have it – have less than $100,000 of coverage. That’s usually not considered enough to replace lost income, pay off the mortgage and send children to college.
In Savannah, I talk to a mom (Angela Harden) and her daughter (Tamara Stephens) about the topic. Harden says her children are grown now and it’s just her. So she has a policy through her work that would enough to “pay final expenses.” She says that’s probably all she needs and for many single people, that is probably true.
But Tamara Stephens is a young mom with a baby and seven year old boy. She tells me she’s trying to put away a little money for her children’s education but life insurance for herself seems out of reach financially. “So there’s a lot that weighs on me as a young parent,” she tells me.
Parker says it can help to find out what if any coverage you actually have through your job and then to figure out if you can buy more. “And nobody expects to pass,” he says. “Nobody’s planning on passing but you know we’ve paid four life insurance claims out here in the last six months. And in each situation the money was sorely needed .”
Parker says if you have a policy that provides one or two year’s salary, do an assessment on what that could mean for your family. “And if somebody makes 40,000 a year, they’re married and they have two kids, 80,000 sounds like a great sum of money. But really that’s two years income replacement and the expenses don’t stop, the needs don’t stop,” he says.
He says ask these questions:
How much debt do I have?
How much income do I want to replace?
How much do I owe on my mortgage?
How much money is needed for my children’s education.
He says ADD UP the amount of money needed and then SUBTRACT THAT from the insurance coverage you now have.
“And that shortfall can generally be covered with a good inexpensive term policy,” he tells me.
Parker says don’t get hung up on term versus whole life insurance because he believes there are advantages to both. He says it’s best to learn more about life insurance and talk with a trusted agent if you decide you need to buy more. ” “But ultimately you’ve got to have a policy that you can afford that is there for your loved ones,” he says.