Revisit Your Life Insurance Needs Annually

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by Jamie K. Fleischner, CLU, ChFC, President of Set for Life Insurance.

How long has it been since you last reviewed your life insurance coverage? If you are like most, chances are you long ago filed your policy away and haven’t thought about it since.

But life is not static, and circumstances do change. Major life changes such as marriage, the birth of a child, the purchase of a new home, or even an increase in salary can shape how much financial protection you and your family needs. 

Even if a year goes by without any major life events, it’s still a good idea to review your coverage. The amount of your life insurance coverage should be sufficient to meet the current obligations and future needs of your loved ones. If you have taken advantage of historically low interest rates and recently refinanced, make sure you have enough coverage to satisfy your new loan obligations. If you’re single, consider the cost of a funeral, outstanding medical bills, credit card balances and ongoing financial assistance for elderly parents who may be dependent upon you. 

If you have had a job change or left your employer, you may have lost your group life insurance benefits your company was counting on.

If you were recently married, it is a good idea to review the beneficiaries on your life insurance. Some people forget who they named as beneficiary of their life insurance when they signed up for group coverage or purchased their own life insurance policy. Either way, the consequences can be catastrophic if you have someone other than your new spouse as beneficiary.

If your retirement plan has suffered from the economic downturn, you may need more life insurance to make up for the loss. You may have calculated your needs taking into account your assets based on their peak levels.

If you have experienced a change in health, this may impact your ability to purchase additional life insurance coverage. This may be a good time to consider converting your term insurance to a permanent policy to lock in your rates for life as you may not have the opportunity to purchase benefits again. Typically, life insurance conversions don’t require new medical underwriting.

If you have had a significant increase in income, you may also want to revisit your life insurance needs.  Your family may become dependent on your new income or lifestyle. Furthermore, even if your life insurance death benefit needs haven’t changed, your cash flow has. This may be a good time to consider locking in your rates to a permanent policy.

Lastly, your life plan may have changed since you originally purchased your policy. Perhaps you thought you needed a 10 or 15 year term initially when you originally purchased your life insurance policy. Now, looking at your situation, this may not be sufficient.

Regardless of your life changes, it is vital to you and your family that your life insurance is up to par with your needs. Your family and future generations will thank you for years to come.

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