Life insurance – a touchy subject, but one that everyone should talk about at some point. Unfortunately, there are many myths when it comes to life insurance, which is probably why so many people skip coverage. In fact, according to LIMRA, only 70% of American families own some type of life insurance. Plus, it doesn’t help that thinking about life insurance also means that we have to think about our own mortality. A very unpleasant thought.
However, it’s not a subject that you can just sweep under the rug, because doing so will put your family at financial risk. But with so many opinions out there on life insurance, it’s hard to tell between fact and fiction. So with that being said, let’s take a closer look at five of the most common life insurance myths to get you more comfortable with the topic:
- I’m a young, healthy, single physician, I don’t need life insurance – Actually, most do. Ask yourself, “Do I have any financial obligations that need to be met if something happens to me?” Before you quickly dismiss this question, consider this: Even if you are single with no children, you will have funeral costs. Plus, you may have other debts, like student loans, that you would like to see paid in full, as well. Even though you may have family members that would step in to help with these costs, you don’t want to leave them with all those financial burdens. The purpose of owning life insurance is to cover your financial obligations so others are not required to do so.
- Only breadwinners should purchase life insurance – Although we may be taught to think that the person who earns the most income in the family is the only one who needs to invest in life insurance, that’s not really the case. Imagine for a moment a family with two children who suddenly has to adjust to the unexpected loss of the stay-at-home spouse. The breadwinner in this situation now not only has to grieve and adjust to his or her new life without their partner, but will most likely have to hire someone to watch after the children so he or she can remain employed. Be aware that the cost of childcare can add up very quickly. In fact, according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, the cost of childcare in the United States is around $972 a month, that’s a whopping $11,666 per year, and that’s on the low end of the childcare spectrum. Prices for childcare can range up to $18,733 per year.
In cases like these, a life insurance policy would be extremely helpful. The monetary benefits would make up for lost income and pay for expenses so the grieving partner can more comfortably adjust to life as a single parent.
- The policy my employer provides is enough – If you were offered a life insurance plan through your employer, chances are it is equal to 1- 2 times your annual salary. Yes, you may have been able to bump that number up slightly, but is it truly enough coverage? Probably not. For example, to replace income for your family, and allow them to continue in the same manner in which they currently live, plus pay for future expenses such as college, mortgages, etc., it is recommended your coverage amount be 5-8 times your annual income. And in some cases, depending on your lifestyle, number of dependents and other unique needs, some would recommend you secure coverage 10-12 times your annual income. Another advantage to owning individual life insurance is that you can take the plan with you wherever you go, which is not the case with group plans.
- Life insurance is too expensive for me – LIMRA recently conducted a study that showed a quarter of Americans wanted to purchase life insurance to meet their needs. However, only about ten percent planned to follow through. So, what was the primary reason so many chose to go unprotected? For 63% of the respondents, cost was the main factor. The most eye-catching statistic of the study was that over 80% of this group overestimated premium costs, which resulted in many going without coverage. Of those studied, the average estimation for a $250,000, 20-year term life insurance policy (for a healthy 30 year old) was over $1,000 per year, when the actual cost is more in the range of $150-$200 per year.
- I won’t be approved because I’m in poor health – While health conditions can make securing a life insurance policy seem difficult, it may be possible depending on your unique situation. In fact, there are numerous insurers that cover a broad range of health conditions. Some even specifically deal with high-risk health cases, and there are also life insurance policies that do not require full medical underwriting.