P. Derek Ten Broeck Jr.
TB Group LLC
Is your life insurance policy more than five years old? Have you recently experienced a significant change in your business? Did your marital status change lately? Has your family grown through birth or adoption in the past year? Have you bought a new home or a vacation property? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you might be due for a life insurance review.
I don’t want to suggest those are the only reasons you might need an insurance review. In fact, nearly any meaningful life event should trigger a review. But for most people, a life insurance policy gets no more attention than that Luke Skywalker action figure that is moldering in the attic.
Why to Review Your Policy
There are lots of technical reasons for a life insurance policy review, but the biggest reason is not technical at all. If your policy coverage is out of date, your insurance may not accomplish what you need it to accomplish. If, heaven forbid, something happens to you, who is going to pay off your debts? Will your spouse be able to stay home with your traumatized children? Will your family be able to maintain the level of living they are accustomed to?
The policy review is not difficult. First, find your policy. It’s probably not in the attic with Luke Skywalker, but you never know, do you? Second, list the questions you have about your needs and your coverage. Third, answer these questions by referring to the policy. If you’re not used to reading insurance policies, you may find it easier to confer with an insurance professional or financial planner in this step.
Your Life Insurance Review
Fourth, check and adjust your beneficiaries. Is your original beneficiary still the person you want to receive the benefit? Is that person still alive and in your life?
Fifth, adjust your coverage to your current circumstances. This may mean buying more coverage or cancelling some outdated coverage. You will definitely need the help of an insurance professional for this step, unless you’re an insurance professional yourself. It’s probably a good idea to work with an independent insurance agent, who can provide options from a selection of providers in order to get you the best, most economical coverage.
Sixth, and this often-overlooked step is important, check to see what discounts you may be eligible for. If you’ve quit smoking and stayed quit for 10 years, you can probably get a reduction in your premium. If you’re eligible for automatic premium payments, there’s probably another discount for you in that. If you’ve moved into a safer job or abandoned a particularly risky hobby, that may lower your payment.
Insurance As An Investment
I have been talking in this post just about simple life insurance. Insurance as an investment opens a whole new level of complexity. If you originally bought your life insurance policy as an investment, you need to assess whether it is performing for you the way you originally intended. It may have been affected by changes in interest rates or market conditions. The investment aspect can complicate your review, and you will definitely need the help of an insurance professional or a financial planner to finish the process.
And that brings me to the reason many policy holders avoid doing necessary reviews. They feel it is too complicated. But it doesn’t have to be, if you’re willing to accept help. At TB Group, we help clients with insurance policy reviews all the time. We know what questions to ask, how to assess your situation and your goals, and how to make sure you’re protecting your family while moving forward to your goals. Dig out your policy and schedule your call today. You’ll be surprised at how good it feels to know you have up-to-date coverage.