I RECENTLY LISTENED to a podcast during which the speakers lamented the death of a colleague who was in his 30s. They mentioned a GoFundMe campaign to assist his family, so I assume the deceased had no life insurance. According to LIMRA, which collects data on the life insurance industry, less than 50% of millennials have individual life insurance.
There are two major types of life insurance: term and whole life. Term insurance is intended to cover a specific period,
I’VE WRITTEN BEFORE about stumbling on an unexpected way to save on auto insurance. My education continues: I’ve also learned of a way to save on Medigap coverage.
When I became eligible five years ago for Medicare, I bought Medigap Plan G supplemental coverage from Mutual of Omaha (MOO). Last summer, as my wife was about to become eligible for Medicare, we took another look at Medigap coverage. I was generally happy with MOO’s claims procedures and customer service,
LONG-TERM-CARE insurance and disability insurance can both be part of a comprehensive financial plan. But is it a good idea to have both coverages at the same time, or could one substitute for the other? After all, both policies are designed to help those who are, in some way, infirm.
To answer this question, let’s start with another one: What’s the purpose of insurance? The best use of any type of insurance is to guard against financial disaster.
DO YOU SKIM OVER the fine print? Two recent incidents involving insurance coverage made me rethink my tendency to do just that. One incident alerted me to a major problem. The other saved me money.
Let’s start with the problem. It was time to renew our homeowner’s insurance. In looking over the policy, something didn’t look right. In the section for dwelling, which is defined in our policy as alterations and other improvements, we had $5,000 worth of coverage.
I JUST LEARNED a hard lesson about insurance companies: They have the upper hand.
Water leaked into my ground-floor condo’s bathroom and laundry room from a unit two floors above. The unit owner offered to report the damage to his insurance company, but I decided I should call mine for advice. A rep told me that I could file claims with my insurer and it would then seek compensation from the other unit’s insurance through subrogation,
OVER THE PAST TWO years, we’ve seen everything from tornadoes to devastating fires to hurricanes, often at unusual times and in unexpected places. That got my husband and me thinking about how to prepare for what may come our way—and how we could document what we might lose.
We decided to make a home movie. Our new phones are perfect for taking videos. What better proof of what we have? You’ve probably seen the suggestion that you do this,
I REALIZE MOST FOLKS don’t find personal finance as enthralling as I do, so I apologize in advance—this article’s topic is the least thrilling of all. It’s time to talk about life insurance.
I’ve been trying to come up with a good analogy for life insurance. The best I can think of: Life insurance is like the airbags in your car. No one ever gets excited about airbags. No one ever shows off the airbags in their new car.
OUR DOG LIKES SOCKS. A few months after Poppy joined our family, she consumed her first sock. Since then, she’s eaten two more. After the first sock was removed, our veterinarian offered some valuable advice: Get pet insurance because Poppy is likely to do this again. Within a few days, we purchased a policy from Healthy Paws for $38 a month. The policy has proven valuable: We’ve had four other unplanned trips to the vet over the past 21 months.
WOULD YOU ADVISE someone—who doesn’t drive, doesn’t need a car and doesn’t plan to get one in the foreseeable future—to buy car insurance? I wouldn’t. But it seems some financial advisors think otherwise. That, at least, is the impression I got when an acquaintance, whom I’ll call Laura, mentioned her variable universal life insurance policy to me.
A single woman in her mid-40s, Laura has a decent income and lives on her own. She has no one other than herself to support financially.
A FEW WEEKS BACK, I discussed some of the challenges with traditional long-term-care (LTC) insurance: In addition to steep and rising premiums, these policies are complex. Many policyholders have to contend with an annual renewal letter that presents a mind-numbing matrix of options.
But there’s more to it than that. Long-term care is also an emotional topic. There’s the expression that personal finance is more personal than it is finance. I’ve been reminded of that over the past few weeks,
LONG-TERM-CARE insurance policies are, in my opinion, both a blessing and a curse. They’re a blessing because they can help cover critical and costly care when a family might have no other financial options.
But they can also feel like a curse. That’s because of what many owners of traditional long-term-care (LTC) insurance refer to as “the letter.” This is the renewal letter that policyholders receive each year. These letters provide a menu of renewal options,
ON FEB. 27, 1992, Stella Liebeck ordered a cup of coffee from a McDonald’s drive-through. Moments later, as she attempted to open the lid, the cup spilled, causing a burn that sent her to the hospital. Her injury was serious but self-inflicted and not life-threatening. Nonetheless, she sued McDonald’s, and a jury awarded her almost $3 million. That award was reduced upon appeal, but this case is often cited as an example of an out-of-control legal system exploited by personal injury lawyers.
IF YOU’VE EVER rented a car, you’ll inevitability have heard the collision damage waiver (CDW) sales pitch. It sounds something like this: “I assume you want us to protect you bumper to bumper on the car, right?”
If you say, “yes, please,” then—for anywhere between $10 and $30 a day—the rental car will be covered for losses due to theft or damage, except for damage to certain portions of the car. Hint: Read the fine print.
TERM INSURANCE is typically the best bet for people who need life insurance, while permanent policies are appropriate for relatively few folks. Yet I keep getting the same question from parents: What about children? Does it make sense to purchase a whole-life policy for a young child?
No doubt influenced by Gerber Life Insurance’s relentless marketing, these parents want to know whether it’s worth locking in insurance pricing early on and whether this is a good way to help their children start saving for retirement.
I WORKED IN the investment department of three different insurance companies. But I never had any interest in buying a whole-life insurance policy. I knew term insurance was the best way to get the maximum death benefit for my premium dollars.
Instead, as a mutual fund manager, I was always more interested in investing in the stock market. (That said, I didn’t invest in the first mutual fund I managed. Why not? I didn’t want to pay the 7% “load”—the upfront sales commission.)
But my attitude toward whole-life insurance changed six years ago.