GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Most Americans don't have enough life insurance. Many Americans have no life insurance at all. Why? According to research, the most common reason given is that they have competing financial priorities.
While health insurance dominates the topic of open enrollment, it is important to review other protections offered to employees during this annual election period.
Life Insurance: You may already have an individual life insurance policy in force for yourself and spouse. If you do, now is a good time to evaluate whether the amount of coverage is sufficient should it be needed. Many employers offer employees the ability to purchase group term life insurance coverage during open enrollment. If you don't have coverage in place, compare the cost of any group life coverage through your employer vs. a term insurance policy you could purchase independently. One advantage of an individual policy is your ability to lock in a premium rate for a fixed period of years vs. group premium rates which will increase as you age. An additional advantage of owning a policy individually is portability. If you leave your employer your policy stays with you.
Disability Insurance: Consider this ... According to the Social Security Administration, a 20-year-old in 2011 had a 30 percent chance of being disabled for at least six months before retirement. It is important that you review what disability coverage is provided to you from your employer and evaluate additional long-term disability options offered to you during open enrollment to purchase. The question to ask yourself; If I faced a long-term disability would I be able to cover my financial obligations for myself and family? Generally speaking, if you are paying the premium payments for long-term disability coverage through your employer, the benefits would be tax-free when received. Coverage typically ranges from 50-80% of your pre-tax income.
Bottom line? You don't drive your car without insurance. You maintain insurance on your home. You hope you don't need to make a claim on either but you recognize the financial risk if an event occurs. The same should be true as you evaluate life and disability insurance needs. It is important to have an appropriate amount of coverage in force to protect you and your loved ones should the unexpected occur.