By Joe Johnson, Jim Boerkoel, and Buursma Agency
When was the last time you gave insurance some serious thought? If you have it, you probably purchased it years ago and then turned your attention to more urgent and tangible financial issues, such as your 401(k) or your child’s college fund. But a great savings rate means nothing if your financial plan doesn’t include appropriate protection against risks. Risk management through insurance is a critical part of a comprehensive financial plan. Without adequate insurance coverage, your financial future is not secure.
With the right insurance tools, you can ensure that your assets are protected and your family or business has a secure future, even if the unexpected happens. Here are five key types of insurance that are an important part of your financial plan:
1. Life Insurance
Thankfully, this is the least commonly used insurance of the four, but the most regularly purchased due to its importance. Life insurance protects your dependants in the event of your death, so it’s crucial to carry life insurance if you have children or other dependants. Additionally, it’s wise to make a habit of updating your coverage based on your needs at least once per year.
As of 2017, only 59% of Americans carry life insurance and a third of those only have a basic group policy. (1) This is in opposition to the fact that 84% of Americans believe life insurance is essential. Life insurance policies should be purchased to take into account mortgages, non-mortgage debt, childcare, college savings, and more. Stay at home parents should also have coverage since they provide valuable work that would be costly to outsource in the event of their death. Business owners may have other insurance needs to protect the future of their business.
The next three insurance coverages are considered living benefits insurance. In other words, these policies serve as income replacement and health cost coverage tools to have in place in order to ensure that you and your family can reach your financial goals with as little financial disruption as possible while you are living.
2. Long-Term Disability Insurance
The Social Security Administration estimates that the average 20-year-old worker has a 3 in 10 chance of being disabled before age 65, (2) but only one-third of Americans have disability insurance. (3) An accident, injury, or illness that keeps you from working can wreak havoc on your financial plans and set you back months or years. Common long-term disabilities can even include neck, back, or joint disorders.
While many people believe they are covered by their employer’s long-term disability insurance, the coverage may be limited and inadequate. Coverage of up to 2 years is the typical limit for employer benefit long-term disability plans. The need for a private long-term disability coverage will pick up where employer’s long-term benefits fall short. Before your employer long-term benefit is activated, most employer’s short-term benefits will provide coverage for three to six months. If you have a high-paying job, it’s especially crucial to purchase long-term disability insurance to protect against an unexpected loss of income.
3. Critical Illness Insurance
While no one wants to think about a life-changing illness entering their life, it happens more often than you might think. Critical illness insurance pays a lump sum amount to help with the costs associated with the illness. This insurance is unique because there is flexibility with how you can allocate the funds. You can use it to replace income for you and your spouse while you are dealing with an illness or it can provide for alternative medical treatments not covered by other health insurance. If you don’t want to worry about money while battling a serious illness, consider critical illness insurance for peace of mind.
4. Long-Term Care Insurance
If you are approaching age 65, it may be a gamble to go without long-term care insurance. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an average 63% of people turning age 65 will require some form of long-term care during their lifetimes. (4) Additionally, 20% of 65-year-olds will need long-term care for more than five years.
Long-term care insurance covers the cost of services that include a variety of tasks you may need help with as you age. Today’s long-term care policies offer more flexibility and benefits than ever before. It is important to understand the long-term care insurance options available to you and whether or not a policy is appropriate for your lifestyle and needs. While some policies can be expensive, requiring long-term care without insurance in place can be financially devastating.
5. Health Insurance
Medical care and coverage is an important part of daily health awareness. Many of us are covered by group-based major medical plans through our employer during our working years. But what happens when we change jobs where coverage is not provided, retire or have some other life event where we find ourselves uninsured? Whether we are under the age of 65, or are over 65 and looking at Medicare options, this is a need that never goes away. It is one that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Much of Individual Health insurance is now purchased through the Federal Marketplace program. This can be daunting at best with the dozens of options, calculating possible subsidies, navigating online tools, etc. Many find it all too confusing and end up making poor choices that affect both the health care of their families, as well as their pocketbooks.
Once eligible for Medicare, the choices are not much easier. One must decide between Original Medicare, which includes Part A, B, Medigap and Part D – prescription drug choices OR the newer Medicare Advantage plans. Healthcare planning is an important part of your overall insurance planning strategy.
Cover Your Bases
Have you reviewed your insurance coverage within the last twelve months? If not, you may benefit from a comprehensive review to protect your family and your financial future. If you need a second opinion on your portfolio or would like to discuss how insurance can lower your risk and protect your assets, call us today at 616-394-0500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joel Johnson, AIF® is an Investment Advisor Representative with DeLong & Brower, P. C., a Holland, Michigan accounting, retirement consulting, insurance, and financial services firm. He specializes in providing comprehensive wealth management and retirement plan consulting for individuals, families, retirees, and business owners. Along with more than 15 years of industry experience, Joel is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, a Chartered Federal Employee Benefit Consultant, and a Certified Business Adviser/Consultant through Crown Business and Crown Financial Ministry. To learn more, visit www.cpaholland.com.
Jim has over 10 years of experience in the Life and Health insurance area and recently joined the Buursma Agency. Jim specializes in individual life, health, disability, Medicare plans and Long-Term Care. It is Jim’s goal to help clients navigate the often-confusing world of insurance choices.
In addition to individual insurance, he works with group benefits, including health, dental, disability, vision and long-term care.
About Buursma Agency
Over the years, The Buursma Agency has become well versed with all the governmental regulations related to employee benefits and has counseled clients on the best strategy for navigating the sometimes-difficult processes brought on by new legislation. This includes not only COBRA, HIPAA and FMLA, but has expanded significantly with the advent of the Affordable Care Act. The Buursma Agency has become well known as a very knowledgeable resource for compliance with governmental regulation.
In addition, The Buursma Agency has become known as a provider of wellness and human resource support. There is a wide array of offerings from which employers can choose for just the right type of wellness program to meet the needs of their team. In addition, on the HR support side, we provide plan documents that include compliance requirements and regular communication to employees.