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When Was the Last Time You Reviewed Your Life Insurance?

When Was the Last Time You Reviewed Your Life Insurance?

October 21, 2016

Lots of folks have life insurance. Often they got it a long time ago. Mostly they think that it's handled and they don't need to think about it. But, often, they are wrong. A quick check is worth the trouble.
If you got "hit by a grain cart" tomorrow and were gone, what happens to your family? If you have life insurance, everything would be fine, right? But, what if that insurance has your first wife listed as the beneficiary?
It may seem far-fetched, but beneficiary errors are quite common. And they are just one thing to check in a routine insurance update.

Errors Like Beneficiary Mistakes Are Easy to Fix:

  • Contact the insurance company for a list of your beneficiaries.
  • If you need to make changes, usually a simple form is all you need.

For many families, life insurance is a key tool to keep the overall financial game plan safe in the event one of the bread winners dies early. And for farm businesses, insurance is often key to making the transfer of the business to the next generation go smoothly.

Since the insurance is very important to your financial goals, every three years you should review the following:

  • Are beneficiaries the right people, with current contact information and do they still make sense for your goals?
  • Is the policy on track with projections?
  • Does the policy still fit your needs?
  • Is your policy the best fit available for price and features in today's marketplace?

There are more than 1,000 life insurance companies operating in the USA. Industry experts tell us that most products change every two years. So, there are a lot of insurance choices available. Since there are so many options, and often they are marketed aggressively, insurance can be confusing.
Since it's confusing, the impulse is to avoid dealing with it. That's part of the benefit of working with a fee-only fiduciary financial planner, they know that it's in your interest to look at insurance every few years. And, hopefully, they can provide a gentle reminder and a little help to do the right thing.

As a fee-only, fiduciary planner, here are a few good reasons it might be time to review your insurance policies:

  • Your life insurance needs have changed based on specific life events, like a marriage, divorce or new baby.
  • Interest crediting rates on certain policies are much lower today than they were when the policy was first purchased. This can affect the future performance of your policy and may require you to pay additional premium dollars to meet your needs. You want to find this out as soon as possible. The sooner this is caught, the easier it is to fix.
  • Your health has improved. People are living longer and as a result your insurance may need to be adjusted to account for your new life expectancy.
  • Your business has grown, or has changed, and your needs are different.
  • Loans, withdrawals or other policy changes have affected the performance of your policy.
  • Premiums have not been paid as planned.
  • Premiums have increased.
  • Insurance company ratings may have changed and may no longer meet your risk tolerance.

Wonder how to get started on a life insurance review? Want to talk about it? Contact my office at rdunn@dunncreekadvisors.com. I am always happy to meet with people to sort out insurance priorities. Dunncreek Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice, nor is this article intended to do so.