Your insurance is like a suit of armor. Your workplace might furnish a few pieces. It might give you most of it, if you’re lucky. It’s your job to supply the rest.
I tell my clients that it makes no sense to double up on areas while others remain undefended. That would be like going into battle with two breastplates but no helmet. Or strong armor on the limbs and a huge helmet but the lid to a trashcan protecting your chest.
You should find out what you have already and then call me to discuss the most cost-effective way to cover the rest. Most insurance analysts advise that good major medical insurance and good life insurance coverage should be your first priorities. Cover those bases before you even approach supplemental health policies.
Life’s too uncertain to ride around without armor.
Rudy’s Recs for coverage are:
1.) Major Medical Insurance (Health Insurance)
2.) Term Life
3.) Whole Life
5.) Accident and Injury Coverage
6.) Short-Term Disability and Long-Term Care
1.) Major Medical Insurance: My firm doesn’t handle major medical, but if you’re looking for an accident policy and don’t have health insurance, I’ll tell you to leave my office and take care of that first. If you have a limited budget, focus on your health insurance and make sure you have strong coverage.
2.) Term Life: Minimum 1-3 years of your salary that covers you through age 55.
Your highest-earning years are often in your late 40s and early 50s. You want to make sure those are covered by a good term life policy. If you earn $35,000/yr, and you’re 35, you’ll want at least a 70K, 20-year term life policy. These are often inexpensive, but they do have a deadline. Once your term expires, you can renew at the higher rate for your new age, let it expire, or look at other options like annuities.
3.) Whole Life: Term life is the most important life insurance policy for protecting your family and replacing your salary so they can pay the bills. If you’re single and don’t have a family of your own, you might want to start with your own whole life policy. 10-25K is necessary to make sure your final expenses are paid. The last thing you want to do is leave your family with nowhere to go other than a Go Fund Me page to pay for your funeral. Whole Life also builds cash value, which can be borrowed against for unexpected expenses. It’s a great thing to get when you’re young, because it becomes very expensive when you’re older.
That said, if you’re retired and have no life insurance at all, a final expense whole life policy should be your first priority. A $10,000-$15,000 bill (average funeral costs) is an unpleasant surprise for your loved ones who are already grieving your loss.
4.) Supplemental Coverage for Catastrophic Health Events: This is the one that most folks overlook. A devastating medical condition that requires extensive amounts of treatment and/or rehabilitation is even worse than death for your family’s budget. Not only is your income gone, but you also have massive costs that might or might not be covered by your major medical insurance. A 2007 Harvard study showed that 62% of personal bankruptcies were the result of healthcare costs. 77% of those bankrupted had health insurance.
I tell my clients to look at their family history as a GPS for what’s coming. Get Critical Care or a Cancer policy at least 10 years before the first family occurrence. If Grandma got cancer at age 48, get a cancer policy by age 38. If Uncle John had a heart attack at 42, get critical care by age 32.
Thankfully, these are some of the most affordable policies I offer. Get them before you need them.
5.) Accident/Injury: Accidents happen. If you blew out your knee rounding 2nd base playing softball, or broke your ankle on an uneven portion of the sidewalk, could you still earn a paycheck? More importantly, would the deductible or copay for treating that injury be higher than the cost of the policy? Spoiler alert: it is. The accident policy is more affordable than the out-of-pocket costs for treating those injuries. This is valuable supplemental protection that includes everything from an accidental death or dismemberment benefit to injuries from youth sports for families with children.
6.) Disability/Long-Term Care– Do you have something that would pay you a portion of your salary if you were out of work for 1-3 months? Especially during this public health crisis? Short-term disability is an important type of coverage to consider. Don’t wait months for federal disability to kick in.
1.4 million Americans are residents of nursing homes. That number rises every year as America ages. Medicare pays for 100 days. Medicaid has strict income and asset requirements.
The average nursing home stay is 2 years and 3 months. Average costs per year=over $70,000. 40% of people requiring long-term care are under 65-years-old. This year, roughly 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Average age? 60-years-old. 700,000 Americans will have strokes. Almost 30% will be under 65, and that number is likely to rise as a result of Covid-19 complications. Alzheimer’s costs for a lifetime run between $400,000-$700,000 depending on the level of care you choose.
70% of those over 65 will need at least some form of long-term care. 20% will need 5+ years.
A common strategy is to “spend down” to Medicaid eligibility. That requires liquidating assets that you’ve spent a lifetime accumulating. You also don’t have complete freedom to choose your facility. Your golden years should not be spent in a home that you didn’t choose with a random roommate you don’t like, and losing the legacy you spent a lifetime building.
If you want more freedom to select your level of care and protection for your assets, LTC is a vital option to consider. The average age for folks who purchase these policies=55-years-old. If you get it when you’re younger, it’s less expensive.
Want to build your own roadmap? Talk to me. Your quotes, policy summary spreadsheets and personalized PowerPoint presentation are all free of charge. Call or text me today at 540-520-3069, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or set up an appointment at my Grandin Village Office in Roanoke.
Dr. Rudolph Lurz has over a decade of experience as a teacher, football coach, and doctoral researcher. He holds a doctorate in Administration & Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh (Ed.D. 2017). He is also a published author (Realms of Glory, 2017). He sells AIG, AFLAC, John Hancock, Foresters, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, Athene Annuities, and Prosperity Life products. When he’s not assisting clients, he enjoys golf, travel, reading, and touring breweries. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, Florida, Illinois, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia with his wife, daughter, and cat.