You Need Your Own Life Insurance Policy: “I get that at work” is not a sound strategy

One of the primary objections I hear at my insurance firm is, “I get that at work.” It’s not a good objection. If that life insurance clause in your contract gives you peace of mind, then that’s telling you to get life insurance for yourself instead of objecting to the idea.

Let’s explore why this is the case.

The most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that most folks hold at least twelve jobs between ages 18-52. As a workforce, we are generally mobile. Health and age are the two primary factors that influence the ability to get a life insurance policy and the price of life insurance premiums.

What happens when you change jobs? Chances are, you’re older than the last time you signed a contract. If your company pays the premiums, that’s fine. If they don’t, then that’s not fine. Now your life insurance is more expensive, even if you’re getting it from your new workplace.

If you decide to start your own business in the middle of your career, you might find yourself in your mid-50s without a life insurance policy of your own. Spoiler alert. If you’re in your mid-50s without life insurance, it’s a lot more expensive than it was when you’re in your 20s or 30s.

Let’s assume the best case scenario. You’re like Patrick, one of my best friends. He got a job right out of college and has stayed with the same firm for his entire career. He’s advanced far enough that he’s got great insurance through that employer.

What happens when he finally retires? Spoiler alert #2. When you’re in your mid-60s, insurance is more expensive than it is in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s.

If he decides to forgo life insurance altogether at that point, then his family will be paying for his end-of-life expenses. The average price of all of that (including memorial service, burial, court costs, estate settlement, etc.) is around $15,000. That’s not a terrible scenario for Patrick. He’s done well with his finances. Patrick will likely be in a position where he can set aside some funds for his own funeral.

Most of us would have problems with tying up 15K in capital to pay for something that won’t happen until after death. It’s much easier to just get some basic life insurance and have it in place for that inevitable event.

Let’s go back to that statistic of twelve career changes. Think about each of those twelve occurrences as a period where you’re on a medieval battlefield. Arrows are still flying, but you get off of your horse, take off your armor, relax, and wait for thirty minutes while sipping a cup of water.

Or for that matter, imagine going through the height of this pandemic for a 30-day stretch with no masks and no social distancing.

Each of your job changes, even if your employer pays for life insurance, creates a vulnerable period where you don’t have a life insurance policy in place. Life insurance is not health insurance. You don’t get COBRA gap coverage for life insurance when you leave your previous employment. If your policy isn’t portable, it’s gone.

Something else happens when we get older. Our bodies stop working the way they used to. If your health deteriorates and you have heart disease, cancer, or a stroke, your chances of getting good life insurance fall significantly.

No one enjoys thinking about death. Seeing life insurance coverage on an employment contract, even if it’s just for a small amount, creates peace of mind. If you liked that sense of security when you signed that contract, why would you put it at risk by not getting life insurance in your own name? Why would you rely 100% on something that’s contingent on you continuing at that workplace?

Spoiler alert #3. There’s nothing stopping you from having an individual life insurance policy and having a policy through your employer.  

Generally speaking, you need at least 1-3 years of your salary in term life insurance that covers you through age 55 to protect your family if you died suddenly. It also helps to have 10-20K in whole life coverage for those end-of-life expenses that’s guaranteed to be there whenever you die.

It’s great if you have some life insurance and/or disability coverage from your workplace. Don’t let that be all you hold. When arrows are flying on the battlefield of life, you need to make sure you have your own armor.

Life insurance and peace of mind can be yours for just a few cents a day. If you want to see your options, give me a call or send me an email. I’ll send you a free summary. Protection should be at the top of your New Year’s resolutions.


Rudolph Lurz is a former teacher and football coach with over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida (and can provide referrals for customers in other states). He focuses primarily on life insurance, supplemental health insurance, disability insurance, and annuities. He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat.

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