When you have people who depend on you, it's important to plan for the future. Sometimes, it seems as if that future is very far away. It seems like you have all the time in the world to figure out how to reduce your debt load and provide for your family's future. But it only takes one moment to change everything. Are you prepared?
Setting the Scene
Let’s say that you're 30 years old, happily married with three beautiful children, and have a great job earning over $100,000 a year. You're also in perfect health, work in an office where the chances of a job-related injury or illness are remote, and keep your risky activities (such as hang gliding) to a minimum. You opt not to purchase life insurance coverage yet. You figure that maybe in 10 years or so you'll start setting aside money for your children's college education and your retirement needs. For now, you'd rather dine out every night, enjoy your money, and live the high life.
Tragedy strikes, however, when you step out into the street one morning. As you begin your daily jog, you're struck down by a speeding truck. Your spouse is grief-stricken. Lacking any marketable skills, he or she is also broke because you were the sole breadwinner in the household. Without the life insurance coverage you'd talked about buying, your spouse is in serious financial trouble. How will he or she pay the mortgage? How will they pay down the credit card balances and student loan bills you may leave behind?
What Can Life Insurance Do for You?
Life insurance can help combat the risks associated with your premature death. If you're like most people, you probably don't have enough cash to set aside assets for the future of your dependents. Life insurance offers a relatively affordable way for the average person to obtain protection that might otherwise be unavailable. The video below tells the real-life story of a family who bought life insurance for many reasons, including mortgage protection.
When you buy a life insurance policy, you enter into a contract with the insurance company. While you can terminate the contract (cancel the policy) anytime you choose, the company will generally be obligated to hold up its end of the bargain as long as you hold up yours—if you pay all your premiums on time and fulfill other contract requirements, the company will have to come through with the specified amount in death benefits for your designated beneficiary or beneficiaries if you die.
If you choose to take out life insurance, you need to select the right policy that provides the right type of coverage. You also need to review the policy periodically to determine if your circumstances warrant any changes. Finally, you should familiarize yourself with life insurance terminology and with some of the basic concepts and issues that apply to life insurance.