When should you get insurance?
There are few life moments that are more “adult” than the day you begin to think seriously about...insurance.
Whatever the reason, chances are you’ve heard that insurance is something you should get. Not sure what insurance even is or how it works? Check out our primer on the insurance lingo and concepts you need to know here.
Buying insurance isn’t something we all have experience with, but there are lessons we can learn from those who came before us. Below, we share the top tips from experts in the field who have been in the insurance industry for a long time. We asked them:
“If your kids were buying insurance today, what’s one thing you would make sure they know?”
Start yesterday: I wish younger people knew to buy their insurance at a younger age. I know it sounds crazy to buy and pay for insurance when you’re 22, out of college and very far away from marriage, home ownership and family life. The fact is, at these young ages, it’s very easy for you to qualify, your parents are less likely to have built up your family medical history and your cost is locked in at an extremely low price. The most important point, though, is that you are actually still insurable. It’s shocking how, at age 30, so many of my daughter’s friends were uninsurable for disability or critical illness insurance. Either due to chronic pain/back injuries, mental health issues or gut diseases. They all need disability insurance and they are young, professional women, but only two of them could qualify without ratings or exclusions”.
Know what you buy: I would tell my kids, and I did tell them, that they should take the time to understand their policies and what they are buying. Going to an insurance broker doesn’t cost the client any extra money. The broker gets compensated to help you choose the right products for you and to help you understand how they work. That relationship is long term and they should be hearing from that person and be comfortable asking questions. I can’t tell you how many clients have missed their opportunities to renew policies because they didn’t know about them and their agents never informed them. Be sure to ask about renewal options and timelines and special features, riders and more. Write out the details yourselves so that you are certain you understand them correctly. This is an important legal contract and a big investment in your future financial safety.
Alternative Medicine: I have seen a lot of younger professionals turn to holistic medicine, naturopaths, natural medicines, chiropractors and more. This may work from a health perspective, but if you are seeing a chiropractor and massage therapist monthly due to “back pain”, you can be sure your disability insurance will not cover a disability due to back injury. Just because your group benefits give you a bunch of free massages and chiropractor adjustments, be careful how you use them and what you are claiming them for. Also, try your best to keep copies of your medical records, especially the important ones, like surgeries, diagnostic tests - anything irregular. The worst feeling is to have a delay in the underwriting of your insurance application to keep you up at night”.
Disability insurance: So many younger clients are certain they don’t need disability insurance because they get it through work, but nobody stays in one job anymore, and this generation has a much higher chance of having periods without work, as contractors, self-employed or working at a side hustle. There are two key lessons: 1. Always hold your own individual insurance, don’t rely on what you get at work. It won’t be enough and it can change outside of your control. 2. Don’t wait until you are without work to get your disability coverage, it might be too late. The key with insurance is you have to buy it before you need it. Disability insurance protects your income right away, and is the insurance product that is the most likely to be used - after life insurance, it’s my top recommendation.
Cost: Life insurance today is cheaper than ever. I encourage younger clients, within reason, to buy more than they think they will need. If you are young enough to qualify and get cheaper rates, anticipate that you will likely move into bigger homes, have children and have a greater need for insurance. It can be challenging to pay for insurance when you feel you are at a low earning point, but insurance isn’t that expensive at a younger age, and you may find it to be a smarter investment than the other places that your disposable income is headed right now.
Family Insurance Planning: If you have recently had kids and you have the kind of parents (grandparents) who love spoiling your children, consider asking them to put funds toward an insurance product for your kids. This may feel weird to talk about, but the case for children’s insurance is growing. There are products today that will insure your children against critical illnesses in case they arise. More importantly, they offer early medical qualification, meaning your children can take these policies and convert them into adult policies without having to qualify again in the future. There are also interesting ways to use permanent insurance to build up cash reserves which you can use for your children’s education in the future, or any other big expenses they have. These are more expensive products though, so their priority might be lower on the list. We recommend speaking to your life insurance agent about these options.
Insurance can seem daunting, and it’s an uncomfortable topic. As a result, many young people don’t want to have the conversation and end up missing out on smart planning opportunities. Let us know your insurance questions below and any tips you’ve learned!