Are These Three Misconceptions Stopping You From Getting Life Insurance?
by Alex Helm
Did you know that life insurance may be the single greatest gift you can buy for your family?
I emphasize buy because, of course, nothing can replace the gifts of time and love you already give them.
Let’s look at some of the misconceptions that may be stopping you from getting life insurance—or more of it, and why you’ll want to rethink them.
Misconception #1: My employer provides life insurance for me.
While this is technically true for many people, the misconception is that your employer provides you with enough life insurance coverage.
After talking with several of my friends and family, reviewing my own benefits package, and doing a little research, I’ve found that many employers that provide life insurance as a benefit typically provide one to two times your salary in life insurance coverage. Others may simply offer a flat amount, usually $20,000.
According to Indeed, the average salary in the U.S. sits around $50,000 per year. That means your family would only receive $50,000 to $100,000 if you passed away, and even less if the employer only provides a flat amount. Would that be enough for your loved ones? And what would happen when, in 6 months to a year, the money was gone?
Whether you work in retail or technology, you’re a teacher or a salesman; whether you’re an entry-level employee or at the very top of your company, one thing remains the same: You may be significantly under-protected. Funeral costs alone range from $7,000 to $10,000 and unplanned end-of-life expenses can double that number. Suddenly, that $50,000 is rapidly depleted.
Think about this: Most employers provide a week or less of time off for bereavement. Do you want your spouse to be forced back to work the week after you pass away? What if your spouse is a stay-at-home parent—how long would it take them to find a job? Perhaps you’re the stay-at-home parent—can your spouse afford to pay someone to watch your children? Many financial professionals recommend a life insurance benefit of 10 to 15 times your salary.
To get a more accurate idea of how much life insurance you may need, check out this calculator.
Misconception #2: And that employer-provided life insurance lasts forever.
I was discussing this misconception with a friend the other day. He told me that he didn’t have to worry because he was a teacher, so he was covered for life. I let him know that, in most cases, employer-provided life insurance isn’t portable. That means if you leave your job for any reason, the coverage ends. That includes retiring, switching jobs or getting laid off. In addition, a company could decide at any point to end that particular employee-benefit, leaving you with no coverage.
Are you planning on staying at your job for the rest of your life? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American will have between 12 and 13 jobs throughout their career. There’s a good chance today’s coverage could be gone tomorrow.
And while your employer may offer supplemental coverage for a cost, it could be more expensive than purchasing a new policy, depending on your health. Similarly, some employers allow you to purchase supplemental coverage for your spouse, but if they do, it’s rarely paid for by your employer, and purchasing it on your own may be more affordable.
Misconception #3: Life insurance coverage is too expensive.
According to the 2021 Insurance Barometer Study, more than half of Americans overestimate the cost of life insurance by as much as threefold. This is especially true for younger generations—Millennials believe it costs six times as much as it actually does.
The cost of life insurance depends on four main factors: your age, your health, the type of policy and how much coverage you buy. In general, you’ll pay less the younger and healthier you are.
Many people are surprised to learn that a healthy 30-year-old can typically get a $250,000 20-year level term policy for about $13 a month. If you were to pass away, your loved ones would receive $250,000 from a policy like this.
Life insurance protects your family if tragedy strikes. It gives them time to grieve without fear of paying bills or going back to work right away, without fear of who will watch your children or how their lifestyle will change. It’s not just about providing for your family’s next meal, but rather providing for their future needs like college tuition or continuing a business. Your family needs you, and the good news is you can provide for them even when you’re not around.
Start a conversation about purchasing life insurance. The process can range from a few minutes to a few days to a few months, depending on your health and available products, but it is well worth the cost and time.