by Patrice C. Washington,
We all get it. Insurance protection is an important part of our long-term financial plans. It’s important to be covered, but you can also be too covered with useless policies that waste money and prevent you from your goals. Paying for too much insurance takes money away from other areas, such as your ongoing personal development, opportunity fund or retirement savings. But with so many options, how do you know what you really need and what’s full of fluff?
Well, here’s a quick run down of at least three types of basic, no-fluff policies your family absolutely needs.
1. Homeowner’s & Renters Insurance
Because it’s required by mortgage lenders, very few people have an opportunity to skip out on homeowner’s insurance. But since the Great Recession, many American families have been forced back into the rental market where renter’s insurance may or may not be required by their landlords and therefore considered a “luxury.”
Renter’s insurance, which is relatively affordable, protects you against damage or theft of personal items in an apartment, rental home and for many policies even items stolen from your vehicle.
Whether they are required by your mortgage company or landlord, both policies are well worth the peace of mind. Be sure, however, that you invest in enough coverage to fully protect your home. Most standard plans do not cover natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes or fires, so know your fine print.
2. Health Insurance
No one has to enlighten you on the fact that even the simplest visit to your family doctor can result in a hefty bill these days. Imagine a more serious injury. Anything that requires more than a 48-hour stay in the hospital can result in a 5-figure bill that would make even an extreme shopaholic blush.
A study released earlier this year by NerdWallet Health suggests that medical bills are actually the #1 reason for recent bankruptcy filings in the United States. Whether you’re feeling particularly healthy these days or somehow believe you’ll never be sick, you need health insurance – period. Accidents don’t make appointments and in case you haven’t driven around in awhile, you really have no control over others whether you aced your defensive driving course or not! Even making sure you have access to regular check-ups can be a critical part of financial success. While the ever-increasing cost and completely confusing world of health insurance is a financial burden for many, the cost of not having coverage is far more dangerous.
3. Life Insurance
Life insurance really isn’t for everyone. There I said it.
If you’re relatively young, healthy and have no children, you may be able to slide by without the expense of life insurance at this particular stage in life. After all, life insurance is primarily used to replace income that would become missing after your demise. But, if you’re a BMWK reader, we’re going to assume that you don’t fit that profile. Once you have a child, spouse, parent or even sibling that depends on you for their financially stability, then life insurance is pretty much a must.
While many of us understand the importance of life insurance policies, we fall off in terms of being properly covered. At the minimum, your policy should cover how much you earn per year multiplied by the number of years you plan to remain employed plus burial expenses. Your policy would basically be replacing that income for your loved ones in the event that you face an untimely demise. If your policy will barely provide you a decent funeral, it may be time to reassess your policy ASAP.
BMWK – Do you currently have all of these policies in place? If so, then make sure you refresh yourself on the fine print. Understanding what’s covered and what’s not after you need it is usually a little too late. If you don’t have them in place, make a commitment to do your research and get on it ASAP.
Patrice C. Washington is the author of Real Money Answers for Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without a Man. She provides practical advice on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Follow her on Twitter @SeekWisdomPCW and her website: http://www.patricewashington.com/PCW/
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