In this article, we discuss five policies you shouldn't do without. Protecting your most important assets is an important step in creating a solid personal financial plan, and the right insurance policies will go a long way toward helping you safeguard your earning power and your possessions.
- Choose a disability policy that provides enough coverage to enable you to enjoy your current lifestyle even if you can no longer continue working.
- To protect the people that are financially dependent on you, life insurance should be high on your list of required insurance policies.
- The soaring cost of medical care is reason enough to make health insurance a necessity.
- Replacing your home is an expensive proposition. Having the right homeowner's insurance can make the process less difficult.
- Renters insurance offers peace of mind for renters in the event their personal property is damaged due to a covered loss.
1. Long-Term Disability Insurance
The prospect of long-term disability (LTD) is so frightening that some people choose to ignore it. While we all hope that "nothing will happen to me," relying on hope to protect your future earning power is not a good idea. Instead, choose a disability policy that provides enough coverage to enable you to enjoy your current lifestyle even if you can no longer continue working.
Long-term disability provides a monetary benefit equal to a portion (e.g., 50% or 60%) of the insured's salary for covered disabilities. Long-term disability typically begins when short-term disability ends. To receive benefits, the disability must have occurred after the policy's issuance and then, typically after a waiting period. Medical information, often confirmed by a physician, must be provided to the insurer for consideration.
Most long-term disability insurance policies categorize disabilities as own occupation or any occupation.1 Own occupation means the insured, due to disability, is unable to perform their regular job or a similar job. Any occupation means the insured, due to disability, is unable to perform any job for which they are qualified.
Similar to short and long-term disability insurance, workers' compensation, or workers' comp, it pays a monetary benefit to workers who become injured or disabled at work or while performing their jobs. Most states require employers to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees. In exchange, employees may not sue their employer for negligence.
While long-term disability insurance and workers' compensation insurance both pay for disabilities, long-term disability insurance is not limited to disabilities or injuries occurring at work or while working.
2. Life Insurance
Life insurance protects the people that are financially dependent on you. If your parents, spouse, children, or other loved ones would face financial hardship if you died, life insurance should be high on your list of required insurance policies. Think about how much you earn each year (and the number of years you plan to remain employed), and purchase a policy to replace that income in the event of your untimely demise. Factor in the cost of burial too, as the unexpected cost is a burden for many families.
3. Health Insurance
The soaring cost of medical care is reason enough to make health insurance a necessity. Even a simple visit to the family doctor can result in a hefty bill. More serious injuries that result in a hospital stay can generate a bill that tops the price of a one-week stay at a luxury resort. Injuries that require surgery can quickly rack up five-figure costs. Although the cost of health insurance is a financial burden for just about everyone, the potential cost of not having coverage is much higher.
4. Homeowner's Insurance
Replacing your home is an expensive proposition. Having the right homeowner's insurance can make the process less difficult. When shopping for a policy, look for one that covers the replacement of the structure and the contents, in addition to the cost of living somewhere else while your home is repaired.
Keep in mind the cost of rebuilding doesn't need to include the cost of the land since you already own it. Depending on the age of your home and the amenities it contains, the cost to replace it could be more or less than the price you paid for it. To get an accurate estimate, find out how much local builders charge per square foot and multiply that number by the amount of space you will need to replace. Don't forget to factor in the cost of upgrades and special features. Also, be sure the policy covers the cost of any liability for injuries that might occur on your property.
Renters also need peace of mind that they will be made whole in the event of a loss. Fortunately, renters insurance is a type of property insurance available to people who rent or lease properties. This insurance provides coverage for personal belongings, liability, and additional living expenses for covered losses.
For one property, there may be two types of property coverage: homeowner's insurance and renters insurance. However, homeowners insurance does not cover the personal property of the tenant. Therefore, it is important for lessees to obtain renters insurance to protect their assets.
Although renters insurance differs from homeowners insurance, they have the same components: coverage A for the dwelling, B for other structures, C for personal property, D for additional living expenses (also known as loss of use), E for liability, and F for medical payments.2 Because renters are not responsible for insuring the dwelling or other structures, coverages A and B are often set to $0.
Coverage C covers the personal property of the renter. Coverage D provides additional benefits for living expenses in the event of a loss. For example, if the renter is displaced from the home due to a fire, Coverage D provides covers the cost of living elsewhere, such as a hotel and food expenses. Coverage E provides coverage for injuries and property damage caused by the insured, and Coverage F covers medical expenses for guests of the renter on the property with permission.
Dogs are man's best friend, but some breeds, like Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, can prevent you from obtaining coverage.
5. Automobile Insurance
Some level of automobile insurance is required by law in most places. Even if you are not required to have it, and you are driving an old clunker that has been paid off for years, automobile insurance is something you shouldn't skip. If you are involved in an accident and someone is injured or their property is damaged, you may be subject to a lawsuit that could cost you everything you own. Accidents happen quickly and the results are often tragic. Having no automobile insurance or purchasing only the minimum required coverage saves you only a tiny amount of money and puts everything else you own at risk.