You can find an insurance policy to cover almost anything imaginable but some are more deserving than others of a place in your financial plan. You work hard throughout your life to build wealth and live a happy and comfortable life and your insurance coverage should offer protection for your possessions, income and for the loved ones you’ll someday leave behind. As you map your financial future, these four types of insurance should be firmly on your radar
Health insurance is easily one of the most important types of insurance to have. Your good health is what allows you to work, earn money and otherwise enjoy life. If you were to develop a serious illness or have an accident without being insured, you may find yourself unable to receive treatment or even in debt to the hospital. While health insurance will no longer be mandated by the government beginning in 2018, it’s not something to discount.
Thankfully, many employers provide health insurance benefits to full-time and even some part-time employees. If you do not currently have health insurance coverage this is the first place to check as it will generally be the most affordable. If you’re married, you may both be able to receive coverage under just one of the employer plans. When both employers make health insurance available, a careful comparison can help you decide which plan to use. Consider the co-pays, deductibles, premium costs, network coverage and covered expenses to determine which plan yields the most benefits.
If your employer does not offer health insurance or you’re self-employed, you’ll need to explore your insurance options. The federal healthcare marketplace is a good starting point; alternately, you can contact insurers directly to see what type of coverage is available in your state. Again, the same criteria used to evaluate an employer’s plan would need to be taken into account as you compare policies, in terms of the cost and coverage.
This type of policy is more important if you are married and/or have children, but even single people can benefit from having life insurance. Life insurance can meet several financial needs. In the case of someone who’s married with a family, it can replace lost income, help to pay any lingering debts after your death or pay for your children’s college education. If you’re single, life insurance could pay for burial costs and pay off any debts you leave behind.
If you do not currently have life insurance your best bet is to check with your employer first. Many employers offer a basic life insurance as a benefit and some even allow you to purchase additional coverage at a very affordable rate. Outside of employer plans, there are hundreds of insurance companies that can provide the right coverage for you.
One thing to consider is whether to purchase term or permanent life insurance. Term life insurance covers you for a specific time period, typically five to 30 years. Permanent insurance covers you your entire life, as long as premiums are paid. This type of coverage also allows you to build cash value that you can borrow against or invest for growth. Of the two, term life insurance tends to be more flexible and less expensive but if you’re looking for an investment component, you may prefer permanent coverage.
Remember, that with most types of life insurance your ability to get covered depends on your age and health profile. The younger and healthier you are, the lower the cost is likely to be but be prepared to take a brief medical exam as part of the application process.
One type of policy that for most people that is actually mandatory to have is homeowners insurance when you have a mortgage. If you borrow money from the bank to purchase a home they will require the asset to be insured. For many people, this insurance premium is built into the mortgage payment. For many people their home is their greatest asset so it is vital to adequately protect it.
If you rent instead of own, a renters insurance policy is just as important. Your belongings inside the dwelling can add up to a significant amount of money. In the event of a burglary, fire or disaster you should be able to at least have a policy that can cover most of the replacement costs. Both homeowners and renter’s insurance can also protect you against personal liability if someone is injured at your home.
Another type of policy that is often required is auto insurance. Most states require by law that you have basic auto insurance that covers liability. If you’re buying a car with a loan, you may also be required to add collision coverage to your policy. If you’re in an accident, liability insurance covers damages to the other vehicle, while collision covers damage to yours.
The most common reason to have auto insurance is to cover the replacement of an expensive asset. Like a home, automobiles can be quite expensive and if it gets damaged you want to be able to repair or replace it. But there is more to auto insurance than just covering the car itself.
Most automotive insurance policies cover bodily injury or death of another person in an incident that you are legally responsible. While it generally pays for medical expenses related to the incident it can also cover legal defense costs. You will also generally find medical payment coverage that pays for medical treatment for you and your passengers during an accident regardless of who was at fault. You can also include rental car coverage in your policy in the event that an accident leaves your car undrinkable.
Remember, the more coverage you add onto your policy, the higher the premium costs may be.