Important Facts About Group Life Insurance
Some employers offer basic life insurance to their employees with little or no out-of-pocket cost to the employee as a part of an employee benefits package in an attempt to retain employees and avoid high turnover. This type of life insurance is usually for a small face amount or equal to one year's salary. If you are single with no dependents this small amount may be enough coverage since it should cover burial costs but if you have dependents you may be under-insured. Employers often offer the employee the option to purchase more insurance in order to raise your coverage amount but the additional coverage is usually paid entirely by the employee.
If your premature death would be a financial burden to your spouse and/or children and/or dependents, you probably need coverage that is five to eight times your annual salary. In fact, some experts even recommend getting coverage worth ten to twelve times your annual salary. A group policy can not offer these limits.Some employers may offer supplemental life insurance coverage where you have to pay the premium for the additional coverage. While this may sound like a good option on the surface, it will still keep all of your life insurance with a single source and you know how the saying goes “do not put all your eggs in one basket” applies to life insurance as well. You don’t want all your life insurance plans to be through your employer only. You need to diversify when your circumstances change.
Disadvantages of group life insurance.
Your intention may be to stay on your current job for the rest of your life, but reality probably won’t cooperate. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average stay on a job as of 2014 is 4.6 years. Considering that a career may span 45 years, that’s about ten jobs over a lifetime?
Because most people are unlikely to stay with the same employer for their entire career, it brings up the first major disadvantage of having only life insurance through your job. You may be able to convert your group policy to individual life insurance if you leave, but the cost could go up significantly because through the employer you are receiving a group rate.
Even if you stay with your employer, another important factor that the BLS statistic does NOT account for is the not-so-unusual practice of employers to change workers from employee-with-benefits status to unbenefited sub-contractors. It’s called “cutting payroll costs” Then there’s also the possibility of experiencing extended periods of unemployment in between jobs. This becomes even more likely during recessions, when you may find yourself without a job or insurance coverage for many months.
Whether by separation or by reassignment, your current employer provided life insurance policy will come to an end at some point, and likely a lot sooner than you think.
Though you may simply assume that you can get a private plan at a later date when it becomes absolutely necessary, there’s a not so minor complication…
What If You Develop a Health Condition Before You Lose Your Job? If you develop a health condition that makes acquiring life insurance economically difficult or impossible you may be stuck with an employer you no longer want to work for just to keep y our benefits. Especially if losing your group life insurance will create an extreme financial hardship on your loved ones if you die prematurely.
And that presents a number of problems…
What if your next job does not offer group life insurance? How many months will you go without this important protection? Even if you go out and buy an individual life insurance policy, the cost of life insurance rises as you age, and you never know when you might develop a medical condition that could seriously raise your rates or even make it impossible to get coverage, what then?
When you buy life insurance through work, you won’t find the range of policy options that you might find elsewhere. Term life insurance such as what’s offered through work is generally a good option for most people. But if you are looking for a more complex product like Term with Return of Premiums, whole life or universal life, you should consult a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent.
Benefits of Buying Your Life Insurance Through Your Job
If you have a preexisting medical condition such as diabetes, it may be more difficult to qualify for a traditional term life insurance policy. If this is the case, you may want to max out the work life insurance if you qualify for it.
This is not the best solution to the problem because you will lose the coverage when you change jobs or retire. But it is better than not having any coverage at all. If you are single, and you have no dependents, you may do not need additional life insurance and employer sponsored group life insurance may be your best option until your situation changes.
The standard advice when it comes to purchasing life insurance is to do it while you’re young and healthy. If you develop a health condition, and later lose your job, the option to purchase a private policy can and will disappear.
Certain health conditions can make it extremely hard if not impossible to get a life insurance policy, especially if that condition is recent. And even if you can get policy, it will come with much higher premium, that will make it cost much more.
Keep Your Life Insurance Through Work – But Add a Third Party/Privately Owned PolicyYou certainly want to keep a life insurance policy through work, especially if it’s paid by your employer. But any additional coverage that you need should be through a private policy purchased outside of work.
As your life insurance consultant, I can help you acquire a private policy. There are several reasons why this is better than trying to buy a policy directly from a life insurance company:
- My services are free and I can help you compare other life insurance company’s rates and benefits.
- I handle all of the paperwork and nuances that are part of the life insurance application process, and guide you through each step – which you are probably totally unfamiliar with.
- I can get you the best policy for your needs, at the lowest possible monthly premium. By using a life insurance agent you will actually save money on your policy.
- I know who the better insurance companies are for your specific needs, and will place your application with only those companies, so that you don’t waste time and application fees applying to companies that won’t be a good fit.
- In the event that you need to add additional insurance or even change policies and/or beneficiaries in the future, I will be available to help you through the process.
You Should Lock in Your Rate on a Private Policy As Soon As Possible, why Because the risk of developing a health condition before you lose your job, and how that can complicate (or even eliminate) your ability to get a private life insurance policy is high, time is of the essence. But there’s another much more pressing reason why you should purchase a private life insurance policy, and do it right now:
Your life insurance premium will never be lower than it will be today.
That’s due to the simple fact that age is one of the major factors in determining life insurance premiums. If you are 30 years old right now, the premium on a private policy will be much lower today than it will be when you’re 31, 40 or 50. By locking in the premium rate on a long-term term life insurance policy now, you will spare yourself both the higher premiums that will come with age, and the possibility of being declined for poor health.
I am available by the phone any time you are ready to move past “I don’t need more life insurance – I’m covered at work or I can't afford it, It's too expensive". These assumptions can be very hazardous to your family’s financial health.