Life insurance. It’s something that most people need but a topic that no one wants to discuss, leading to many misconceptions.
To help you make sense of it all, here are five common myths debunked — just in time for National Life Insurance Awareness Month in September:
- I’m single; I don’t need life insurance. Most people think life insurance is more necessary for married people than for singles, according to the 2017 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA. But even if you’re single and don’t have children, you may still leave behind loved ones who would have to pay your debts. For example, if you have a cosigner on a loan, he or she would be responsible for paying it back. Life insurance can provide peace of mind by potentially paying off any remaining debt. Or, if you want to leave money to a charity, life insurance can help ensure your wishes are carried out.
- It’s too expensive. Cost is one of the top reasons people don’t purchase life insurance. Sixty-six percent of participants in the Insurance Barometer Study said it’s too expensive. The same consumers overestimated the price by more than three times the actual cost. It can cost as little as $14.24 per month for a $250,000 policy at Erie Insurance, for example. That’s less than 50 cents a day. Millennials can get an even bigger break by purchasing while they’re still young. Premiums are typically less expensive since they’re generally healthier and have fewer assets.
- My employer provides life insurance; I don’t need my own. While it’s great to have coverage through an employer, it often isn’t enough. “A typical group life benefit is two times your annual salary, but you may need more like six to eight times your salary just to break even,” says Louis Colaizzo, senior vice president for Life at Erie Insurance.
What’s more, if you take another job, your policy may not be transferable.
- I’m a stay-at-home parent. If you’re not the breadwinner in your household, you may think your family doesn’t depend on your income. However, think about the value of all the unpaid services that would need to be replaced, such as childcare, household cleaning, transportation and cooking. A stay-at-home parent in 2018 contributes a salary of $162,581 annually, according to research by Salary.com.
- I don’t have the time to research this or sign up. An insurance agent can quickly walk you through the process to identify what you need and your options, as well as explain the terms. Think of your agent as a trusted partner who will keep an eye on how your policy is keeping up with your life. Plus, the application at providers such as Erie Insurance only takes about 15 minutes, doesn’t include complicated forms and may not require doctor’s visits.
Bottom line: most people could benefit from life insurance, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The amount needed really depends on individual circumstances. To protect those who matter most, check with your insurance agent to make sure you get the right coverage.