Does Life Insurance Cover Funeral Costs?

Death.  It is something that eventually comes for all of us.  Whether young or old, rich or poor, we all will eventually find ourselves slipping out of this life.  Believe me, this concept doesn’t excite me any more than it does you.  However, as we consider our inescapable mortality, we need to make sure that we are seeing the big picture: there’s a lot more at stake than just our own selves.

The last thing that any of us want to do when we kick the bucket is leave our loved ones with massive debts, such as a mortgage, college tuition, or basic living expenses.  Covering these types of expenses is the main idea behind life insurance.  But, there is one expense (and typically a large one) that we often fail to consider: funeral costs.  An average funeral in the United States can cost between $7,000 to $10,000.  Adding this to the expenses mentioned earlier could end up being catastrophic to your family’s finances.

Source: http://www.usurnsonline.com/funeral-resources/10-interesting-funeral-infographics/

Luckily, life insurance does exist, and it can indeed cover funeral costs.  In general, the way that life insurance works is like this: When a policy is issued, the policy owner chooses someone to be the beneficiary of the policy.  When the insured person passes away, this beneficiary submits a claim to the insurance company, and the insurance company pays them the proceeds.  From this point on, the beneficiary is free to use the funds as they deem appropriate, including for funeral expenses.

With this being the case, the real question becomes this: “Do i have enough coverage to pay for my funeral expenses?”.  It’s a little too common for beneficiaries to find out after the fact that the life insurance policy doesn’t cover everything that is needed or was planned for.  Without careful planning, there may be out-of-pocket expenses loved ones could get stuck with.  I would definitely encourage everyone with a life insurance policy to plan out their funeral beforehand with a funeral director.  Make sure you understand the specific costs of the services you want, and plan your life insurance policy with that in mind.  Some funeral homes will even allow you to assign them as the beneficiaries of a policy.  This way, the benefit is paid directly to them and you don’t even need to get involved during a difficult time.

To many of us, life insurance may seem quite expensive and perhaps not worth paying the premiums to later receive the promised payout.  While I would disagree with such a thought, I can understand larger premiums taking a toll on a family’s livelihood.  Insurance companies are aware of this, and many have created what is referred to as a Final Expense policy, where the benefits are designed to cover funeral costs and premiums are generally quite lower.  Sentinel Security Life offers such policies under our “New Vantage” life insurance products.  If this fits your needs more than having larger and more expensive coverage, seek out a Sentinel agent near you.

Life insurance is a great and powerful tool that can save families a lot of grief and headaches during a time that should be spent on more important matters.  Combined with a little bit of planning and thinking ahead, you can have all funeral costs taken care of and only concern yourself with making sure your policy stays current so it can be utilized when the time comes.  We all want to take care of our loved ones while we are on this earth.  Make sure that you are continuing to care for them even after you’re gone.  Use life insurance.  I promise you it’ll make a hard situation a little bit better.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Can I Have More Than One Life Insurance Policy?

Life insurance can be an interesting thing. There are many rumors and misunderstandings that surround it.  Do only breadwinners need coverage?  Are my premiums deductible?  Am I better off investing my money?  However, there seems to be one question in particular that has many people feeling lost: can/should I have more than one life insurance policy?  The simple answer to this question is yes, with a few limitations.

While insurance is heavily regulated, it is completely legal to own more than one life insurance policy. It is, in fact, a common practice of those with knowledge of the insurance industry.  The restriction doesn’t lie in how many life insurance policies you own, rather in how much coverage total you have compared to your assets, income, and other financial responsibilities.  When you apply for a life insurance policy you must disclose to the insurer all coverage you have, and possibly justify why you feel you need to coverage you’re requesting.  In general, these limitations are considered generous and most people won’t run into an issue acquiring multiple policies.

With that being answered, the natural next question to ask is “Should I, though?” While the answer will vary for every person and their situation, most would benefit from having multiple policies.  Many life insurance policies complement each other, such as final expense policies and term life policies.

Let’s use a few examples: Suppose a mid-age husband and father seeks coverage.  He may elect to purchase a larger term life insurance policy should something happen to him over a set number of years, while also taking out a smaller but permanent final expense policy to assist his family with covering funeral and burial costs.  Let’s say a mother initially took out a life insurance policy when it was just her and her husband, but now has added children to the family and has determined that her current coverage isn’t enough?  She may elect to take out an additional policy to increase her total coverage.  Since there isn’t a limit to the number of policies you can take out, it is easy to combine policies to create the coverage that you need.

It’s important to remember the purpose of life insurance. Should something happen to you, the last thing that you would want is for your family to be put in a difficult financial situation.  Oftentimes, having a single policy isn’t enough to cover the everyday expenses like a mortgage, daily necessities, or educational expenses.  Make sure you consider the benefits of multiple coverage while doing your financial planning.  Should you have any questions or thoughts about taking out additional life insurance policies, reach out to a trusted insurance agent or insurer.  Doing so now may make a world of difference when it counts.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Financial Planning – Never Too Young to Start

Millennials have become adults in a very interesting time: in our years, one could argue we have seen more than our fair share of economic upticks and downturns.  Having been fortunate enough to grow up in a time where information is readily available (thanks, Internet), I’m sure that most of us are already familiar with this roller coaster of economic stability.

Many of you were probably like me: put huge amounts of time and effort into your schooling to receive that coveted college degree and stepped out into the world to take on its challenges, only to find yourself stuck in the middle of a recession with high unemployment rates.  That “dream job” that was supposed to be waiting for you at the other end of that collegiate career is not there for the taking.  You find yourself searching a lot longer than you expected to in order to get started down your path to financial security.
When you finally get yourself a solid job and steady income, it’s easy to want to put that money toward immediate rewards that you worked your butt off for. Planning ahead for the future might slip into the backseat.  “Europe and that 4K TV have already waited long enough.  Retirement is such a long ways away. I’ll get to that eventually.”
Cue the meme of Kim Kardashian rolling her eyes.
Financial planning and strategy are just as, if not more, important to our generation than it was to those who preceded us.  Unless we have a solid playbook of how to get to where we want to be financially, it is frighteningly easy to not make it there.  Please thoughtfully consider some of the following tips to help set yourself up for financial success.
All achievements are met by first considering what you want to accomplish.  Money is a tool and if you use it correctly it can get you to where you want to be.  Is your goal to be able to set enough aside to start your own business five or ten years down the road?  Maybe your heart’s desire is to retire at 55 and see the world?  Maybe even take some trips before then?  Make sure you understand where you want to be.
Understanding your goal is vital to do now for one simple reason: time.  With the oldest millennials being in their early 30s,  we have plenty of time until we reach the age where we are no longer able (or willing) to work.  Plenty of money can be made in various forms during this time.  Salaries, benefits and investments can strongly contribute to your comfort later in life.
With time on our side, one would be wise to set up a retirement plan.  Are you familiar with the term “compound interest”?  If not, make sure you give it a quick look online.  Setting up a 401K (offered through many employers), traditional or Roth IRAs, or annuity can take your money and multiply it many times over.  Each one comes with its own benefits and restrictions, so make sure you research which plan is best for your interests.  You’d be amazed at how just putting in small amounts now can become huge sums later.
Budgeting.  To many, just hearing the word is enough to make them cringe as if they just jabbed their toe.  Fewer have the willpower to stick to one, but those that do reap the benefits.  I myself have found that this is not only a great tool for setting up long-term goals but short term ones as well.  Maybe Europe doesn’t have to be so far away.  Setting aside a bit of money each paycheck instead of, say, going out to eat 7 nights a week, will make vacations and larger purchases achievable without sacrificing your future financial safety net.
This is all assuming the road ahead is straightforward, but life tends to steer you in different directions. All it could take is one bad car accident or losing your partner to make it so you are no longer able to earn the living you were. There is one form of financial planning that not many people our age take seriously: life insurance.  With death feeling so far off, it’s natural to not consider planning for it.  Life can unfortunately be disastrous at times, and the last thing we want to do is leave our loved ones in a position of not only mourning, but financial difficulty.  Life insurance can help to alleviate the pressures and stresses that a family suffers through during a death.
I hope you were able to get something valuable from what you have read here.  We have many challenges in front of us, but I feel we are more than up to the task.  By following through and applying smart and strategic financial planning, we will be able to make sure that money isn’t something we’ll have to worry about throughout our lives.
 Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Accountant for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Work-Life Balance

Thinking about what I want to accomplish and setting goals happens at the beginning of each new year. Often my ‘resolutions’ are not as resolute as they should be to impact lasting change, and many trickle off by February and are forgotten. However, one thing that never changes is planning my annual camping trip; the only consistent trip I take during the year.  Who can blame me when there are views like this to enjoy?

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We stay in a place that is outside most cell phone coverage, which is the best part of my camping trip.  It is time completely unplugged from all distractions. I spend my time reading in my favorite hammock, cruising around on my dirt bike, fishing, painting, or just hanging out in the shade with a plate of delicious food chatting with family.

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You may be wondering why I have told you all about my favorite trip of the year. Taking an annual trip to the place I love the most is one way I have found to unwind, recharge, and refocus on my priorities.  I regain my equilibrium and re-energize to face the stress of life.

3So what does this have to do with goals or setting up proper work-life balance? Why is it important to practice work-life balance?  Does such a thing actually exist?  Below are five things I try to do.

  1. Prioritize and Plan — while this may seem obvious, I have learned that preparation helps alleviate much of the stress of last minute changes. Planning ahead is essential at work because much of what I do depends on or affects my coworkers’ projects. Now for the “life” side of planning ahead. Does it really matter if I plan what day I’m going to do my laundry?  For me, it does.  I have a schedule for when I will complete certain tasks such as laundry and frozen meal prepping which helps me instantly identify what time I have available for the inevitable emergencies of life. (By the way, my favorite “emergencies” often involve chocolate and a good book!)
  2. De-junk, De-clutter, Delete — this is a new one for me. I have recently discovered the freedom of just simply getting rid of excess— not only is there more physical space in my environment but I have found that the more neat and tidy my space is, the easier it is to maintain my balance and stay centered on what is most important.
  3. The Power of a Positive No — learning how to say “No” is a great way to maintain balance at work. Saying no, or communicating concerns and limitations can help management adequately plan time and set expectations for project completion.
  4. Relaxation, Meditation, and Laughter — As a naturally artistic person, spending time creating something new is my way of relaxing and de-stressing. Journaling, reading, watching movies, cooking, gardening, spending time with friends and families, and even cleaning are all ways of relaxing—you just have to find what works for you. Meditation or mindfulness is also useful for maintaining balance. Just don’t forget to laugh! Laughter releases endorphins that will help you feel better.
  5. Vacation — last on my list, but just as important as the rest is a vacation! Although my camping trip is my favorite vacation during the year, I try to plan ahead to spread my vacation time throughout the whole year. Taking a day off here and there throughout the year can really help to keep a fresh perspective and balance.

Hopefully these tips help you find your center and balance work and life to create an amazing future.  I still have a lot to work on but it just takes one step at a time.  (Or in my case, one long ride through the mountains!)  Good luck!

Blog written by: Jennifer Tolman, Creative Marketing Specialist for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Saying Goodbye to Dad

Losing my dad to cancer was one of the toughest things I have had to do. The emotional and physical toll the death of a loved one has on the individual and family is exhausting. If that is not enough, you then have the financial responsibility of planning a funeral fitting of your loved one.

We had some money. Dad had a life insurance policy, but because it was acquired less than two years before his passing, we only received $500; not much to work with. Mom told me that they had tried to plan ahead by purchasing the policies so the family wouldn’t have to worry about final expenses, but as life goes you can’t plan for cancer.

The funeral was a loving tribute to my dad as a husband, father, and military veteran.  The whole experience opened my eyes to a part of losing someone that I hadn’t thought about before…finances. I am glad my mom has a life insurance policy. After Dad passed away, we realized we needed to do something different so we purchased additional insurance for Mom to cover not only the burial but also any outstanding debt she may have when she passes.

Going through this process showed me that it is an easy process and the benefits are very high. The value of life insurance is not something we often think about but I’m so glad my parents started planning ahead. Having learned from this experience I will never again underestimate the importance of life insurance.

Blog written by: Revellie Pope, Senior Underwriter for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Better Safe Than “Too Late”

While final expense insurance can be a difficult topic to discuss with ones you love, it is essential to planning your life and can be a major factor of how your family’s standard of living is when you are no longer around. Final Expense Insurance can substantially impact your family after you are gone by ensuring they are not negatively impacted financially.

Reasons to have Final Expense Insurance.

There are a multitude of reasons why Final Expense products are so valuable for one to have.

  • There is no doubt that family is always at the forefront of most decisions made in life, and when purchasing a final expense insurance policy, this definitely rings true. Being properly prepared is the best way to assure that your family and legacy will be intact when you pass. The Peace of mind that comes with having final expense insurance is one that helps you fight unforeseen circumstances and be prepared. Final expense insurance can help cover things like funeral costs, medical bills, debts, and other financial situations that could financially burden your family if not otherwise covered correctly.
  • The ability for you to plan for expenses when someone passes can leave you with comfort in knowing your family will not have to struggle financially in order to pay for final expenses.
  • Death should not lead to debt for loved ones. We all want our families to live great lives, even when we can no longer be there and be involved. Final expense insurance can help pay debts and help families secure money for their futures. Providing even when you have passed is great and helps bring peace of mind to the situation. With funerals having a median cost of $7045[1] and the median household income being 51,017[2] funerals can put financial stress on your loved ones. This accumulated with possible things like medical bills, debts, and benefits lost from passing can hurt loved ones financially. Be prepared for the unforeseen and unknown by preparing adequately.

Final Expense insurance is a very crucial and important facet in today’s insurance landscape. It is becoming more of a necessity than an option. Being aware and prepared to protect you and your family’s standard of life is what is key when considering your options.

To learn more about Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company’s New Vantage Life Insurance products, please visit our website at www.sslco.com or call 1.888.510.0668.
Blog written by: Brian Mehl, Creative Marketing Assistant for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.


[1] National Funeral Directors Association. Nfda.org/about-funeral-service-/trends-and-statistics.html
[2] Data collected from the Census Bureaus of the United States of America

Sentinel Security Life Welcomes Russell Hill

Russell PicSentinel Security Life Insurance Co. would like to welcome Russell Hill as Assistant Controller!

Although Russell is new to this position, Sentinel welcomed him last November as an investment accountant bringing over 25 years of accounting experience in various industries, but most notably with insurance.

Russell isn’t just about numbers. At Sentinel, Russell can be recognized because of his smiling face and University of Utah pride. As a graduate of the University of Utah, Russell is loud and proud when it comes to donning red and cheering on the University of Utah Running Utes football team.

Russell enjoys going bowling, but isn’t partial to golf – although he has not yet picked up this endearing sport. Firing up the grill, barbecuing outside on the deck of his home and on occasion picking up some Cafe Rio counts as a touchdown for this guy. The beautiful Utah outdoors during spring and autumn provide solace for Russell, who fortunately also finds solace within the walls of Sentinel Security Life.

Sentinel Security Life is thrilled to have Russell Hill as part of the family.

Blog written by: Brian Mehl & Thy Vu Mims, Creative Marketing for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Hospital Indemnity – Why You Should Choose One

Healthcare is no longer an option, but a necessity. Without proper coverage, a single health-related event can be financially devastating. Many families are left to face insurmountable medical bills and associated costs. Many families forget fine details when planning for emergencies, such as out-of-pocket expenses left over after coverage has run out.

14 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are exposed to gaps in their policy resulting in unforeseen out-of-pocket expenses. These gaps can be costly – the average hospital inpatient benefit gap in Medicare Advantage is $1,500. Nobody wants to pay that cash amount, and many do not plan for those costs.

Currently, only 1% of Medicare Advantage enrollees use a Hospital Indemnity plan to help with those unforeseen costs. It is not commonly understood that some Hospital Indemnity plans go hand-in-hand with Medicare Advantage plans to provide beneficiaries with the best coverage possible. Unexpected Hospital expenses are then covered including: Primary Care Doctor Office Visits, Skilled Nursing Care, Durable Medical Equipment, Lump Sum Cancer Payouts, Ambulance Services and much more.

Hospital Indemnity plans are designed to offer relief from unexpected medical bills due to the above-mentioned medical needs. Nobody should be left to pick up the pieces after a health-related incident. Nobody should fear not having enough to cover their needs. Make sure you have a secure hospital indemnity plan that covers the gaps that Medicare Advantage leaves behind.

To learn more about Health Insurance and different types, including Indemnity Plans, visit The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Americans take responsibility for their finances through the ownership of life insurance and related products.

To learn more about Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company’s Hospital Indemnity product, please visit our website at www.sslco.com or call 1.888.510.0668.

Blog written by: Thy Vu Mims, Marketing Communications Manager for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

 

Going Green!

Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company’s home has been on 2121 South State Street since 1948 in a historical building that has been a landmark for decades. As Sentinel’s growth continues, moving locations was a must. On June 3, 2013 Sentinel Security Life moved to a beautiful new location at 1405 West 2200 South in Salt Lake City. The move became the perfect opportunity to kick old habits and make new and improved ones.

With a new building and an outstanding team, we as a company decided to seize the opportunity to begin Going Green. We learned that 75% of waste is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it. This was a great starting point for Sentinel to begin the challenge of Going Green. Recycling receptacles have been placed in each break room and we have a separate recycling dumpster in our parking lot. Sentinel’s efforts in recycling has taken a momentous turn, and we are proud to have this program in place.

In addition to our recycling efforts, Sentinel has also taken steps to reduce waste in other ways, not just putting waste into the correct receptacles – why not reduce or eliminate it altogether where possible? Our IT team researched new printing options for the new building; with the goal of cutting down our printing costs and reducing paper waste. Through many discussions we concluded that having a central printer for each floor and dismissing employee’s desk printers would cut down on paper usage, as well as toner expenses. The new high volume printer defaults to print 2 sided, which uses and discards less paper. This small feat aids in conserving resources, reducing water and energy use, and preventing pollution.

Other efforts from our IT team include Installation of visual monitors in the conference rooms which enable us to share presentations on screen rather than printing out hard copies. Finally, implementing new scanning procedures for all of the new, as well as old, policies that are housed in our corporate office.

Our Sales and Marketing team researched and executed Electronic application software for our agents to utilize. These applications take place of paper applications which in turn conserves waste and promotes technology. Our Marketing team has spent countless hours to establish a user friendly website with access to all the forms that one would need to perform business as usual. Lastly, our Marketing team employs e-blast software for our notifications to the field in order to reduce paper waste.

With the move to a new building Sentinel found that we had an overabundance of office furnishings. The furnishings were donated to the International Rescue Committee to support the refugees in our community.

Through our research and analyses, we have realized what a difference small steps can make. We are excited to be stepping up to our Corporate Social Responsibility in caring for our environment and our community.

To learn more about Sentinel Security Life’s new location and Going Green efforts, please contact them 855-478-4037 or click here.

Blog written by: Jenniffer Pearce, Executive Assistant for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Our Community

At Sentinel, we pride ourselves on being active and engaging citizens of our community. Once a quarter, an employee committee organizes a fundraising or volunteer opportunity that all departments are encouraged to participate in. Sentinel realizes that community involvement is not only vital to upholding our corporate values but also an excellent way to give back to non-profit organizations that do so much good for the underprivileged populations of people in our area.

Most recently, Sentinel hosted a bake sale and raised $700 for Edison Elementary, a Title I school located close to our corporate office. Our management matched what the employees raised and we were able to donate $1400 to this special school. The extra money allowed them to purchase supplies and educational materials desperately needed, yet otherwise unavailable, for their at-risk and low-income students.

In addition to the Edison project, Sentinel worked with Prevent Child Abuse Utah last year and donated over $2,500 worth of goods to three little girls displaced from their home because of abuse. Their Christmas lists were very modest and consisted of things like shoes, winter coats, pants, shirts, socks and underwear. We were able to provide all of these items to them plus fun presents like jewelry, make up, art sets, dolls and other presents little girls love to get.

We feel that both of these projects were incredibly successful especially since Sentinel’s corporate office consists of only 42 employees. Sentinel realizes that even small donations can make a huge difference for someone who is struggling.

Sentinel looks forward to the rest of 2013 with excitement as we plan additional events including a blood drive and a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald house of Salt Lake City.

To learn more about Sentinel Security Life’s community involvement, please click here.

Blog written by: Amy Mullen, Human Resources Director for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.