Why You Need Life Insurance Even If You Think You Don’t

Are you familiar with the story of The Ant and the Grasshopper?  The gist of the story is this: during the summer the ant is storing food away for the winter, while the grasshopper is just being idle and goofing off.  Once winter comes, the ant is prepared and has food stockpiled to make it through the winter, while the grasshopper does not.

Beyond the obvious (avoid laziness), there is an important lesson here about preparation.  One day, winter (or low points in our lives) will come for all of us, and whether or not we can make it through successfully or not comes down to how well prepared we are.

This is where life insurance comes into play.  Life insurance is designed exactly for that: preparation.  In the case that you or a loved one passes away, those affected received money to help cover funeral costs, as well as living costs and such.  The wise ants among us understand this concept and stick by it.  But there are some of us that think their situation or lot in life doesn’t require them to have life insurance.  Let’s go through a couple of varying life situations and look at how each one needs life insurance.

Imagine, if you will, a working mother and wife.  She has a spouse and children that depend on her and the income she brings in.  What if she were to pass away prematurely?  How would those living expenses, bills, and unexpected costs get paid?  Your family may not have the funds sitting around to cover everything.  Life insurance would be the saving grace to help this family provide their wife and mother with a loving funeral and take care of themselves while they become reestablished.

What about those of us who are single?  We may not have a spouse or kids depending on us financially, but that does not mean life insurance is pointless.  If you were to pass away suddenly, your parents or other family members would have to step in to pay for your services, and possibly for any other outstanding debts you owed.  I am sure the last thing we would want to do is leave our family and loved ones in debt because of us.  Life insurance can help to avoid this tragic fate.

Now, let’s look at our senior community.  They have most likely reached a point where they no longer have any children depending on them financially, and hopefully have saved up enough for retirement that their spouse wouldn’t have to worry about money should they pass away.  But, once they do, there is still a large debt for the services that has to be covered.  Not to mention, perhaps you want to leave your children with a little bit of money once you kick the bucket.  Life insurance proceeds are typically income tax free, and can be acquired much quicker than typically inheritance funds can be.  This is a good route to take for many people.

To end, let’s consider the moral of the story: be prepared.  Life insurance is applicable to nearly all of us, regardless of our situation or lot in life.  It is mostly a question of how prepared we want to be.  Do we want to be ready and leave our loved ones in a good situation upon our passing, or do we want to goof off until it is too late?  Like I said earlier, winter comes for all of us, and only those that are prepared will be able to see it through successfully.

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

Planning for a Death: Things to Do Ahead of Time

There are certain things in life that no one wants to think about, much less plan for.  I can’t say that I’m counting down the days to my next dentist appointment.  Surely most of us don’t look forward to Mondays.  But, we all know that dentist appointments and Mondays are always coming, and the more prepared we are for them the smoother they tend to go and the better the results.

What about death?  No one wants to think about their death or the death of a loved one.  However, we are all eventually forced to face our own mortality.  The better prepared we are, the smoother and less painful these events can be for us and our loved ones.

Life insurance is a key component in planning for the future of our loved ones and ourselves.  I would like to share a short checklist of items we all need to keep in mind as we use life insurance to plan for a death.

Understand how the policy works: Not all life insurance policies work the same way.  Some policies are term life insurance policies, meaning that they only last for a set period of time.  Others can have death benefit values that can increase or decrease depending on different factors, such as how the markets are doing.   Some may even have riders that affect how the policy works.  Study your policy.  Make sure you know what it covers and what it doesn’t.  Look for information on how it works once you or your loved one passes away.  Help the beneficiaries understand how the policies work.  Speaking of…

Know who is a beneficiary, and update if necessary: Every life insurance policy has one or more designated beneficiaries that are assigned by the policy holder.  The beneficiaries are the ones that receive the death payout once the insured passes away, and thus are important in the whole process.  Check to see who is listed as beneficiaries on the policy.  Make sure their information is correct and up-to-date.  If necessary, the owner of the policy can make changes to their information, or even change the beneficiary to someone else.  Make sure these beneficiaries have a copy of the policy.  As with anything related to a policy, always feel free to reach out to the agent for any questions.

Keep your policy active: This is probably pretty obvious, but is extremely important: make sure the policy is kept active and paid current!  Many policies have a grace period for if the payments are running a little late, but passing that puts you at risk of have the policy lapse.  Once something like that happens, reinstating it can result in the premiums going up and having to go through the underwriting process all over again.  Sometimes, depending on the situation, the policy may be lost forever.  Imagine thinking that your loved one had life insurance coverage, only to find out they let it lapse long ago and now you have to come up with funeral funds yourself.  No one wants to do this to those we care about, so don’t.

Following these tips can help make the process so much smoother and less painful when the time comes.  I know it’s hard, but we all need to plan for our deaths and the deaths of our loved.  I would encourage everyone to listen to these tips and prepare for the inevitable.

…also, stop putting off the dentist…

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

How is Sentinel Helping Seniors?

Although I have spent the last 15 years in the insurance industry, I am relatively new to the rapidly growing category often referred to as the “Senior Market.” As part of my career development in this marketplace, I am fortunate to work for a company that has dedicated itself to providing solutions to this specific category of insurance consumers.

Sentinel has long been known for providing our New Vantage™ Life insurance as a way to help seniors pay for final expenses. A few years ago we added the Sentinel Plan® Medicare Supplement that helps pay some of the health care costs that original Medicare doesn’t cover including co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles. Last year, we released our Personal Choice Annuity™, which is a unique solution that allows consumers flexibility when planning for their retirement.

Over the past few months I have been fortunate to be involved in the development of a new product called the Sentinel Plan® Hospital Advantage Plus™, which has an anticipated release date of October 1, 2012. This product pays a cash benefit to our policyholders for expenses resulting from hospital stays, emergency room visits, surgeries and physician office visits. Typically, these are expenses that are not covered under existing insurance policies (such as Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage).

For example, let’s consider the financial impact of a hospital confinement. If you have original Medicare you would be responsible for a $1,156 Part A deductible before receiving any benefit. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you would be responsible for a $250 per day (for days 1-5) coinsurance. However, if you have the Sentinel Plan® Hospital Advantage Plus™ you would receive a cash benefit of $250 per day (for up to 5 days). If your hospital stay lasted 5 days, you would receive $1,250 in your pocket.

Some of the other benefits provided by the plan include payments for expenses related to Ambulance Services, Emergency Room Care, Outpatient Surgical Services, and Primary Care Physician Office Visits. There are even benefits for Wellness Visits and Preventative Care Services. This new product is another example of the ongoing commitment we have at Sentinel to help our senior policyholders manage the various costs associated with today’s economic environment.

I am happy to be part of a company that is growing and developing with an eye focused on the needs of our current and future policyholders. For additional information on the Sentinel Plan® Hospital Advantage Plus™, or any of our existing insurance products, please visit us at www.sslco.com or call 800.247.1423.

Blog written by: Dan Hudgens, National Sales Manager for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.