2nd Installment: The First Foundation

Evaluating insurance coverage isn’t uppermost in the minds of most of you, and it won’t insure a long and happy life or marriage.  But, the right insurance can go a long way toward shielding you against the kinds of financial calamities that can strain a budget and sometimes break a marriage. 

Here are several key insurance areas that I recommend all of you to review.

LIFE INSURANCE.  It is a given that couples should have life insurance, especially if you have or expect to have children, or if one spouse earns most or all of the income.  But, it is often suggested that life insurance is not needed where couples have no dependents and where both spouses work in comparable-paying jobs.  This may be proper in some cases, but you may still want to consider additional life insurance beyond what is offered at work.

First, what if one spouse dies, will the survivor be able to afford to maintain the standard of living on his or her own salary?  Probably not – unless each has sufficient life insurance to cover the gap.

Second, a surviving spouse may find it difficult to pay off any previous or accumulated debts without life insurance.

Third, life insurance may be necessary to help cover any out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred at the end.

It is also important to keep your beneficiaries up to date.

DISABILITY INSURANCE.  This insurance is designed to partially make up for lost wages should you not be able to work because of an injury or long-term illness.  Statistically, young people are more likely to suffer a lengthy disability than to die prematurely.  As we age the chances of disability are replaced by mortality. The need for coverage then is skewed to the young.

HEALTH INSURANCE.  Married working couples should review their individual health plans at work to see if they want to go with coverage under only one employer and possibly save premium dollars, or in some other way coordinate coverage between their plans.  Health Savings Accounts are worth a close review for many self-employed and even those employed.  These operate as health IRA’s.  

AUTO INSURANCE.  You will probably want to insure your autos with a single company in order to get a multi-car discount.  Coordinating all property and casualty insurance with the same carrier can save significant premium costs.

HOMEOWNER’S OR RENTER’S INSURANCE.  While this is a coverage you should get even when you’re single, it becomes more critical (and a mortgage requirement) when you get married.  For one thing, you’re likely to start accumulating more expensive possessions that you want to be sure are covered.  For some valuables, you may need to insure them with a separate rider; collectibles, art or jewelry.

Renter’s insurance is inexpensive and easy to get.  It is a mistake to believe that a landlord’s insurance will cover damage to your personal property.

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