Critical Types of Insurance Policies You Need
The Right Insurance Is Critical to Your Financial Plan
Insurance can offer peace of mind if you know you’re protected against the unexpected. You can find an insurance policy to cover almost anything imaginable but some are more deserving than others of a place in your financial plan.
As you map your financial future, these four types of insurance should be firmly on your radar.
1. Health Insurance
Health insurance is easily one of the most important types of insurance to have. Your good health is what allows you to work, earn money and otherwise enjoy life. If you were to develop a serious illness or have an accident without being insured, you may find yourself unable to receive treatment or even find yourself in debt to the hospital. While health insurance is no longer mandated by the government as of 2018, it’s not something to discount.
Thankfully, many employers provide health insurance benefits to full-time and even some part-time employees. If you do not currently have health insurance coverage this is the first place to check as it will generally be the most affordable. If you’re married, you may both be able to receive coverage under just one of the employer plans. When both employers make health insurance available, a careful comparison can help you decide which plan to use. Consider the co-pays, deductibles, premium costs, network coverage and covered expenses to determine which plan yields the most benefits.
If your employer does not offer health insurance or you’re self-employed, you’ll need to explore your insurance options. The federal healthcare marketplace is a good starting point; alternately, you can contact insurers directly to see what type of coverage is available in your state. Again, the same criteria used to evaluate an employer’s plan would need to be taken into account as you compare policies, in terms of the cost and coverage.
While purchasing your own health insurance may be more expensive than getting it through your employer, there may be a silver lining. If you’re self-employed or a freelancer, health insurance premiums you pay out of pocket qualify as a tax deduction. Deductions reduce your taxable income for the year, potentially lowering your tax bill or increasing the size of your refund.
2. Life Insurance
This type of policy is more important if you are married and/or have children, but even single people can benefit from having life insurance. Life insurance can meet several financial needs. In the case of someone who’s married with a family, it can replace lost income, help to pay any lingering debts after your death or pay for your children’s college education. If you’re single, life insurance could pay for burial costs and pay off any debts you leave behind.
If you do not currently have life insurance your best bet is to check with your employer first. Many employers offer a basic group life insurance as a benefit and some even allow you to purchase additional coverage at a very affordable rate. Outside of employer plans, there are hundreds of insurance companies that can provide the right coverage for you.
One thing to consider is whether to purchase term or permanent life insurance. Term life insurance covers you for a specific time period, typically five to 30 years. Permanent insurance covers you your entire life, as long as premiums are paid. This type of coverage also allows you to build cash value that you can borrow against or invest for growth. Of the two, term life insurance tends to be more flexible and less expensive but if you’re looking for an investment component, you may prefer permanent coverage.
Remember, that with most types of life insurance your ability to get covered depends on your age and health profile. The younger and healthier you are, the lower the cost is likely to be but be prepared to take a brief medical exam as part of the application process. There are some life insurance companies that offer no-exam term life policies. While this may be easier to apply for since you may only have to complete a brief health questionnaire, this type of coverage could carry higher premiums.
3. Property Insurance
One type of policy that for most people that is actually mandatory to have is homeowners insurance when you have a mortgage. If you borrow money from the bank to purchase a home they will require the asset to be insured. For many people, this insurance premium is built into the mortgage payment. For many people their home is their greatest asset so it is vital to adequately protect it.
If you rent instead of own, a renters insurance policy is just as important. Your belongings inside the dwelling can add up to a significant amount of money. In the event of a burglary, fire or disaster you should be able to at least have a policy that can cover most of the replacement costs. Both homeowners and renter’s insurance can also protect you against personal liability if someone is injured at your home.
Like any other type of insurance, take time to compare coverage and premiums. Homeowner’s insurance, for instance, may not cover you in the event of flood damage or damage from an earthquake. If you live in an area that’s prone to those types of events, you may need to supplement your policy with additional natural disaster coverage.
Another type of policy that is often required is auto insurance. Most states require by law that you have basic auto insurance that covers liability. If you’re buying a car with a loan, you may also be required to add collision coverage to your policy. If you’re in an accident, liability insurance covers damages to the other vehicle, while collision covers damage to yours.
The most common reason to have auto insurance is to cover the replacement of an expensive asset. Like a home, automobiles can be quite expensive and if it gets damaged you want to be able to repair or replace it. But there is more to auto insurance than just covering the car itself.
Most automotive insurance policies cover bodily injury or death of another person in an incident that you are legally responsible. While it generally pays for medical expenses related to the incident it can also cover legal defense costs. You will also generally find medical payment coverage that pays for medical treatment for you and your passengers during an accident regardless of who was at fault. You can also include rental car coverage in your policy in the event that an accident leaves your car undriveable.
Remember, the more coverage you add onto your policy, the higher the premium costs may be. There is, however, a possible solution to make insurance of any kind more budget-friendly. The higher your deductible, the more you may be able to lower your monthly premium costs.
Top 3 Ways to Make Your Money Work for You
One of the biggest differences between the wealthy and the less wealthy is that wealthy people earn interest and everyone else pays interest. It is important to realize that money is a tool that can help you to achieve your goals.
For you to reach true financial independence, you need to have your money begin to work for you—not you for it. Here are three things you can do to start making your money work for you.
These three steps can also help you break free of the bad financial habits passed down through your family. If you can follow them, you will begin to manage your money.
The most important way to change the way you handle your money is to budget. When you are budgeting, you are making your money do what you want it to. By assigning each dollar to a category, you are controlling where your money goes and what it does. This will help you to begin to reach your financial goals.
Your budget is the best tool you have next to your income to build wealth. Your budget gives you control over your finances and allows you to make financial decisions at the beginning of each month. When you master budgeting, you will be able to reach your financial goals more quickly and avoid debt.
A budget is similar to a fitness tracker and it helps you monitor your spending and income.
If you want to change your financial picture, your budget is your first step to doing that. Often people will create a budget, but fail to follow through on sticking to it or stop after a month.
You need to create your budget each month, track your expenses and make changes as needed, so you are always spending less than you earn.
When you make the decisions on how you will spend your money at the beginning of the month, you can decide what priorities are the most important to you and begin to make progress on your goals.
2. Get Out of Debt
Do you know how much money you are paying in interest each month? How much of your monthly budget is being eaten up by student loans, car payments, and credit card bills? If you could take all of that money and put it into retirement, it is amazing at how quickly you could save for your retirement and other things that you want. Debt often becomes a burden and limits the choices that you can make. One of the best things you can do with your money is to get out of debt and stay out of debt!
Your debt limits your other opportunities. Just think what you could do with the extra money you would have each month if you were completely out of debt. You may also be able to start your own business or quit a job you hate if you were debt free. Take the time today to start getting out of debt.
If you have a lot of debt, it may seem like a problem that is too big to tackle. You can start by just clearing up your smaller debts and then work on tackling the bigger ones with the extra money that you have. As you pay off more debt and then apply that money to the next debt, you begin to build momentum, and you will be surprised at how quickly you can get out of debt.
3. Save and Invest Your Money
Once you have freed up all that extra money from paying off your debt you need to begin saving aggressively. There will be a point when the money you have will earn more than you do in a month. This takes quite a bit of money, and in order for this to happen, you need to put a large amount away each month.
Once you have a six-month emergency fund saved, you will need to begin investing your money. This how you can grow your wealth the most effectively. Additionally saving money can help you be prepared to handle the ups and downs that will happen throughout your life.
Saving for an emergency fund may be the first step, but you will begin to really build wealth when you invest. Think beyond savings for retirement and find a good financial planner to help you save and invest your money. Take the time to really start saving your money today.
As you begin to invest, it is important to remember to diversify your portfolio. You never want to have all of your money invested in just one type of stock and especially not all in one business. You may get to the point where you want to purchase investments that generate income for you.
Many people consider real estate a good investment option because it will generate a monthly income once you have paid off the property.
It helps to have a specific set of goals that you are saving for and investing in since it will help focus your spending and give you motivation.
Think about the things that you need to pay for like your child’s education, purchasing a home, or early retirement. These goals may also drive what types of investments you choose to use.