Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Buying Life Insurance: 6 Costly Mistakes

1. Buying too much Life Insurance.
New parents and new homeowners are susceptible here because you feel especially vulnerable. Get out your calculator. What are your expenses? How much are they likely to increase as time goes by? Is there another earner in your family? How much of the expense can they handle without you? Come up with realistic numbers before you go shopping for Life Insurance.

2. Buying too little Life Insurance.

Classic worst-case scenario: Breadwinner dies with little or no Life Insurance. Nonworking parent has to get a job after years out of the work force; has to pay for child care; sell the house to reduce mortgage payments; cut corners on cars, vacations, clothing, maybe even food; trim plans for the kids’ education. It’s scary, but it happens – way too often.

3. Buying Life Insurance for too long a time.
Some people think the only kind of Life Insurance to buy is “permanent.” But permanence costs money. The Life Insurance company takes extra risk – and charges you for it – because they don’t know how long you’ll live. Many people don’t need Life Insurance after their kids are through school and their assets have built up. So they don’t have a permanent need for Life Insurance. (Suze Orman suggests you have Life Insurance until your youngest child is 24 years old.)

4. Buying Life Insurance for too short a time.
The danger with not getting a policy that lasts long enough to give your family the financial security it needs, is that once your policy runs out it could cost a lot of money to get another one Assuming you’re in excellent health, a 10-year term at 35 may cost you $280 a year for $1 million in coverage. 10-year term at 45, same million-dollar coverage, could be $600 a year – more than 100% higher.* That assumes you’re still in great health. Of course, there’s always the chance your health may change in that 10 years so that Life Insurance could be much higher – or can’t be bought at any price.

5. Buying Life Insurance too late.
People tend to procrastinate when it comes to Life Insurance – which can be very expensive. Almost every year you grow up, your cost for Life Insurance grows up. To say nothing of what you would have to pay if you suffer a health problem, your rate could go up or you can’t get insurance at all. Don’t take chances. It could cost you plenty.

6. Not shopping around.
You should do “brand shopping” and “price shopping.” Over 1,000 companies sell Life Insurance in America. Each is rated for financial security. And each could have a different price for you. Your best bet is to select a reputable independent sales agency, for example www.selectquote.com and have them do the shopping for you. There’s no cost or obligation.

SelectQuote has exclusive videos of Suze Orman offering impartial advice on buying Life Insurance.

* Banner OPTerm 10-Year: OPTerm 10 issue ages 20-80. OPTerm 15 issue ages 20-70. Opterm 20 issue ages 20-65 and 20-62 Oregon only. OPTerm 30 issue ages 20-50 and 20-45 Oregon tobacco classes only. Premium rates vary by coverage amount: $100,000-$249,999, $250,000-$999,999 or $1 million and above. Premiums quoted include $50 annual policy fee. Premiums are guaranteed to stay level for 10, 15, 20, or 30 years, respectively, and increase annually after initial guarantee period. OPTerm policies can be issued in preferred plus non-tobacco (no tobacco use in past 36 months), preferred non-tobacco (no tobacco use in the last 24 months), standard plus non-tobacco or standard non-tobacco (no tobacco use in past 12 months) and standard tobacco classes. OPTerm 10, 15 and 20 substandard policies can be issued through Table 4. OPTerm 30 substandard policies can be issued through Table 12. Coverage can be renewed to age 95. OPTerm policy form #RT-97. Forms and policy provisions vary by state. Not available in all states. Policy descriptions provided here are not a statement of contract. Rates as of 8-14-07. Advertising Compliance #07-081

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