It’s an exciting time in your life, and not one that you might want to think about things like life insurance during. But there are now two of you, and you need to make sure that both are covered in case anything happens to either spouse. There may now be two sets of debt to consider, and you may take on ownership of more things. It is important to review your life insurance policy as your life changes, to ensure that your coverage is sufficient for your new needs.
While most childless newlywed couples do not need extremely high levels of life insurance coverage, once you add any type of ownership to the deal, it is important to make sure you and your loved one are covered in the event of a catastrophe. If you buy a house, this becomes especially important. Many people are comfortable and easily pay their mortgage payments when they are part of a two-income household, with no dependents, but many would struggle if something were to happen to their partner and they had to survive on their income alone. Be sure to cover each other with moderate amounts of life insurance, even if you are barely out of the chapel. If either spouse had a life insurance policy before they got married, remember to consider changing your plan and/or your beneficiaries.
Newly Divorced or Widowed
Being newly divorced or widowed is a difficult time. As much as you may be hurting, you must also consider practical matters such as life insurance.
You may have increased financial obligations now. For example, you may have lost coverage you previously had through your spouse. If you don’t have any children or anyone else who is financially dependent on you, such as elderly parents, you may have a reduced need for life insurance. But if you do have any dependents, it is important to make sure they can persevere financially if anything were to happen to you.
Becoming a Family
This one may seem a little more obvious, but in the excitement of planning your nursery or picking baby names, you may forget to adjust your life insurance to your new needs. In addition to other important forms of insurance, such as health insurance and coverage for catastrophes such as fire, flooding, or burglary, it is also important to make sure that you will be able to take care of your kids financially. If your spouse were to pass away, would you be able to provide for your children’s many needs? Or, if you were a stay-at-home parent and the major breadwinner of the household were to pass away, how would you take care of your children? Make sure you and your spouse have adequate life insurance coverage to protect both yourselves and your children. And make sure to adjust your beneficiaries as your family grows.
If you already have a full functioning family and are successful financially it is also important to adjust beneficiaries and your plan regularly. According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 106 million adults in the U.S. lack adequate life insurance coverage as of 2022. Wealthy working people are advised to purchase life insurance with a policy amount at 7-10 times their annual household income. When you or your spouse get a large raise, own a company that takes off, come into a large amount of money through inheritance, or sell something of value, remember to adjust your life insurance coverage accordingly.
There are many factors that contribute to your life insurance costs. Some of them relate to poor health, obesity, smoking, and occupations and lifestyles. If any of these change during your life, you should reexamine your life insurance policy.
For example, if you were a pilot, or instructor of aviation or scuba diving, mountain climbing/river rafting guide, but have changed professions to something considered safer, your life insurance rates will likely be lower now. Similarly, if you have lost a significant amount of weight or quit smoking, your rates are likely to go down. Another occupational change that could affect your life insurance is if you begin working for yourself. You may have had coverage through an employer that you no longer have. Your new company could also mean increased financial risk for you and your family. In either case, it is important to get adequate life insurance coverage.
Life insurance needs may not be as high as they are at other stages in life for those that are newly retired. But it is also true that most new retirees do need to think about maintaining an adequate level of coverage. Consider your children or spouse you may leave behind. Even though your children may be grown and on their own, and your spouse may be able to live comfortably on his or her retirement savings, there are many special circumstances in which they may find themselves in financial trouble if you were to pass, or vice versa, you if they were to. If you are very ill before you pass away, you will incur many health costs, many of which may be passed on to your spouse or children if you pass away. Many seniors may have to live with a child if they are on their own and need help, and this may put a financial burden on the affected family members. There are also funeral costs to consider. It is important to ensure that your family members can recoup any financial losses after you pass away.
- Facts and Statistics: Life Insurance, Information Insurance Institute.