Chances are, if you have employee benefits, you have some type of life insurance coverage included. While great attention is paid to the details of the health insurance component, many people don’t pay attention to the life coverage. It’s important to know exactly what your group insurance covers, and to be sufficiently insured.
Group life insurance has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. It can be cheaper because the costs are pooled. This means that everyone enrolled in the plan, regardless of gender and/or health habits will pay the same amount. As well, marketing and sales costs may be absorbed by the insurer.
However group life insurance usually has a maximum coverage amount. Most plans will offer coverage around $25,000 and may not go any higher than three times your salary. Depending on your needs, you may require additional insurance coverage.
Another important factor is whether or not your group insurance is renewable. Most group life insurance is issued as renewable term, which means the premiums can increase at a steady rate. There is usually no guarantee of renewability and/or the cost of premiums. The master policy may also be revised without consulting the employees, which means you may not consistently have the same coverage and/or rates.
Your group life insurance will usually only cover you for as long as you remain with the same employer. This means that you may find yourself without coverage when changing employers but not having the same optimal health status as when you first started. This could be reflected in higher premiums if you apply for individual life insurance coverage. This is also applicable if your employer changes their insurance carrier. If you retire, you may not be covered anymore, and at a time when life insurance is important.
It is important while you are still in good health, are planning on getting married, having a baby, buying a home, etc. to know how much coverage you need. If your group benefits does not sufficiently cover you, then you may want to consider buying an additional policy to make sure all your needs are met. This can be done with either a term life or a whole life policy; talk to your broker about which is best for you. If you are planning on retiring and do not have any other life insurance, you can apply for Guaranteed Issue coverage. If you were not sick and/or injured when your group life was terminated, you will eligible to apply for the same amount of FollowMe Life coverage as you originally had. Your spouse can also apply with this program.
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