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How To Review Your Life Insurance Policy

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Whether you recently bought a life insurance policy or have had one for several years, now's the time to review it. Make sure you have adequate coverage and know exactly what's covered. 

Understand the Summary

Your paper policy or online life insurance account will include a one-page summary that outlines the type, amount and coverage your policy offers. Look at it and make sure you understand each line. If you don't, contact your insurance agent for an explanation. 

Verify the Death Benefit or Cash Value

Because life circumstances change, verify that the death benefit is adequate. You might need to increase coverage, and now's a good time to do that. 

You'll also want to verify the accuracy of the policy's cash value. Also, understand how it's calculated as you prepare for the future.

Check the Term

Let's say you bought your 15-year term life insurance policy five years ago when your kids were young. Now, though, your family has grown or your health has changed, and you need a longer term. Use this review to make sure the policy's term is long enough for your needs. 

Read the Restrictions

Does your policy require a waiting period before benefits can be paid or must you undergo an annual health exam? Know the restrictions to reduce surprises, ensure you're following the guidelines and not inadvertently doing something to void the policy.

Drop or Add Riders

Spousal benefits and a premium waiver if you become disabled are two of several life insurance riders. Update the riders on your policy and drop or add them as needed.

Change the Beneficiaries

Has your life insurance policy beneficiary changed? If so, update the policy to ensure the right person gets the money from your policy. 

Reviewing your life insurance policy should be something you do at least once a year. This task ensures your policy is current and accurate. For help meeting your life insurance needs, talk to your agent today. 


Do You Need Life Insurance If You're Retired?

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Would you cancel your auto insurance if you didn't make a claim in 10 years? Of course not. Yet some retirees cancel their life insurance because they think they don't need it. Consider several questions as you decide whether or not you need a life insurance policy if you're retired. 

Will Anyone Experience Financial Loss After You Die? 

If you're the primary breadwinner for your family, then yes, you need life insurance. It pays a death benefit to your beneficiaries and ensures they can pay daily living expenses or bills until they get on their feet. 

If you don't hold primary responsibility for your family's finances, then you may not need a life insurance policy. Remember, though, that the policy's death benefit can pay a beneficiary's college expenses or help your favorite charity. 

Do Your Survivors Need Money?

Your survivors may be fine without your life insurance payout. However, if they have a medical condition, college loan or young family, your life insurance policy payout could improve their quality of life. 

Do You Own a Large Estate?

After you die, the tax bill on your estate could total thousands of dollars. Instead of dipping into savings, your survivors could use money from your life insurance policy to pay this bill and protect your assets. 

Do You Have Adequate Retirement Income?

Your retirement accounts can determine whether or not you need life insurance. Talk to your financial planner and determine if you have adequate retirement resources. If you started saving late or didn't save enough, you may need life insurance to fill in the gap 
your survivors will face after your death. 

Can You Afford the Monthly Policy?

For some retirees, money is so tight that paying even a small life insurance premium isn't possible. However, if you can swing the few dollars, purchase a term life policy that will cover your funeral, repay your mortgage and relieve your spouse's financial worry. 

Despite what you've heard about life insurance, it can be beneficial during your retirement years. Discuss your needs and options with your insurance agent as you prepare financially for the future. 


Health Insurance Tips For Athletes

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Do you love playing basketball, doing karate or riding your bike? You need health insurance that covers all the injuries you might sustain while doing the activities you love. Here are a few tips that ensure you're covered. 

What Injuries Are Common Among Athletes?

Every sport has unique risks, including leisure spots like badminton. In fact, more than two million adults will suffer a sports injury this year. Common injuries include: 

- Bone fractures
- Concussion
- Rotator cuff injury 
- Anterior knee pain
- Tennis or Golfer's Elbow
- Sciatica

Which Athletes Are at Risk?

Of course, certain sports are more dangerous than others. For instance, rugby and lacrosse cause an average of one injury during every 33 hours of play, and basketball causes one injury every 71 hours of play. And don't forget the dangers of extreme sports like mountain climbing, motocross and boxing. Studies show that 90 percent of boxers suffer brain injuries. However, common sports carry risks, too. Aerobic dance class causes one injury every 100 hours. Make sure you have health insurance as you enjoy your favorite sport.

Update Your Health Insurance Coverage

Does your current policy cover your favorite sports activities? Some exclude treatment for injuries sustained while performing extreme sports or while visiting overseas locations. You'll want a rider or a different policy if you need coverage for these activities. 

Get Prompt Treatment

Waiting even a day to "see if the swelling goes down" can be disastrous after certain injuries. Be sure your health insurance allows you to see the doctor immediately. It should also allow for out-of-network treatment if you travel away from home to play sports. 

Make Sure Your Doctors are Covered

Some athletic injuries may require emergency room care, orthopedic surgery, physical therapy and regular visits to a primary care physician. Check your health insurance policy to make sure you can access these and other treatments you may need after a sports injury.

Knowing that sports are risky probably won't make you give up your favorite pastime. That means, though, that you have to have updated health insurance. Talk to your agent today to make sure you're covered. 


How to Choose a Health Insurance Deductible

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Health insurance deductibles are on the rise. This trend is partially because consumers save premium costs when they choose a high-deductible policy. Do you know how to choose a policy with a deductible you can afford? Use several tips as you choose the best health insurance for your needs.

Can You Afford the Deductible?

When you sign up for a high-deductible policy, you might think it's okay because you can stretch that deductible over the year. What happens, though, when you have an accident and reach that deductible in one day? Make sure you have money saved to cover the deductible you choose.

Can You Afford the Premium?

Low-deductible policies often include low-cost premiums. With the money you save, you can balance your monthly budget, save an emergency fund or save the deductible cost. However, saving money each month could backfire if you're slammed with a large bill after your child is injured while riding his bike or if you're diagnosed with a chronic illness. Consider all of your risks as you decide whether to opt for low monthly premiums or a low deductible. 

Does the Deductible Cover Your Family or Just You?

Certain health insurance policies include a low individual deductible but a high family deductible. If you have kids, you could end up paying a large deductible during the year. Read the fine print and understand exactly what the deductible is for each person in your family.

Do You Need a Major Procedure This Year? 

If you're considering a major medical procedure like a knee replacement or want to get pregnancy early in the year, choosing a health insurance policy with a high deductible might make sense. You'll quickly meet your deductible and then have the rest of the year "off." However, if your major procedure will happen late in the year, you might be better off with a low-deductible policy since you'll probably face significant expenses both this year and next year. 

Health insurance isn't an option, but you can choose the deductible you pay. With these tips and information from your insurance agent, you choose a policy at a price that meets your needs.