Life insurance represents an extremely useful financial tool to solve a rare, but catastrophic potential problem, at an extremely low price. This low price is called the premium and the problem is the increased financial burden if one of the parents does not come home one night due to an untimely death. But that financial burden is much more than just the loss of income; it may also be the loss of the chief caregiver. That caregiver provides all sorts of economic value for the family. The loss of that caregiver can be a huge long term issue for the family moving forward.
Who Needs Life Insurance
To begin with, both parents working and not, need life insurance. Given its low cost and easy to understand format, term life insurance may be their best bet, it certainly will be the easiest option. There are of course financial situations with extremely wealthy families that may not need a life insurance policy, but those are rare in deed. If you don’t already have your child’s college education completely saved up for and have an additional half a million dollars in the bank, then you are not one of these people.
Many consumers incorrectly assume that it is the working spouse that only needs life insurance and this assumption is dead wrong. In the one working family household, the working spouse may bring home the money, but it is generally the non-working spouse that provides any number of roles and functions, often in the background.
Recent changes in our society have meant that increasingly the stay at home parent might just as well be the dad. Stay at home dads need life insurance as well.
Calculate Coverage Needs
One of the hardest parts about shopping for life insurance for stay at home parents is determining how much life insurance non-earning individual’s need. This is very important because getting the right amount of coverage in place may be the difference between happiness and sorrow.
The old rule with the working individual was to shoot for about ten times earnings. Since life insurance proceeds are typically income tax free, this would often leave the mourning family with a fairly sizable pile of cash to invest. This rule can also be turned around and used for the non-working spouse who can shoot for four to six times that income. Piled up together than the total life insurance policies could encompass 14 to 16 times the working spouse’s earnings.
There are certainly other more complicated methods to determining exactly how much life insurance that you will need. Sitting down and calculating exactly all of the costs needed to get your child out of the house and through college is really the ideal way.
Determine The Policy Length
Term life insurance policies are sold in bands of time, such as 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. Often it is best for clients to think of the time period that it will take to get your youngest, or youngest planned child, out of the house and even through college. For a newborn this could mean a 25 year term policy. When the youngest child is 12, it might mean a ten year policy. Since the policies are in five year increments, it’s not going to be picture perfect.
Should you Buy Life Insurance While you are Pregnant?
Many parents rush out to buy life insurance as soon as they are pregnant, but depending on your situation this may or may not be a good idea. In order to get the best price possible, many insurance policies require a paramedical exam which is a life insurance examination done at your home. Depending on your age, risk category, weight, and other medical professionals it may make sense to wait until after the pregnancy.
However if you are going to try and get the life insurance while you are pregnant I would suggest that you do it quickly, as in as soon as you can. Early on in the pregnancy it’s usually easier than later on.
How to Save Money on Term Life Insurance for the Stay at Home Spouse
There are all sorts of tips and secrets to purchasing level term life insurance. My favorite tip is to ask that candidates to do a little reading and understand about the major types of life insurance out there: Whole, Universal, and Term insurance. By doing your homework BEFORE you call an insurance agent you may protect yourself from buying an overpriced type of life insurance that you do not want or need.
Another best practice is to always check the financial strength rating of any insurance company before you buy the policy. Anything in the B range and below should probably be avoided if possible.
Many consumers don’t spend enough time shopping around for the right agent instead immediately choosing the first insurance agent that they come across. This could cost you big time, especially if you have a more complex life insurance case. Don’t just get a quote from your home auto carrier, but look around for an independent life insurance agent.
If you do have a complex underwriting situation from diabetes, or your weight, your best life insurance agency, believe it or not, may come from an online search. Some insurance agencies specialize in certain hard to write classes.
When buying life insurance as a stay at home mom or stay at home dad, you may have to consider how much insurance the other spouse currently has in force. Some insurance companies will not allow more insurance on the non-working spouse than the working spouse.
Lastly, don’t sign up for anything that you do not fully understand. If the insurance agent can’t explain it to you in five minutes or less, I’d consider other options.
About the Author
Scott W Johnson is the owner of WholeVsTermLifeInsurance.com – an independent comparative life insurance website that assists clients in learning and buying optimized life insurance products.