012a“We’d like you to come back for a retest on your mammogram as we have found a spot that we want to analyze further.” 

That was the dreaded call I received this summer after my first mammogram.  I tried not to panic.  After all, at the initial mammogram, the technician had told me that getting called back is not unusual, especially after a first mammogram because that one is used as a baseline for all the rest of your mammograms.  Still, I was concerned.

One of my first thoughts?  Why didn’t I get a second life insurance policy while I was still healthy?  I knew that an abnormal mammogram or a tumor would affect my chances of getting a reasonably priced life insurance policy.

We’re Underinsured

My husband and I each took out 20 year term life insurance policies when Bookworm was born.  Those policies now only have 11 years left on them, and Cuddle Bug is only 3.  That means the policies will end when our kids are 20, 16, and 14.5.  Simply put, we don’t have enough insurance.

We had planned to buy another policy for each of us this year so that there would be overlap on the policies and so that the last one would expire when Cuddle Bug is 23.  Still, we put it off.

And now I worried that I might have a problem with my mammogram.

After several repeat scans as well as an ultrasound, thankfully I was given the all clear.

Now, my husband and I plan to buy our second policy before the year ends, while we’re both still healthy.

Are You One of the Many Parents Without Any Life Insurance?

Do you have life insurance?

If you don’t, you’re one of the 25% of Americans who are married with small children that don’t have life insurance, according to MetLife.  That, my friend, is a very scary place to be.

Unfortunately, even among the 75% of married couples with kids who have insurance, many of them are underinsured.  While a small life insurance policy can help, it won’t provide long-term financial assistance to your family when they need it most.

While my dad had a small life insurance policy when he died at 38, it definitely wasn’t adequate.  We were okay the first year after my dad died, but after that, finances were a struggle.  If he’d had adequate life insurance, the already difficult grieving process would have been a bit less stressful.

Determining How Much You Need

One of the hardest parts of getting life insurance is determining how much you need.  There are many factors to consider that you probably haven’t even thought of.  Unfortunately, the rule of thumb to purchase 8 to 10 times your income is not always a good fit for everyone, especially a stay at home mom.

For instance, I bring in less than 40% of our monthly income, but my husband would need that income to meet our monthly obligations.  In addition, I am also the sole child care provider, and I homeschool the kids.  He’d need to hire childcare and find money to put our kids back in private school since the public schools here are less than desirable.  In short, I provide a lot for the family that I’m not paid for, but if I died, my husband would need to pay someone else to do what I do.

To determine how much more insurance we need, my husband and I recently used an online life insurance calculator.  I loved this tool because it helped us consider extenuating circumstances that we hadn’t considered before.

For instance, our family gets life insurance through my husband’s job.  If he were to die, we’d no longer have life insurance.  If I didn’t get a job immediately, we’d have to pay for private insurance, which can be quite pricey.  The calculator program took that cost into consideration when recommending how much insurance we should take out for my husband.

In addition, the calculator also allowed us to enter the amount of insurance we already have and when it will expire.

Surprisingly, the tool said we needed a little less insurance than we were already planning to buy, which was a pleasant surprise.

My health crisis, though short-lived, was a reminder that we shouldn’t procrastinate when buying our second policy.  Sure, money is tight, and it’d be easier not to pay for another premium, but I know that is short-sighted thinking.  If the unthinkable happened, I wouldn’t want to worry about money as my mom had to.

Do you have life insurance?  How did you determine how much to take out?

This post is underwritten by Coverpath.  All opinions are my own.

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