COVID-19 has changed our world dramatically over the past few weeks, altering lifestyles and sparking many to take action. People are quickly buying toilet paper, soap, food—even life insurance. The latter, at least, is a great idea. With only 57% of Americans owning life insurance in 2019, many families should be getting covered as soon as possible.
In normal circumstances, people tend to underestimate risk and often fail to take measures that could improve their lives five, ten, or thirty years down the road. Planning for the future is essentially having empathy for your future self, but it can be hard to keep your future self in mind when the needs of the day seem so much more urgent. Making that future seem real and important can be a challenge. Studies have shown that when people are confronted with an image of their older selves and asked to make decisions shortly afterward, the people will generally make safer, wiser, and more conservative choices in the present.
A global crisis is a similar window to the future. Coronavirus has given us a sense of urgency and exposed the need for good planning. Life insurance prepares you for the worst-case scenario, but it can also give you options for protecting your wealth and enjoying benefits while you're alive. It's not too late to put that plan in place to protect your family and their future.
Take Advantage of All Life Insurance Has to Offer
The important thing is to take action. The best insurance is one that’s in place when you need it. You can start the process of getting covered today, and the earlier you get it, the cheaper it is. Many insurance companies are doing their part in social distancing by using virtual systems to get people the coverage they need. Most people think of term insurance with a simple death benefit when they’re looking for coverage — 10-, 20- or 30-year plans with death benefits that will help your family should you die — but life insurance comes in many forms, including policies that build cash value, provide living benefits, and provide for retirement.
For anyone worried about their savings with the recent market volatility, now’s also a good time to buy an indexed policy. These products use an indexing method to credit interest to a policy so even if the market’s rate of return goes negative, you will not lose the interest credited to your policy.
These policies can include Accelerated Benefit Riders, also known as living benefits, which allow you to access all or part of your death benefit while you’re still alive. These benefits can be used if you have a qualifying terminal, chronic or critical illness. While simply getting sick doesn’t qualify, if an infectious disease like COVID-19 turns into a critical or chronic illness, is determined to be terminal, or if you are unable to perform what are called Activities of Daily Living, you may be able to access part of your death benefit early. Receiving this money through life insurance means that you can use it for anything from medical expenses, in-home care and household bills, paying for a wedding, a home for your family or covering childcare costs.
If you’re looking for tax advantages and protection against market volatility, indexed policies make sense in the long term. In times of emergency, you can borrow against the accumulated cash value when you need it — if your place of work temporarily closes, for example, or you want to strengthen your emergency fund. Upon retirement, you can access your cash value through tax-free policy loans. When choosing the right policy, remember:
- Use indexed policies if you want to take advantage of compound interest, tax benefits and market protection.
- Prioritize living benefits if you want to be able to cover costly medical treatment, in-home care and maintain your lifestyle in the event of a chronic, terminal, or critical illness or disability.
- If your main concern is taking care of loved ones in the event of your premature death, and you only expect to need the coverage for a fixed period-of-time, a term policy might be a good place to start.
It’s Important to Act Now
The benefits of life insurance have never been clearer—take the urgency of this global event as initiative to get covered. The importance of life insurance is clear. Now is the time to protect your family, safeguard your wealth, and provide for the future. Get covered as soon as possible to give yourself financial security and peace of mind.