Life Insurance – The Elephant in the Room

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By Victoria Ostrosky

Victoria Photo

“I know I can do this today,” Jessica thought. “It’s been six months since Darrin’s death, and it’s time.” She was standing at his desk, her fingers resting gently on the now dusty surface, still trying to envision him sitting there.

Underneath a pile of documents, she found a legal pad. There were a few pages written in his distinctive print-cursive she had loved so much. She expected to find lists of ‘Things to do’ for his work, but then she took a closer look. It was a list, but not for work.  It was for life. His life.

Why, it was a list of things to be thankful for! What was the date? Oh, here it was at the top of the page. Almost exactly three years ago. She remembered now. He had been going through a period of depression and their Pastor must have recommended this as part of his therapy.

“I am thankful for…” he had written on the top line.

  1. My family
  2. My wife who puts up with my moods
  3. My little girls who light up my world… and on it went for a whole page

She sighed deeply, wiped her tears once again, and put the legal pad aside.

In another drawer she found a quote for life insurance dated six months before his unexpected death. Her hands shook uncontrollably as she read the information. The amount of coverage would have paid off their mortgage, debts, and put their girls through college.

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For many, life insurance is not a pleasant discussion and we like to avoid the topic. If only Darrin would have followed through on that quote, Jessica’s life and that of her daughters would be much different.

“In a 2015 study, 43% of Americans said they would feel a financial impact within six months if the primary wage earner died. Perhaps reflecting this concern, three of out 10 acknowledged that they need more life insurance coverage.” (LIMRA 2015)

Life insurance can do some amazing things for people. It can keep your families in their homes, pay off debts and loans, provide a stream of income, and assure a child’s education. It can also protect your business by keeping a family business in the family, protect a key employee so the business can continue while you search for and train a replacement, or fund a buy/sell agreement.

It is important to find the right fit and there are basically two types of life insurance (among many variations) term and permanent life insurance. Term insurance provides financial protection for your temporary needs for a set period of time (10, 20, or 30 years). They do not accumulate cash value, but offer maximum protection for a low price, level premiums and can usually be converted to a permanent policy if your needs or insurability change.

Permanent life plans are both whole life and universal life insurance policies. Whole life pays a guaranteed death benefit to your beneficiaries and offer potential for tax deferred growth, the ability to take withdrawals and loans for retirement, education or emergencies. With whole life policies, premiums are level over the life of the policy.

Another type of permanent life insurance is a product called Universal Life (UL). This life insurance has flexible payment and death benefit options, and riders to personalize the policy, including an indemnity based Long Term Care Insurance Rider.

And we must mention Long Term Care (LTC) coverage which is not the same; some are reimbursement style or indemnity style and some contain provision for increases in premiums. You should consider a linked benefit plan that is a fixed premium universal life policy that provides LTC coverage along with a death benefit. Being a cash indemnity plan it pays monthly benefits to the owner of the policy for whatever is needed for care including informal caregivers, family and friends.

With so many options, it’s difficult sometimes to decide what’s best for your situation.  Too many options can lead to paralysis of decision making. It’s always best to call your agent and discuss your needs and goals so that together, you can personalize the right product for your specific situation. Don’t put it off until it’s too late.

Darrin loved his family, but then left them in financial difficulty following his death. What kind of legacy do you want to leave?

Insurance Zone, owned by Joe and Lea Capers, is a full service commercial and personal lines insurance agency serving Destin, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach (30A) and Inlet Beach. Visit their Video Library on and watch three informative videos on Life Insurance ‘How much Do You Need, Term vs. Permanent and Protection from Financial Hardship,’ or call 850.424.6979. Victoria Ostrosky, author of this article is an Agent/CSR with IZ.

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