As we’re all aware, COVID-19 has had a massive effect on people individually and the economy at-large. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 12 million people were unemployed in the United States in September.1
One potential side-effect of these job losses is the possible loss of access to employer-provided group life insurance coverage. Group life insurance is a valuable workplace benefit, but with some policies, coverage ends when employment ends.2
An individual life insurance policy may make sense for those who want coverage that’s untethered to their employer.
While many group life insurance carriers have been working with customers to keep affected employees covered during these uncertain times, purchasing an individual life insurance policy may make sense for those who want coverage that’s untethered to their employer. If you pursue this option, make sure you have asked and answered the right questions. Here are some to consider.
- Why do you want coverage in the first place? Will your unexpected death place an undue burden on your loved ones? If your income is the source of financial security for others, then personal coverage may make sense for you.3
- Can you act proactively? Purchasing individual life insurance today can enhance any coverage offered by your employer. This purchase can mitigate the potential loss of group life insurance coverage if your employment situation changes.
- Is additional life insurance available within your family? If a spouse has coverage, expanding their coverage may also make financial sense.
- Can you demonstrate insurability? Your health and financial wellness play a role in receiving individual life insurance coverage, but they may not prevent it. Health factors such as smoking, heart disease and family history may affect how much coverage you receive and at what cost.
- What can you afford? Most importantly, take a realistic look at how much coverage you can afford—or if it’s appropriate at all. Unemployment or a constrained budget isn’t always a barrier, but it may affect which type of coverage is appropriate. In general, term life insurance (which covers you for a specific number of years) is more affordable than permanent life insurance (which covers you for your lifetime). An insurance professional can help you learn more about your options and what’s best for you.
Awareness and proactive behaviors are the keys to helping ensure you have life insurance coverage if your employment ends unexpectedly. If you are concerned about your job security, take time to consult your human resources department. Your group policy may have an option that allows you to convert some or part of your life insurance benefits to an individual policy, or a portability feature that lets you continue your group policy coverage for a certain amount of time. Both options typically have associated costs, so be sure to review the information provided to determine which solution fits best with your overall financial plan.
There isn’t a one-size solution when it comes to staying covered, but an individual life insurance policy may help provide protection that stays with you and adapts to your changing needs. Talk to an insurance professional to find out what works best for you.