Tracy Hartman joined Advanced Insurance Solutions as a personal lines agent. A 10-year veteran of the insurance industry, she has a particular interest in life insurance.
She explains her philosophy and the importance of life insurance in this Q&A.
You have a passion for life insurance. Why?
I am an advocate for protecting what is most important in life, your family. One of the ways is by protecting their financial future, which is where life insurance can play a huge role.
Most people do not realize the financial hardship families are faced with after the death of a loved one. Sometimes it is only the final expenses, but many times it also is the loss of income.
Unfortunately, I have seen families go into debt to cover the final expenses of parents, spouses, children, even brothers and sisters. I also have seen spouses and children have to leave their family home and move because they can’t overcome the loss of income.
It is devastating enough to grieve the loss of a loved one; making sure that is not multiplied by financial woes is as simple as purchasing life insurance.
Where does life insurance fall in a typical consumer’s list of priorities?
Unfortunately, it is not generally at the top of the list. People will gladly insure their large-value assets, such as autos and homes, but they do not seem to put that same value on their own lives. And I ask, why not?
Does life insurance tend to be one of those topics that people don’t like to talk about because it involves mortality, similar to the way people avoid estate planning?
No one really wants to talk about their mortality, but it is a guaranteed fact of life and a necessary conversation.
Perhaps this coverage should have a different name, maybe we should just refer to it as family protection insurance. I think that better describes the main function of life insurance.
Can you describe the process for acquiring life insurance? How long does it take, and what does it involve?
Acquiring life insurance is not very difficult. I recommend scheduling an appointment to sit down with your agent and have a discussion regarding your life insurance needs. This can vary greatly from one person to the next.
Once you and your agent have chosen a product and coverage amount that best suits your needs and budget, the application process is fairly simple in most cases.
Some policies may require a paramedical exam, which is a home visit from an RN who will generally take a blood and urine sample, blood pressure reading, and height and weight. The application information and medical exam reports will be reviewed by the company’s underwriting department for final issuance. Based on an individual’s health, preferred rates may be applied, which results in a lower premium for the insured.
What types of life insurance products are available? What’s the difference between term and whole life, for example?
There are many different versions of the same types of life insurance out there on market. But yes, they all stem from term, whole or universal life coverage.
• Term insurance is best used when a large amount of coverage is needed for a particular amount of time. This policy does not build any cash value. The premium remains level through the term. Once the term is up, the policy can be renewed for the same terms but the premium will increase based on the insured’s new age.
• With whole life, the rate is set, so the premium will never increase. Most whole life policies give the option to pick a number of years to pay for the policy or to pay to a certain age. These policies build cash value, generally at a guaranteed rate and sometimes with dividends.
• Universal life is most similar to whole life in that there is no set date when the policy will end, and some universal policies build cash value.
How expensive is life insurance?
This is the most difficult question to answer because it varies greatly by product, benefit amount, and the individual applying for the coverage. Many clients have told me they put off purchasing life insurance because they thought they could not afford the premium. Life insurance is more affordable than you may think, so talk with your agent about it.