|Kids gone? 20 insurance tips for empty nesters
Proceed with caution when it
comes to health insurance discount
"Make sure you're getting
into a legitimate program,"
Sevigny says. One way to find
out: Call your state's insurance
department, office of consumer
affairs or attorney general's
office. "Most states regulate
or license insurance products,"
|Life, disability and long-term care
|You're older, and your kids no longer
depend on you. That can change your insurance needs and
can offer the possibility of real savings.
|Tips to save on
16. Calculate how much life insurance you need.
If the kids are through college, the mortgage is paid, and one or
both of you is retired, you might not need to carry as much life
It is usually meant to replace lost income. When you
retire and start tapping your assets, there is no income to replace.
"It's one of the quick areas we look at to reduce expenses," says Benjamin Tobias, CFP, CPA, with Tobias Financial Advisors in Plantation, Fla.
If at least one of you is retired, also look at the
other side. Is there money coming in now that would stop or be reduced
if one of you died? Would the money that is available be enough
for the survivor to live comfortably? Are there special needs to
consider, such as supporting an elderly parent or disabled child,
or paying off a home or second mortgage?
"Don't just assume that because the kids are gone, you can drop the life insurance," says Lankford.
17. Check your disability coverage.
"Most disability polices require you to be disabled from work,"
says Sevigny. If you're retired and not working, do you need it?
18. Look at the type of life insurance you carry.
If you want to keep term insurance and you're fairly healthy, shop
around. Term life is one area of insurance where rates have actually
gone down, says Lankford. "You may be able to get a new policy
at a better rate or lock in a longer time period at the same rate,"
If you carry permanent life (not term), you don't want to just stop paying. Find out if you can cash it out, turn it into an annuity or convert it to a self-sustaining policy where the income it produces will cover the premiums, says Thomas Posey, CFP and attorney, president of Posey Capital Management Inc. in Houston.
19. Consider long-term care coverage.
Typically, 50 to the mid-50s is the time to start thinking about long-term care," says Posey. "There's nothing magic about that age, but that's kind of when people start to get worried about it."
The important thing with long-term
care is to understand exactly what a policy will (and won't)
provide so that you can get one that includes the options you want.
For instance, some people buy the policies to give them access to
home care after a medical problem. But not every policy will provide
"In the world
of insurance, this is a relatively
new product," says Sevigny.
What you want is an agent who
is well versed in the nuances
of long-term care policies and
what each will (and will not)
do for you.
20. Strategize your spending.
Do you want to take cash you're not spending on life insurance and
buy a good long-term-care policy? Or can you use some of it to beef
up your retirement accounts?
It's also a good time to deal with people you trust, and evaluate decisions over both the long and short term. Says Sevigny, "Take it slow, be careful, do your research and get references."
Dana Dratch is a freelance writer based in Atlanta.