September in Ontario is a month of change. We turn from summer into autumn. The leaves change colour and the weather gets colder. It also happens to be Life Insurance Awareness Month. That may not have the street cred of other branded months on social media, it is important. It is a gentle reminder to those of us who work in the industry to promote it to a wider audience, and to reach out to those customers who may need to update their policies.
If you have a life insurance policy, then now is a great time to review it with your advisor? Have your circumstances changed? Big life events happen for families every year so it is important to re-evaluate your insurance situation semi-regularly. Maybe your family has expanded or you have different financial obligations you need to cover. Maybe you’ve just had a baby or you’ve finally tied the knot with your spouse (especially important this year as so many post-pandemic weddings are happening right now).
Recent life events require different levels of coverage. You will want to ensure that your policy reflects the coverage you need today.
Do you even have a life insurance policy?
Life insurance exists to cover debt after death. That’s the short of it. Those debts could be taxes or funeral costs, or paying off a mortgage. We own these policies so our loved ones are not burdened by debt when we pass.
Do you need to review your terms?
We’ve blogged about the difference between term insurance and permanent insurance before, but that is not what I mean by terms in this case. If you have long term loans, such as mortgages or business obligations you need to cover, insurance is a good way to cover this debt. Have your living expenses changed? Remember, these expenses won’t decrease drastically for your family when you are gone. In many cases they increase.
Do you need a policy review?
Maybe you recently got married or you’ve had a child. You may want to update your policy. You could also consider a different mix of policies, critical illness coverage and a permanent policy. A policy review can help uncover specific coverage requirements for your changed circumstances, and save you money in the long run. Your insurance costs go up as you get older so uncovering those factors early can be beneficial.
Increasing Your Coverage
Maybe your family has gotten bigger AND you’ve needed to move to a larger house to accommodate that change. First, congratulations. Second, you’ve probably taken on more debt. A new mortgage, a university fund, a minivan. If you have increased debt, increasing your coverage could be a way to ensure your family is not burdened with paying off that debt if you are no longer with them.
The most common reason Canadians update their life insurance policy is to cover an increased mortgage. Typically this is due to a number of financial factors, including that fact that life insurance is paid tax-free and fairly quickly. This means that a family can decide to pay off a debt immediately or continue to pay a mortgage and use their funds for other expenses.
Since it is life insurance awareness month, it is a great time to review your life insurance policy. As the seasons change from summer to fall, take a look at your insurance policy and see if that needs any changes. Call Hull Life at +1 (416) 364-0711 or talk to our advisors on social media.