Your spouse is one of the most important people in your life — someone you love, trust and rely upon every day. But when it comes to life insurance, your spouse may play an even more important role than you realize.
The spouses of service members are often in charge of the “home front.” They may be the ones paying the bills, dealing with household tasks and managing family schedules. This makes your spouse a knowledgeable resource when thinking about how much life insurance you need. Your spouse knows the ins and outs of your family expenses and debts and can give you a clear picture of how much monthly income your loved ones would need to maintain their standard of living in the event of your death.
Life insurance isn’t just something that the family breadwinner should consider. Even if your spouse is not employed or works part time, they contribute to child care, maintenance, housework and more. By making sure you both are adequately covered, your family can enjoy greater peace of mind, knowing that you are prepared for the worst possible outcomes.
Understandably, no one wants to dwell on the thought of life without their loved ones, but it is a vital discussion that can make a huge difference at a difficult time in the future. Use the following tips to make having that conversation a bit easier:
Do your research: Go into the conversation after you have done some background research on life insurance. Service members can get up to $400,000 of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage through the military, and spouses of service members can get up to $100,000 of coverage through Family SGLI. Is this enough to protect your family? If not, learn about the different types of life insurance and try to get a basic idea of what might be right for your situation. Having background knowledge will make a conversation with your spouse that much smoother.
Get your foot in the door: Instead of bringing up life insurance arbitrarily, use births, deaths, divorces and large purchases as a relevant way to broach the topic. All of these situations can be tied to changing life insurance needs.
Make time: It’s not always easy to find a chunk of time when you can sit down without any distractions. Setting aside even an hour or so to discuss your insurance needs – first with your spouse and then with an insurance representative or financial planner — is well worth your time investment.
Make the conversation part of a bigger financial discussion: Though the main point of the conversation is to evaluate your life insurance needs, it’s not just a conversation about insurance. You do not have to focus on death to have a life insurance conversation; instead, frame the conversation around financial security and your goals for your loved ones.
To determine your needs, you need to share your goals as a family, your dreams for your children and more. Those things take planning, too, and can be part of an exciting discussion about the future. Do you want to finance higher education for your children? Do you want to pay off your mortgage? Do you want to ensure there is money to care for aging family members?
Once you have an idea of your goals, look at your finances and budget. Find the balance between how much life insurance you need and how much coverage you can afford. This sweet spot will ensure that your family is covered financially in the event of your or your spouse’s death but won’t affect your family’s budget tremendously.
Set a timetable for action: Giving yourself a deadline, blocking time on your calendar to make a phone call to an insurance representative and preparing for a medical exam ahead of time can help break the life insurance process into a manageable to-do list that you can give the attention it deserves. You can expect a decision on your policy application four to six weeks after our underwriting department receives your application and any medical information requested.
Life insurance ensures that your loved ones won’t struggle financially after you are gone. Depending on your age (and theirs), life insurance could help your spouse cover the expenses of raising children, help your children attend their dream colleges or help your beneficiaries pay for your end-of-life costs, including medical bills and funeral arrangements. Having this financial safety net in place ahead of time gives your family the security they need to continue living their lives after you are gone.
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