Types of Insurance Everyone Needs, Insurance Policies Everyone Should Have.

While we usually can’t prevent the unexpected from happening, sometimes we can get some protection. Insurance is meant to safeguard us, at least financially, should certain things happen. But there are numerous insurance options, and many financial experts will say you need to have them all. It can be difficult to determine what insurance you really need.

Purchasing the right type and amount of insurance is always determined by your specific situation. Factors such as children, age, lifestyle, and employment benefits play a role when you’re building your insurance portfolio. There are, however, four types of insurance that most financial experts recommend we all have: life, health, auto, and long-term disability.

Life Insurance

The greatest benefits of life insurance include the ability to cover your funeral expenses and provide for those you leave behind. This is especially important if you have a family that is dependent on your salary to pay the bills. Industry experts suggest a life insurance policy that covers 10 times your yearly income.But that’s a number not everyone can afford.

When estimating the amount of life insurance coverage you need, remember to factor in not only funeral expenses, but also daily living expenses. These may include mortgage payments, outstanding loans, credit card debt, taxes, child care, and future college costs.

According to a 2018 study by LIMRA, formerly known as the Life Insurance and Market Research Association, one in three families might not be able to meet their day-to-day expenses within a month of the primary breadwinner’s death.2

The two basic types of life insurance are traditional whole life and term life. Simply explained, whole life can be used as an income tool as well as an insurance instrument. As long as you continue to pay the monthly premiums, whole life covers you until you die.

Term life, on the other hand, is a policy that covers you for a set amount of time. There are other considerable differences between the two types of insurance, so you may want to seek the advice of a financial expert before you decide which is best for you. Factors to consider include your age, occupation, and number of dependent children.

Health Insurance


Statistically, you and your family are just one serious illness away from bankruptcy, according to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health in 2019. In the Journal’s survey of more than 900 Americans who filed for personal bankruptcy between 2013 and 2016, medical problems—from bills, income loss due to illness, or both—contributed to two out of three bankruptcies.3

Those numbers alone should incentivize you to obtain health insurance or review and possibly increase your current coverage. But with rising co-payments, increased deductibles, and dropped coverages, health insurance has become a luxury fewer and fewer people can afford. When you consider that the national average cost for one day in the hospital was $2,517 in 2018,4

 even a minimal policy is better than none.

The best and least expensive option may be participating in your employer’s insurance program, but many smaller businesses do not offer this benefit. The average annual premium cost to the employee in an employer-sponsored health care program was $7,188 for single coverage and $20,576 for a family plan in 2019, according to research published by the Kaiser Family Foundation.5

If you don’t have health insurance through an employer, check with trade organizations or associations about possible group health coverage. If that’s not an option, you’ll need to buy private health insurance.

Long-Term Disability Coverage
Long-term disability insurance is the one type of insurance most of us think we will never need. Yet, according to statistics from the Social Security Administration, one in four workers entering the workforce will become disabled and will be unable to work before they reach the age of retirement.6

Often, even those workers who have great health insurance, a nice nest egg, and a good life insurance policy don’t prepare for the day when they might not be able to work for weeks, months, or ever again. While health insurance pays for hospitalization and medical bills, you’re still left with those daily expenses that your paycheck generally covers.

Many employers offer both short- and long-term disability insurance as part of their benefits package. This would be the best option for securing affordable disability coverage. If your employer doesn’t offer long-term coverage, here are some things to consider before purchasing insurance on your own.

A policy that guarantees income replacement is optimal. More often policies pay out 50% to 60% of your income.8 The cost of disability insurance is based on many factors, including age, lifestyle, and health. The average cost is 1% to 3% of your annual salary.9 But before you buy, read the fine print. Many plans require a three-month waiting period before coverage kicks in, provide a maximum of three years’ worth of coverage, and have some significant policy exclusions.

Auto Insurance
There were 6.7 million car accidents in the U.S. in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.10 An estimated 38,800 people died in car crashes in 2019 alone.11 The number one cause of death for Americans between the ages of five and 24 was auto accidents, according to 2018 CDC data.12 Over 2.7 million drivers and passengers were injured in 2018.10 The 2010 economic costs of auto accidents, including deaths and disabling injuries, were around $242 billion.13

While not all states require drivers to have auto insurance, most do have regulations regarding financial responsibility in the event of an accident. States that do require insurance conduct periodic random checks of drivers for proof of insurance. If you do not have coverage, the fines can vary by state and can range from the suspension of your license, to points on your driving record, to fines from $500 to $1,000.

If you drive without auto insurance and have an accident, fines will probably be the least of your financial burden. If you, a passenger, or the other driver is injured in the accident, auto insurance will cover the expenses and help guard you against any litigation that might result from the accident. Auto insurance also protects your vehicle against theft, vandalism or a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or other weather-related incidents.

Again, as with all insurance, your individual circumstances will determine the cost of auto insurance. To make sure you get the right insurance for you, compare several rate quotes and the coverage provided, and check periodically to see if you qualify for lower rates based on your age, driving record, or the area where you live.

The Bottom Line
Most experts agree that life, health, long-term disability, and auto insurance are the four types of insurance you must have. Always check with your employer first for available coverage. If your employer doesn’t offer the type of insurance you want, obtain quotes from several insurance providers. Those who offer coverage in multiple areas may provide some discounts if you purchase more than one type of coverage. While insurance is expensive, not having it could be far more costly.

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5 Insurance Policies Everyone Should Have.

Protecting your most important assets is an important step in creating a solid personal financial plan, and the right insurance policies will go a long way toward helping you safeguard your earning power and your possessions. In this article, we discuss five policies you shouldn’t do without.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

The prospect of long-term disability (LTD) is so frightening that some people choose to ignore it. While we all hope that “nothing will happen to me,” relying on hope to protect your future earning power is not a good idea. Instead, choose a disability policy that provides enough coverage to enable you to enjoy your current lifestyle even if you can no longer continue working.

Long-term disability provides a monetary benefit equal to a portion (e.g., 50% or 60%) of the insured’s salary for covered disabilities. Long-term disability typically begins when short-term disability ends. To receive benefits, the disability must have occurred after the policy’s issuance and then, typically after a waiting period. Medical information, often confirmed by a physician, must be provided to the insurer for consideration.

Most long-term disability insurance policies categorize disabilities as own occupation or any occupation.1 Own occupation means the insured, due to disability, is unable to perform their regular job or a similar job. Any occupation means the insured, due to disability, is unable to perform any job for which they are qualified.

Similar to short and long-term disability insurance, workers’ compensation, or workers’ comp, it pays a monetary benefit to workers who become injured or disabled at work or while performing their jobs. Most states require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. In exchange, employees may not sue their employer for negligence.

While long-term disability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance both pay for disabilities, long-term disability insurance is not limited to disabilities or injuries occurring at work or while working.

Life Insurance


Life insurance protects the people that are financially dependent on you. If your parents, spouse, children, or other loved ones would face financial hardship if you died, life insurance should be high on your list of required insurance policies. Think about how much you earn each year (and the number of years you plan to remain employed), and purchase a policy to replace that income in the event of your untimely demise. Factor in the cost of burial too, as the unexpected cost is a burden for many families.

Health Insurance

The soaring cost of medical care is reason enough to make health insurance a necessity. Even a simple visit to the family doctor can result in a hefty bill. More serious injuries that result in a hospital stay can generate a bill that tops the price of a one-week stay at a luxury resort. Injuries that require surgery can quickly rack up five-figure costs. Although the cost of health insurance is a financial burden for just about everyone, the potential cost of not having coverage is much higher.

Homeowner’s Insurance

Replacing your home is an expensive proposition. Having the right homeowner’s insurance can make the process less difficult. When shopping for a policy, look for one that covers the replacement of the structure and the contents, in addition to the cost of living somewhere else while your home is repaired.

Keep in mind the cost of rebuilding doesn’t need to include the cost of the land since you already own it. Depending on the age of your home and the amenities it contains, the cost to replace it could be more or less than the price you paid for it. To get an accurate estimate, find out how much local builders charge per square foot and multiply that number by the amount of space you will need to replace. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of upgrades and special features. Also, be sure the policy covers the cost of any liability for injuries that might occur on your property.

Renters Insurance

Renters also need peace of mind that they will be made whole in the event of a loss. Fortunately, renters insurance is a type of property insurance available to people who rent or lease properties. This insurance provides coverage for personal belongings, liability, and additional living expenses for covered losses.

For one property, there may be two types of property coverage: homeowner’s insurance and renters insurance. However, homeowners insurance does not cover the personal property of the tenant. Therefore, it is important for lessees to obtain renters insurance to protect their assets.

Although renters insurance differs from homeowners insurance, they have the same components: coverage A for the dwelling, B for other structures, C for personal property, D for additional living expenses (also known as loss of use), E for liability, and F for medical payments.2 Because renters are not responsible for insuring the dwelling or other structures, coverages A and B are often set to $0.

Coverage C covers the personal property of the renter. Coverage D provides additional benefits for living expenses in the event of a loss. For example, if the renter is displaced from the home due to a fire, Coverage D provides covers the cost of living elsewhere, such as a hotel and food expenses. Coverage E provides coverage for injuries and property damage caused by the insured, and Coverage F covers medical expenses for guests of the renter on the property with permission.

Automobile Insurance

Some level of automobile insurance is required by law in most places. Even if you are not required to have it, and you are driving an old clunker that has been paid off for years, automobile insurance is something you shouldn’t skip. If you are involved in an accident and someone is injured or their property is damaged, you may be subject to a lawsuit that could cost you everything you own. Accidents happen quickly and the results are often tragic. Having no automobile insurance or purchasing only the minimum required coverage saves you only a tiny amount of money and puts everything else you own at risk.

Shop for Insurance Carefully
Insurance policies come in a variety of shapes and sizes and boast many different features, benefits, and prices. Shop carefully, read the policies, and talk to a licensed insurance professional to be certain you understand the coverage and the cost. Make sure the policies you purchase are adequate for your needs and don’t sign on the dotted line until you are happy with the purchase.

Consider enlisting the service of an insurance broker as they can search for policies across several insurance companies to find coverage that best suits your needs. Ask the broker to provide you with several options so you can compare features, provisions, and rates. Be in control of your protection by being well-informed to make a decision.

Insurance Policy FAQs


What Is a Whole Life Insurance Policy?
A whole life insurance policy is a permanent life insurance policy in which death benefits are paid upon the death of an insured. The whole life policy remains in force for the life of the insured as long as premiums are up-to-date. In addition to death benefits, whole life policies build cash value, which can be accessed during the insured’s lifetime.

What Is a Universal Life Insurance Policy?


A universal life (UL) insurance policy is permanent life insurance that allows the policyholder to invest their cash value in a separate account, which features funds tied to the stock market. It is a flexible policy, whereby premiums and death benefits can be adjusted.

How Do You Cancel an Insurance Policy?


A policyholder must cancel an insurance policy according to the cancellation provisions of their contract. Often, insurers allow policyholders to cancel by phone; however, some require the request in writing.

What Is an Umbrella Insurance Policy?


An umbrella policy is liability insurance that provides additional coverage in excess of the policyholder’s current policy limits. For example, if damages exceed the limits of a policyholder’s property insurance (e.g., home or auto), the umbrella policy will provide the additional liability coverage, up to policy limits. This type of insurance most benefits those with sizeable assets, which could be subject to seizure.

How Much Does a $1 Million Life Insurance Policy Cost?


The cost of a $1 million life insurance policy varies according to the type of life insurance issued—whole or term—the insured’s age, the insured’s health, and other underwriting factors. It could range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The best way to find out how much a $1 million policy costs you is to get quotes from a life insurance agent or broker.

What Is the Cash Value of a Life Insurance Policy?


The cash value of a life insurance policy is the amount in excess of the premiums that has accumulated in the policy. Cash value is the savings component of a permanent life insurance policy that accumulates interest and can be accessed by the policy’s owner in the form of a cash withdrawal or a loan.

What Is the Declarations Page of an Insurance Policy?


An insurance policy declarations page is the part of the insurance contract that includes the general policy information. This page lists the policy owner, insured, the face amount of coverage, and terms and conditions.

The Bottom Line
In life, losses are inevitable, and the degree to which these losses impact our lives varies. Insurance lessens the impact by providing financial benefits for covered losses. There are many types of insurance available, but there are some which top the charts in terms of importance. Home or property insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, and automobile insurance are five types that everyone should have.

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