Tips on when to revisit your life insurance cover.
Buying life insurance can help ensure your loved ones are financially secure should the worst happen. But once you’ve bought life cover, it’s important to not just put your policy documents in a drawer and forget about them - make sure your cover is kept up to date.
Life insurance is often first bought when you are young and buying your first house. However, most people’s circumstances are likely to change in the years that follow.
It’s therefore important to ensure your policy covers your current obligations and is sufficient to support your family’s needs.
There are several life events which should cause you to revise your life insurance:
Finding a partner – When single, you might have bought life cover to pay off funeral costs and other expenses you didn’t want your parents to face if you died.
Now you’ve got a partner, you will want to ensure both of you would be secure if one of you dies. At this stage you might want to look at joint life insurance.
You may also need to change the beneficiaries named on the life policy. If you don’t this could lead to potential problems for your spouse or partner if you die.
Having a child – If you’re starting a family, you might want to consider increasing the amount of cover. Alongside paying off the mortgage, you might need to think about education fees, childcare costs if your partner would have to return work and so on.
Change of job – If you land a new position with an increased salary, you might want to raise your insurance cover to ensure your family will be able to afford the lifestyle your increased wages will offer.
Change of employment status – If you lose your current job, or indeed switch to a new company, you may no longer have life insurance benefits, which had been previously provided by your employer.
Change of health – If you are facing health problems, you should inform your life insurer as this could affect your ability to buy additional life insurance cover. You might want to switch from term insurance to a permanent policy to fix in your current rates for life.
Divorce – There are likely to be a large number of financial issues which will be addressed if a relationship breaks down. One of these is life insurance.
Divorce settlements may include a proviso that a husband or wife takes out life insurance to provide continuation of support payments to an ex-spouse in the event of a death.
You may want to change the named beneficiary in your policy. If you are changing it to your children, you may want to set up a trust, which sets out how the proceeds of the policy are paid out.
Tip: Don’t simply restrict your review of life insurance to these major life events. It’s something you should look at annually to ensure it still meets your needs.