I’m not talking about setting your clock backward or forward. Sure not talking about your underwear cause I just don’t get that personal. What I’m talking about is changes to your life insurance. Did your child tick you off and you still have them as beneficiary of $500,000 which of course leads to the question of whether they know that and how ticked are they at you?? Have you been married three times now and your first wife is still the beneficiary? Even if the court ordered that first life insurance policy remains in force for your first wife, don’t you think someone might be a little put out when they find out your ex two times removed gets $500k and they don’t get anything?
Those, other than being ticked at the child, are some serious lapses, but not as common as those changes that should have been made that can leave you without insurance and unable to get more. Here are 5 things you should keep track of and the same 5 are reasons to have a life insurance agent who stays in touch.
- Change of address. For any of us who have moved the whole idea of making sure we put a change of address in place can be daunting and full of fatal flaws. It’s one thing to fill out the forms on line or at the PO to have mail forwarded, but I’m here to tell you first hand that it isn’t quick. It should be. It should show up at the old post office and get a preprinted forwarding address on and put back in the outgoing mail. Theoretically it shouldn’t delay you getting mail by more than a few days, but it really ends up being more like 1-2 weeks. If that is a bill you would likely be getting it in the grace period and may not understand the urgency. If it is a late notice or a notice that an eft was rejected, again the urgency may not be understood and a policy could lapse. Know your agent and know their contact info. Make sure they know before you move that you will be and get any change of address done with the life insurance company ahead of time.
- Change of bank account. Paying on a monthly basis through electronic funds transfer is easy and bombproof until you change banks and neglect to tell the life insurance company. Then when they go to draft your account it bounces and they may or may not try again, but either way it would still bounce. Then you may or may not receive a failed eft notice in the mail in time to salvage the policy before it lapses. Again. Your Agent. Know how to contact them and do it before things start moving and they will provide the correct forms to get you through it.
- Change of Name. Did your boyfriend make you the beneficiary before marriage and you are still named under your maiden name? Is your name misspelled either as the owner or beneficiary on a policy? Correct those things as they occur or as you run across them. They aren’t self correcting.
- Change of beneficiary. Keep track as children are born and for goodness sake, think this through. Children of any age aren’t going to be cut large checks by insurance companies. Consider some legal way for another person or a trust to accept and dispense those funds as needed.
- Change of Plans. You may or may not have a life insurance agent that tries to sell you more insurance on your birthday, anniversary, and every other known excuse they can think up, but be open to the fact that you may not have gotten it right the first time around. You may need less 20 year term and some 30 year term to go with it instead of all 20 year term. You might find a prudent need to add some small amount of permanent insurance as final expense coverage, something that outlasts all the term. Make those changes when you’re healthy.
Bottom line. A good life insurance agent should be willing to review your coverage and answer your questions at any time. They should reach out to you at least annually, not to sell you anything, but with a goal of letting you know where everything stands with your current coverage. If you have questions or can’t find your agent and need someone to review what you have without cramming more down your throat, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.