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How Insurance Can Protect You Through the Years

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

They say that the only constant in life is change. And that’s true whether you’re 18, 80 or somewhere in between.

One thing to consider when life changes is your insurance coverage. Here are six common transitions that we can help you navigate.

You’re off to college.

With many policies, full-time students younger than 24 are automatically covered under their parents’ homeowners policy. Part-time students (or students who are 24 and older) may need to take out a renters insurance policy. If you choose to live in an apartment instead of a dorm, think about purchasing a separate renters insurance policy. (Learn more about renters insurance below.) When it comes to car insurance, you don’t need your own policy if you’re taking a family member’s car to school. If you’re a co-owner on the vehicle or if you own your own car, you probably need your own policy.

You’re renting your first place.

You found the perfect place, but since your landlord’s policy doesn’t typically cover your stuff, you’ll want to look into getting your own renters policy. In addition to protecting your belongings, a renters policy also provides worldwide liability protection for a situation like harming someone while riding your bike. If someone is hurt in your apartment, your policy most likely would pay his or her medical bills. A renters policy will often cover additional living expenses if your apartment is damaged and you can’t stay there because of something like a fire. There are many affordable options—plus, you can qualify for a discount if you purchase both a renters and an auto policy. In some cases, the discount can pay for pay for most (or all!) of the renters policy.

You just got married.

If you’re just starting out, you’ll definitely want to look into life insurance. Life insurance can be the most affordable way to help ensure that you or your new spouse is able to carry on if the unthinkable were to happen. Also remember to ask about your auto insurance. You could qualify for discounts, including a multi-car discount if both cars are insured by the same carrier. Finally, you may need extra coverage on an engagement or wedding ring. With a homeowners or renters policy, your coverage for lost or stolen jewelry is capped at $3,000. So if your ring is worth more, you’ll want to consider separate coverage.

You welcomed a bundle of joy.

You may have binkies, diapers and formula on your mind, but another thing to consider is life insurance protection for your family.formula on your mind, but another thing to consider is life insurance protection for your family. Everyone needs financial protection—even a stay-at-home parent. With life insurance, you can provide for your loved ones even if…well, you’re not there.

You retired and are renting a place somewhere warm for the winter.

No penalty for sand between the toes! If you’re going south, an extra policy is not needed in the majority of cases. That said, a lot depends on the policy you already have, how long you’ll be gone and what kinds of things you’ll be taking to your temporary home. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to check in with Melendez Insurance before you head south.

You or a loved one is entering an assisted living facility.

When it’s time for help with care, it’s a good idea to consider a renters policy if you or a loved one is entering an assisted living facility. A renters policy covers belongings—and, more important, personal liability. For instance, renters insurance could cover your loved one if he or she was responsible for injuring someone.

Many people can’t afford to pay big medical bills out of pocket, so definitely contact us before making the move.

How to Age Gracefully With Your Parents and Plan for the Future

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Son Giving Senior Parent Financial Advice In Home Office

Have you ever read the children’s book Love You Forever, where the mother cares for her growing son until, as a grown man, the son cares for his aging mother? The story depicts a parent/child role reversal that many experience in real life.

Talking about aging with parents can be difficult. But being honest about the topic is important. To help guide the conversation, here are four common concerns you may face with an aging parent and tips on how to address them.

Decide on Living Arrangements Early
Multi-level homes or complicated floor plans might make everyday living difficult and dangerous for aging parents. Discussing it sooner rather than later, while parents are active and not in a distressed state, can help them ease into the idea of new living arrangements like a one-story home or assisted living facility.

If parents insist on staying in their current home, consider homecare and installing assistive equipment, like handrails, as needed.

Focus on the Road
Ninety-year-old Vivian Cash, who started driving in 1949, loved the independence that comes with driving. While priding herself on never having an accident, she had a near-miss that resulted in her decision to stop driving.

“If I’m driving my car and I had a problem, I could hurt someone or myself. It just isn’t worth it,” explained Vivian. “My doctor told me I’m going to live to 100 and I’m planning a big party. I want to be here to enjoy it.”

Once you begin to notice a difference in your parents’ driving ability, consider suggesting a driving class that may help sharpen skills and also lower insurance costs. Offer to accompany them to classes so they don’t feel alone. Help map out ways for your parents to get to all of their daily activities via alternate transportation. Encourage them to sign up for group activities with friends where carpooling moves them from point A to point B.

Update Important Documents

Ensure parents have a will and that it’s been updated in the past five years. A lot can change in five years, so be sure it reflects their current wishes. Establish who will be in charge of executing the details and determine where the documents will be stored for quick and easy access.

Any updates to the will also need to be reflected in life insurance policies, since life insurance beneficiaries take precedence over what is specified in the will. Consider working with a trusted advisor who can help with insurance and retirement planning.

Gather Financial Information
Speaking of retirement planning–it’s important to discuss finances. Help your parent create a list that includes bank, benefits, pension, debt payment and other account information. You’ll also need to have ready access to usernames and passwords for each account. Keep this information in a binder or notebook somewhere like a fire-resistant safe, along with items like tax files and car titles.

Although these conversations are not easy, planning for the future will be less intimidating and will make everyone better prepared for the changes ahead.

What Happens If I Outlive My Term Life Insurance Policy?

Monday, August 8th, 2016

In the vast majority of cases, you won’t get a payout when your term life insurance policy expires. The exception is a return of premium policy, which returns all of the money you paid over the years back to you. However, the premium is usually much higher for this option than it would be for the average term life policy.

To avoid losing the premiums you’ve paid out over the years, you might consider converting your term life policy to a permanent policy like whole life or universal life. For many, life and financial circumstances might have made a term life policy the best choice in the past. Now might be the right time to change to a permanent policy.

The differences between a term life and permanent life policy

A term life policy tends to be more affordable, but only covers you for a specific amount of time. Policy lengths can last from as little as five years to as long as 30 years. You choose what works for you.

Permanent life insurance may cost more, but it lasts your entire life and can build you cash value that increases the longer the policy is in force. Most term life policies allow you to convert to a permanent life policy. Although your premium may go up, you can now have a policy that lasts your entire life and lets you build your wealth.

If you decide to convert your term life policy to a permanent life policy, you may be able to skip the medical exam or other steps that you went through to get your term life policy. It pays to convert ASAP since the sooner you open your permanent plan, the more time your money will have to grow over the course of your life.

Use Just a Tiny Percent of What You Already Spend to Protect Your Kids

Monday, March 21st, 2016

LifeInsForKidsDo you know how much it takes to raise a child these days? Are you sitting down?That would be almost a quarter of a million dollars.  It costs $245,000 to raise a child born in 2013 until they hit 18, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

This is not about a luxury upbringing. This is no Kardashian-esque baby outfitted in cashmere onesies. This is not about a privileged college education, because these numbers do not include the cost of college. That’s extra. Add on about $18,000 a year for public and $41,000 a year for private college.

This number—$245,000—is a place to live, food, clothes, health care…the basics.

You’re here to take care of these expenses now. But what happens if something were to happen to you? If an average middle-income family is spending around $13,000 a year on their child,that money would have to come from somewhere.

That’s where life insurance comes in. If you take between one and two percent of what you already spend on your child each year—or about $200—it could pay the yearly premium for $250,000 in term life insurance coverage. If something happens to you, your child would be okay financially.

We’ve used a healthy 30-year-old dad or mom (who doesn’t smoke!) who gets a 20-year level term policy for the above example. Age and health will vary the amount of your premium—as your age increases or health decreases, the price goes up.

But the truth is, setting aside one to two percent of what you’re already spending on your child is a small price to pay to protect them. There’s no reason to wait. To help you figure out how much life insurance you might need, contact Melendez Insurance. We can help you decide the amount and type of protection is right for you, and how affordable life insurance can be to protect the ones you love most.

Life Insurance is More Affordable Than Most People Think

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Whether you’re someone saving for retirement, a stay-at-home parent or a cosigner on a student loan, you may have a need for life insurance.

Yet you may feel held back by the expense of buying a life insurance policy. The good news: Life insurance probably costs a lot less than you think.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about the true cost of life insurance.


What All Single Parents Should Know about Life Insurance

Friday, October 10th, 2014

single-parent-life-insurance-childThere is no denying that it is difficult being a single parent. Though it can be highly rewarding, juggling work, child-rearing, bill-paying and other responsibilities can sometimes be overwhelming. If you are in such a position, know that you are far from alone. A recent report by the U.S. Census shows that as of 2008, single-parent households made up 29.5 percent of all American households with children. The numbers have undoubtedly risen since then.

As parents, we all want what is best for our children. Though it isn’t fun to think about, it is important to consider what might happen to them in the unfortunate event that we meet an untimely demise, particularly when there is not another parent in the picture. Knowing that you have friends or family members who would be willing to take in and raise your children in such a situation is not enough. Life insurance also plays a crucial role in securing your children’s future.

How Can Life Insurance Help My Children?

Nobody expects to pass away during the prime of their life. This is mainly because it is a rare occurrence and one that you need not dwell on too much. However it can, and sometimes does, happen. Over the years, I have seen a number of people posting links to accounts set up to raise money to help the children of single parents who have passed away suddenly. While people can be generous during these times of need, the money raised is typically barely enough to cover burial costs. What do the kids do next?

A sizable life insurance policy can ensure that your children and their guardians have the funds needed for a solid upbringing as well as college or trade school tuition should your children decide to further their education beyond high school. Furthermore, it can give your children a financially secure platform to stand on as they enter into adulthood.

Unfortunately, according to a 2011 Genworth Financial LifeJacket Study, as much as 69 percent of all single parents with children living at home do not have life insurance. Listed below are four common reasons this coverage is not purchased.

I Already Have a Plan for My Children’s Future If I Should Pass Away

You may have already spoken with friends or family members, who have assured you that they would raise your children if anything were to happen to you. However, they may be talking in the abstract and not taking into consideration the large financial burden this could place on them.

According to CNN’s “Money Magazine,” the current average cost to raise a child to adulthood with a middle-class upbringing is just over $245,000. And that does not include the cost of college tuition.

By naming chosen guardians for your children in your will and listing them as beneficiaries on your policy, you can ensure that they have the added finances necessary to provide your children with the best possible upbringing.

I Already Have Life Insurance Coverage Through My Work

If you are fortunate enough to work for a company that provides life insurance coverage as part of your benefits package, that’s great! However, you should not rely on that coverage alone.

For starters, the coverage offered may not be enough to cover the many expenses that your children or family members who are caring for them may face. More importantly, unless you are in a position in which you are tenured or under an airtight long-term employment contract, there is no guarantee that you will still have your job five or ten years into the future.

Employer-provided life insurance policies are no longer valid once you stop working for your company. If, by the time you leave your job, you have been diagnosed with a serious illness or have had other health complications, purchasing affordable life insurance may be difficult, or even impossible. It doesn’t hurt to have a term policy that is portable and have that policy supplemented by a work-provided policy.

Life Insurance Is Too Expensive for My Limited Budget

It is a common misconception that life insurance is overly expensive. While whole life can be quite pricey, a term policy is typically very affordable – especially if you are healthy and a non-smoker. Although term policies do expire at the end of their term, if you purchase a 20- or 30-year policy, by the time it expires, your children should be fully grown and providing for themselves anyway.

Believe it or not, a healthy non-smoker under the age of 30 may be able to purchase a quarter of a million dollars in coverage through a 20-year term policy for as little as $15 a month. Smokers may pay up to twice that amount, so that makes for yet another good reason to quit now. In addition to being healthier for you, your life insurance policy will cost you less each month than the cigarettes did. Of course, there are a number of factors that go into calculating a life insurance rate, so it is important to shop around.

I Don’t Have Time to Look into Life Insurance

This is where Melendez Insurance can really help. You can speak with a local agent, explain your current life situation and get advice about the amount of coverage necessary to secure your children’s future. Your agent can then save you time and money by working with a number of different insurance providers to find you the most competitive quote.

Contact us to start comparing quotes and to discover how little it can cost to get coverage with a term life insurance policy. In addition to providing for your children in the unlikely event that tragedy strikes, it can also give you peace of mind knowing that your children have something to fall back on if you are not there to help them.

Why Families Need Life Insurance

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014


As a young insurance agent, Mark Wandall didn’t needed to be convinced to buy life insurance. But even Mark would be amazed at all that the insurance has meant for his wife, Melissa, and for many other people he never met.

Mark was just 30 when he was killed in an auto accident less than a mile from his Bradenton, Florida, home. He was the passenger in a car that was broadsided by a driver who ran a red light. He died less than a week after celebrating his first wedding anniversary and just 19 days before the birth of his daughter, Madison Grace.

The life insurance has allowed Melissa to remain in the family home, take time off from her career so she can be a full-time mom and put money into a college fund for Madison Grace.

The insurance has also given Melissa the opportunity to keep Mark’s spirit alive through two important causes. She formed the Mark Wandall Foundation to raise money for worthy causes in her community. She also is the driving force behind a citizens’ coalition pushing for a new state law, the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, that would stiffen criminal penalties for red-light running.

Life insurance has provided Melissa with options that wouldn’t otherwise have been available to a young, single mother. “Without it, I don’t think I would have the time or the energy to put into the foundation and the coalition,” says Melissa, who was profiled in a short video by the LIFE Foundation. “It has allowed me to do these things and to be at home with my daughter.”

Melissa’s story is just one example of why families need life insurance. Make sure your family is protected by talking with your insurance agent at Melendez Insurance.

Life Insurance at Every Age

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013


Quick quiz: Who needs life insurance the most?

  • A married 25-year-old who just bought a house
  • A 38-year-old homeowner with three children
  • A 59-year-old nearing retirement and caring for an
    aging parent

The answer: All of the above.

Surprised? You’re not alone in underestimating the role that life insurance plays in protecting loved ones and in ensuring a comfortable retirement. Or in overestimating its cost: A recent study reveals that consumers think life insurance is three times more expensive than it really is.

“The truth is that life insurance has never been more affordable thanks to more refined underwriting and the fact that people are living longer, healthier lives,” says Greg Wieser, director of Life Marketing at ERIE.

Whether you’re entering adulthood or nearing retirement, you may have a need for life insurance. Here’s how it can benefit you at any life stage.

In your 20s: There are reasons to consider coverage at a young age.

For starters, it’s cheap. Insurers price policies based on risk, and young people have a far lower mortality rate than older groups.

That said, if tragedy strikes, a policy can cover medical costs as well as pay off credit card debt, a home or car loan, and funeral expenses (which now average $9,111). That relieves a spouse or other relatives from having to deal with any debt.

Term life insurance that provides coverage for a specific number of years is often your best bet. An easy, affordable option is LifeSense℠. It offers up to $90,000 worth of coverage in about 15 minutes with no medical exam required.*

In your 30s and 40s: Consider how much money your family would need without your paycheck in the picture.

Many people falsely believe their group life coverage is enough. Yet consider a 39-year-old man with three children, a $50,000 salary and a $100,000 employer-sponsored life insurance policy. The policy would generate just $700 a month, leaving a $2,800 monthly gap.

“If you actually run the numbers, the reality sets in,” Wieser says. “The most cost-effective way to replace that additional $2,800 each month is with life insurance tailored to your specific needs.”

The best approach is often a blend of term and permanent (or universal) life insurance that provides lifelong coverage and builds cash value.

In your 50s and beyond: Folks who are 50+ often fall into the “sandwich generation” that cares for elderly parents while financially supporting college students or young-adult children. Inadequate protection could put both groups of family members at risk.

At the same time, retirement savings might not stretch as far as expected after factoring in taxes, inflation and less-than-stellar investment returns. ERIE can help you achieve a secure retirement through accounts like 401(k)s, Roth and traditional IRAs, and annuities, the only investment that guarantees an income stream that you can’t outlive.

Research shows that more than half of financial advisors are so uncomfortable talking about life insurance that they simply don’t. Luckily, your ERIE Agent knows how to have these conversations.

“Life insurance is the only vehicle that allows for the creation of money after the person is no longer around—and, in most cases, that cash is tax-free to beneficiaries.” Wieser says.