Life insurance is essential for parents.  The main reason for life insurance is to replace the income you provide to your family upon your death.  Your young children depend on you for their standard of living.  Considering this, it only makes sense for you to name your children as your beneficiaries of your life insurance policy, right?  Not necessarily.

Life insurance companies will not write a check worth thousands, or perhaps millions depending on your policy’s death benefit, of dollars to a minor child.  If you name your child beneficiary to your policy and they are not yet legal adults when you die, the court will appoint a property guardian to manage these funds until your child reaches legal age.  This court process requires attorney fees, court proceedings, and court supervision of life insurance benefits – all of which take time and money.

There are three other options we recommend to avoid all the court hassles.

  1. Name a trusted adult instead. You can name a trusted adult to be the beneficiary of your policy who will use the money for your children’s benefit.  If you are confident that this adult will not waver from his/her duty this might be the easiest option.
  2. Use a living trust. If you have a living trust, you can name your minor child beneficiary to its assets.  Then you can name the trust the beneficiary of your life insurance policy and the designated trustee will manage the funds on behalf of your child.
  3. Utilize UTMA/UGMA. You can name your minor children as your life insurance policy beneficiaries under your state’s Minors Act.

What are UGMA and UTMA?

The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) was proposed in the 1950s to overcome problems that were associated with making gifts to minors.  UGMA provided statutory language that allowed more gifting flexibility.  In the 1980s, the Uniform Transfers to Minor Act (UTMA) was proposed.  It allowed even further flexibility in regards to the kinds of property that could be transferred to minors.  UTMA has been adopted in 48 states while UGMA still remains in effect in South Carolina and Vermont.

How do UGMA and UTMA work?

UGMA provides a simple and inexpensive method of transferring certain property to minors by means of custodian arrangement.  Generally, UGMA allows the gifts of money and securities, however, some states have amended their statues to permit gifts of life insurance and annuities.

Under UGMA, custodianship is similar to that of a trustee except, unlike trust arrangements, the custodian does not take legal title to the property.  The minor is the owner of the property and will be included in the minor’s estate in the event of his or her death prior to termination of the arrangement.  The custodial arrangement ends when the minor reaches the age of 18 or 21, depending on the state.

Some states allow any adult to act as custodian while other states restrict custodians to the child’s legal guardian, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles and aunts.  When a custodian dies or resigns, the minor may designate another custodian if the minor is over the age of 14 and if the original custodian has not already named a successor.  Alternatively, when a custodian wants to resign, he/she may petition the court to designate a successor.

If the custodian dies while the minor is under the age of 14, the child’s guardian becomes the successor guardian.  In there is no guardian, the court will commonly appoint another custodian from among adult members of the minor’s family.

Under UTMA, the only major difference from UGMA is that UTMA removes property limitations and allows gifts from trusts, estates and guardianships, depository institutions, and insurance companies.

how utma and ugma work

To summarize:

Step 1 – Donor transfers property to a custodian to be held for the benefit of the minor.

Step 2 – Custodian can use the property and any income that property produces on behalf of the minor.

Step 3 – At age 18 or 21, the custodian must transfer the property outright to the (former) minor.

How to Designate the Policy Beneficiary

When wanting to designate a minor as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, the following language is typically used.

Example:

I, John Smith (donor), have delivered to Jane Doe, as custodian for Sam Smith (minor), a life insurance policy on my life in the face amount of $500,000 issued by the ABC Life Insurance Company and payable to Sam Smith.  The transfer is made under the Minnesota Uniform Transfers to Minor Act.

_________________________
(Donor’s signature and date)

I, Jane Doe (custodian), acknowledge receipt of the life insurance policy described above, and agree to hold this policy as custodian for Sam Smith under the Minnesota Uniform Transfers to Minor Act.

___________________________
(Custodian’s signature and date)

Some choose to forgo UTMA/UGMA in lieu of a trust.  With a trust, you can specifically state how much will be transferred to the beneficiary and when.  With UTMA/UGMA, the minor beneficiary will receive the entire sum as soon as they reach legal age.  If the sum is great, many opt not to let an 18-year-old or 21-year-old have all that money in one fell swoop.

Not sure if you should name your minor a beneficiary of your life insurance policy?  Not sure if you should utilize UTMA or a trust?  Contact us and we can advise you.  Our insurance team has years of experience working with families.

Already know what you want to do?  Start the process by running a term quote or using our needs analysis calculator to determine how much coverage you should buy.  We look forward to assisting you in protecting your loved ones.

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What is a term life policy?

Quite simply, a term life policy is insurance protection that provides your beneficiaries with a cash death benefit if you pass away during the term of the policy.  For help understanding  the difference between a term policy and a permanent policy you can visit Us .

Life insurance companies will offer a term life policy for those individuals who qualify under a company’s underwriting guidelines. 

Underwriting guidelines are the criteria that insurance companies use to determine if you are an acceptable risk.

It’s important to remember that each life insurance carrier has different underwriting guidelines. They will all look at your health and lifestyle differently.

How do I know which life policy is the best?

To determine which life policy works best for your situation it is important to do a little bit of homework. By reviewing this article and with the help of google you should be able to gather enough information to make a wise decision regarding your life insurance needs.

Let’s breakdown some of the common questions surrounding a term life policy and how to go about finding the best plan.

How much coverage do I need?Best Term life policy

This is probably the best starting point when purchasing life insurance protection. Here are some of the common reasons individuals purchase life insurance:

  • Replace income– this is probably what most people thing of when trying to determine how much life insurance protection to buy. If you are not around to earn an income, then your family will suffer a significant lifestyle challenge. Six to Ten times income is a good starting point.
  • Mortgage Protection– another common reason a family might purchase life insurance is to make sure the mortgage balance is paid off in case of an untimely demise.
  • Children Education– Planning for a college education can be very expensive. Who knows where your child may want to go to college. And with college costs rising every year, protecting this need with life insurance makes a lot of sense.
  • Final Expenses- the cost of final expenses such as funeral and burial continues to rise. Also paying off any outstanding credit card or auto loans may be something that needs to be planned for.
  • Estate Planning Needs– Life insurance can often times be a good tool for those who expect to have a large estate tax due upon death. Other estate planning needs that life insurance can assist with include college endowment or charitable giving.

Now, it is important to remember that each person’s needs are different and we recommend a complete needs analysis from an insurance professional, CPA or estate planner to determine exact needs.

But, if you wish to do a quick needs analysis in order to get coverage in force as quickly as possible.

To this point we have primarily talked about term life coverage for personal family needs. But, term life insurance can also be used the same way for business needs. Here are some of the common ways that term life insurance can satisfy business protection needs:Best term life policy

 

 

  • Key Person Insurance– Life insurance protection on a key member of a business or organization. Someone who is vital to the continuation of the business.
  • Buy-Sell Insurance– A buy-sell agreement between two business partners can be funded with life insurance. This insures an easy transition of the business if one of the partners dies.
  • Collateral Assignment– Many times banks want a life insurance policy assigned to them as the lender on a business loan.
  • Executive Bonus– Often times a life insurance policy can be used as a special bonus to an important member of the business. This type policy can offer extra protection for the employees family.

 

Who is the life policy for?

Another important question that must be answered when you are thinking about purchasing a life insurance policy is who actually is the policy for?

Most often this is fairly straight forward when a personal policy is purchase. Many times the spouse is named as primary beneficiary. But, the need for coverage may be more complicated than this.

What if you want to leave money to your kids from a previous marriage? What if you have a former spouse that must have her as the beneficiary due to a divorce decree? Are there step-children involved? If leaving to minor children is there a guardian or trustee set up?

These questions on the surface may sometimes seem simple, but often times can get confusing. Again, it is important to know who the benefit of the life policy is for and make sure to update any necessary beneficiary changes.

How long do I need the protection?Best term life policy

Okay, this question is sometimes the most difficult to answer. After all, most people want the coverage to be in force for as long as possible. But, it is very important to remember that term life insurance is temporaryprotection, not permanent protection. This simply means that at some point when the original term period has expired the rates will increase dramatically if you want to continue the coverage.

Term life insurance by its very nature is the least expensive type of coverage you can purchase. It is meant to provide you with the most death benefit protection for the least amount of premium. So, it is important to know why you are buying the coverage and how long you want the coverage to offer protection.

Let’s look at a few examples of term life policies that are offered in the marketplace:

  • 10 Year Guaranteed Level Term–  This policy offers a guaranteed level premium for 10 years. At the end of 10 years the rate will adjust higher. This policy should only be for a short term need. An example would be perhaps someone who has just 10 years remaining on a home mortgage. A 10 year term policy would not make sense for someone who needs protection to last 20, 30 years or longer.
  • 15 Year Guaranteed Level Term- Offers guaranteed level premiums for 15 years. Rates for this policy will be more expensive than a 10 year policy, but will also offer an additional 5 years of coverage. This policy could make sense if your needs are limited to around 15 years. An example might be a married couple with a young child that will be through with their education/college within 15 years.
  • 20 Year Guaranteed Level Term-  A 20 year guaranteed level premium plan offers many people a good compromise. The rate will be more expensive than a 10 or 15 year policy, but offers an additional number of years of protection. An example for this policy would be an individual who is age 45 and wants protection to last until they retire at 65.
  • 25 Year Guaranteed Level Term- The 25 year term policy is not offered by as many insurance carries as the 10,15 and 20 year plans, but can be a great fit for someone that has new baby or new mortgage and wants to have coverage with guaranteed level rates for 25 years.
  • 30 Year Guaranteed Level Term- The 30 year guaranteed level term is very popular especially for young families and those with new mortgages. The rates are higher than those of the other terms, but provides excellent  long term protection during most of the working years.
  • Return of Premium Term– The return of premium term policies offered in the marketplace allow you to still lock in most of the guaranteed level rates mentioned above, but with one caveat. This policies allow you at the end of the return to recoup most if not all of the premiums you have paid in. Of course these rates are higher priced, but for those individuals who may need a simple way to insure and save, this product can be a solution.

What if I have health problems? Can I still get a term life policy?

Okay, so you have determined you have a need for life insurance. You know the amount of coverage you desire. You know the plan of coverage you want, but what happens if you have a history of pre-existing medical conditions? Or perhaps you scuba dive, race cars or have a high risk occupation.

Finding affordable protection for those who may be in less than perfect health is possible. But, there are a couple of things you need to do to help your cause. First you must work with an agent or agency who specializes in this niche area of underwriting.

Any agent in the marketplace can write a term life policy on someone who is in perfect health. But, only agents who have years of experience and knowledge working with all kinds of health impairments can find you the company that specializes in your particular risk.

As we mentioned earlier, all life insurance companies have certain criteria they look at when evaluating someone for coverage.

But, there are also a handful of companies who underwrite certain risks better than others. The secret is finding the company that will offer you the lowest rates for your condition.

Fortunately, you have landed on the right page. We are experts at finding the companies who do this type of underwriting the best. In fact, with our over 30 years of experience we often times can instantly tell you if an offer is possible and what even give you a quote.

Optional riders that can be added to a term life policy

Many of the hundred, if not thousands of life insurance carriers offering term life policies also offer riders that can be added to the base policy.

A rider is simply an additional benefit added to the base policy at an additional charge. Here  are some of the most common riders that can be added to term life policies.

  • Waiver of Premium– this benefit which is typically available up to about age 55 allows the insurance company to waive your premium should you be disabled.
  • Child Rider– A child rider offers a low cost way to add child(ren) coverage to your policy. Most child riders are limiting to $10,000 of benefit per child.
  • Spouse Rider– Much like the child rider , the spouse rider allows you to include your spouse on the base policy. The benefit amount for the spouse is usually limited to $50,000. Important to note that all riders are subject to same underwriting review as the base policy.
  • Long Term Care or Critical Illness Rider– these riders are fairly new and only a few carriers offer them. But, they do offer you the ability to accelerate your death benefit and use for a long term care or critical illness. The definition of the long term care or critical illness rider is different for each carrier, so it is important to review carefully.
  • Accelerated death benefit rider–  This rider has become very common on most term life contracts and often times has no additional premium charge. Most define this rider as the ability to accelerate up to 50% of the death benefit early subject to a maximum amount if you are diagnosed by a doctor with a terminal illness and have less than 12 months to live.

Real Life Example of the use of Term Life Insurance

David is a 35 year old married man with 3 children ages 8,5, and 3. David has a small amount of life insurance at his work, but feels the need to have more coverage. David has approximately $225,000 left on his mortgage. His income is 85,000 per year. David wants to be sure that his wife and kids have enough money to pay off the mortgage, put the kids thru school and still have income to live off of. David calculates his needs at $1,000,000 of coverage.

David would also like a policy that will stay in force until he retires in approximately 30 years. In order to keep his premium cost down, Dave wants to ladder his policies. This laddering will help his coverage stay in affect for the needs as he goes thru his life. Dave decides to purchase a $225,000 15 year level term to match the approximate time left on his mortgage.

Dave’s youngest child is 3 so he determines that a 20 year guaranteed level term policy for $250,000 should be set aside for education purpose. The remaining $525,000 of coverage will be carried under a 30 year guaranteed level policy.

Dave would also like to add some coverage for his wife and kids. So, he decides to add a child rider for $10,000 of protection for each child and he places a spouse rider of $50,000 for his wife.

Dave now has a complete line of protection for most of his foreseeable needs.

Conversion option with term insurance

One of the most important features that is offered for free with most term life policies is something called the conversion option.

The conversion feature is included in most term policies, but it is important to check your particular proposed plan to see the details of this option.

Some companies only offer the conversion option for a limited time. Perhaps only during the initial guaranteed level period or to a certain age. Knowing how long your conversion option is offered can be particularly important if or when you need it.

Here is exactly what the conversion option is. The conversion option allows you to convert any or all of your term death benefit to a permanent lifetime death benefit with no medical underwriting or health questions.

Now, you may ask why is this so important. Here is why. Suppose your needs change and so does your health. Let me give you an example.

Joe purchased a 10 year level term to cover him until is youngest kid gets out of college. Joe was originally issued a $250,000 policy at super preferred non-tobacco rates. Approximately 5 years into the term policy Joe is diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. Joe also finds out a new surprise. His wife is pregnant.

Joe knows his current 10 year term policy only has 5 years remaining. He is worried if he will not be able to qualify for new insurance protection due to his medical history.

Fortunately,  Joe has the conversion option on his current policy. He can now convert any or all of his current term policy to a new guaranteed lifetime level premium policy with no medical exam or health questions. The conversion option is guaranteed.

When or if he converts his current coverage to a new plan he will receive the super preferred non-tobacco risk class that he was originally approved at 5 years earlier. This is a huge advantage for those whose health has changed but still need insurance coverage.

Bottom line is, you never know if you will need to extend your coverage. You also never know what your health will be. It is vital that your current term life policy have the conversion option included just in case.

Who are the best term life policy companies?

In the life insurance arena it is common to see some of the same company names show up year after year as having the best term plans. Of course, occasionally you will have a company that wants to make a splash in the term market and they will lower their rates to be competitive.

Or, you may find a company that wants to be more competitive in the “impaired” risk marketplace, so they begin to price their rates better for those with diabetes, heart disease, etc.

But, as of the time of this blog, below are the companies that typically show up as being competitive both in price and underwriting. In addition, all of these carriers are rating excellent by most of the rating services such as A.M. BEST, Standard & Poors and Moody’s. In no particular order:

  • Protective Life
  • Banner Life
  • Prudential 
  • Lincoln National Life
  • Principal National Life
  • Cincinnati Life
  • Ohio National Life 
  • American General Life
  • John Hancock
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Pacific Life
  • Assurity Life 
  • North American Life
  • Mass Mutual Life
  • Savings Bank Life 
  • Independent Order of Forresters

How to apply for a term life policy?

Nowadays there are many ways to buy life insurance. Below are some of the ways you can purchase a term life policy.

  1. Online from a big box quoting service perhaps hundreds of miles away.
  2. From your hometown property and casualty company
  3. Direct toll free number to an insurer
  4. The use of an independent insurance adviser
  5. A bank
  6. Financial Adviser or CPA

It’s important to keep in mind, how much assistance you will need when purchasing coverage. Will you need help finding the lowest rates? Do you want to be sure to have somebody to call on policy issues that come up after the policy is placed? Do you have a pre-existing medical condition that needs an experts assistance? Do you need to know every detail about the policies? (conversion, riders, etc.)

Most people buying life insurance know that somebody will get paid a commission to help with your policy. All life insurance policies pay a commission to someone- no matter how much assistance you get. The commissions are already built into the price of the policies, so there are no negotiations on commissions like with a car sale or some other large ticket item.

In other words, let’s say you buy a Prudential policy from an agent in California even though you are located in Georgia. The rate would be the same in Georgia as it would be in California. So, what you are paying for is the service you get in helping you obtain the protection and the service you get once the policy goes in force.

So, although a quick toll free number to someone sitting in a stall may be a quick way to get a quote- what actual personal service will you get thru the underwriting process and after the policy is completed? I mean will you ever be able to get a hold of the person again from the 1-800 number.

Of course, we are probably biased, but we feel you will get the best rates, knowledge and service from an independent agent who has been in the business for 20+ years.

An independent agent will represent hundreds of companies and will be able to give you expert advice on the questions you need answered. Also, an independent agent who has been in business for many years is here to stay. No worries about not being able to reach your agent when the time arises.

Remember, someone on the end of that phone is getting paid to sell insurance. We think it should be someone who will be there to answer any questions that arises and represents your best interest, not theirs.

Information needed to quote on a term life policy

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Amount of coverage needed
  • Type of plan (if known)
  • Tobacco use within 5 years
  • Family history of cancer or heart disease before age 60
  • Current medications
  • Brief medical history
  • Any foreign travel
  • Any motor vehicle violations
  • Any hazardous activities or hobbies

Exam or non exam term life policy

Many insurance companies offer individuals the opportunity to purchase life insurance with or without an exam depending on the circumstances. If you are a relatively healthy individual less than 50 years of age, you can typically buy coverage up to $1MM without a medical exam or bloodwork.

Now you will typically pay a bit higher rate to buy insurance without an exam or labs, but if you are in a hurry for protection and a few extra dollars does bother you, then a no exam policy could be a good idea.

If you are not in a hurry, and want the absolute lowest rates then a fully underwritten policy with exam and lab work will give you the best chance for the lowest rates.

Again, an experience agent who offers all the different options will give you the information you need to make the best decision.

 

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Quotacy is always here to answer your life insurance questions.  One of the most commonly asked questions we receive is: How can I find out if someone purchased life insurance on me without my knowledge?  You should feel relieved knowing that it is nearly impossible to purchase life insurance on someone without their consent.

Life insurance companies implement a number of obstacles in order to prevent insurance fraud.  These obstacles include:

  • Application questions – When applying for life insurance, there are certain questions that the insurance company uses to verify identity. These questions include:
    • Full name
    • Street address
    • Social Security number
    • Driver’s license number
    • Employer information
  • Signatures – All life insurance applications require the signature of the proposed insured.
  • A release form – Most policies require the proposed insured to sign a consent form to release his/her medical information.
  • Phone interview – After submitting an application, the insurance company will contact the proposed insured for a confidential phone interview to review the application’s accuracy.
  • A medical exam – After applying, most life insurance policies require the proposed insured to take a medical exam. The medical examiner will check the insured’s ID to ensure it’s the correct person and will ask the insured many of the same questions from the application to verify answers.
  • Insurable interest – In order for someone to purchase life insurance on someone else, life insurance companies require insurable interest. Insurable interest means there has to be financial dependence.  For example, spouses rely on one another’s income for their standard of living.  Your neighbor does not have a financial interest in your life and could not buy life insurance on you.

After taking those obstacles into consideration, if you still think someone may have bought coverage on you without your permission, there are steps you can take, but it may take some effort.  It is not possible to just Google your name alongside the words “life insurance” to find out.  Life insurance is personal, so protecting privacy is important.

Step 1 – If you think you know which insurance company the policy in question was purchased from, you can call their customer service and explain the situation.  They will be able to confirm if there is a policy on you and then help you make the appropriate steps to terminate it.  There are many, many life insurance companies, however, so this option only realistically works if you know the name of the life insurance company.

Step 2– You can request your MIB Consumer File.  Life insurance underwriters use MIB’s services when assessing individual applications.  The consumer file may include the name of any MIB member company that:

  • Received a copy of the medical and personal information that MIB has in its database about you during the three-year period preceding your request;
  • Made an “inquiry” to MIB about you within the past two years.

It is free to request your MIB (Medical Information Bureau) file.  You will not have an MIB Consumer File unless you have applied for individually underwritten life, health, disability income, long-term care or critical illness insurance within the past seven years (or earlier depending on applicable law) and the insurance company to which you applied (or its reinsurer) was an MIB member company that submitted an MIB inquiry.  So, if you get a letter stating you don’t have an MIB file, you can rest assured there is likely no policy out there on you.  If you do receive a file, you can look for any companies that you did not personally apply to and contact them.

Step 3 – You can hire policy locator services.  There are online services that for a fee will send out emails and letters to life insurance companies on your behalf to discover if there is a policy in your name.  The MIB website mentioned earlier is one company that offers this service.  It costs $75 and it is important to note that the locator service generally will not report on policies with a $100,000 face amount or less, guaranteed issue policies, employer-based life insurance, or military issued life insurance.

As you have read, it is unlikely that there is a life insurance policy out there with your name on it that you did not sign off on.  Life insurance companies take privacy and security very seriously.  We hope this information was helpful and answered your question.

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It’s a dangerous world out there, especially for members of the military. Protecting your country can often come with some unique occupational hazards, and carries a non-trivial chance of serious injury or death depending on where you’re posted and what branch of the service you’re in.

Since life insurance carriers often evaluate a person’s eligibility for life insurance based on their risk of death, active duty service members are often (but not always) stuck with higher prices if they opt for commercially available life insurance products. Luckily, they have other options tailor-made for their situation – the Service members Group Life Insurance, or SGLI.

What is SGLI?

SGLI is a military-provided life insurance option which covers active duty service members in the US. It combines elements of Traditional Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage, and Long-Term Care protection under one policy that offers guaranteed coverage over the duration of your tenure in the military.

When you join the military, the US government automatically enrolls you in the SGLI program and begins deducting premium payments from your paychecks. However, all service members have the right to opt out of the SGLI coverage to try for a lower price with an alternative life insurance policy if they wish.

SGLI is a standardized plan that is the same for every service member, but there are a few changes that you can make to your coverage to make sure your family is covered correctly. When you initially are enrolled in SGLI, you are covered for the plan’s maximum death benefit amount of $400,000, which costs around $26 every month taken directly from your paycheck. Service members can opt to reduce their coverage from the maximum in increments of $50,000, which reduces the deduction by $3.25 monthly per increment.

If you die on active duty, SGLI will allow your family to receive an extra $150,000 payment up to the maximum allowed coverage of $400,000, so you have the option to pay for a lower coverage amount and still receive the full $400,000 death benefit depending on the circumstances.

Non-military spouses and children can also be covered using the SGLI’s family coverage program, FSGLI. FSGLI can provide up to $100,000 in coverage for spouses of active-duty military members, and $10,000 each for dependent children.

What SGLI Covers

SGLI covers the life of the insured with the face amount of the policy, just like life insurance. However, it also contains separate provisions for injuries that can offer a separate payout of up to $100,000 for loss of sight, hearing, nervous system function, and dismemberment as the result of traumatic injuries.

The conditions that SGLI covers with traumatic injury benefits include:

  • Total, permanent loss of sight, speech or hearing
  • Paralysis of any limb or limbs
  • Loss of a hand or foot
  • Loss of fingers, toes, or limbs
  • Burns across 20% of either body or face
  • Loss of ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring to beds or chairs, and continence.)
  • Inpatient hospitalization
  • Reconstructive surgery costs for repairing wounds to limbs or face

Alternatives to SGLI

While SGLI’s coverage plan is fairly comprehensive, many young and healthy military service members are often eligible for better coverage amounts at lower prices through commercially available life insurance policies. If you’re stationed in a fairly safe position and are able to complete your life insurance application while you’re in the US, almost every commercial life insurance carrier will be able to cover you.

However, not all life insurance carriers offer meaningful coverage to service members on active duty in dangerous parts of the world – the heightened risk associated with combat deployment can often mean that coverage will be denied outright. Even for carriers that are willing to cover front-line service members, coverage in the case of death via an ”act of war,” such as dying in combat, is often excluded from policies.

This means that comparison shopping for term life insurance policies is crucial if you’d like to find the right coverage for your situation. The simplest way to shop around for coverage that will fit your life is to use an independent agency like Quotacy. If you apply online through our application process, we’ll shop around behind the scenes for you to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible on a plan that will cover your lifestyle.

What Carriers Will Want To Know

If you decide to apply for coverage through a civilian life insurance carrier as an alternative to SGLI, they will likely have quite a few questions to ask you in order to give you a price that most accurately reflects your risks. Those questions will include:

  • Are you now a member of any military service, active or inactive?
  • What branch do you serve in?
  • What is your present duty status?
  • What is your rank?
  • What is your unit, assignment, and location?
  • What is your occupational specialty?
  • Does your position involve any hazardous activities (like aviation, diving, parachuting, bomb disposal, special service groups, etc.)?
  • Do you receive supplemental hazard pay based on your duties? If so, how much?
  • To the best of your knowledge, are you aware that A: you or your unit will be transferred overseas? If so, where? B: you will be transferred to a new unit? C: you or your unit will be alerted for duty (if presently in the Reserve or National Guard)?

Carriers will ask for this information at various points during your application process. Depending on the company and the amount of information you give them to work with, you may get these types of questions upfront or a few weeks in.

If you opt for an independent agent life insurance agent, they should be able to steer you towards carriers that have better track records working with military families, thanks to their ability to shop around for your case. However, not all independent agents will work at length for military families, so be sure to speak with your agent up front to make sure they can help your family.

Life insurance is important for all families, especially if a parent has a dangerous job. Losing a mother or father can change a child’s life and leave a spouse with unexpected debts, not to mention the grief and sadness that come from losing someone you love. Working with a life insurance agent will help you learn the facts and find the best options available, whether that’s through a commercial life insurance carrier or through SGLI’s automatic coverage.

 

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After you’ve spent weeks or months anticipating your vacation, the last thing you want is to get sick on the trip. Unfortunately, we can’t always control these things, and illness can strike when we least expect it.

As you’re planning for your trip, it’s best to contact your health insurance company and ask about coverage (especially if you’re going overseas). While packing your bags, you hopefully included some general over-the-counter remedies, just in case. But let’s assume you didn’t prepare for this outcome, and now you’re sick, far away from home. Follow these six steps to receive medical treatment and deal with your discomfort in the meantime.

Call your hotel concierge. It’s not widely advertised, but many hotels offer help to guests who become ill during their stay. Your concierge can refer you to a reputable clinic, provide basic first aid supplies, or direct you to the in-house pharmacy for over-the-counter medications.

Call your health insurance company. If you forgot to do this while planning your vacation, take the time to call your health insurance company now. Understanding your coverage limits can help you decide whether to seek treatment now, or attempt the return trip home. Of course, if you’re experiencing an emergency, skip this step and go straight to an urgent-care clinic or emergency room.

Remember your travel documents. Don’t panic and rush off to the clinic without taking your travel papers, health insurance card, and identification. Also, remember to bring any medications that you use on a regular basis. The doctor needs this information so that you can avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.

Drink plenty of water. No matter where we go, illness works about the same. Your body needs to stay hydrated, so keep a bottle of water near you and remember to sip on it.

Call your primary care physician. You still need to seek medical care in your current location. But if you’re worried about complications from a chronic condition, or an interaction with a drug you already take, checking with your regular doctor can put your mind at ease.

Consider a change of plans. If you need to get home immediately, upgrading to first class might make your flight more bearable. But with most common illnesses, it’s not necessary to return home. You might need to change your itinerary slightly, so that you can stay at your current hotel until you feel well enough to continue your travels.

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