Life insurance can serve as “college insurance” for your children; if something happens to you, they will have money for tuition.
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Published 2/1/2013
Nicole Dierking

Planning Your Life—And Your Life Insurance

When you should revisit your life insurance needs

Life insurance helps protect the financial future of your family should something happen to you. But how do you decide when it’s the right time to purchase life insurance, and what factors should you consider when planning for coverage? This article reviews some of the life events that may trigger a need for life insurance or simply serve as a good time to evaluate your life insurance needs.

On your own
Even if you’re on a budget or just starting out on your own, life insurance may be more affordable than you realize. While you’re still young, your life expectancy is higher, and therefore the cost of coverage tends to be lower.

After you’ve covered basic expenses and before you begin investing, you should consider building a personal safety net of life, health, and disability income insurance. This way, in the future, your family is protected if anything happens to you. Even if you have to start small, it’s important to start something—especially if others, such as aging parents, depend on you.

When there are two…or more
When you take the ultimate relationship plunge, you’ll want to provide for your loved ones (spouse, children, aging parents) in the event something happens to you—especially if you’re the primary income source. Most couples depend on two incomes to maintain their current standard of living and meet loan, mortgage, credit card, and other debt payments.

Life insurance is a traditional way to help protect what you have and ensure your surviving spouse is taken care of in the event of a tragedy. Consider life insurance to help your surviving spouse avoid financial burdens, such as funeral costs, outstanding debt, estate taxes, and normal living expenses.

Be sure all your avenues are covered—if you have life insurance through work, you may still need additional coverage for your new family.

Raising children
When you begin a family, you truly realize that others depend on you. It is one of the most important events in your life—and evaluating your life insurance is crucial. It can help provide for your family after you’re gone and get them back on track toward financial security. If you have children, the financial burden on a surviving spouse increases, making adequate life insurance critical

Life insurance can help keep your family from having to move if something happens to you, enabling them to delay making important decisions about buying or selling a home or moving under emotional distress. Life insurance can be said to be college insurance for your children, so if something happens to you, they will have money for tuition.

Planning for college
While planning for your child’s college education, be sure you have the resources for your child to finish college even if you’re gone. Purchasing a life insurance policy on yourself and/or your spouse is one way you can help secure your child’s future.

Getting divorced
Obligations you incurred as a married couple—mortgage, auto, credit cards, education—generally still exist after a divorce and are often included in the divorce decree. If you’re responsible for paying any bills under the decree, life insurance can help ensure that these debts and their payments are kept current.

Many divorced couples keep or purchase a life insurance policy on the spouse responsible for paying child support or alimony so that this income is still available if something happens to that spouse. Some also consider purchasing or keeping a life insurance policy on the person who acts as the children’s primary caregiver, so that funds are available for childcare if the caregiver dies. In either case, the divorce decree should address the need for funds to pay for the policy.

Term life is often a good choice for divorced couples with a tight budget, because it is generally cheaper and provides protection for a specific period. For example, you could buy a policy that lasts until the children are grown and on their own.

Purchasing a new home
A new home generally means a new mortgage and the possible need for home improvements, both of which are reasons to review your life insurance. If something happens to you, life insurance can help your family stay in your home or cover the costs of necessary home improvements that you never were able to tackle.

Changing jobs
Often a salary increase comes with a new job. The more you make, the more your family tends to depend on you financially, so it becomes more important to help protect their future.

If you had a group life insurance policy with your former employer, chances are your coverage ended when you left, particularly if the employer paid the premiums. In some cases, you may be able to purchase the policy and convert it to individual coverage.

If you purchased the coverage through a group plan but paid for it yourself, the policy may be portable and you can take it with you when you leave as long as you continue to pay the premiums. Check into your life insurance situation when you’re considering a career move or retirement.

Where do you stand today?
Thinking about what your family will do if tragedy strikes and you’re no longer with them is difficult. But knowing that your loved ones are taken care of if you die unexpectedly can ease the discomfort of having to plan for such an event. Help ease the possible financial burden on your surviving loved ones by having a life insurance policy in place. Maybe they’ll never have to use it, but you can rest easy knowing that they’re protected.

The life insurance coverage available to you through the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) leverages the buying power of the AAOS to provide discounts that you cannot obtain on your own. For more information on the life insurance available through AAOS, call 866-679-0888 to speak with a knowledgeable AAOS Insurance Plan Administrator representative, visit, or stop by the Practice Management kiosk, located in Academy Row, Hall B, during the 2013 AAOS Annual Meeting for more details.

Nicole Dierking is a copywriter for Pearl Insurance, which administers the AAOS Group Term Life Insurance Plan.