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Home buyer’s FAQ about life insurance
From the parents who just signed closing papers for their first family home to the 3rd year law student who’s in the middle of her search for her perfect first place to purchase, new and soon-to-be-new homeowners likely have one major thing on their minds: their finances. In fact, according to a survey by the nonprofit organization Life Happens, 78% of Americans say that reducing financial stress is a top priority.1 Fortunately, there is at least one easy solution. The same survey found that 69% of people with life insurance say they are less stressed knowing their family is financially protected.
If homeownership is in your near future, signing up for a life insurance policy to protect your biggest asset (and so much more) makes sense, but you probably have questions. Luckily, we have answers.
Question #1: Why does it make sense to get a life insurance policy when I buy a home?
Answer: Generally speaking, people tend to purchase life insurance as a way to make sure that their family can cover all of their financial needs — including the new mortgage — if something happens to them. If you purchased your home with a partner or spouse and/or if you have kids you are supporting, then a life insurance policy is one of the best ways to ensure that your family can pay off the rest of your mortgage to continue living in your home, even if they no longer have your income to depend on.
Question #2: Do I need more life insurance coverage if I own my own home?
Answer: The short answer is yes. Even if you have a life insurance policy from before you bought your house or started looking to buy, owning a home is a much larger financial responsibility, so you’ll want that additional coverage to make sure your family can fully cover the cost of your home if something happens to you. If you haven’t actually bought your house yet and are still looking, once you do purchase your first home, it’s a good idea to revisit your policy and decide if more coverage is needed. As a general rule, it is often recommend that you have 5 to 10 times your income in life insurance coverage, but check out this piece for more tips and tricks on figuring out how much life insurance you need.
Question #3: How much life insurance should I get when buying a home?
Answer: How much you pay for your life insurance policy per month will depend on how much overall coverage you want, which in turn will depend on a number of factors. Things to consider when deciding how much coverage you want should include your house price, funeral costs, whether you have kids, and whether you want to pay to put those kids through college, among other things.
Question #4: I only plan on living in my first home for a couple of years — do I still need a life insurance policy?
Answer: Even if you’re purchasing what you consider to be a “starter home,” or if you plan to move in the next few years for whatever reason, getting a life insurance policy now is important to ensure your loved ones can handle any financial obligations immediately should something happen to you while you are still in your current home. Remember, plans can change, and your current home could easily become your forever home. However, if in the future you end up moving to another place, you can always update your policy as necessary to include more coverage.
Question #5: Do I still need a life insurance policy if I have homeowner’s insurance — and what’s the difference between home owner’s insurance and life insurance?
Answer: Yes, you probably need both, because these two policies handle two different things. As a homeowner, you are obligated to have a separate homeowner’s insurance even if you have a life insurance policy, and you may even be tempted to purchase an additional mortgage protection life insurance policy.
The major difference between these two policies is that while your homeowner’s insurance will usually cover you financially for problems that occur from things like flooding or hail damage, mortgage protection insurance assures your mortgage lender that they won’t lose money if you stop making payments on the loan. In the case of mortgage protection insurance, your mortgage lender is the beneficiary. With term life insurance, though, you can designate your own beneficiaries and, should something happen to you, your beneficiaries would receive the death benefit for as long as you have the policy.
If it seems silly to have homeowner’s insurance and a life insurance policy at the same time, remember that life insurance covers more than just your home’s value. Depending on how much coverage you get, it could completely replace your income and pay for additional needs, like a college education for your child, so that your family can continue living the lifestyle they’re used to, even if something were to happen to you.
It's common to have questions regarding life insurance, check in with an insurance agent to discuss getting a policy specifically tailored to your needs.
This material is not intended to provide advice. It is intended to promote awareness and is for educational purposes only.
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