Moms Skimp on Insurance Coverage


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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — About 18% of Millennial mothers have life insurance coverage compared to 35% of fathers between the ages of 18 and 30 years old, according to a new study.

That may be because Millennial moms are not in the habit of working with financial advisors.

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"You need an advisor that can understand the underwriting of a policy to make sure that reasonable expectations are set and the best company is chosen to fit with your specific health and medical situations," said C.J. Bowker, an independent life insurance broker with Aclaro Risk Management in Massachusetts.

A Life Ant survey found that only 11% of Millennials use financial advisors compared to 30% of Gen-Xers, 55% of Boomers and 48% for those over 65 years old.

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Although Millennials pay the least amount for life insurance coverage because of their age, the younger the mother, the less likely she is to be insured.

About 38% of Gen X mothers between the ages of 31 and 45 have life insurance coverage compared to 43% of mothers between the ages of 46 and 64.

Young people have the least expensive costs for life insurance coverage. "Insurance companies charge a cost of insurance (COI) to each policy," said Paul Siegert, president and CEO of the Insurance Studies Institute. "The COI increases each year with age. This is just a reality of how life insurance policies are designed."

Term life coverage can be purchased by most people under age 30 for less than $20 per month.

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"Underwriting guidelines vary from company to company in terms of allowable ranges for things like age, height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and family history," Bowker told MainStreet.

One way Millennials can afford the cost of permanent life insurance coverage is to ask a broker to negotiate with multiple insurers.

"Even when insurance agents tell you they are independent they might be affiliated or associated with a company that they give a type of right of first refusal," said Bowker. "Ask for comparisons from multiple insurers to get better pricing."

Nearly 88% of universal life insurance policies issued in the U.S. never result in payment of a claim, according to Timothy C. Pfeifer, a consulting actuary and principal with Milliman USA.

"Insurers are betting that you're either going to let your policy lapse or surrender it," Siegert told MainStreet. "Insurers price policies assuming a certain percentage of us will let our policies lapse or surrender them. When we do that, the companies win because they keep all the money we paid, except the cash surrender value, if any and never pay the death benefit."

Making the most of a policy once it is purchased involves not allowing it to lapse.

"Instead of letting a policy lapse, consumers can surrender it which means when a policy ends the policy holder will receive cash value that remains in the policy if there is any," said Bowker. "You could also sell your life insurance policy to a third party but certain qualifications are required."

The sale of a life insurance policy is known as life settlement.

"In a life settlement, the policy owner and the insured are matched to an investor," Siegert said. "Life settlements provide money that can be used to pay for vacations or money to pay for needed medical treatments that can make life more enjoyable."

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet

Also See: How to Choose the Right Life Insurance

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