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Why Do I need Life Insurance?

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Life insurance is a crucial step in planning for your future.
 

The necessity of life insurance depends on your own personal and financial needs. Generally, you should consider life insurance if:

  • You recently married or divorced
  • You have a new child or grandchild
  • You have opened or expanded a business
  • Your health or your spouse’s health has deteriorated
  • You are providing care or financial assistance to a parent
  • Your child or grandchild requires assistance or long-term care
  • You recently purchased a new home
  • You are planning for a child or grandchild’s education
  • You are concerned about retirement income
  • You or your spouse recently received an inheritance
  • You have a sizable estate

 

Why Do We Recommend a Term Life Insurance Policy?
 

Term life insurance provides protection for a specified period of time. If you do not currently have life insurance, term can be a good place to start. It’s generally less expensive than permanent (whole) life insurance, and is available in varying time periods with fixed premiums from a one-year (annual renewable term) to 30-year (level term) period.
 

Want a life insurance quote? Contact Nicolle Reddington @ 513-755-0200 or email Nicolle@choosestevens.com

Insurance: Finding Out What’s Right for You

Questions and answersGet a quote online, call now, get a quote in 15 minutes. Pretty appealing slogans, right? But in the rush to give you numbers fast, many insurance companies are missing the point.

 

At Stevens Insurance Agency, we’d rather take the time to get to know you. More time than just 15 minutes. Why? Because we know you’re not like anyone else. You have different hopes, needs, dreams, wants, risks and concerns that make you unlike any other person on the planet.

 

Take homeowners insurance. In a quickie quote, someone might not understand that you need sewer coverage in case that massive storm drain backs up onto your property. Or they might not know that your love of collecting art might require an additional “floater” policy. But when we sit down and talk, we know these things. And then we make sure you get the coverage that’s right for you.

 

Let’s stop rushing to get fast insurance, and make sure we get right insurance. We’ll sit down, chat and help write a policy that makes sense for who you are, what you value and what you want to protect!

It’s 2016: Do You Know Who Your Beneficiaries Are?

will and estate planningWhether you’re wealthy or earn a modest income, there is one estate planning concern that is shared by people from all walks of life—the decision of who gets what when you’re gone. While some individuals logically assume that a will is the only official forum to express such decisions that is not always the case. Often, an equally important issue in estate planning is whom to name as beneficiary on life insurance policies and retirement plan accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs, since these assets are passed on regardless of what may be spelled out in a will.
 
Naming beneficiaries can be complicated and could present unintended consequences to the beneficiary. For instance, an improper designation could make life difficult for your family in the event of your untimely death by putting assets out of reach of those you had hoped to provide for, possibly even increasing their tax burdens. Further, if you have switched jobs, become a new parent, divorced, married, or survived a spouse or child, your current beneficiary designations may need to be updated.
 
At your next financial review, be sure to include a beneficiary review as part of that process. Here are a few general pointers to keep in mind when naming beneficiaries, followed by some specific guidelines for insurance policies, employer-sponsored retirement plans, and IRAs.
 
General Considerations

  • Age of beneficiary. Many policies and plans will not directly transfer assets to minors until a trustee or guardian is approved by a court.
  • Ability of beneficiary to manage assets. Perhaps a trust set up in the person’s name would be better than a direct transfer.
  • Naming contingent beneficiaries. Should something happen to your primary beneficiary, the contingent beneficiary would receive your assets.

 
Life Insurance
 
No matter who is designated, the beneficiaries will receive the death benefit proceeds income tax free. Unlike property disposed of in a will, if the beneficiary designation form is properly completed, insurance proceeds do not go through probate.
 
For many married couples, a spouse will be the most logical beneficiary. A trust may be a prudent beneficiary choice, however, if a surviving spouse would not have the ability to effectively manage a large sum of money. The trustees (often a legal entity rather than an individual) would then take charge of managing, investing and disbursing the policy proceeds for the benefit of the surviving spouse.
 
Be sure to name contingent or secondary beneficiaries. This means that if the primary beneficiary has died, the insurance proceeds would go to the secondary individual or trust. If there are no surviving beneficiaries, then your beneficiary is generally the “estate of the insured,” which means the death benefits end up being probated and ultimately distributed according to the instructions of the decedent’s last will and testament. If an individual dies without a valid will (intestate), then the order of legal beneficiaries to whom assets are distributed is specified by that state’s law.
 
January 2016
 
Member FINRA/SIPC Retirement Plans and IRAs
 
Federal law generally requires that a spouse be the primary beneficiary of a 401(k) or a profit-sharing plan account unless he/she waives that right in writing. A waiver may make sense in a second marriage — for example, if a new spouse is already financially set or if children from a first marriage are more likely to need the money.
 
Single people can name whomever they wish as beneficiary of a retirement account, and nonspouse beneficiaries are now eligible for a tax-free transfer to an IRA.
 
The IRS has also issued regulations that dramatically simplify the way certain distributions affect IRA owners and their beneficiaries. Consult your tax advisor on how these rule changes may affect your situation.
 
Keep Your Plan Up-to-Date
 
When completing overall estate plans and wills, it is imperative to readjust all beneficiary designations so that your estate plan accurately reflects your intentions. Remember, outdated beneficiary designations (e.g., older parents or ex-spouses) could misdirect the intended flow of an entire estate plan unless changed now.
 
Also keep in mind that beneficiaries are paid directly as named. Thus, beneficiary designations are not governed by the directions of last wills and testaments.
 
As is always the case with estate planning, consult with qualified professionals concerning your particular situation in order to ensure that your beneficiary designations are in tune with your goals.
 
Tax Tips

  • Life insurance benefits are transferred free of income taxes.
  • A non-spouse beneficiary of a pension plan, such as a 401(k) must report the proceeds as “income with respect to a decedent” but can transfer assets tax free to an IRA.
  • IRA beneficiaries must pay income taxes up to the fully deductible portion of the IRA proceeds and earnings. A spousal beneficiary may be able to treat the IRA as his or her own IRA.

6 Reasons Why Millennials Need Life Insurance

by Amanda PrischakLife Insurance
 
Much has been written about how today’s Millennials (typically defined as anyone born between 1980 and 1995) are putting off buying their first homes, getting married and starting families.
 
Another thing you can add to that list: buying life insurance. Research shows that while Millennials are concerned about their financial security, very few have enough (or even any) life insurance.
 
Millennials cited “cost” as the main reason why they did not purchase life insurance. They estimate that a $250,000 level-term life insurance policy for a healthy 30-year-old is $1,000. In reality, it’s more along the lines of $150.
 
There are many benefits to getting life insurance coverage at a young age. Just a few include:
 

  1. A way to provide for any dependents. A dependent is anyone who relies on your income to make ends meet. That could include a spouse, children, a live-in boyfriend/ girlfriend, a relative with special needs or a loved one whose long-term care you contribute to.
  2. Lower costs. Age is one of several rating factors for life insurance. Generally speaking, the younger you are, the lower your life insurance premium will be.
  3. Insurability. It can be difficult—and sometimes impossible—to secure life insurance coverage after you’ve been diagnosed with a serious health condition. Getting a policy while you’re healthy allows you to lock in coverage at a reasonable rate. Don’t wait to get coverage: A health issue can crop up overnight and qualifying for life insurance can be a very difficult experience once you’ve been diagnosed.
  4. A vehicle for maximizing your savings. If you always have a reason to dig into your savings, consider a permanent life insurance policy that has a lifelong death benefit and a cash value component. Depending on the policy, you can borrow against it for emergency needs or use it to supplement your retirement.
  5. A supplement to your company-backed insurance. Millennials who are fortunate enough to have a job with benefits may receive life insurance through their company. While this provides some peace of mind, it’s often just a fraction of what you really need. And if you become sick and are no longer able to work or you switch jobs, your work policy may no longer cover you.
  6. A means to cover funeral expenses and debt. The National Funeral Directors Association reports that the average funeral costs close to $10,000. While some debts would be waived if you passed away, others would be collected through whatever assets you leave behind. If you have private student loans, check with your lender to see if the debt would be forgiven in the wake of your passing. (It probably won’t.)

 
Erie Family Life has a variety of term and permanent life options. One option is ERIE Lifesense®, which offers up to $90,000 worth of life insurance with no medical exam required.*
 
If you’re interested in learning more, contact us today. We can tell you about affordable options that work for you and provide peace of mind.

Caring For Kids Today and Tomorrow

mother and daughter playingRaising kids is not cheap. From getting new shoes for their growing feet every three months to funding college, making sure kids have everything they need to grow up and become members of society is expensive.
 
It’s hard enough to take care of these things when you have a parent or two bringing in steady paychecks, but what if the worst happens and you can’t be there for your kids anymore? Who would make sure their necessities were paid for if you were gone?
 
Life insurance can ease your worries about providing for your children. In the event of your death, your family gets a check they can use for everyday bills, paying off the car or house, or funding a college education. No matter what life may have in store for you, you can make sure that your family has the life you want them to have.
 
When it comes to your kids, don’t leave things to chance. Make sure that you can take care of them no matter what. Call us today so we can discuss how you can protect your family today, tomorrow and always.

Daylight Savings Time is also Daylight Safety Time.

daylight savings timeIn most places in the United States, March 9th is Daylight Saving, when clocks are moved forward one hour. We here at Stevens Insurance Agency want to remind you it’s also a great time to improve your family’s safety.
 
Be safe in your home
Health and safety agencies often use the approach of Daylight Saving Time to remind people to change the batteries in their smoke alarms. The American Red Cross suggests you test your smoke alarms and talk with your family about your fire escape plan. Whether you live in Ohio or elsewhere, practice the plan too – at least twice a year.
 
Daylight Saving is a great time to check your emergency preparedness kit to make sure it’s fully stocked with fresh supplies.
 
Carbon Monoxide a concern too
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 people die annually in the US from carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC recommends changing the batteries in your CO detectors when moving your clocks forward.
 
The CDC says the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
 
See the CDC’s site for more ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure.
 
We here at Stevens Insurance Agency hope these tips help and that you’ll consider sharing them with the people you care about so they can live safer lives too.

September Is Life Insurance Month – Term Life Insurance: Questions & Answers

the dreamAs you plan for your family’s financial future, term life insurance may be among the best options you consider. Why? Read on for answers to some common questions about this kind of life insurance.

 

What is term life insurance?

 

Term life insurance offers protection for a specific number of years and amounts. It may be right for you if you want to get maximum coverage at an affordable price for things like children living at home and mortgages that we might leave behind should we pass away early.
Don’t I/we already have life insurance coverage through work?

 

While many workplaces offer employees life insurance, many employer-paid plans cover only a portion of your insurance needs. It’s important to find out how much coverage you have at work, and figure out if it is enough for you and the loved ones you might leave behind. Also, job transitions and lay-offs have left numerous workers exposed who could not qualify for life insurance later in life due to medical and age related issues.

 

How much do I need?

 

That depends on several factors, including how many children you have, your income, and whether you already have insurance. But it’s easy to find out by contacting our office and speaking with one of our Investment and Insurance ELP’s (Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Providers).

 

How much will it cost?

 

Just as the amount of insurance you’ll need varies by person, so does cost. But term life insurance is the most affordable option for many families. The key is to cover the term in years with the appropriate amount of protection during those years, knowing you can always downsize term and amounts as your life span changes.

 
Having life insurance is an important part of your family’s financial well-being. And it gives you peace of mind, because you can be sure the people who depend on you will be covered if you can’t be there for them. If your family is in need of life insurance please contact us today for a quote.

College Bound

College BoundYou can’t follow your kids off to college. Luckily, your insurance coverage can.

 

For ERIE Policyholder Ellen Hobby, it was an ordinary Thursday morning before she got the voicemail message from her son, James. Late the night before, the college student in Savannah, Ga., had been robbed at gunpoint.

 

“I listened in horror as James told me what had happened,” Ellen recalls. “The perpetrators took his wallet, phone, keys and, of course, the car.” As the thieves made their getaway, James was shaken, but safe.

 

The car was not.

 

The carjackers had bailed out of the moving vehicle in an attempt to elude police, leaving the still-running car to crash into the living room of a nearby home. There were no injuries, though the homeowners were understandably surprised.

 

“At least they found the car,” Ellen said, doing her best to keep a sense of humor after the stressful incident.

 

Parenting a child from a distance is hard for any parent without having something like this happen.  For help use the checklist below to prepare for your children’s college experience.

 

Five things to discuss with your ERIE Agent before the semester begins.

 

  1. Auto insurance – Your household might get a discount when your child goes off to school and leaves his or her car behind. Or, if the ride is going to school, too, an extra review beforehand can make sure everyone is fully protected.
  2. Homeowners insurance – Usually the belongings of your child-turned-college-student will be covered by your homeowners, but it’s best to be sure.
  3. Renters insurance – This is especially important to discuss if your son or daughter is moving from dorm to apartment, just to be doubly sure everything is covered.
  4. Life – If student loans are involved, life insurance can help in the case of an unexpected tragedy. If a tragedy never occurs (thankfully), a student can opt to carry on the life insurance to the next stage of life.
  5. Personal Catastrophe Liability (PCL) – Accidents happen unexpectedly. Extra liability coverage, commonly called an umbrella policy, can help protect you should a lawsuit ensue from a big mistake.

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