“Do you have life insurance?”
Asking this simple, straightforward question is often the best way to begin a discussion with your adult child about an important decision: obtaining life insurance for a more secure financial future.
“Because the majority of people aren’t educated about life insurance, you have to start the conversation somewhere,” says Brenda Coggins, an Amica Life senior national life sales representative.
When you have the talk, you’ll want to share your experiences and provide basic information in your role as a parent. For instance, your son or daughter might already have life insurance, as do nearly 60 percent of Americans ages 25 to 64.1 However, their coverage may be only through their employer; 30 percent are covered solely through work.1
Unfortunately, this employer-provided coverage is typically just one to two times their income, which may not be enough for their needs, could be discontinued by their employer at any time and may end if they leave their job. So if your son or daughter is married and unexpectedly passes away, this limited coverage may not be sufficient to cover their family’s essential living needs and major responsibilities like mortgage and education, especially if there are children under 18.
Learn by example
So then, where to start? After raising the topic, Coggins suggests bringing up examples where life insurance brought peace of mind in your own life or the lives of other family members.
“Most of us know someone who passed away unexpectedly – perhaps the husband had a heart attack – and suddenly the wife was solely responsible for their two kids and the mortgage,” Coggins says. “Or you might say to your child, ‘Do you remember when Joe’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, and she passed away three months later? They weren’t ready for that.’”
Coggins explains that these personal stories help your grown children to see the “whole picture” and the value of life insurance more personally and clearly.
To illustrate, Coggins shares her own story. “My husband had coverage through his job for years and years and was very happy with that, and it was sufficient to take care of things.”
Out of the blue, however, he had a minor stroke and shortly after was diagnosed with cancer. After going on disability, he was not only uninsured but also uninsurable. “So I tell people that story because I’ve lived it,” she says. “You don’t ever want to be in that position.”
After you’ve shared your stories and advice, your son or daughter may ask you questions about applying for life insurance. If you’ve built a relationship with a life insurance specialist, you’ll want to put them in touch, Coggins says. Again, personal experience will resonate best.
“Anytime someone’s familiar, people are more comfortable. They’re better at opening up … rather than just searching online for life insurance and picking out a random company,” she says. “That makes it easier because you can say, ‘I’ve dealt with them, they’re good, give them a try. Here’s the phone number.’”
Get over the hump
Discussing life insurance is not an easy conversation to have with your children – but it is an important one. In most cases, suffering a sudden loss is likely far from their minds, but you can explain how this stage in their life is ideal for getting their ducks in a row. “You might remind them that this is the best time to get coverage – when they’re young and healthy,” Coggins says. “As they get older, it’s going be more expensive. Even though they think they don’t need it, they do.”
Coggins says this is a subject she spends a good deal of time discussing with potential customers. She asks, if something happened to them and their income was gone tomorrow, what would their family need?
“You might remind them that this is the best time to get coverage – when they’re young and healthy. Even though they think they don’t need it, they do.” – Brenda Coggins, senior national life sales representative at Amica Life
“What’s the price of peace of mind?” Coggins asks. “You want to keep the roof over your wife’s head. What happens to her and the kids and the mortgage?” That question spurs many customers to scratch their heads and many of her customers reply, “I hadn’t thought of it that way,” Coggins says.
Remember, your children are never too old for your guidance. So the next time you’re with them, ask this crucial question – Do you have life insurance? – and go with it.
1 2017 Insurance Barometer Study, LIMRA and Life Happens, 2017.
ALIC35918 (exp. 12/19)