Insurance is one purchase you hope you never have to use, and while it won’t make the world suddenly go back to normal if calamity strikes, it will give you the tools necessary to begin rebuilding after a tragedy like a house fire or illness. In order to create a sense of control amid an often-chaotic world, you might be tempted to insure everything from your smartphone to your pet’s teeth. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or a wise use of resources, though. In fact, according to the experts that know the insurance industry well, there are nine primary types of insurance in which you should invest. In doing so, you will insulate yourself somewhat from the unpredictability of life and give yourself the best chance of bouncing back, no matter what unlikely event occurs. They are as follows:
1.) Auto Insurance
If you own and drive a vehicle, you need to purchase auto insurance. In most states, this isn’t just a suggestion, but a legal requirement. That’s right, in nearly all American states, you are legally required to carry at least liability coverage on your vehicle if you drive it at all. If you owe money on your vehicle, your lender will often require you to have more than liability coverage and demand full comprehensive and collision coverage to protect themselves from a loss if you should total the car. The variations between auto policies usually include the following types of coverages:
- Liability: This doesn’t do much in terms of protecting your vehicle, but it will cover any damage that another vehicle sustains due to a wreck you caused. It will also cover medical bills related to the accident.
- Collision: This protects your car if you are responsible for the wreck in which it is damaged.
- Comprehensive: This coverage protects your vehicle from other potentially damaging elements, not related to driving or wrecking. This can include protection from theft, weather damage, and more.
- Additional coverage: There are additional types of coverage you can add to your auto insurance, including supplemental health coverage that will protect yourself in the event the other driver in an accident doesn’t have adequate insurance. If you own a boat, RV or motorcycle, it’s also important to cover them with an insurance policy, protecting them from wrecks or other perilous situations.
While spending a substantial amount of money on car insurance every month or every quarter can get old, remember car accidents are extremely common. In fact, according to an Esurance report, 77% of drivers will experience at least one accident as a driver. This means your chance of having to utilize your insurance coverage is unfortunately pretty high, so it’s most defiantly a type of insurance you need to carry.
Are you under 25? Here’s a list of the best companies for drivers under 25.
2.) Disability Insurance
Disability insurance is a type of coverage that protects you in the event you become injured or sick and are therefore unable to work and produce income. In most cases, it will replace between 50 and 60% of your income, allowing you to keep paying your bills even as you recover from an unexpected illness or injury. The Social Security Administration estimates one in every four millennials will at some point miss extended periods of work due to a serious illness or injury during their careers. This statistic highlights the importance of carrying this type of insurance. When you purchase disability insurance, there are two main types of coverage to choose from, and they are:
- Short-Term Disability: This coverage kicks in around two weeks after a qualifying injury or illness and covers a few months of lost wages, often going no further than a year.
- Long-Term Disability: You must wait 90 days post-incident to begin drawing income with long-term disability. However, once it starts, you can use it to replace your income for months, years, or even until you hit retirement age in some cases.
Both options cost about the same amount to purchase, usually averaging around one to three percent of your annual income. Most experts feel you get more bang for your buck with long-term disability, though, so that’s often the recommended option.
3.) Health Insurance
Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, health insurance has not only been a wise purchase but a legally required one under federal law. Due to many of the changes brought on by the ACA, kids can now remain on their parents’ insurance plans up to the age of 26. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect to pay when purchasing health insurance:
- Premiums: This is the amount you regularly pay to keep your policy active, usually on a monthly basis.
- Copayments: This is a much smaller amount of money that you pay when visiting a physician or getting a prescription filled. Copays can range anywhere from $10 to $60.
- Deductibles: Most health insurance plans have a max out-of-pocket amount set. When you hit this amount, you have paid your deductible or your portion of your healthcare costs and the insurance company will cover any subsequent charges. Your deductible renews yearly.
In general, when considering various health insurance policies, if you pay a higher premium, your copayments and deductibles will be lower and visa versa. Having medical insurance is a good idea not only because it’s a federal mandate but because in doing so you gain peace of mind that no matter what happens to you health-wise, even something horrible will not break you or cause you to lose everything you own trying to pay back what you owe. The cost of medical care in America is astronomical, so not having health insurance, then facing a major illness is a recipe for financial ruin.
Are you a student in college? Here’s a list of health insurance for college students
4.) Homeowners Insurance
In most cases, if you owe money on your home and carry a mortgage, you are legally required to keep homeowners’ insurance on your home. However, even if your home is yours, free and clear, it’s a wise idea to have homeowners’ insurance. After all, if you are like most people, your home is your single biggest investment and to lose it would be devastating.
Here’s a breakdown of what you pay for homeowners’ insurance:
- Premium: This payment keeps your policy active. It is the amount you pay towards your coverage and usually runs between $1,000 and $1,500 yearly.
- Deductibles: You won’t have to fool with deductibles unless you need to put your policy into action. Your deductible is the amount you pay before your homeowner’s policy will pay for repairs or replacements.
If you have to file a claim with your insurance company due to something happening to the structure of your home or the possessions inside, you will understand the benefits of this type of insurance. You will be given the resources to replace damaged, stolen, or destroyed property or possessions. While having a homeowner’s policy won’t ensure you never experience storm damage to your home or have something stolen, having such a policy should give you peace of mind that all will be made well again.
5.) Renters Insurance
This type of insurance is similar to the homeowner’s variety just covered, except it protects your personal belongings and guards against accidents in a rented home. Ideally, your landlord will have insurance on the structure itself, but you as a renter still should have a renters’ insurance policy to cover what you have inside your apartment or home. Keep in mind, should an accident, natural disaster, break-in, or fire occur damaging your possessions inside your rented home, you won’t get anything in way of compensation without having renters’ insurance.
6.) Life Insurance
Although death is something you never want to think about, it is a certainty of life, right along with taxes. Having a life insurance policy will ensure that your spouse and other family members left behind are well looked after in the event of your death. Most life insurance covers funeral expenses and has enough extra to pay off debt or perhaps use for living expenses until your family is able to move on from their loss. There are several types of life insurance policies to consider. They are as follows:
- Term Life: Term policies are just what they sound like, they are policies that last only for a set amount of time or a term. Often, this is a span of 10, 20, 25, or 30 years. You purchase your policy at the beginning of your term, and it continues until the policy is up. At this time, your coverage also expires.
- Whole Life: A whole life policy will last for your entire life and never expires, it will also accrue cash value over time that you can either cash out or borrow against. This type of policy is substantially more expensive than its term counterpart, which makes them less feasible for most people. However, if you can afford a whole life policy, they provide the best benefits.
7.) Pet Insurance
If you have ever taken your pet to the veterinarian for any sort of procedure, you know that pet care can get outrageously expensive. Therefore, many feel pet insurance is a worthwhile investment to protect against these excessive fees. Utilize pet insurance to pay for vaccines, checkups, and even emergency surgery. Of course, pet insurance won’t pay ever dime, but it will cover at least a portion of the costs. There are three basic types of insurance coverage you can purchase. They are outlined below:
- Wellness Care: This coverage pays for vaccines, checkups and screenings.
- Accident Care: Use this coverage to pay for emergency treatment if your pet is injured or ill due to an accident.
- Comprehensive Care: This pays for both unexpected illnesses and treatments along with covering wellness visits and other routine visits.
If you aren’t sure which policy is best for you, the accident care offers the best coverage for unexpected vet related expenses. Thankfully, policies are pretty affordable, starting at $6 monthly. In most cases, regular checkups are a set price you can plan for yearly, whereas accidents that are by nature unpredictable. Keep in mind, unlike health insurance where your insurance company is billed and you then pay the remainder, pet care costs are often demanded upfront, then you will file for reimbursement with your pet’s insurance policy.
8.) Small Business Insurance
If you own a small business, this type of insurance is a must to ensure your plans are not derailed by unexpected costs or accidents. For example, consider the following types of small business insurance policies you could consider:
- Liability Coverage: Small businesses don’t have the benefit of a robust legal department, so lawsuits can prove particularly harmful. Liability coverage will help business owners protect themselves from such costly rulings.
- Auto and Property: Just as you as an individual need to protect your property and vehicles with insurance, so does a business. If a business owns property or automobiles, it should also have insurance policies set up to protect these assets. Property coverage isn’t limited to a structure itself but can include business equipment and inventory.
- Key Person: Many small businesses lean heavily on the principle owners in order to stay in business. If one of these individuals were to pass away unexpectedly, it could be devastating or even fatal to a business, causing it to close its doors forever. Ideally, business owners in this position will take out life insurance policies on themselves and name the business beneficiary within the policy to ensure the business isn’t lost along with the owner.
9.) Travel Insurance
When planning a fun, carefree vacation, insurance is probably the last thing on your mind. However, to protect the money you invest in your trip, it’s wise to obtain travel insurance. It can help with the following situations:
- Theft: As a tourist, you are more prone to pickpockets and other forms of theft. Travel policies will help you recover stolen items or give you the value of those items if it’s impossible to recover them.
- Trip Cancellation: Travel insurance can help you recoup losses accrued by canceling a non-refundable trip. The cost of your accommodation and/or airline tickets can be refunded if you cover your trip with a travel policy. After the craziness of a spring and summer with COVID, where beaches were unprecedently closed, this type of insurance has been proven invaluable.
- Medical Treatment: Though you won’t likely think about it, you can become ill or injured while on vacation. Travel insurance will help you cover medical bills that your health insurance won’t due to being out of state or even out of the country.
- Relocation/Evacuation: If you need to evacuate or relocate while on vacation due to a natural disaster, riot, or political turmoil, travel insurance policies will help you by recovering what you lost expense wise and can help you evacuate out of a bad situation.
- Miscellaneous Help: In addition to all the other features previously mentioned, most travel insurance carriers have 24-hour operators available to assist you with all sorts of things from helping translate directions to roadside assistance and everything in between.
Bottom Line: A Responsible Purchase
In many cases, the state or federal government dictates what type of insurance you need to purchase by making it legally required to have specific policies. However, not all the aforementioned insurance policies are federally, or state required, some are just wise investments. In addition, concerning the mandated policies, you still have some freedom in terms of how much coverage you purchase. Ideally, you will consider long and hard the ramifications for having too little coverage before deciding what type of policy to buy and its coverage amounts. Life is anything but predictable and accidents can and do happen daily. Sometimes, these accidents and/or tragedies are life-altering, so having the right insurance policies can protect against the worst occurrences. While it’s not ideal to worry about every little thing that could go wrong, it’s wise to educate yourself on common risks and work to protect your assets, business, life, and family against said possibilities.