Thursday, September 22, 2016

Should You Let Your Insurance Lapse?

When you’re young and healthy, insurance of all kinds tends to be more affordable. Health insurance premiums are low, life insurance is a negligible expense, and additional add-ons can cost less than your monthly coffee budget.

As you age though, insurance rates tend to increase. Plans that guarantee life-long rates tend to start out at a higher cost, leading many young people to choose term plans that eventually expire. 

When these come to term, the chances of renewing depend on several factors. If you’ve had long term care insurance and never used it, it may be tempting to let it lapse. In fact, 25% of seniors let their long term care insurance lapse, despite entering the years where they’re likely to need it most. 

Below are some considerations you’ll want to make when deciding whether to renew your long term care insurance.

Upfront Cost

The most common reason to let insurance lapse is the monthly cost. After all, that is the only tangible effect that insurance has on your life until the moment comes that you finally need to use it. 

Be sure to price compare across several companies. If you have a term up for renewal, try to negotiate with your current provider. If you get a comparable quote from a competitor, your current provider is likely to cut you a deal to keep a customer.

Likelihood of Need

Long term care insurance often covers services like adult daycare, home health aides, and assisted living facilities. You can judge your potential need for these services by considering the following:

  • Your current health and self-care capabilities
  • Your family health history, particularly related to debilitating conditions related to aging
  • Your family’s time and monetary resources. Are there relatives who can/will care for you?

Depending on your current and predicted future health, as well as the availability of familial caregivers, you may decide you aren’t likely to take advantage of long term care insurance. 

In this case though, you will still want to consider burial insurance and other life insurance policies that will limit the financial burden of your eventual passing on your loved ones.

Personal and Family Finances

If your life savings is small and your family is financially stable, there may be no reason to have long term care insurance. Conversely, if your fortune is large, it may be more financially savvy to just spend the money on care rather than get it covered. 

But if your wealth is between $200,000 and $2 million, you are in the spot where you have financial assets you may want to pass to family, and long term care could significantly impact that amount. 

This window is the magic spot where insurance can be extremely useful.

You’ll want to consider both your finances and the finances of family members who will bear the burden of your care. 

Talk with them about the best path forward for all. Do you want the security of future protection, or is the possibility of needing long term care one that you’d rather save the money from insurance premiums to address straight on when the time comes? 

There are pros and cons on both sides, and the right answer for you will largely depend on your personal situation and your preferences of where your money goes. 

Would you rather pay into a system that gives you security, but may not be utilized, or risk having to pay higher costs should the need for long term care arise?

Insurance can be a personal and frustrating topic to navigate. Talking with family and financial professionals who you trust can help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Jeriann’s interest in financial writing sprouted from her attempts to pay off her student loans. She was tired of seeing the same tips for saving money (cut your home line, reduce eating out). She now writes about her journey, financial and otherwise at her blog,

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