Wednesday, October 12, 2011
There are things that I don't like to pay for. Well, honestly, is anything really fun to pay for?
I won't lie; I get a certain satisfaction out of knocking off bills every month--but it would make the process infinitely better if, you know, there was an endless supply of money in the ol' bank account. But, like most people, I have resigned to the fact that the very reason we work in the first place is to be able to pay for things, so unless it's an especially "tight" month, I don't find paying bills to be particularly horrible or stressful. Still, there is one particular bill that has been weighing heavily on my mind, and really bothers me.
Up until last month, the only life insurance policies Michael and I had were through our employers, given to us as part of our benefits packages. We always figured that at least we had some kind of life insurance and left it at that. But once we bought our new house, with more expensive bills, it dawned on me that if something were to happen to one of us, it would be really difficult for the other person to continue to carry the house and its expenses on their own. And, of course, we have Nora, so we have to consider her financial well-being, too.
In August, we were shopping around for homeowner's insurance for our new house, and to keep things easier (and get a discount), we moved our auto insurance over to the new carrier as well. At the time we signed on the dotted line for all of that, the insurance agent (of course) mentioned that we should consider life insurance policies. We were a bit overwhelmed by all of the changes and preparing for the closing on the house, so we said that we would revisit it once we were moved in and (somewhat) settled.
In September, the insurance agent came to our house and discussed our life insurance options with us. We were really unsure of what to expect in terms of cost--but I will say that I was a bit shocked at how pricey life insurance policies are. Even so, we knew it was important to have, so we signed on the dotted lines and put ourselves through the screening process.
But now, I just can't shake the feeling of how much I hate to see that money go out the door every month. I mean, paying for any kind of insurance is no picnic--but at least with health, dental, and car insurance, you actually USE it. Or have a pretty good chance of using it. It's disturbing to know that with life insurance, the only time anyone will ever benefit from it is if one of us dies. How pleasant is THAT to think about?
I question the need for it, honestly. We took out policies that would allow the widowed spouse to pay off the mortgage, and leave some extra money for Nora. We figured that the policies through our employers (which disappear if we leave our jobs, obviously) would be more than enough to cover funeral expenses, and provide a little extra cushion should we actually find ourselves in the worst situation ever. But now I'm thinking, do we really need THAT MUCH insurance? I still maintain that it's smart and responsible to have it, but how much life insurance do we really need? Because seriously, that money that is being deducted from our bank account every month? We could use it for a lot of other things.
I don't want to fall into the "it could never happen to us" trap, because let's face it--at our age, no one expects to lose their lives. It's better to be somewhat prepared for it, right? To protect our little family, and our precious little girl?
What say you, friends? I'm interested in hearing from those with kids AND those without. Do you pay for life insurance? Stick with "free" policies given to you through work? Roll the dice without any at all? What are your reasons for going the route you've chosen? And if you do pay, are there any tricks to turning off that little voice inside that says "this is such a waste of money"?
In retrospect, maybe our mistake in all of this is that we just didn't shop around enough. We figured we'd be getting a good deal through our insurance carrier, but we really don't have anything to compare it to. I find myself wondering if what we're paying is actually a decent rate. Maybe I should put some inquiries out there to see what we could get somewhere else.
And now that I have sufficiently depressed everyone by talking about morbid life events... I apologize. :)