Estate Planning (ICE): Life insurance
May 27, 2015
It used to be that life insurance was a standard part of any benefits package from my employer. I took that a little bit for granted once I stopped working retail. Now I have to scout out my own because I haven’t had a policy in force in ages. With Little Bean in the picture, that has to change pronto!
Life would be tough enough for PiC not having me around to take care of the stuff I manage (and I’m sure he’d miss me). Having to do without my income for a period of time with a kid, a dog, mortgages and all would be the pits, to say the least.
We have the bulk of our insurance with State Farm these days. Previously my car insurance for myself and Dad were with GEICO but the claim process was too bare bones. I don’t think it was worth the minimal savings anymore. We’re at that point where we really have to pay a little bit more for decent service rather than wasting massive gobs of time getting assessments, chasing down guilty parties, etc.
I used to have Mercury Insurance which was another cheapish outfit, about ten years or so ago, but they weren’t so chintzy that they didn’t follow up on accident claims themselves. Some reckless jerk rammed my car on the freeway because he was in too much of a hurry to change four lanes one at a time and had to cut across all four in one go.
Mercury wanted to take the easy way out and have me split responsibility for the accident. A 50-50 split would cost half my $1000 deductible and I’d take 50% responsibility on my record without being assessed points, the rep explained.
My answer was a polite HELL. NO. The only fault I bore in that accident was existing on the same roads as the goon who failed the looking out his windshield exam so I held my ground and insisted that they pursue a no fault to me resolution.
Three months later that guy and his insurance caved and admitted that it was entirely his fault.
I refuse to eat the cost of other people’s poor judgment but I now don’t have time to personally pursue it when stuff happens.
I requested quotes from State Farm and Allstate for 30 year term policies ranging from 200-400k.
State Farm noodled around for weeks refusing to email quotes but also failing to get them in the mail for six weeks. After a few followups they sent me a stack of quotes along with some other poor sod’s paperwork but the quotes were useless. The policies were for both me and PiC when I’d requested policies just for me (in writing, by email so there was a record of the request), and listed me as a 30 year old male. The agent’s response when I pointed out the basic errors? “I forgot what you wanted.”
Oh, you forgot I was female and that you have my birthday on file? That’s cute. Nope, wait, that’s not competent. So that’s three strikes for State Farm: inconvenient, AND failed customer service twice.
Allstate actually approached me at the time I was doing price/plan comps so I gave them a shot. Unlike State Farm, Allstate provided quotes for ME within a day. Apart from the super cheesy “it pays to be young and healthy!” rah rah comment from the agent, that quote process was painless.
I used a Bankrate calculator to figure out how much insurance I’d need considering factors like:
The ages of spouse and child(ren);
My mortgage and other debts (none);
College expenses for child(ren) and/or spouse;
My funeral expenses.
Bankrate seems to think I need a policy for 1.7M. That’s a hell of a lot more than I was expecting and seems wildly out of proportion to my previous expectations. Maybe I need to play with the variables a bit more and do more research into how each one affects the recommendation. I doubt I’ll go for anything over $1M at this point, though.