In a way, having a life insurance policy is like any other long-term relationship: it requires nurturing. After all, it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it type of thing—you need to make sure your policy keeps up with you throughout the years.
Wondering how to do that? We’re glad you asked. Because we conveniently put together this collection of reminders to help ensure this relationship is a smooth one.
Know who your life insurance company or agency is
This seems like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to lose track of, especially if you have different types of policies (home, auto, flood, etc.) with different insurers. The simplest thing to do is make sure you have a paper copy of your policy stored somewhere safe and easily accessible to your beneficiaries and/or the executor of your estate. Also, you’ll want to tell the necessary people where this information is, and how to access it. Who are those people? We’re glad you asked…
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Make sure your beneficiaries and family know the name of your insurer
Your loved ones will be happy to hear that you’ve taken the important step of helping to financially secure their future by getting life insurance. More importantly, they’ll need to know some key information in the event that they need to actually file a claim someday.
Depending on your comfort level (and if your beneficiaries are your children, their age), the amount of info you should share will vary. Ideally, your beneficiaries will receive a copy of your policy so they will know who to contact should it becomes necessary. If that exceeds your comfort level or, again, if your beneficiaries are too young to keep track of that info, consider giving that information to your attorney or someone else who will be responsible in the event that something happens to you. (For example, a sibling, a spouse or a trusted friend/relative.)
If you’re not comfortable sharing the full details of your policy, you should at least share the insurer and that insurer’s contact info, as well as where to find that policy when they need it.
Check back after any major life events
Keeping your life insurance policy up to date isn’t a job, but it does take work. If you experience any of the following life milestones, you should take a moment to consider how it may impact your life insurance policy:
- Get married (or do the opposite.)
- Have a child
- Get a promotion, or experience anything else that affects your income, finances or overall net worth
- Buy a new home
Specifically, you’ll want to make sure your policyholder information and beneficiaries are up to date. In fact, this is something you should do on a semi-annual basis – take a few minutes to log into your account and major sure everything from basic information (home address, billing) and beneficiary details are still accurate. it Pro tip: Create a calendar invite to check in on your policy (send it to your spouse, if applicable), and then follow through. If something happens and your policy is out-of-date, it might create headaches for those you love.
In sum, if you just took out a term life insurance policy, you’ve likely signed up for something that will cover the next few decades of your life. And a lot can change over that much time—your beneficiaries may move, have their own kids, so on and so forth. All of these might affect what level of insurance makes sense for you. And hey, even if you don’t ultimately need to update your policy, you’ll still get the comfort of knowing that everything is as it should be.
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Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children. This article is sponsored by Haven Life Insurance Agency. Opinions are his own.