Should you rely on group insurance alone?

How individual insurance can complement your group insurance

Your employer may offer group insurance coverage – for example, life insurance, critical illness insurance or disability insurance as part of a benefits plan.

It’s a basic way to help protect you and your loved ones.

But what if you could do more than just cover the basics? Your lifestyle is important to you and your family, so what if you could complement your group benefits coverage with individual insurance and help keep the lifestyle you’d want for your family, if you died or became too sick or injured to work?

Knowing the details of your group insurance plan is crucial. You want to make sure you have the right type of insurance, and the right amount of coverage, to cover all your bases when dealing with the unexpected.

Individual insurance, such as life, critical illness and disability insurance is coverage you can get outside of work. They typically offer more control and choice based on the needs of you and your family. And it’s all about you: you own it and you choose the products and options you want that are customized for your needs.

Together with your group insurance, they can help protect you, your family and your lifestyle from unexpected events that could jeopardize your financial goals and keep you from meeting your obligations.

Uncover your needs to find out if your group insurance is enough

Does group insurance cover your needs? Consider the following questions:

1. If something were to happen to you or a loved one would you be able to:

2. Does group insurance coverage include the types of insurance you and your family need?

  • Will your insurance protection last a lifetime?
  • Does your partner have group insurance coverage through their work?
  • If you’re too sick to work, would your coverage give you a lump-sum payment to help with recovery?
  • Can you increase your coverage if your needs change?

Better together: Group and individual insurance

For some people, group insurance is enough, but an individual insurance plan can complement your group insurance benefits. I can help sort out the details and fill in any existing gaps.

Helpful tips for first-time life insurance buyers

Buying life insurance doesn’t have to be difficult

Buying life insurance for the first time can seem daunting. It’s a big decision, there are many options to consider and it can be stressful to think about what might happen if you’re no longer there to support your loved ones.

Getting insurance coverage that’s right for you is one of the most important ways you can financially protect those you care for from the unexpected. Buying life insurance is essential at any age and there are key advantages to starting early.

Here are some helpful tips to make the whole process easier for you.

Remember why you need insurance

Insurance can help financially protect those you care about when you’re no longer there to support them. It means there could be money available when it’s needed the most, so your loved ones can spend more time helping each other through a difficult time, and less time focused on how to pay the bills.

Life insurance can help:

  • Cover everyday living expenses
  • Settle debts
  • Keep the family home
  • Continue plans you’ve made for your loved ones, like an education fund

Once you know what type of life insurance you want, you’ll then want to determine how much your family will need to continue their lifestyle after you’re gone.

Life insurance that’s right for your needs and budget

There are two kinds of life insurance:

Term life insurance – temporary, lower-cost insurance coverage (at least initially) which you buy for a set period of Life Insurancetime. When that time’s up, your coverage can be renewed or you can convert to permanent, lifelong, coverage without having to answer further health questions.

Permanent life insurance – typically costs more, but lasts a lifetime and includes features that can grow money inside your policy over time (called cash value). You can access this money while you’re still alive or leave a larger legacy for those you care about.

Once you know what type of life insurance you want, you’ll then want to determine how much your family will need to continue their lifestyle after you’re gone.

To start, calculate:

  • Monthly household expenses – groceries, bills, mortgage, loan payments, etc
  • Planned expenses – RRSP or contributions to your children’s education, for example
  • Expected one-time costs – for instance, funeral expenses

You should figure out how much these expenses will cost for a full year, then how many years your loved ones would need to rely on this income. It’s a good starting point, so you have an idea of your insurance needs, which you can finalize with the help from me.

Don’t forget to insure your health

Did you know you’re much more likely to experience a serious illness or injury before you retire than you are to die? Ask yourself: if you were too sick or injured and couldn’t work for a month, six months or even a year, would you need an income source (that’s not your own) to support yourself and your family? If your answer is yes, critical illness and disability insurance may be valuable additions to your financial security plan that can protect what you’ve planned for and help ensure your loved ones are taken care of.

Consult a financial professional

I can help you create a plan – including life, critical illness and disability insurance – to help protect yourself and your family from any financial or non-financial issues that might come up.

What’s the Best Life Insurance for You?

To build the right financial plan for you, it’s important to know:

What are your life insurance options?

When it comes to life insurance, you have two choices: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Both are great choices that protect you and your family, but each has different features. Deciding what’s Life Insurance for Familyright for you depends on what you need.

Term life insurance is temporary, lower-cost insurance coverage initially, where your payments stay the same for a set period of time. When that time’s up you can renew your coverage or convert it to permanent life insurance without having to answer further health questions.

Permanent life insurance also helps protect those you care about and provides you with more security because it lasts a lifetime.1 Initially, it costs more than term life insurance but includes features that can grow money inside your policy over time (called cash value). You can access this money while you’re still alive to help you achieve what you’ve always wanted – more retirement income or perhaps to start your own business – or leave a larger legacy for those you care about.

Deciding which option is right for you can be difficult. Here’s some information to help you make a decision.

So which option do you feel best suits your needs: term insurance, permanent insurance or a combination of both?

No one knows your situation better than you do. However, I’m here to help you. I can review your needs, help you choose the right insurance option and work with you to build a financial security plan to protect what matters most.

All-in-One Life Insurance Guide

What can life insurance do for you?

  • Protect the people who rely on you
  • Build value you can access during your lifetime

What types of life insurance are available?

  • Term life insurance
  • Permanent life insurance

Who needs life insurance?

  • People who are supporting others financially
  • Young and healthy people
  • Single people
  • People with assets or an estate to protect
  • People who want to leave something to charity
  • Parents who want to set up their children for success
  • Business owners

When should you buy insurance?

What about other types of life insurance?

  • Mortgage or creditor protection
  • Group life insurance

How do you select the right life insurance for you?

  • Professional advice

Read this guide, and talk things over with me to better understand the choices you have with life insurance. Making the right life insurance choice today can help both you and the people you care about most in the future.

Life Insurance Planning Solutions

Help protect the people who rely on you

Life insurance is one of the best ways to help protect the people who rely on you. Buying life insurance shows you are Life Insurance Guidecommitted to creating a positive future for your loved ones and can reassure them that they will be taken care of.

When someone dies, loved ones left behind have to make important – and often difficult – decisions at a stressful time. Life insurance provides options for the people you care about, allowing them the time and financial help needed to make decisions. Insurance proceeds can be received within days. This money can be used to cover funeral costs and other expenses, such as:

  • Legal fees
  • Taxes
  • Outstanding medical expenses
  • Mortgage payments
  • Loan payments
  • Credit card bills
  • Child care

Life insurance can also help replace the loss of your income and help fulfill your future plans in your absence, such as funding a child’s education or your spouse’s retirement plans.

Build value you can access during your lifetime

Permanent life insurance provides an opportunity to grow cash value over time. You can use it to help you achieve your big goals in life: to supplement your retirement income, to help pay for your children’s education, to go towards starting a business, or leave as a larger legacy to those you care about. **

You can access this cash value in your life insurance policy several ways**:

  • Take out a loan
  • Make a cash withdrawal
  • Use it as collateral to help obtain a bank loan

What types of life insurance are available?

Term life insurance is temporary, low-cost coverage where your payments stay the same for a set period of time. When that time’s up you can renew your coverage at a higher cost or convert it to permanent life insurance without having to answer further health questions.

Permanent life insurance provides you with more security because it lasts a lifetime, as long as payments are made. It costs more than term insurance, but can grow money tax-free inside your policy over time (called cash value), which you can access while you’re still alive.*

Who needs life insurance?

Life insurance can help you, no matter what stage of life you’re in.

People who are supporting others financially

Whether it’s your spouse, partner, children, another family member or a friend, life insurance is a great way to help provide for the people who rely on you.

Young and healthy people

You may not think you need to have insurance if you’re young and healthy, but there are many advantages to buying it at this stage of your life.

  • Your payments for insurance will be lower when you’re younger, meaning you can afford more coverage. And that means a larger legacy for loved ones, or a charity you choose.
  • With permanent life insurance, it means more time to build up cash value.
  • Buying life insurance when you’re young ensures you have coverage if you later develop health issues. Single people Life insurance is an important part of your financial security plan. During your lifetime
  • You can use permanent life insurance to supplement your retirement income or support your long term goals.** After death
  • Proceeds from a life insurance policy can take care of final expenses, unpaid bills and other debts, or be left as a gift to a friend or loved one.

As a parent, you want the best for your children, but sometimes big dreams come with big costs.

People with assets or an estate to protect

Life insurance can play a very important role in preserving the estate you’ve built over your lifetime and can help you leave the most assets possible to your heirs. But as your estate grows, so can the burden of taxes and fees that may have to be paid when you die. Life insurance can help cover these costs, allowing you to pass on your estate as planned.

People who want to leave something to charity

Life insurance gives you the opportunity to leave a personal contribution to your favourite charity or nonprofit organization.

Parents who want to set up their children for success

As a parent, you want the best for your children, but sometimes big dreams come with big costs. Imagine being able to say yes to your child buying a car, traveling, having a dream wedding or purchasing a home because you’ve bought them permanent life insurance today. **

  • Any cash value that grows within the policy can be accessed during your child’s lifetime** and if it isn’t needed right away, your child can use it later to supplement their own retirement income.**
  • Buying your children life insurance now can help provide a lifetime of protection.

Business owners

When you own a business, your most valuable asset is your ability to create revenue. But what would happen if you or one of your essential employees suddenly died, creating a risk to your business? The ripple effect could be significant, jeopardizing your lifestyle and even those of other employees.

Protecting your business means more than just protecting its physical assets—it also means thinking about what will happen after you die. Will your heirs and any surviving owners be able to work together? Will your heirs need to sell the business to cover capital gains, probate fees and other costs?

Insuring yourself and your key people can help protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. * If the accumulation stays within prescribed limits, the cash value is only subject to income tax when it’s withdrawn. **Borrowing or withdrawing money from your policy will reduce the policy’s death benefit and cash value.

When should you buy insurance?

Whether you’re just starting your career, supporting a growing family or preparing for retirement, life insurance helps you meet different needs at different stages of your life.

In particular, there are some key times when you should be thinking about your insurance needs, such as when:

  • Purchasing your first home or cottage
  • A child or grandchild is born
  • Starting a business
  • Succession planning
  • Taking on a new job
  • Getting married or divorced
  • A parent or spouse dies
  • A child leaves home
  • You’re approaching retirement

Mortgage or creditor protection

These are types of term insurance offered by lending institutions as part of their mortgage loan or line of credit products. They provide simple, low-cost insurance to cover the balance owing if you die before the mortgage or line of credit is paid off.

However, there are some important differences between mortgage, creditor and individual life insurance. When it comes to mortgage or creditor insurance:

  • The lender or mortgage broker owns the policy
  • Your coverage typically decreases as your mortgage is paid down
  • The insurance money can only be used towards the balance of your mortgage
  • Often, you can’t make changes to your coverage as your needs change
  • Your coverage ends when your mortgage or debt is paid off

Group life insurance

If you’re working, there’s a good chance your employer offers group life insurance. You may also have group life insurance through an association, professional body, union or club.

While this form of insurance provides simple, low-cost coverage, there are some important differences between group and individual life insurance.

  • Group life insurance normally provides basic protection or benefits. Unless you get added coverage, your insurance could be significantly short of your actual needs
  • Group insurance benefits are pre-set and not personalized to your specific situation
  • You’re often only insured as long as you’re part of the group
  • Employers own their employees’ coverage and can change it at their discretion, based on an annual review

What about other types of life insurance?

Get professional advice

Life insurance is definitely not one-size-fits-all and buying coverage that meets your current and future needs can be complex. That’s why professional advice is essential. I can advise you by:

  • Take the time to understand your personal financial goals, insurance needs, risk tolerance, and how hands-on you want to be in managing your insurance
  • Help you evaluate your options and select the type of insurance that’s a good fit for you now, and in the future

Help Insure Your Child Get’s Off to a Head Start

Tuition costs have nearly tripled over the past quarter-century ­– good enough reason to start planning for your child’s university or college education.

With the average cost of a post-secondary education in 2010-2011 at $58,000 – and climbing – and with the maximum contribution to registered education savings plans (RESPs) set at $50,000, you may be looking for other ways to fund your child’s education. Life insurance can help your children fund their post-secondary education if you or your partner die unexpectedly.

Child Life Insurance

Insure Your Child

How does it work? Most permanent life insurance products offer a guaranteed cash value accumulation component that allows the cash value to grow tax-free (within limits).

When it’s time to withdraw funds for your child’s education, you can either withdraw the accumulated cash value or take out a loan against the policy’s accumulation. If you take out a loan, your cash value can continue to grow, provided you repay the loan. Alternatively, you can surrender your insurance policy if coverage is no longer required and apply this money to your child’s education needs (tax may apply).

Purchasing participating life insurance for your child or grandchild is a gift that keeps on giving. A participating life insurance policy has cash value that can grow over time and can be accessed to pay for things like tuition, a new car, or a down payment on a house. With their insurance needs taken care of for life, they can focus on other key priorities.

I can help you make sense of using permanent life insurance to pay for tuition.

Mortgage Insurance vs Personal Life Insurance

You’re finalizing your mortgage – a huge commitment that comes with a great deal of responsibility. It’s natural to be concerned that your family might lose their home if the income earner was no longer around to make the payments.

You have a couple of options, both involving affordable monthly payments. Lending institutions offer you mortgage insurance – also called creditor insurance – at the time you sign the mortgage. The other route is personal life insurance that you can buy through me.

  • It’s important to research the differences between mortgage insurance and personal life insurance.

Mortgage insurance is convenient. You can apply for insurance coverage at the same time you’re getting your mortgage. This insurance is used to cover the outstanding mortgage balance if you die. You can also include your spouse in the coverage.

Mortgage Life Insurance

However, it’s important to research the differences between mortgage insurance and personal life insurance to help ensure you’re giving yourself and your family the type of insurance protection that meets your needs.

You do have to qualify for personal life insurance, a process that may include verification that you and your spouse are in good health. Once you start paying the premiums, you’re covered for the term of the policy, with automatic renewals. And as long as premiums are paid as required, only you can cancel the policy.

The benefit payout

With mortgage insurance, your creditor is the named beneficiary and the proceeds are paid to the creditor, not your family. If you or your spouse dies, the outstanding amount is paid off. As the mortgage is paid down the benefit coverage decreases.

Personal life insurance allows you to choose your beneficiaries. And the lump-sum benefit payment is paid tax free on the death of the life insured even if the mortgage is paid off. This type of coverage provides added financial security beyond just the mortgage.

Monthly premiums

With mortgage insurance, the coverage decreases each month until the entire principal is paid off and the premiums stay the same. With personal life insurance, your coverage doesn’t decrease as the mortgage is paid down and you can choose a plan that will keep the premium you pay level for 10, 20 years or for your lifetime.

Flexibility

Generally, most lending institutions offer non-convertible term life insurance where the lending institution owns the mortgage insurance policy. If you switch mortgage lenders, your policy is void. Given that you’ll be older than when you originally signed your mortgage or your health may have changed, the premiums with a new lender could be higher or you may not qualify for new coverage.

If you already have a personal life insurance policy in place and you buy a bigger home, you may want to consider increasing the coverage. One option may be to leave the existing policy in place and take out a second one to increase overall coverage for your family.

Take time to compare and carefully weigh both options. I can provide expert guidance.