You have done it! You have cleaned up your finances, figured out what’s what, built up a wealth account , and you have even begun investing. There is no more debt, your time is freed up, and you have a nice little nest egg. Then it happens WHAM! You are involved in a major car accident and are seriously injured. Or maybe you are diagnosed with a serious illness. Either way, not only can you not work for a while, but you have heaps of medical bills. Are you prepared? If not, then all the hard work you have done to get yourself on stable financial ground and begin building wealth, is gone. If you can’t pay those bills and you are sued, then faster than you can blink your assets will be sucked up to pay what you owe.
How would you feel if this happened to you? Really use your imagination and try to place yourself there. What is it worth to you to ensure that this never happens? What would you do to protect yourself?
What is protection? INSURANCE! Yes, it is easy to say, “I don’t really need it right now,” or, “I can’t really afford it yet. I’ll wait until I’m making more money.” No matter how tight money is, it will be far worse if anything happens to you and you are uninsured. Just remember you DO need it. The premium (charge you pay on a monthly/yearly basis) for insurance will protect you and family from financial loss in the event of accident, illness, fire, flood, or any other type of natural disaster.
Insurance is unavoidable if you own a car and/or a house. To qualify for a mortgage, you will be required to have home insurance because the bank wants to protect their investment. Just be sure to research insurance companies or make use of an insurance broker (you don’t pay for their services, the insurance companies do) and make sure you have appropriate coverage. You don’t want it to be too high and you don’t want it to be too low. It should be based on the estimated rebuilding costs of your house, not on current market value. With car insurance, you will most likely have to show proof of some basic coverage to register the vehicle. Make sure you are comfortably covered in case of an accident and also for when you rent a car so you don’t need to pay extra premiums. (See Abundance Bound – Financial Education and Planning for Actors and Artists” for more details and ideas).
It is also crucial that you have health insurance. Since the majority of artists do not have coverage from a regular employer, they need to purchase individual coverage. You can choose between fee-for-service insurance allows you to choose any physician although it is generally extremely expensive, or managed care lower costs but limited choices with regards to doctors and hospitals to which you have access. It is also recommended that you obtain a policy that:
will cover a major medical problem
will handle at least 80% of your costs after the deductible
is guaranteed renewable (they can’t drop you or hike your premium cost if you get sick)
has a maximum lifetime benefit of at least $1 million
doesn’t have large numbers of limits and exclusions
Recognize that insurance companies can be sneaky read policies carefully.
Other types of insurance include renter’s insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance. Renter’s insurance is important because your possessions are not covered under the homeowner’s policy of the person from whom you are renting. It also protects you from liability, either in you own home or elsewhere. Life insurance is something you need only if you have dependents. Don’t let someone sell it to you otherwise. Disability insurance is important to have in place if you have a regularly paying job in the event that you become sick or injured and cannot work for a period of time.
Things to consider when shopping for insurance include:
1. How high a deductible you want to select. Higher deductibles will result in lower premium costs. Just make sure you can actually afford to cover the deductible. If you visit the doctor regularly for example, having a high deductible might not make sense.
2. Get quotes from several insurance agents. Don’t be pressured into buying just because you have been given a quote. Talk to both independent agents (they can sell policies from different insurance companies) and captive agents (they represent one company). Getting referrals from friends and family members who are happy with their service and rates is a good way to shop. Then you know your insurance provider is tried and true.
3. Explore companies that will sell a policy directly to you. This may be cheaper since they avoid paying agents’ salaries.
4. The Consumer Reports Buying Guide can be an excellent resource for narrowing down your top choices.
5. If you are considering a lesser known company because of good rates, make sure you check them out carefully. Investigate qualifications, check with state insurance department, and research the company’s financial stability. You don’t want to be paying premiums for months or even years, only to discover that the company has gone out of business and will not pay your claim.
6. Always ask if you are eligible for any discounts.
It all comes down to protection and the feeling of security that goes along with it. If you do not have insurance, you may be putting your whole future on the line. No one wants life’s difficulties to pop up, but we can’t avoid them forever and if they are big, then you could be financially ruined. And who wants the financial stress added to an already stressful situation of illness, injury, or losing your house or possessions? Again, really take the time to imagine how you would FEEL if any of this happened to you and you weren’t ready. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be prepared. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Get insurance and have peace of mind.