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Michigan Insurance Blog

Do Vampires Need Insurance

Dogs as Ghosts Many people walk around under the illusion that they don’t need insurance. Unfortunately, this illusion is a dangerous mirage that can create a perilous financial future for those who buy into it. In order to show you just how necessary insurance is for every individual, let’s talk about vampires.

Why Vampires?

Okay, so vampires don’t seem very relevant, but consider this: according to modern mythology, not only do vampires sparkle in the sun but they are also immortal, may be able to read minds, can have super strength and speed, and are generally less vulnerable than humans—as long as the sun isn’t out. So if there’s anyone who doesn’t need insurance, surely a vampire would fit the bill, right? Wrong.

Vampire Insurance

  1. Vampires need life insurance. Why in the world would the immortal need a life insurance policy, you ask? Well, even the eternally undead are not impervious to fire, wooden stakes, silver bullets and the errant ray of sunlight. With a life insurance policy, a vampire can easily leave a suitable legacy while also providing the means for a fitting funeral.
  2. Vampires need business insurance. With thousands of years of life stretching before them, vampires must have a perpetual means for generating an income. Their independent spirit would likely create an entrepreneurial streak leading to the creation of their own businesses. Business insurance could help a vampire protect his business against liabilities, cyber theft, content damage and more.
  3. Vampires need home insurance. If a man’s home is his castle, then a vampire’s home is … well … really his castle because, as everyone knows, vampires would totally live in castles. But these castles wouldn’t be empty or filled with cheap furniture. Instead they would be filled with valuable antiques the vampire had collected over her several lifetimes. And, in the bedroom, an expensive casket for spending daylight hours away from the sun. In the event of a fire, theft, hurricane, or other covered peril, said vampire would rely on a home insurance policy to replace the value of her property and rebuild her palace.
  4. Vampires need auto insurance. What kind of car would a vampire drive? Well, one with a sense of irony might decide to travel around in a hearse. Others might prefer a car of regal bearing that complements their strength and power. Whatever car a vampire chooses, late night driving and searching for a midnight snack of jugular could someday result in an accident, theft or vandalism, not to mention the potential of an act of nature to bring destruction. Not only can an auto insurance policy protect a vampire against losses from damage done to his car, but it can also pay bodily injury and property damage liability costs.

The living dead might exist only in the hearts and minds of readers and moviegoers, but the risks that they would be exposed to are real and are faced by mere mortals every day. To get the policies that even a vampire would need, and maybe some they wouldn’t, give us a call today! 616-897-1515

History of Life Insurance

Far from its humble beginnings, the concept of life insurance has exploded in recent years into something much more far-reaching than a mere death benefit for a grieving family. It’s a tool for businesses to preserve and pass on assets, a tool for individuals to strengthen retirement goals, and a tool for families to combat risks. Let’s take a look at the humble beginnings of this versatile tool and follow its progress into the dynamic product that it is today!

The Law of Large Numbers

The concept of life insurance is based on the law of large numbers. This basically means that the larger the group of people you have, the easier it is to spread out the financial burden of risk to members. A group of 100,000 people only need to contribute $10 each in order to create a financial reserve of $1,000,000 whereas a group of 100 people must contribute $10,000 each for the same result. Creating large groups in which each member contributed a small amount of money allowed there to be a significant benefit to a widow after the death of her spouse without breaking the bank for all other members. 

Life Insurance — The Beginnings 

Life insurance began as a loosely organized way to help widows and their children survive after the loss of a home’s breadwinner. Hundreds of years ago, women were not able to inherit land—and many peasant families had nothing to inherit to begin with. As working men died, they left no one to care for and support their families, so churches and other groups organized funds for the payment of their support. Some of these groups didn’t provide complete financial support for the widows, but just burial benefits for the recently deceased. Eventually, the clubs even expanded to offer other benefits like disability and dismemberment payments. 

Life Insurance Protected Women and ChildrenLife Insurance — The Middle Years

During the 1800’s, some companies determined that taking a premium in exchange for the promise of an insurance benefit was a more efficient and dependable way to offer a life insurance policy to a surviving spouse. This progress followed the Great Fire in New York in 1835 that left many families bereft emotionally and financially. During this time the face of insurance was changing as the automobile was making an impact and its insurance policies (created based on the historical policies of ship captains on the cargo their vessels carried) were becoming more and more popular. 

Life insurance quickly grew from being an occasional luxury policy of the rich to a necessity in every family—something that could not be said for auto insurance. It was offered as a benefit by employers and provided by unions. In the 1900s inexpensive burial policies became very popular with door-to-door salesmen selling them and collecting the premiums.

Life Insurance — Today 

Now life insurance has become as sleek and modern as the latest Apple gadget. Insurance premiums can be taken directly out of your bank account without you having to write a check and policies can be purchased online and issued electronically—without a piece of paper touching your fingertips. 

Even the benefit itself has changed. While life insurance’s main attraction is still its death benefit, there are many other benefits you can add on in the form of insurance riders. These include additional death benefits for spouses and children, accelerated benefits that allow you to access your funds after you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, and accidental death benefits that double your death benefit should you die in an accident.

Life insurance policies are more frequently being considered investments that are to be considered in a family’s net worth. Their cash value accrual methods range from simple, fixed growth to variable growth that relies on the movement of the stock market to help your accumulation along. 

No matter what you need your life insurance policy for or what benefits and riders you decide to take advantage of, it is a vital part of your family’s financial future. What was once merely a tool to help bury individuals and provide menial support to grieving widows has become a sophisticated tool to preserve wealth, as well as a utilitarian product to ensure a way of life.

How Smoking Affects Your Life Insurance Premiums

Smoking CigarettesSmoking is a nasty, hazardous habit. Doctors know it. Advertisers know it. Even you know it. You’ve probably been told time and time again about the many studies that have been conducted which concluded that the chemicals in cigarettes can cause or contribute to severe illnesses such as lung disease, stroke, various forms of cancer, and more. This is all old news already. But here’s some news that may actually be new to you. Smoking can send the cost of your life insurance premium skyrocketing.

Though the vast majority of the population believes life insurance is necessary, only about 40% of adults actually own it. Why? People generally think it’ll cost too much. However, depending on the policy, it’s usually inexpensive, often costing less than what you spend on your daily latte—unless you’re a smoker.

Smokers can expect to pay approximately double the price of a non-smoker in similar health.

Why is this?

As we’ve discussed, smoking significantly increases your risk of falling fatally ill earlier in life, which makes you a riskier customer for insurance agencies. They would rather collect money from healthy individuals over many years than collect money for two years from a smoker before having to pay out death benefits. It sounds grim, but it’s how insurance companies stay in business. Therefore, the greater risk posed by smokers has led insurers to charge more for the same, or sometimes even less coverage.

Insurance companies define smokers as individuals who have used tobacco products (even small amounts) within the past 12 months. These individuals may get flat out rejected by some insurers, while other insurers will simply charge more. You might be thinking that you can omit the fact that you smoke when applying for life insurance, however, this is not an ideal situation to put yourself in.

In order to purchase life insurance, you must either take a physical exam or provide recent medical records so your insurer can accurately gauge your health before determining your premium. It’s likely that your doctor already knows that you smoke, and if not, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not telling him or her. This knowledge can assist your doctor in fully monitoring your health and checking for smoking-related health concerns before they grow out-of-hand. Your doctor will pass this information on to your insurer, preventing you from omitting it.Dangers of smoking cigarettes

However, if you somehow get away with neglecting to inform both your doctor and insurer of the fact that you smoke, you could still be caught later on down the road. If (or when) your insurer discovers your omission, they may declare you guilty of insurance fraud and can instantly drop your coverage. This means that the money you’ve paid to date will have been wasted, plus you will now lack protection and may be unable to get a new policy.

While you can’t change many of the factors that insurers use to calculate your life insurance premium, such as gender and age, smoking is a habit that you can quit. Not only will quitting do wonders toward improving your overall health, but it’ll also save you a lot of money considering the fact that smokers can also pay more for both health and home insurance.

If you have more questions about life insurance, feel free to call our office at (616) 897-1515. We have an experienced Life Insurance Specialist on staff to answer all of your remaining questions and offer a free assessment of your life insurance needs.

5 Life Insurance Myths Busted

Approximately 41% of American adults do not have life insurance. Of those who do, 50% admit that their coverage is not adequate. Yet, 93% of Americans understand that they should not live without life insurance. 

Several factors have led to this frightening situation, and one of them has to do with the complexity of life insurance. There are a lot of myths floating around in the industry and they include:

Girl in forest“If I’m Single and Without Children, I Don’t Need Coverage”

The reasoning here is that since life insurance benefits are usually paid after death, those who do not have dependents will not need the money. The reality is that the money is also usually used to cover other financial obligations of the deceased. It can be used to cover debts (think student or auto loans) that may otherwise be passed on to family or loan co-signers. It can also be used to cover your funeral expenses, protecting family and friends from this expensive obligation.

“My Employer Takes Care of My Life Insurance”

Sure, life insurance is one of the benefits offered by many employers. The fallacy here is believing that this coverage is enough, or even permanent, because it is not. This form of insurance is only valid as long as you are still working with the company. If you get laid off, take a different job, or even have to leave because of illness, you could be left without coverage when you need it most. Besides, it usually amounts to a modest amount of money, say equal to your annual salary. You need a permanent form of life insurance with enough coverage to meet all your financial obligations and take care of your family.

“Life Insurance Is Way Too Expensive”

In this economy, it’s understandable that many people think this way. The cost of life insurance, however, has decreased considerably in the past few years. This is mainly due to the increased average life expectancies. If you are healthy and don’t smoke, you stand a good chance of getting fantastic coverage at very low rates. Rates of $250,000 at $15 (or less) for a 30-year-old male or $500,000 at $31 (or less) for a 40-year-old nonsmoker are very possible.Mother and Child

“If I Have Health Problems, I Can’t Get Life Insurance Coverage”

Some people believe this to the point of not trying to get life insurance when they are sick. The truth is that there are many life insurance companies that sell policies to people suffering from common illnesses. Some firms even specialize in these cases. It’s true that you will probably pay higher premiums than people with perfect health, but that’s a big difference from being completely disqualified.

“I Only Need Life Insurance If I’m the Breadwinner”

If you think the breadwinner is the only person who has responsibilities in the house, think again. There are many duties within the home that would quickly rack up the bills if a homemaker wasn’t available. Think about a stay-at-home parent who cleans the house, does the laundry and takes care of the children. If that parent passed away, life insurance would make the different in filling that gap, providing money for childcare, housekeeping, or the many other gaps created by a loved one’s death.

Now you know the truth from the myths! If you have more questions about life insurance, feel free to call our office. We have a Life Insurance Specialist on staff to answer all of your remaining questions and offer a free assessment of your life insurance needs. Call 616-897-1515.

Common Financial Mistakes Millennials Make

5 Common Financial Mistakes Millennials Make

Millennials are the young adults who were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s—and they just so happen to be struggling in this tough economy. Why? Because once freshly graduated from college, they were met with slow job growth and heaping piles of student debt. On top of that, many Millennials are making some serious mistakes that may be stunting their financial futures. Here are five of the biggest mistakes that Millennials make.

1. Poor credit card habits: Millennials have the highest credit utilization rates; however, they also struggle to pay credit card bills on time. These two factors combine to report that Millennials have the lowest credit scores across all living generations. To clean up their credit, Millennials must begin paying bills in full and on time, which may require less spending.

2. Poor budgeting: It’s easy to guestimate how much you have to spend on groceries, gas and fun. But truthfully, sitting down and planning out a budget is an enlightening experience for many Millennials. It’s important to know if you’re overspending or if you have money left over at the end of the month that you could save.

3. Insufficient retirement saving: Even though Millennials have reported a desire to retire by age 65, a whopping 70 percent have not begun to save for the occasion. Given the bleak future of Social Security, it’s more important than ever to start saving for retirement at a young age. Participate in your employer’s 401(k) program and/or open an IRA account and make monthly contributions. Setting up automatic monthly transfers is a great way to guarantee that you’re building up your savings; not to mention, if you never see it in your checking account, you never have the chance to miss it.

4. Indefinite renting: Many Millennials have not yet reached a point where they are financially able to own a home. However, some continue to live in an apartment even if they could afford home ownership. Purchasing a home is the best way to build equity, which is a great way to increase your overall worth.

5. Passing on life insurance: Many young adults don’t see the point in owning life insurance. But the truth is that life insurance is much easier—and typically cheaper—to purchase when you’re young and healthy. Even if you’re single without children, life insurance benefits protect your family and any bank account or loan co-signers from your debt in the event of accident or illness.

Taking some time now to plan properly can be extremely beneficial in securing financial success and stability later on down the road. Even in the recovering economy, it’s a good idea to read over these tips and make some changes so that you can climb out of the recession hole and get your finances back on track.

Are you interested in learning more about life insurance? We have a Life Insurance Specialist on staff to answer any questions you might have about getting the protection you need for you and your loved ones. 

Call us today at 616-897-1515
for a free, no-obligation life insurance quote!

How to Keep your Fitness Goals this New Year

Fitness Goals
Happy New Year! If you’ve made a resolution to hit the gym in years past, you know just how hard this goal can be to keep. In fact, approximately 88% of people fail to stay true to their resolutions. Why is it so hard!? 

Let’s face it, the goals of a resolution are often too bold, too fast. It’s easy to burn out if you try to go from the couch to the visiting the gym four days a week. 

Instead of setting an unrealistic exercise goal, it’s easier on your body (and your willpower) if you resolve to gradually incorporate fitness and health goals into your overall lifestyle. Here are some tips to start:

Start Slowly
Rigorous goals tend to lead to sporadic workouts – you might workout 4 times one week and then skip the next two! It’s actually better to exercise less, IF you continuously keep up with it. For instance, your busy schedule may make it unrealistic to visit the gym every weekday, so don’t try to. Instead, make it goal to get in three workouts per week. 

And your workouts don’t even have to involve the gym at all! Find treadmill and weights tedious? Exercise in other ways, such as walking around your neighborhood, hiking, gardening, taking a dancing class… Choose activities you enjoy and they won’t be such a chore. Just make sure to add it to your calendar so you don’t forget to stick to your new routine.

Maintain Your Goals
At some point, everyone starts to feel burnt out. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Remind yourself why you’re doing this—regular exercise helps prevent illness, depression and reduces the effects of aging. If you need some extra encouragement, use a support system of friends and family. Tell people what you’re doing so they can cheer you on and celebrate your milestones with you. Hiring a personal trainer or scheduling workouts with a friend can be a huge motivator as well, since this adds accountability (and maybe even some friendly competition) to your sessions.

Maintaining Your Goals

Make your workouts as convenient as possible to minimize excuses. Find a gym close to your home or work and pack your gym bag the night before so you’re ready to go in the morning. If you prefer to work out in privacy, buy a few hand weights and exercise DVDs and start exercising on your own timetable.

If you feel yourself slipping, try recommitting yourself with shorter goals. It’s much easier to say “I’m going to work out twice this week” than “I’m going to work out twice every week for the rest of my life.” Shorter goals get accomplished faster, giving you the satisfaction you need to set another short goal, then another… These goals will help build the momentum to carry you forward.

It takes 21 days to form a new habit and 6 months for it to become part of your personality. Push yourself until it becomes second nature!

Reward Yourself
Accomplished goals should be celebrated so you can start to associate exercise with more pleasant things. Reward your weekly milestones with something small, like treating yourself to a nice dinner. Bigger monthly goals can be rewarded with a massage, manicure, new clothing or something equally enticing. You should always have something pleasant to look forward to, besides being in better shape of course. 

Healthy Diet

Improve Your Overall Health
Once you feel confident that you have a good grasp on exercising, it’s time to start thinking about more ways you can live healthier. The first natural step is to improve your diet. But forget crash diets full of strict rules. Instead, simply add healthier foods into your diet and avoid unhealthy foods. 

For instance, rather than giving up carbs altogether, try cutting them out of one meal per day. Replace that breakfast bagel with low-fat yogurt and fresh berries. The effort of eating at least one healthy meal per day is much easier than trying to follow the rules of a diet for every single meal you eat. As time progresses, you can incorporate more and more healthy foods into your diet. But remember to let yourself cheat one day per week so you can keep your cravings satisfied without letting them rule your daily diet.

On top of diet, getting a full eight hours of sleep each night improves your clarity, mood and stress levels. Even on your busiest days, leave yourself adequate time to get a full night of sleep so you can tackle your to-do list with renewed energy the next morning.

With these tips in mind, we are wishing you a happy, healthy New Year and the best of luck on your fitness goals for this and every year going forward!

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