What's the point of life insurance if you are single?
Life insurance can still be valuable to single people who want to ensure their family and friends do not have to endure financial hardship in the event that they pass away, suffer a serious medical condition or become permanently disabled. Life insurance can help you avoid leaving your immediate family with the burden of
- Outstanding debts
- Immediate medical costs
- On-going care
- Future changes to your health
- Funeral expenses if you pass away
- Providing for children (single parent)
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Unfortunate events can happen to you regardless of whether you have dependents or not. Consider the following events and the impact they would have on you and those around you.
- You are seriously injured or ill and unable to work for six months. Would be able to keep on top of your bills and maintain your lifestyle?
- You pass away suddenly. Have you considered how it would affect your parents or siblings? Not only would they have to deal with the grief your death, but also shoulder the financial burdens you left behind, such as debts, loans, and funeral expenses.
- You suffer a serious medical condition such as stroke or cancer: How would you keep on top of your financial obligations as you are unable to work and undergo extensive medical treatment? You never be able to work to the same capacity again.
- You become permanently disabled: You could suffer a great reduction in income as you are unable to work to your full capacity ever again. You have ongoing medical and nursing bills to cover and must make modifications to your home for your disablement.
Expenses you are responsible for (even without dependants)
Single people, just like those with families, also have financial obligations to meet.Whether with or without dependents , singles can still have immediate and ongoing expenses to cover that can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. These can include:
- Rent or mortgage
- Daily living costs; food, groceries, and clothes
- Utilities; electricity, water, gas and telecommunication
- Healthcare bills
- Short-term loans; credit cards, student loans, personal and car loans
You might be underinsured without knowing it
Underinsurance remains an important issue in Australia. The emphasis has been brought predominantly on people with dependents, however the financial repercussions are still real of singles if they are underinsured or not insured at all.
Statistics have shown that three in four Australians will be diagnosed with a serious illness at least once in their working life (ABS, 2013). Without sufficient protection in place, many of these people will have to rely on savings or government welfare, which are often not enough for an extended period of time.
- Total and Permanent Disability Insurance: provides coverage for when you are unable to work ever again as a result of permanent disability with a lump sum payment that you can use to replace lost income, pay for medical bills and modifications to your home or vehicle.
- Trauma Insurance: provides a lump sum payment upon a diagnosis of serious medical event, such as cancer, brain tumours, loss of vision or limbs.
- Income Protection: serves as a replacement for your income of up to 75% of your regular income, in the event of serious illness or injury and you are unable to work temporarily.
- Life Cover: provides a lump sum benefit in the event of death or if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with only 12 months to live. This could help if you are single but have children.
Four financial responsibilities that single people will need to consider
The insurance needs of single people can shift at different stages in their life. Different types of life insurance plans can be tailored to suit the level of cover you require and your personal circumstances.
- Younger singles
- Single adults
- Young single parents
- Single parents with adult children
- Single Retiree
1. Young single adults
When you are young and your health is still in top shape, you can take advantage of lower premium rates in comparison to later stages of life when you are considered a greater risk to insurers due to the increased likelihood of pre-existing conditions.
Most insurers offer guaranteed insurability meaning you can lock in this rate and continue to enjoy the same level of cover as you get older without having to undergo additional medical tests. The cost of life insurance cover is partly calculated on the risk of a claim, so the older you are and the more health problems you have, the higher the cost of cover is likely to be.
2. Not-so-young single and working adults (with no dependents)
Since now you are working full-time, you are financially independent and may have accumulated more assets, as well as debts. It is important to have insurance in place, particularly to cover your ability to work and earn an income. While you are still young and healthy, you can take advantage of lower life insurance premiums and the flexibility to increase your cover at significant life events, such as buying a house, marriage and having a child.
3. Young single parents
As single mums and dads, you want to make sure that your children’s well being are taken care off. You work hard, making sure that there are food on the table and their education expenses are met. Remember that with only one parent whose income they rely on, being uninsured or underinsured puts your family at risk of a financial disaster in the future.
4. Single parents with adult children
You have gone through the hard part of being a parent and you can’t help but feel proud, now that your adult children are leaving home. You can now be at ease, with a little less financial commitments to meet and you’ve also almost paid off all your debts. That said, it doesn’t mean that life insurance is now less of a priority.
If you have an existing life insurance, you may wish to reduce the amount of cover since you have less debts. If you are looking to apply for life insurance, the premiums you pay will be more expensive, as insurers take into account your age and health condition. If you had Child Cover in place for your children, these can usually be converted to an adult trauma policy once they turn 21.
5. Single retiree
Having retired from the workforce and your children raising their own family, it doesn’t make life insurance totally obsolete. If you were to pass away unexpected, consider the immediate expenses, such as medical bills, funeral costs, estate settlement and legal fees that your family will have to cover.
The amount of cover you may need for your life insurance policies may vary depending on your personal circumstances. It is important to nominate a cover amount that is sufficient to cover your needs - no more, no less. You can use this calculator to estimate how much cover you'll need.
Life insurance is not the type of product that you set and forget. It is absolutely essential to review your life insurance policy on a yearly basis and assess whether they still meet your needs. As you go through life, your needs will change and your life insurance policy should reflect those needs, so you won't be caught off guard not having enough cover in place.
Most insurance providers offer the option to increase your cover when a significant life event occurs, such as marriage, buying your first home, having a baby, divorce, or death. Eligible events often vary between providers, so make sure that you read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to find more information.
When you compare life insurance for single people, there are some key factors to consider to ensure you are getting the best deal. This includes comparing areas such as:
- The cost of the cover: Comparing the price of life insurance cover means that you can find a plan that fits in with your needs in terms of budget whilst also providing you with peace of mind.
- The level of coverage: You should check what the level of coverage will be when comparing life insurance plans, as some providers will give you a higher level of coverage for your money than others.
- Any additional features: Some life insurance plans comes with additional features and benefits whilst others are very basic. Make sure you check the plan to see exactly what you get for your money.
- Exclusions and restrictions: As with all insurance plans, life insurance plans come with a number of restrictions and exclusions, so you will need to check these in order to ensure that you are familiar with regards to what is and is not covered.
Looking to get yourself covered? There are two types of life insurance available in the market that you may want to consider:
- Direct life insurance: can be purchased directly over the phone or online, without using the service of an insurance adviser.
- Retail life insurance: is a type of life insurance offered by a life insurance provider. To find policies with competitive premiums, it is recommended to consult with an insurance representative who can provide advice on a suitable product for you.
Life insurance is important to have even if you are single and protecting your financial future should be a priority, so should anything happen, you can worry less about money.