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What Does a “High Net Worth” Client Look Like in Insurance?

You may have seen the term “high net worth” somewhere and thought, “That’s not me, we’re not ‘rich’ we’re just upper middle class.” But when it comes to insurance, high net worth is more about value than wealth.

Consider homes as an example. A high value home is typically one that is valued at $750,000 or higher. With inflation and today’s property values, your home may fall in that range now, even if you didn’t pay that much to buy it. But if the size, location, and/or values of homes around you have increased – your home likely is worth more too.

In addition, do you have a more expensive vehicle? What about multiple vehicles? Do you have a boat, RV, ATV, or other additional vehicles? Do you have a gun collection, jewelry, or other personal property that might be worth more than your current policy’s limits. All these things add up, and they may need more coverage than is offered by “standard” home and auto policies.

Property isn’t the only place you face risk; you have personal liability as well. And the more you have, the more you may be sued for if someone feels you are responsible for some type of “damage” to them. Lawsuits are more common now, as are larger court judgments and settlements. Having more coverage for personal liability can help protect you and your assets.

So, do you need “special” coverage?

Maybe not “special” coverage, but you very well might need “different” coverage. Important things to check include:

  • Property limits on your policy – are they high enough for the value?
  • Coverage language like Replacement Cost versus Actual Cash Value – would you want to pay the difference if you had a claim?
  • Liability limits on your policy – lawsuits can be costly and adding more may not be as expensive as you’d think.

Things you should consider to better protect yourself:

  • Get the current property value of your home assessed and match your policy limits closer to that value
  • Take precautions to protect your property like home security systems, protection devices, home & roof inspections, and discussing safety with your family
  • Discuss valuable items like jewelry, firearms, and collections with your insurance agent to see if they need to scheduled on your policy
  • Consider a Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP) for additional protection

Make sure you understand your current policies, coverages, and limits. Review what you have and what you may need on a regular basis to make sure changes have been accounted for properly. It can make a huge difference in your protection whether you’re high net worth or not!

Want more tips to help better protect yourself and your family? Need a policy review? Contact Brandon from our team at or 865-453-1414 today.

Do Life Changes Impact Your Needs for Life Insurance?

A new year can often bring in changes in life. New jobs, new family additions, new businesses, personal changes – there are many things that can impact your planning for a new year. And although it may not be at the top of your list, how do these changes impact what – or whom – you need to protect? When it comes to life insurance, there may very well be some changes you need to make. Let’s take a look at some of these impacts and how you might want to approach your coverage.

Your Policy’s Value
If you have big personal changes like jobs, a new home, children, etc., you have new financial commitments. These commitments could be a huge burden if one of the family’s income providers passes away. Just think of a widowed spouse trying to handle a mortgage, childcare, and day-to-day living expenses without the other’s income. Understanding the amount of coverage your family would need – and for how long – is a critical component.

Your Policy’s Term
As you probably know, Term Life Insurance is active for a specific period of time, while Whole Life is typically meant for an individual’s entire life. As you get older, have children, retire, or go through other life changes, converting to a Whole Life policy may be the right decision. Many Whole Life policies also have a “Cash Value” account option, and you may be able to withdraw or borrow from this account – but keep in mind that there may be penalties involved.

Your Plans for the Future

Empty nesters? Retiring? Finally paid off that mortgage? If you have these or other occurrences that are typically later in life – you still have Life Insurance needs. These needs may just be different. A policy with a cash benefit may make more sense. Or, although unpleasant to think about, a policy with a “Death Benefit” or “Final Expense” component might make sense. This would provide your spouse with funds for funeral and burial expenses.

Your unique situation is the primary factor in what life insurance you need. Let us help you review your needs and your options for life insurance coverage.

A Holiday Disaster Strikes – Would You Be Covered?

The Holidays are a great time of year, and it’s always fun to spend time with friends and family. We’ve all been to a Holiday party, and maybe even hosted one before. But let’s say the party you host this year ends in disaster. Everyone is having a good time, but then one of guests has too much to drink. On their way driving home, they cause an accident and are also charged with a DUI. They then sue you, claiming they were “overserved” at your party. The victim of the accident also sues you, and things are not looking good. Would you have any coverage from your current insurance policies?

Your car wasn’t involved, but the event did take place at your home. Your homeowners insurance will generally include some liability coverage – but the limits are often $500,000 or less. They may even be as low as $100,000. With lawsuits that could include medical bills, disability, and more, even $500,000 may leave you well short. But there is a way to increase your liability coverage and protect your assets outside of your home and auto coverage – a personal umbrella policy.

Personal umbrella policies, also known as PUPs, can provide protection over your home and auto policies. And often, an additional $1 million in coverage may cost you just a few hundred dollars per year. While these policies are generally written by the same insurance company that covers your home and auto, there are “standalone” policies available that can be written over different companies.

If your total assets (home, vehicles, boat, checking, savings, investments, etc.) are over $1 million, you need a policy(ies) that cover those assets. Higher limit PUPs are available as well, and you should talk to your insurance agent and financial advisor and be sure that you have the coverage you need in place.

Need help with an insurance review? Give us a call at 865.453.1414 and we’ll help you start the process!

*Coverage and claims payments are always subject to the language in your insurance policy. Be sure you discuss it with your agent.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting Life Insurance

Choosing any type of insurance plan can be a daunting task because there are so many factors to consider. What are your risks? How much coverage do you actually need? How much will it cost?

The stakes only get higher when it comes to life insurance, because it’s the one type of insurance that requires your death in order for its benefits to come through. You want your beneficiaries to be protected in the event of your untimely death, but you don’t want to pay exorbitant premiums every year on the off-chance that you live to be 105!

Fortunately, there are solutions for you at all stages of your life. We’ve put together a few questions you should ask yourself when considering life insurance policies, so you can feel comfortable choosing a policy that only covers what you need.

How Healthy Am I?

If you get for an individual life insurance policy (one not offered through your employer), one of the first things you may need to do is take a physical exam. This is good news if you have great health! Being healthy actually keeps your premiums lower, so you will want to opt for an exam when picking your insurance policy.

However, if you have major health issues, there are individual life insurance plans available that do not require an exam. The premiums on these are more than what a healthy person pays with an exam, but you will still be saving money if you know your health problems would seriously increase your premiums. Get a regular check-up to verify how healthy you are before talking to an agent to weigh your options.

Who Are My Beneficiaries?

People depend on you no matter what stage of life you are in, but just how much? The answer to that question will determine so much about your life insurance policy. If you are single with no children and no major debts, you probably won’t need any coverage beyond your group policy, which will cover any funeral expenses and small outstanding debts for your family.

If you are under 40 and in decent health, with a spouse and children, a term life insurance policy is usually a good, inexpensive option. This policy will care for your loved ones in the event of your unexpected passing. It is generally large enough to pay off your home and debts, which gives your family time to grieve and figure out their future finances in peace.

If you take care of a dependent for the duration of their life, such as a special needs family member or elderly parent, their needs will also have to be taken into account when you purchase a life insurance policy.

How Much Life Insurance Can I Afford?

As with any insurance, this really just depends. Group life and term life policies exist for “covering the basics” so to speak. These are usually the most inexpensive policies, and they do a good job at getting your beneficiaries back on their feet.

Permanent life insurance is more expensive. In some cases, it is necessary for making sure a beneficiary with special needs is covered long-term after your passing. In other cases, you may want to look into permanent life insurance if you can afford the higher premium and would like to give your loved ones extra benefits, like premiums that do not increase with changing health conditions, and a good cash value you can use to borrow against throughout your life.

Whatever your needs may be, our agents know the ins and outs of insurance, and we want to answer your questions! Reach out today to start discovering your life insurance options.

Will Using Nicotine Replacement Products Increase My Life Insurance Rates?

As a former smoker, you heard it a million times: you need to stop smoking for your health and your budget. So you did! And you started using smoking cessation products like gum, patches, or e-cigarettes that contain nicotine in order to kick the habit. However, the time has come for you to upgrade your life insurance policy, and you’re wondering if being a nicotine user is going to affect your premium. Even though you aren’t a smoker anymore, are you still eligible for non-smoker benefits on your life insurance? Keep reading to find out.

You Need To Be Smoke-Free For at Least 1 Year

In order to qualify for non-smoker rates with any insurance company, it is a requirement that you be cigarette-free for at least 12 months. If you need a life insurance policy immediately and you’ve only stopped smoking for a few months, you won’t qualify for non-smoker rates when you start your policy, even if you haven’t touched a cigarette. Carriers require this timeframe as a way to protect themselves. If you haven’t smoked in a year, they can trust that you are committed to the switch and are at a lower risk of smoking-related health issues.

It Depends on the Company

Different insurance companies rate nicotine uses in different ways. For example, one company might give non-smoker rates to gum and patch users, but not to e-cigarette users. Another may give e-cigarette users non-smoker rates. The reason is because the use of cessation products cause cotinine (a biomarker for exposure to tobacco smoke) to show up in your urine test whether you smoke or not, which puts you in a tobacco risk class. Every company has a different classification system for insuring customers with a tobacco risk, so your rate depends on who you’re insured by.

Go With An Independent Agent!

Finding a policy that gives you non-smoker rates while you’re using nicotine replacement products can be a complicated process because of the way carriers define tobacco risk status. This situation calls for the expertise of an independent insurance agency like ours. We specialize in finding you the best rates from a selection of carriers. No matter what cessation method you are using to quit smoking, make sure you get a policy with rates that are fair to you and how far you’ve come.

If you don’t smoke cigarettes, you deserve to qualify for non-smoking status on your life insurance policy. Contact us with any questions you have about how your health can affect your coverage options!

Group Life vs. An Individual Policy: Which One Is Right For You?

Life insurance is one of those things that most people don’t give much thought to until later in life, although we do recommend younger people explore their life insurance options early. Either way, many people are only on the life insurance policy offered by their place of work. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? Well, that depends. Take a look at some pros and cons of both types below.

Group Life Pros & Cons

The base life insurance you receive from your employer is typically 1-3 times the amount of your salary at no cost to you! This is a good cushion for anyone, and a good life insurance plan period if you’re single with no major payments or debts for your beneficiaries to pick up. You also don’t have to go through a medical exam or provide medical records to qualify for coverage on a group life policy, so any preexisting medical conditions won’t count against your premium.

However, if you have dependents, your needs will be drastically different. They may need to live on the money from your policy, or pay off your mortgage or student loans, along with using it to pay for a new health insurance plan if theirs was previously covered by your employer. Suddenly, that 1-3 years salary doesn’t stretch very far. In order to cover your beneficiaries properly with your group plan, you would need to pay an additional premium through payroll deduction.

With group plans, your premiums tend to be higher because no one on the plan is required to undergo a medical exam. The contract also has to be renewed every 5 years, so it is likely that they will be renewed for higher rates. Lastly, if you ever leave your place of employment, you can’t take your life insurance policy with you. This leaves you and your beneficiaries completely unprotected until you find another job.

It is also important to remember that life insurance is a benefit, not a guarantee. If your company needs to make budget cuts, your life insurance policy could be done away with — even if you’ve been paying for additional coverage.

Individual Policy Pros & Cons

An individual policy is just that — it is written for you based on your health and financial goals. Unlike a group policy, you have control over your individual plan and can take it with you wherever you go. You can insure your life for much more than 1-3 times your yearly salary, and know that the monthly premium will be locked in for the duration of the policy so there won’t be any surprise rate increases.

You will need to pass a medical exam to qualify, but whether or not this is a pro or con depends entirely on your health. If you are a healthy individual with no preexisting medical conditions, you can benefit from a lower premium. Even if your end premium is higher than what you would pay for additional coverage through your company, your beneficiaries will be insured for much more money in the event of your passing, and you can rest easy knowing that your policy isn’t going anywhere.

Barring a small percentage of single people with no major payments or debts, the average person will need to pay some kind of premium in order to be properly covered by their life insurance plan. Independent agents understand the ins and outs of these policies and are here to help you determine what works. Contact yours today to get started on a life insurance plan that is right for you.

Debunking Some of the Most Common Myths About Life Insurance

Most of us don’t like to think about what happens when we die, it’s important to prepare ourselves and our loved ones whether we like it or not. Having life insurance on your side can only help for when the time comes, but there are some myths and fears about the plan that may deter people away from it. To clear up any confusion, we have debunked some of the most common myths about life insurance. The truth might surprise you!


Myth 1: It Costs Too Much

It is very understandable that when looking into investing in insurance, you don’t want it to cost you an arm and leg. While the coverage is important to have, you want it to fit comfortably into your budget. One of the main reasons people turn down life insurance is this belief that it’s too expensive, but that is not necessarily the case. According to a study performed by Life Happens, approximately 80% of people misjudge how costly life insurance truly is. In fact, plans such as term life insurance are more affordable than you might think. Plus, you can always change or add coverages to your plan over time. If you’re on a budget, give your agent a call to see what plan works best for you.


Myth 2: It’s Unnecessary If You Are Young and Healthy

There are many factors that go into how much your life insurance will cost, including your age and health. While many think that being young and healthy means you don’t need life insurance, it’s actually not true. Chances are you will need life insurance down the road when you are older and your health has changed. If you wait until then, your life insurance premium will be higher than when you were young and healthy. It’s best to go ahead and purchase life insurance so you don’t have to worry about major expenses later on. Take advantage of this part of your life so if you are not in good condition later, you don’t have to pay for it.


Myth 3: It’s Not Available to Those Who Have Health Problems

As stated before, your health does influence the cost of life insurance. While you may be paying more on life insurance for serious health problems, this does not mean it’s not available at all. However, it is true that if you have a terminal illness, some coverages may not be available. In any case, it would be wise to speak with your agent about your options when your health changes so you receive the best coverage for the right price.


Myth 4: It’s Not Available for Older People Either

While it’s true that health typically declines as you get older, this still does not mean life insurance isn’t available for the elderly. In fact, there are important coverages available such as final expense which can help with funeral and burial costs. While we may not like to think about this stage of life, it cannot be ignored. Therefore, the elderly are able to have life insurance available even in their final moments to help after they are gone.


Myth 5: Single People Don’t Need It

While it is true that life insurance is beneficial to those who have others depending on them, such as children or their spouse, that doesn’t mean single people don’t need life insurance at all. In the event that you are single and pass away, you can still be left with debt from loans that were previously drawn out. The expenses will be transferred to co-signers or immediate family to take care of which is the last thing that needs to happen after losing a loved one. However with life insurance, you don’t have to worry about anyone taking on your debt after you are gone. Life insurance will also handle any burial and funeral expenses so the family can properly grieve. Also, keep in mind that plans change throughout time. So while you may be single now, that doesn’t mean it is a permanent deal. In the event that you may have children in the future or get married, having life insurance now can benefit you later.


Myth 6: All You Need is Your Work’s Life Insurance Plan

While it is great to accept life insurance through your work, keep in mind that it is not transferable when or if you leave for another job. If you have your own life insurance account not through your work, you don’t have to worry about the possibility of not being insured when something changes.


If you have any questions about how life insurance works or what plan works best for you, get in touch with one of our agents!