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Insurance Needs for Seniors

By: Joe Harrow, Middle Peninsula Insurance

As you get older, your insurance needs change. Your children are grown and have lives and income of their own. You may be downsizing to a smaller home. Your health insurance and income needs are different as well. And, as a senior, you may qualify for special coverages and discounts that were not available to you previously. 

Making the right decisions when it comes to insurance and financial services in your retirement years can be daunting. This article will help simplify your options and provide you with a guideline about what to consider when purchasing insurance or financial products.

Are You Moving to a New Home?

If so, you should be aware that when you move the contents of your home, it may not be properly covered during the transition. Although moving companies do provide some insurance coverage, it often is not enough to cover all damages. It is wise to considering purchasing a policy that covers “contents in transition.” This policy will protect your belongings during the move and expires once you are safely established in your new home.

Homeowners Insurance

It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 80, when you own a home, you need homeowners insurance. Many people purchase homeowners insurance because it’s required under the terms of their mortgage. But, as a senior, you may not have a mortgage. You still need insurance to protect your retirement income if you suffer a loss. You don’t want to spend all your savings on repairing your house during your retirement years. We recommend you continue to purchase Replacement Cost Coverage for your home, and make sure you ask about special “floaters” to cover high value items such as jewelry, fine art or antiques. Consider installing a security system if you don’t already have one. It provides you with a greater connection with emergency services if you need them and you may qualify for a home security discount. If you downsize to a condo, remember you still need the proper insurance for the property and its contents.

 Renters Insurance

If you’ve decided to forego home ownership for the freedom of renting, look into renters insurance. Your apartment building may be insured through your landlord, but your possessions are not. Make sure you have the right amount of insurance to protect your valuables such as furniture, computers, clothing, appliances, etc.

 Auto Insurance

Whether you own your car outright or not, you need to maintain insurance on it – in fact, it’s the law. Some good news however, is that many insurance companies offer a senior discount. Check with your agent to find out if you are receiving all the discounts you’re entitled to.

 Long Term Care Insurance

Living longer is a near certainty these days.  That creates the likelihood that you will need care that may include in-home assistance or a stay in a healthcare facility.  So it is advisable to consider the consequences to your family if you do need care.  Can your retirement funds support your present lifestyle and pay the additional expense of long-term care? Medicare does not pay for this type of care, and Medicaid only pays for it after all of your other assets are exhausted.  A plan for long-term care is essential and could include Long-Term Care insurance allow for funds to be available to pay for care.

Estate Planning

No matter what your income or net worth, you should consider getting an estate plan completed. It ensures that your family and your financial goals are safeguarded after you’re gone.

Your basic estate plan should include a will, assignment of power of attorney and a living will. You may also want to consider a trust if a substantial amount of your net worth is in real estate, a business or an art collection. There are many other reasons to consider a trust, so consult with your financial advisor.

Other considerations to take into account when building your estate plan include state and federal tax laws, the wishes and needs of your family, and your current financial situation. A financial planner should be an important part of your financial “team”, including your accountant and your attorney.

 The insurance and financial choices you make now can have a major impact on your financial security long term, we urge you to meet with a professional insurance agent and financial advisor.

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