As a single person, you may not have spent a lot of time worrying about life insurance and may have been content assuming that protecting your assets and your income was not particularly relevant. However, now that you are contemplating marriage, life insurance has more pressing implications. Your death will now have a direct, probably material, effect on your spouse as well as your children.
Many companies offer life insurance (and other types of insurance) to their employees as employment benefits and the cost will be covered if not completely, at least partially, by the employer. This can be a cost-effective way of obtaining life insurance, and medical qualification is not required. The problem with group insurance is twofold; the maximum coverage is typically a multiple of your salary (usually one or two times) and the coverage terms are set for all members of the group. Coverage is often provided for spouses and dependents at a modest cost. However, if you leave the company, that insurance is at risk, leaving your family at risk. You should definitely obtain and review the documentation of your group insurance policy to determine your rights and opportunities.
As the name implies, individual life insurance will be designed and structured to match your specific needs. At some time in the near future you should sit down with a qualified insurance professional to discuss the insurance needs for you and your family. The basic types of insurance are Term Life, Whole Life and Universal Life but there are numerous variations for each so a frank discussion with a professional is important to ensure that you are obtaining the coverage that is right and affordable for you. Your financial advisor should be able to assist you with your insurance needs or in finding a reliable insurance professional.
Most people don't realize that the chances of becoming disabled and unable to work for at least 90 days before the age of 65 are actually much higher than the chances of dying prior to 65. As a result, disability insurance is often overlooked. Disability insurance is designed to replace ordinary income where injury or sickness has prevented the insured from working. As with life insurance, there are many different types of disability insurance that cover different events to different degrees. Most group insurance plans offer some type of disability insurance and although you should certainly become familiar with your group plan it is a good idea to meet with your advisor or an insurance professional to determine your specific personal and family needs.
In Canada, our Medicare program covers all of our basic medical needs. However, there are certain medical costs that are not covered. Dental expenses and prescription drugs are common examples. Most group plans will cover your personal medical expenses as well as expenses for immediate dependents such as a spouse and minor children. You should familiarize yourself with the details of not only your own plan but that of your spouse if applicable. Quite often group health plans need to be coordinated to prevent double payment of expenses. If neither of you have group coverage your may want to look into private supplementary health insurance. Your advisor can discuss your needs with you.