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Spring Cleaning: Where Are The Insurance Policies?

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Crowninshield Street in Peabody (Photo courtesy: Jim Palmer)

Crowninshield Street in Peabody (Photo courtesy: Jim Palmer)

420x316-grad-lee Dee Lee
Dee Lee is a Certified Financial Planner who received a diploma in...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Insurance is a financial tool. We buy protection for a catastrophic situation we don’t have enough money of our own to cover. Even Donald Trump buys insurance to protect what he’s got.

Gather up all of the insurance policies you have in your files. Sort by type of insurance first. For example, homeowners, renters, health, auto, life. Then check to see how many are outdated. You do not need your auto insurance policy from 2010 unless you had an accident and may still have a claim or are fighting the points.

If you have insurance through your employer get copies of the policies for your file. If something should happen to you, your family can easily find the important insurance policies if they are all in one place.

Once everything is organized take the time to review the policies. What do you really need? Why did you buy the insurance? We are often sold insurance by a sales person using a scare tactic.

Bad things do happen to us and we do need to protect the people we love but there is a need to be practical here as well. So if you are buying insurance take the time to compare prices. I just got a letter from an insurance company telling me that because I drive a Volvo they will give me a discount on my car and home owners insurance.

There are some types of insurance that you probably don’t need:

Credit Card Insurance: This is insurance that will pay off your credit card debt if you should die with a balance. This is insurance that protects the credit card company, not you. Better way to approach this problem would be to increase your life insurance so your heirs can pay off the debt.

Mortgage Insurance: Same thing, it protects the bank or the mortgage company.  It’s usually decreasing term life insurance. As your mortgage decreases, the amount of insurance decreases. Better idea; again increase your life insurance so that it covers paying off the mortgage if something should happen to you.

Life Insurance On Your Children: This is often controversial for there is always an exception, but most kids don’t need life insurance. They are better served if you have a good health insurance plan. And children’s life insurance is definitely not a good way to save for the kid’s college education.

Here you would be better served socking money away in the state’s 529-college plan to pay for a college education using the Massachusetts’ UFund, which is managed by Fidelity.

Cancer Insurance Or Accidental Life Insurance: Yes, many people die from cancer and accidents, but more often than not they survive both with the new drugs to fight cancer and the use of seat belts. Again, you’ve heard it before, increase your life insurance.

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