I must be as transparent as I possibly can. Honestly, I did not give much thought to insurance of any kind. As young college students we often feel that our lives are invincible. Yes, we hear of the very young passing away, but even then, we may attend the service if we knew the deceased, yet we do not give a second thought to the financial burden that is placed upon loved ones.
Reality smacked me in the face on August 1, 2016 – just over 2 months ago. My mother was in town to help me move into my new apartment to start my second year of college. The previous year my father had moved me in along with my mother, but my dad had recently relocated to Florida and was unable to do so. My parents divorced when I was very young, yet I was truly my father’s princess. There is nothing he would not do for me. He was paying my monthly rent for my apartment at school since I was attending school in another state. This particular day my rent was due, and my dad had text my mother the day before saying that he would be depositing the money when the bank opened. We finished cleaning out the former apartment at around 10:00am, so my mother sent a reminder text to my father. He did not respond. We did not think anything of it, so we continued loading up her truck to move my belongings to my new apartment located a couple miles away. We took a break around 2:00 p.m. I had checked my account and the rent had not been deposited. I told my mother that dad was probably busy at work, and we would contact him later. Finally, we finished setting up my new home, and we were exhausted. It was approximately 5:15 p.m. My mother then called my dad on his cell phone only to hear screaming and commotion, and someone talking Spanish. We are English speaking, so we did not understand what was being said. My mother actually thought she had dialed the wrong number until a man got on the phone and asked her, “Is this first name, last name?” She confirmed it was indeed her. The man then asked her if she knew my dad. Once again she confirmed that she did. He asked her how she knew him, and she told him that she was his ex-wife and the mother of his 19 year-old daughter and 18 year-old son. He then identified himself as Officer (cannot remember his name) and he told my mother that he was sorry to inform her that my dad did not make it. My mother slumped over and my aunt took over. In the meantime I was screaming and questioning them as to what had happened. Apparently, my dad died of hypertension heart disease at only 45 years old. My entire world turned upside down after a two minute call.
We returned to the state where we lived and where my brother was attending university. so that we could break the devastating news to him. I remember my mother stressing over how she would pay my $500 rent each month. She confided in me that her biggest regret when they divorced that she had canceled his life insurance policy, especially at our young age. She admitted at the time that she was angry and did not want to continue paying premiums on his life insurance policy. As his next of kin I was then tasked with the enormous responsibility of contacting his employer to inquired about insurance. I made the call and was notified that he had only been at his new position for 30 days and that the benefit period for eligibility was 60 days; therefore, his policy had not taken affect. And because he had resigned from his former job the insurance there had canceled. I still did not realize what this truly meant financially. I figured he took out life insurance on his own because I knew my mother had paid up polices on herself as well as my brother and I. Her first job was with Prudential of America at age 18, and she took out a whole life policy that was paid in 20 years. I assumed my dad did the same thing. My mother told me that she took out tiny polices on me and my brother when we were born and chose to have the dividends buy extra insurance. The $5,000 policy we each have will be paid when I turn 20 in March, 2017. It is now worth over $37,000. It is amazing how quickly it grew. I contacted my dad’s family and was told that he had no insurance whatsoever. I was heartbroken, not because I was looking for a payout, but I was stressing over how we would pay to get him back from Florida and also pay for his funeral. The simplest funeral was approximately $7,500, and my dad was my king, so I wanted him to have a beautiful service. Luckily, our family came up with the money to bring him home and have a service. The days before he was brought back home were spent with my mother, my aunt, and me visiting funeral homes, contacting employers, visiting the Social Security office to see if any benefits were available. It was an eye opening experience that I had no choice but to deal with. I had not been able to think about my feelings and being able to grieve. I found out tragically that it is so important to have life insurance, as young as birth. I’m thankful that my mother’s first job was with an insurance company and that she took out insurance that was separate from her job. I did not realize that when my father left his former job to relocate to Florida that his insurance ended. I feel relieved that my mother has insurance on my brother and myself, and that she has a paid up policy on herself. She let us know that insurance covers funeral costs and that you can also borrow on your insurance to help pay with tuition or other unexpected costs. She sat us down and advised us that she has a death benefit on our home and her vehicle. She also has disability insurance in case she is unable to work. I am not angry at my dad because his love was and still is so strong for us. He just felt like so many – that he had time.
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