Life Insurance has become important to me as I have thought about the possibility of losing a loved one. My dad became sick during the beginning of my sophomore year and I needed to move to Missouri to help him. This move required me to transfer from Johnson College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois to enroll at Normandy High School in St. Louis, Missouri. I saw the hospital staff enter his room and provide him papers regarding who could make decisions for him. I saw him text others the instructions of how he would want things to be handled in the event he were to “die”. I’m grateful he did not die and the medical procedure was able to save his life. Once my dad’s health improved, I was able to transfer back to Johnson College Prep High School and finish where I began my high school career. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help remembering the feeling of being totally unprepared for the final season of life.
I have wondered about what life insurance really means for me and my family. My dad had a life policy but what for? Life insurance is really for the people who are left behind who have to make burial decisions, and most importantly continue to survive after the mourning period. Unlike my dad’s scare, I know people can shop around for life insurance, not just for themselves but their children too. I would not want it to be a hardship on my family to cover my funeral experience if something were to happen to me.
There the two main types of insurance are Term and Permanent coverage. With the Term policy a person is typically covered until death with little cash value. Whereas the Permanent policies have death protection and a cash value attached. That is the simplest way to explain it but a person should sit down with their insurer to review what policy would work best for them. According to the Enhance Insurance website; “other factors besides health and age include; medical history (of self and family), gender, history of smoking, current medications, profession, travel history, lifestyle and other factors”. http://www.enhancedinsurance.com/life-insurance/ .
Most of this is over my head as a high school student but there are steps I can take now to make sure my family has adequate life insurance. We always talk about things during dinner so I plan to casually ask the cost of life insurance and whether I will need any while I’m away at school. I know life insurance is not like packing a shirt for a vacation but I want to make the conversation with my family just as comfortable as planning a trip. This will be a great time to start our family planning and to learn how much coverage we already have and whether it is enough to sustain our current expenses and future goals. I can share with them the tax advantages and benefits listed on the Enhanced Insurance website, which include:
“ income replacement for dependents, paying of final expenses, possible inheritance, paying of federal and state death taxes, contributions to charitable and creation of an additional savings account” . http://www.enhancedinsurance.com/life-insurance/
Once we decide our immediate family needs we will probably have to continue this discussion with our extended family members. There are so many GoFundMe pages for people who did not have life insurance and were not prepared to hand their burial expenses. I know people often leave money behind to help the family pay for property, fund education, pay debt, and even build an inheritance.
Although my dad becoming sick was a difficult time in my life, I am appreciative of the opportunity to discuss our family legacy. I now understand that Life Insurance is not for what might happen but what will happen someday. Families have to research what life insurance policy would be best for their needs. The goal of being insured is to be ready during the most vulnerable time in a person’s life. I was not ready then and now only have a limited understanding that life insurance is not a discussion that can wait. We have to be prepared for the unexpected and inevitable.
Currently, I’m a 17 year old senior at Johnson College Prep School with a 3.6 G.P.A. and I aspire to obtain a degree in Political Science at Howard University. It would seem laws would be in place to require every person has some form of life insurance to cover death transitions. Since that is not the case, I will act now to have this conversation with those I hold an obligation. If I were selected as the recipient of the Enhance Insurance Scholarship I would use the funds to help towards paying tuition, buying books, or paying other school expenses.
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