By the time you're in your 30s, you may be taking on big-time commitments like getting married, buying your first home, or having children. So it's smart to prepare for the "horrendous, awful, and recurring things that happen in life" — things that insurance coverage can help you financially recover from, says Neal Solomon, a certified financial planner, and managing director at WealthPro LLC in Gloversville, New York.
Experts say 30-somethings should consider these three kinds of policies.
"Your biggest asset is your ability to earn money," says Solomon. Disability insurance provides income in the event you are unable to work for medical reasons. The typical cost of disability insurance is equal to 1%-3% of your annual income, so if you're making $50,000 a year, that would be $500-$1,500 a year.
You may be able to get coverage through your employer, a private plan, or both. "The core thing about disability insurance is the language and the verbiage of the policy," says Solomon. To make sure you're covered, assess options based on how long benefits last, when they kick in, and any medical conditions that aren't covered.
Homeowners insurance covers damage to your home and personal property from crises like fire, hail, and theft. The national average annual cost for home insurance is $1,228, according to a rate analysis by Insurance.com, although costs vary widely depending on where you live and how much coverage you need. (If you don't own yet, like so many Americans in their 30s, renters insurance can protect you in similar ways.)
Be mindful of coverage gaps. For example, when you're preparing to buy a home, "the bank's going to require [you] to have property insurance," says Solomon — usually enough to cover your mortgage. But it's smart to make sure your home is insured for the cost to rebuild, which is likely an even bigger total than what your lender requires.
Consider whether you want to add coverage for disasters like floods or earthquakes, which policies typically exclude.
Life insurance is particularly important once other people rely on your income, says Solomon. Life insurance will pay out money to beneficiaries such as your partner or children if you pass away.
Some experts recommend getting at least enough to cover 10 times your family's annual expenses, which can help replace your income and tackle outstanding debts like your mortgage or goals like sending a child to college. There are different kinds of insurance, but most experts recommend term policies, which cover you for a set number of years. Term coverage tends to be affordable — and its 10-30 year window may be all you need to see the mortgage paid off and the kids grown.
Costs depend on what kind of insurance you pick and how much coverage you want, as well as criteria like your age, occupation, weight, and whether you smoke, he says. A healthy, 35-year-old nonsmoker could pay an average $29.80 per month for a 20-year term policy with a $500,000 death benefit, according to data from ValuePenguin.com.
"Life insurance is important if something happens," says Solomon. "That's money a surviving parent can use to help take care of the kids."
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