Along with police officers, firefighters compose the group of selfless, courageous professionals who put their lives on the line every day to protect our society. And, because of that, these brave workers are well aware of the risks that are associated with their job.
Most firefighters have people who depend emotionally, and financially, on them. As a firefighter leaves his or her home to go to work, they may feel a slight sense of dread.
God only knows if that is their last time seeing their family. Purchasing life insurance for firefighters may be the best way to calm your worries.
Importance of Life Insurance for Firefighters
You may wonder why we’re telling you that life insurance is a good option. There are lots of reasons why purchasing a life insurance policy is one of the best investments you can make.
As mentioned above, it is highly likely that firefighters might come across situations in their work routine that may leave them wondering.
Would your family be able to support themselves financially in case you passed away? Is there will be enough money to pay the bills, to pay off debts? Would your children be able to afford to go to college?
These are questions that most parents/spouses ask themselves; if you’re a firefighter, you probably think about this quite a lot. Although no one enjoys the thought of passing away, we still need to think about it from time to time. Especially if we have people who rely on us.
Firefighters face risks on a daily basis, such as the risk of suffering smoke inhalation or severe burns. Worst yet, they may suffer lethal injuries as they have to walk inside collapsing structures. On top of these risks, firefighters may also suffer from long-term illnesses linked to this job, such as asthma or other lung issues.
Thus, it is extremely important that firefighters at least consider getting life insurance coverage. When you have a policy, you’re ensuring that your family’s financial future will remain stable even if you happen to pass away.
You can opt to purchase a policy with a generous death benefit — this is the sum of money that the insurer will pay to your dependents after you pass away — or you can calculate an estimated amount of money that your family might need.
Life Insurance Through Workplace – Is It Enough?
As surprising as it may sound, there are professionals who don’t that they have life insurance provided through their workplace. If you do know that, you’re certainly asking yourself why should you purchase a policy when your job gives you coverage for free.
However, you should ask yourself if that coverage is enough. Most workers seem to think so. But, is it really enough? Take some time to think about it. Would the coverage by your department pay off your debts — such as a mortgage, for instance — and still leave money to replace your income or temporarily provide for your family?
College tuition alone is pretty expensive. Some departments offer a maximum death benefit of $500,000. Do you think that that money would suffice? Would it cover a mortgage and other debts, plus your child or children’s college tuition? It’s important to note that any end-of-life expenses such as buying a casket and arranging a funeral should also be included in this amount.
What if you don’t qualify for the maximum death benefit? Your coverage would be much less than that; the minimum value in some departments is $100,000. Would that money replace your income for at least a year?
If your answer to these questions is ‘no’, then it should be safe to say that coverage offered by your workplace is not enough.
Life Insurance for Firefighters – Is It Expensive?
By now, you’ve probably realized that you might need to look for additional life insurance coverage. However, you probably still don’t know how much it’s going to cost you; or, perhaps, you still don’t know anything at all about life insurance. But don’t worry. We’re going to break down everything insurance-related to you.
The first thing you should keep in mind before contacting an insurance company or independent agent is that insurers give much importance to risks. For instance, one of the things that insurers require is that prospective policyholders undergo a medical examination and answer a series of questions related to their health and lifestyle.
Let’s picture an individual who enjoys partying on the weekends, smokes cigarettes, and who skydives as a hobby. At first glance, we can already tell that this person is bound to pay a lot in life insurance premiums. Why? It’s simple: due to the risks associated with drinking and/or smoking, insurers will charge higher rates if the policyholders drinks and/or smokes.
As for having an adventurous job such as skydiving, insurers will place this individual in a risky group, as they have higher chances of passing away due to the dangerous nature of such a hobby. This is also where firefighters may be included.
Due to working in such a risky career, firefighters – as well as police officers – may be charged higher rates, as they have higher chances of dying during the period of their coverage.
How Does Your Profession Affect Rates?
As mentioned previously, working in risky jobs such as working as a firefighter may increase the rates you’ll pay in your life insurance. As we mentioned previously, working in a risky job increases a policyholder’s chances of dying prematurely, which means that the insurer may have to pay the death benefit early on.
In some cases, there are jobs that will automatically disqualify a prospective policyholder. Fortunately, firefighters are not included in the list of workers that cannot get coverage.
It’s important that you learn what are so-called ‘table ratings’ and ‘standard classifications’ in life insurance. The usual life insurance classifications are Standard, Standard Plus, Preferred, and Preferred Plus. The first two classifications are aimed for individuals who either don’t have an ideal weight-height ratio, have a health condition, and/or whose family may have a medical history that is not as favorable.
As for Preferred and Preferred Plus classifications, these two are exclusive for policyholders who have an impeccable health condition and whose families don’t have any sign of a genetic condition or anything of the kind.
Now, ‘table ratings’ are probably something you may want to avoid. Table ratings were specifically created to include individuals who don’t fit any of the aforementioned classifications. They are usually graded by letters (A-J) or numbers (1-10). Each number or letter further from the top means an extra +25% in your rates.
That is, if you’re placed in Category A, you’ll pay the Standard price plus an additional 25%. If you’re in Category B, you’ll pay the Standard plus an additional 50%, and so on. As you can see, Table Ratings are not exactly affordable – though they may be the only way of getting coverage, for some people.
Your profession will affect your rates as, depending on the insurer, firefighters may end up paying additional fees. Or worst, your insurer may end up requiring that you pay your premiums based on Table ratings!
Life Insurance Options As a Firefighter Outside of Workplace
There are different insurance options available for firefighters, and it may be overwhelming trying to decide which option is best for you. Worry no more! Below, we’re going to show you the most popular insurance options and explain everything to you!
Term Life Insurance
Term policies are the most common and most affordable types of life insurance. In this policy, the coverage is offered for a set period of time. For instance, most companies offer coverage for 5, 10, 20, and 30 years. During this term, you’ll pay monthly premiums that will be calculated based on different factors, such as age, gender, health, among others.
If you die within the period of the coverage, your beneficiaries — the person, or people, designated to receive the death benefit — will receive the sum of money that you stipulated. However, if you don’t pass away during the coverage period, your insurer won’t pay the death benefit.
A term life insurance policy may be a good option for firefighters as you can choose how long you wanted to be covered. For example, let’s say that you still have 20 years left before retirement. You can opt to purchase a policy that will cover you for that period only.
However, if by the end of your policy you realize that you’ll still need coverage, you can check with your agent if your policy is convertible. If it is, you can convert your term policy into a permanent life insurance policy.
Keep in mind that, if you do choose to convert your policy, you’ll probably end up paying higher premiums. If you’re wondering why we’ll explain it to you.
Let’s imagine that you purchased your term policy at age 30, and your rates were based on your age at the time. When your coverage is over, 20 years later, you decide you want to convert it. When you contact your agent, they’ll tell you that your new rates will be based on your current age. The thing is, a 50-year-old individual will pay a much higher premium than someone who’s 30.
That’s why it’s important that you do your research before purchasing a life insurance policy. If you think that you’ll want to convert your policy in the future, maybe it’s better to look into getting a permanent life insurance policy.
Permanent Life Insurance
Unlike term policies, a permanent life insurance policy will cover you for the rest of your life. Such a long coverage may come at a price, but this type of policy also offers benefits that term life insurance doesn’t offer.
The most attractive feature of permanent policies is that they have a cash value. The cash value is similar to a savings component. If you make a payment that is higher than the scheduled premium, the excedent will go directly to the cash value.
Similarly to a savings account, you can withdraw or borrow money from this cash value. If you’re running tight on money, you can also use the cash value to pay the premiums. When you withdraw money from the cash value, your death benefit will not be reduced.
However, if you request a loan and leave it unpaid, the insurer will reduce the death benefit to cover the unpaid amount.
The most common types of permanent life insurance are Whole Life Insurance and Universal Life Insurance. The latter is the basic policy of this type. It offers permanent coverage, death benefit, and cash value.
However, there is one thing you should be aware of before reading about the types of permanent policies. Permanent life insurance is considerably more expensive than term life insurance. In some cases, you may end up paying rates that are five times higher! This is due to the fact that permanent policies offer cash value, whereas term policies don’t offer this feature.
Universal Life Insurance
A universal policy is a type of permanent life insurance that offers an additional feature that may hook your attention. On top of the usual cash value and death benefit, a universal life insurance policy also gives you flexibility when it comes to paying the premiums. That is, your insurer may designate a minimum amount and you can choose how much you want to pay!
Additionally, this policy also allows you to increase the value of your death benefit! In case your original medical exams showed any type of alteration, you may not qualify for large death benefits. However, this policy gives you the flexibility of undergoing medical examinations again. If the results show that your health has improved, you may request to alter the death benefit!
Variable Life Insurance
Differently from the other types of permanent policies — which offer the cash value based on what you pay —, a variable life insurance allows you to build cash value in another way.
With this policy, you’re allowed to invest the cash value in sub-accounts that are provided by your insurer. However, you should be careful when choosing this type of policy.
With regular permanent life insurance, the cash value that you build up will remain level throughout your coverage, so long as you continuously invest money into it and avoid withdrawing or borrowing the money.
The cash value in a Variable policy works in a different manner, more similar to the trade market. As you’ll be investing the money in the market, if the prices go up, so will your cash value. Now, if the prices drop, your cash value will drop as well.
Thus, this policy may be a risky investment, as you may end up losing all of the money you invested.
Variable Universal Life Insurance
If you felt compelled to purchase a Variable or a Universal policy, there’s still another type of policy you should know. A variable universal life insurance (VUL) policy gives you the best of both worlds.
As its name suggests, this policy is a junction of the features present in a variable policy and in a universal policy. In other words, with a VUL policy, you’ll get to have flexibility when it comes to payments and to the value of the death benefit.
On top of that, you’ll get to invest the cash value in sub-accounts, which means that your money will have chances of increasing — as well as having chances of decreasing.
Return of Premium
You may have noticed that a term life insurance policy is an investment that may not return to you or to your beneficiaries. If you don’t pass away within the coverage period, the money you invested won’t be returned to you.
While it’s a good thing that you didn’t pass away, you may come to realize that you spent a lot of money unnecessarily. With this possibility in mind, insurers came up with an alternative, and it’s called ‘return of premium’.
A return of premium is basically a policy that will allow you to have your money back after the period of your coverage. That is, if you paid $70 in monthly premiums for a period of 20 years, you’ll receive around $16,800 with a return of premium option.
However, if you purchase a term policy with a return of premium option, as attractive as this may be, you’ll have to pay higher rates than you would in a regular term policy.
Buying Affordable Life Insurance for Firefighters
We’ve already explained why and how your profession will affect life insurance rates. You should also keep in mind that there are other factors that will influence how much you’ll pay for coverage. Factors that will directly affect your rates include smoking, drinking, medical history, weight-height ratio, hobbies, among others.
Thus, on top of paying a higher rate due to your personal information and health condition, you may also end up having to pay more money due to your profession. In some cases, you may even consider that sticking to the insurance offered by your department is more viable than paying $100+/month on additional insurance.
If you want to get the best rates possible, your best option is to contact an independent agent. Unlike insurance companies – which work exclusively with their own products –, independent agents work with different companies, thus they have different insurance options to offer, at different prices.
Why Life Insurance Guideline?
At Life Insurance Guideline, our main goal is not only to help our clients find the best life insurance options available but also to help them get the most affordable rates. We are dedicated to making the process of purchasing a policy easy for you, and we work with the most popular life insurance options, including Term Life Insurance, Permanent Life Insurance, and Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance.
No matter what is your age, gender, profession, or medical history, we will find the best policy for you, at the best rates. To help you get started, you can easily get instant free quotes on our website. Just enter your Zip Code and we’ll give you different options based on your location!
Can You Skip Medical Exam?
Medical exams are one of the main steps of the process of getting insurance. It is safe to say that the results of the medical exams will either put you in a very good or very bad position. If you’re healthy, then you’ll qualify for the best rates. If your exams show that you’re not exactly healthy, then you won’t qualify for the lowest rates.
However, there are also some cases in which the prospective policyholder may not feel comfortable undergoing medical examinations – even if they’re healthy.
A blood test is one of the exams required by insurers, and maybe you’re not fond of the idea of having a needle stuck in your arm. Either way, you’re probably wondering if there’s any way of getting insurance without the part of the medical exams.
We have some good news for you: yes, you can skip medical exams.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
The most common type of no-medical exam policy is called Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance. As its name suggests, it is guaranteed that anyone who applies for this policy will qualify for coverage. If you’re not in your healthiest state or if your family has a medical history of premature death, this option is perfect for you.
You won’t have to undergo medical exams nor will you have to show your medical history. The downside of this policy, however, is that it can much more expensive than a traditional life insurance policy.
Although fire departments offer coverage to their employees, you have to understand that it may not be enough to support your family. Getting additional life insurance for firefighters is a good option for those who want to ensure their family’s financial future.
There are different policy options for firefighters, and you should choose one based on your personal needs. While you may come across rates that are quite expensive due to your profession, we can assist you in finding the best life insurance rates in the market!
Contact us on our website and we’ll gladly help you!