Our agency provides a wide range of insurance products and financial services to assist our customers with their ever-changing needs. Learn more about these different various financial services and insurance coverages through the educational resources below. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
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Planning for your financial future usually involves a certain amount of insurance planning.
While it may seem overwhelming at times to complete certain parts of your financial plan, obtaining insurance could quite likely be a serious stress point, often being put off as long as possible. It is natural to want to put off having to deal with the possibilities of getting sick, hurt, losing a home, needing extended medical care, or dying.
Life Has Value
Loss of life means loss of income for the space of time left between the untimely death and the projected date of retirement. Certainly, loss of life can create financial difficulty for loved ones who depended on the income the deceased worker was generating.
If/When a primary wage earner dies or becomes disabled, a recurring income stream is lost. This leaves the loved ones they left behind on their own to pay for things like clothing, schooling, food, health care costs and to cover debts. This can be a precarious and scary situation.
When properly implemented, good disability or life insurance policies can provide immediate relief to the affected survivors of the loss. The other bells and whistles of retirement planning should be secondary to this purpose.
You Love Your Family
But, what if your ability to pay for these protections suddenly goes away? If a disability occurs, unless the proper protections are in place, financial difficulties can become a reality. In this light, disability becomes a necessity.
If the main wage earner were to die unexpectedly, life insurance can bring that replacement income and relief to those who are left behind. It is the love of family and the desire to protect them that will be the motivating influence behind these financial safeguards.
If there is money left over, other saving financial products such as long-term care, should be considered.
Life Insurance Policies Can Pay Tax-Free Benefits
Without Insurance, You Are Only Self-Insured
Let the professionals at Shield Financial & Insurance Services be your resource to help clarify why coverage may or may not be necessary and what your insurance options may be.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance, often referred to as temporary life insurance, is a type of life insurance that guarantees payment of a stated death benefit if the covered person dies during a specified term. Once the term expires, the policyholder, if the insured individual wants to maintain coverage, they will likely have to apply for a new term policy.
How Term Life Insurance Works
- Size of the Death Benefit
- The Applicant’s Age
- The Applicant’s Gender
- and The Applicant’s Health
In most cases, the insurance company is going to request that you have a paramedical exam done. They will also want to know the types of medications you are taking and what ailments you may be seeing the doctor about. The underwriters may also inquire about your driving habits, smoking habits, occupation, hobbies, and family medical history.
If you pass away before the end of the term of the policy, the insurer will pay the face value of the policy to your beneficiaries or your estate. This money (which is not taxable in most situations) can be used to settle your debts, cover funeral costs and more.
Types of Term Life Insurance
Level Term, or Level Premium
These provide coverage for a specified period ranging from 10 to 30 years. Both the death benefit and premium are fixed. Because actuaries must account for the increasing costs of insurance over the life of the policy’s effectiveness, the premium is comparatively higher than yearly renewable term life insurance.
Annual Renewable Term (ART)
Annual Renewable Term (ART) policies have no specified term but can be renewed each year without providing evidence of insurability. The premiums change from year to year. As the insured person ages, the premiums increase. Although there is no specified term, premiums can become prohibitively expensive as individuals age, making the policy an unattractive choice for many.
These policies have a death benefit that declines each year, according to a predetermined schedule. Premiums are level for the life of the policy. Decreasing term policies are often referred to as Mortgage Pay-Off Protection used in concert with a mortgage to match the coverage with the declining principal of the home loan.
This type of policy starts as a term policy and the policy owner has the choice to convert the policy to a whole life policy. This type of policy is one of the more expensive types of term, but if the insured person becomes ill or experiences a catastrophic health event while the policy is in force, they can convert the policy into a permanent plan. There is very little underwriting that would need to take place. Most companies offer the original underwriting at the age of the insured at the time of conversion.
What are the positive features of Term Life Insurance?
Term life insurance is attractive to young people with children. Parents may obtain large amounts of coverage for reasonably low costs. Upon the death of a parent, the significant benefit can replace lost income.
These types of policies are also well-suited for people who temporarily need specific amounts of life insurance. For example, the policyholder may calculate that by the time the policy expires, their survivors will no longer need extra financial protection or will have accumulated enough liquid assets to self-insure.
What are the negative features of Term Life Insurance?
Because term insurance comes to an end, if you experience a serious health issue (such as a heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc.), you could become virtually uninsurable. The insurance companies will likely not agree to another term of coverage or, if they do, the premiums could be astronomical.
If you would like to take a look at what term life insurance can do for you, click here to request a quote.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal life insurance is under the umbrella of permanent life insurance. This type of insurance offers flexibility when it comes to paying premiums and choices for how the policy’s cash value is invested. A standard universal life insurance policy’s cash value grows according to the performance of the insurer’s portfolio. The cash value can also be used to pay premiums.
How Does Universal Life Insurance Work?
How do Universal Life Insurance Premiums Work?
The cash value of a universal life insurance policy can be used as:
- Surrender Value – If you decide that you no longer want the policy, you can give it back to the insurer (“surrender” it), and the insurer would give you the cash value in return.
- Loan Collateral – You can borrow money from the insurer and use the cash value as collateral, so that’s the maximum amount you can borrow. These policy loans are subject to interest rates which are set by the insurer.
- Premium Payments – You can use the cash value to pay a portion or the entirety of a premium payment. Just keep in mind that policies will lapse if the cash value drops to zero. It is up to you to keep track of the cash value amount.
Many people choose to pay the maximum premium possible for the first several years of coverage, helping the policy build a large cash value, then use the cash value to pay premiums later on. This is a good strategy if you want to maintain permanent coverage even when you have a smaller income during retirement. The downside is that if your cash value runs out, you can get stuck paying the full cost of insurance and there is no surrender value to the policy. Your policy can also lapse if the cash value reaches zero.
A Little Advice
When shopping for coverage, make sure to note the difference between the guaranteed performance of a policy and the projected performance. The guaranteed performance indicates the worst-case scenario of minimum returns and maximum fees that can be charged by the insurer.
Additional Terms You Will Want to Know
- Policy Maturity Date – Universal life insurance policies have a maturity date which occurs when you turn a certain age (often between 85 to 121). When a policy reaches its maturity date, typically coverage ends, and the policy owner receives a financial sum. Depending on the policy, the payment might be the death benefit or a specified dollar amount, but it is usually equal to the policy’s cash value.
- Minimum Guaranteed Annual Interest Rate – This might be 0% or higher, depending on the insurer. This is often referred to as “the floor.”
- Maximum Annual Interest Rate – The rate of return is tied to the performance of the index, but you are not actually invested in the index. Therefore, the insurer caps the maximum interest rate they will pay at around 10-12%. This cap is often referred to as “the ceiling.”
- Participation Rate – This is the percent of money credited with having been invested in the index. So, if you have $10,000 of cash value tracking the S&P 500 and the index had a 10% annual return, you could assume that the cash value increased by $1,000. However, that assumes a 100% participation rate. If the insurer’s participation rate was 50%, your cash value would increase by $500, or just a 5% return ($10,000 x 50% x 10% = $500)
Types of Universal Life Insurance
Indexed Universal Life Insurance
These policies tie the growth of cash value within a policy to financial index, such as the S&P or NASDAQ markets. The insurance company uses the cash values of existing policies to invest in these markets. When the markets do well, cash values climb rapidly. When markets turn downward, thanks to how the funds are designed, they will not lose value. In fact, they often continue to grow, depending on the insurance carrier and the type of policy that was written.
Variable Universal Life Insurance
Variable Universal Life Insurance is similar to an indexed universal life insurance policy. The primary difference is that you invest the cash value in grouped investments similar to mutual funds. You will receive a list of potential investments, along with their performance history and fees, and can choose how much of the cash value is invested in each.
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance is a universal life insurance policy that will not lapse if the cash value is zero. Given this, it can essentially behave as a term life insurance policy with the term ending at whatever age the policy matures.
Since there is little to no cash value, Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance is the best way to get the lowest quotes for permanent coverage. The cost of coverage is significantly lower than that of standard universal life insurance and premiums are usually level for the length of the policy.
Of course, there are pros and cons in each of these types of Universal Life Insurance. If you would like to learn more, click here to request a quote.
Convertable Term Life Insurance
Convert to Whole Life
A Convertible Term Life Insurance policy is written in a way where the insurance company allows the insured to convert a regular term life insurance policy to a permanent policy at a later date (usually after the policy has been in effect for five years).
When the insured/policyowner converts the policy, it stays with the same insurance company and can be converted into another type of insurance policy (typically whole life insurance) at the same insurance company. The conversion privileges are stated in the policy. The exact policies that it can be converted into will be stated by the contract and insurance company.
Typically, convertible insurance deals with a level-term insurance policy that can be converted into a permanent/cash value policy that may be some form of whole life or universal life. The contract will state how long the convertible options can be done. One of the benefits is that although it gets converted at the age you convert the policy, the policy converts at the same health rating as when you applied for it. Make sure to understand the conversion options before you choose the term insurance policy and carrier.
If exploring the possibility or converting a term policy into something permanent, click here to request more information.
Mortgage Protection Insurance
Mortgage Protection Insurance is a fairly well-known concept where homeowners use term-life insurance to pay off a mortgage.
Your home is probably your family’s largest asset, and your largest financial responsibility. A Mortgage Protection Insurance policy can help those you lo remain in your home after you’re gone.
Why Mortgage Protection Insurance?
How Mortgage Protection Insurance Works
But with mortgage life insurance, your mortgage lender is the beneficiary of the policy rather than beneficiaries you designate. If you pass away, your lender is paid the balance of your mortgage. Your mortgage will go away, but your survivors or loved ones won’t see any of the proceeds.
In all reality, the proceeds from a traditional term life insurance policy can be used for any purpose your beneficiaries choose. If your mortgage has a low interest rate, they may want to pay off high-interest credit card debt and keep the lower-interest mortgage. Or they may want to pay for home maintenance and upkeep. Whatever they decide to do, that money will come in handy. Contact Us for help determining how much coverage and for how long you would need it to help cover your coverage.
Make Sure You Understand Your Policy
For more information, click here to request more information about mortgage protection and using term life insurance to pay off your mortgage after you’re gone. Mortgage protection is just one benefit of life insurance. Find out other ways that life insurance can help protect your and your family.
Final Expense Insurance
Such a policy helps ease the financial burden placed on a family when a loved one dies.
More About Final Expense Coverage
As an inexpensive insurance choice, final expense coverage can be used to cover the funeral and burial costs of the policy holder. Most people who do not want to place a hardship or burden their families with these burial and funeral costs will take out burial insurance polices.
Burial premiums can begin with higher costs at first than other forms of insurance since they include cash value features. An important advantage of burial premiums is that they are fixed, which means they remain the same even if your health deteriorates.
Final Expense coverage can pay for the casket, funeral service, visitation/viewing, hearse, digging and filling the grave, the actual cemetery plot, or burial vault or grave liner, minister, headstone, flowers, and other expenses related directly to named insured’s funeral.
Contact us to learn more about the right final expense coverage for you.
Insurance for My Business
When you own a small business, your family members are not the only people who depend on you. Your death, or a serious disability could be a disaster for your employees and partners. It could also be what destroys the company you worked so hard to build.
That is a short explanation of the reality of why you need life and disability insurance to cover different aspects of your business.
Insurance for My Business
That is a short explanation of the reality of why you need life and disability insurance to cover different aspects of your business.
Life Insurance for Your Business – Why You Need It
Insurance industry group, Life Happens, explains: “When the family is forced to sell the business quickly, they may have to sell at a serious discount for during market conditions that make the business less attractive. In other cases, the business may be worth very little without the proprietor or partner.”
Unless your business partners have the immediate equity to buy your shares left in the business or your family members have been shadowing you at work and understand the role you play in your business, you they could run into some serious cash flow issues. If this is the case, your family would have to scramble to learn the business during a very stressful time for them or be forced to sell their shares quickly. Finally, your business may rely on key employees whose death would seriously dent earnings or operations.
What You Need
A personal life insurance policy would help your family pay off any business debt and cover living expenses after your death. Your family would then have time to figure out what to do with the business.
If your business has multiple owners, you can combine life insurance policies on each partner with a buy-sell agreement. The agreement stipulates that on the death of a partner, the remaining partners can buy out the surviving family’s share at a previously agreed price. The life insurance pays for the buyout.
Finally, key person insurance is life insurance that protects against the death of a critically important employee. In the event of death, the insurance pays the owner or owners of the business. It can take a lot of money to replace someone so integral for the success of a business.
Small-business owners may need several different life insurance policies. Let Shield Financial & Insurance Services help you build a solid business succession plan.
What is Health Insurance?
Health insurance is coverage that provides for the payments of benefits as a result of sickness or injury. Includes insurance for losses from accident, medical expense, disability, or accidental death and dismemberment.
Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC)
Note: Starting with the 2019 plan year (for which you’ll file taxes in April 2020), the penalty no longer applies.
Health Insurance Types
- HMOs and EPOs may limit coverage to providers inside their networks. A network is a list of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that provide medical care to members of a specific health plan. If you use a doctor or facility that isn’t in the HMO’s network, you may have to pay the full cost of the services provided.
- HMO members usually have a primary care doctor and must get referrals to see specialists. This is generally not true for EPOs.
- These insurance plans give you a choice of getting care within or outside of a provider network. With PPO or POS plans, you may use out-of-network providers and facilities, but you’ll have to pay more than if you use in-network ones. If you have a PPO plan, you can visit any doctor without a referral.
- If you have a POS plan, you can visit any in-network provider without a referral, but you’ll need one to visit a provider out-of-network.
- High Deductible Health Plans typically feature lower premiums and higher deductibles than traditional insurance plans.
- If you have an HDHP, you can use a health savings account or a health reimbursement arrangement to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical costs. This can lower the amount of federal tax you owe.
- A catastrophic health insurance plan covers essential health benefits but has a very high deductible. This means it provides a kind of “safety net” coverage in case you have an accident or serious illness.
- Catastrophic plans usually do not provide coverage for services like prescription drugs or shots.
- Premiums for catastrophic plans may be lower than traditional health insurance plans, but deductibles are usually much higher.
Contact us to learn more about the right health insurance for you.
What is Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance is designed to pay a portion of the costs associated with dental care. Generally dental offices have a fee schedule, or a list of prices for the dental services or procedures they offer.
Typical Types of Dental Insurance
This plan may be helpful when you want to stay with your dentist and he/she does not participate in a dental network. By the very nature of this plan the insurance company generally pays the dentist a percentage of your services according to the policy you purchased. In addition you will want to review the co-payment requirements, waiting periods, stated deductible, annual limitations, graduated percentage scales based on the type of procedure and/or length of time you have owned the policy prior to starting your dental work.
Dental Health Managed Organization (DHMO):
When a dentist signs a contract with a dental insurance company that provider agrees to accept an insurance fee schedule and give their customers a reduced cost for services as an In-Network Provider. Many DHMO insurance plans have little or no waiting periods, no annual maximum benefit limitations, while covering major dental work near the start of the policy period. This plan is sometimes purchased to help defray the high cost of the dental procedures. Some dental insurance plans offer free semi-annual preventative treatment. Fillings, crowns, implants and dentures may have various limitations.
Participating Provider Network (PPO):
Depending on your specific plan, the PPO works similar to a DHMO while using an In-Network facility. However, it allows you to use an Out-of-Network or Non-Participating Provider. Any difference of fees will become the financial responsibility of the patient unless otherwise specified in your dental policy. As noted, some dental insurance plans may have an annual maximum benefit limit. Thus, once the annual maximum benefit is exhausted any additional treatments may become the patient’s responsibility. Each year that annual maximum is reissued. The reissued date may vary as a calendar year, company fiscal year, or date of enrollment based on your specific plan.
Contact us to learn more about the right dental insurance for you.
What is Vision Insurance?
Vision insurance is a form of insurance that provides coverage for the services rendered by eye care professionals such as ophthalmologists and optometrists.
The typical vision insurance plan provides yearly coverage for eye examinations and partial or full coverage eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses, with or without copays, depending on the plan chosen.
If you see the big picture, you know how important eye health is to overall well-being. A little attention to those baby blues, browns, greens, or hazels can make all the difference.
We can help you obtain affordable vision coverage including an annual routine eye exam for a low copayment. Plus you get coverage for contact lenses or eyeglass lenses and frames – including designer names.
The financial impact of an accident can often be a shock. Most people have expenses after an accident they never considered. From out-of-pocket medical costs to a potential loss of income, when you experience an accident, your finances will almost certainly be strained.
Why would you need Accident Insurance?
What does an Accident Policy include?
What is Critical Illness Insurance?
Anyone diagnosed with a critical illness will tell you it can be as difficult financially as it is emotionally. Make sure your family is financially protected in the event of an illness.
The policy may also be structured to pay out regular income and the payout may also be on the policyholder undergoing a surgical procedure, for example, having a heart bypass operation.
Conditions That May be Covered:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Kidney Failure
- A Major Organ Transplant
- Multiple Sclerosis
- HIV/AIDS Contracted by blood transfusion or during an operation
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Paralysis of Limb
- Terminal Illness
Hospital Indemnity Insurance
Going to the hospital can be a stressful experience, even if you have excellent health insurance coverage. Unfortunately, the stress doesn’t go away when the hospital stay is over. What might be even more stressful than the stay itself is the financial responsibility that is placed on one’s shoulders when the bills start coming in. Most people are not prepared to have these additional bills added to their already tight budgets.
How does Hospital Indemnity Insurance Help?
Many companies offering Hospital Indemnity plans offer guaranteed-issue options, which means there is no medical questionnaire required, though there will likely be a waiting period imposed on any pre-existing conditions.
Remember…Hospital Indemnity Insurance should never be intended to replace one’s health insurance plan as it is not designed to pay the full bill. When given the choice between one or the other, always choose the comprehensive health insurance plan first.
It is always best to plan ahead or be preemptive when it comes to medical issues. If you would like to see how a Hospital Indemnity Insurance policy can help you stay ahead of the financial pitfalls medical care can cause.
*Policies are not available to those who are receiving benefits from Medicaid.
Cancer Indemnity Insurance
Cancer is a scary subject. Chances are you or someone you know has been affected when it rears its ugly head. The good news is that research is constantly ongoing, treatments are changing and the chances of surviving a cancer scare are better than they have ever been..
Cancer Statistics You Need to Know
- Men have a slightly less than 1 in 2 lifetime risk of developing cancer in the US. 1
- Women have slightly more than a 1 in 3 lifetime risk of developing cancer in the US. 2
Perhaps you can see the difference a Cancer Indemnity Insurance policy could make in your financial security.
How Cancer Indemnity Insurance Can Work for You
If you are ever diagnosed with cancer, depending on the policy you choose, these benefits would become invaluable to you. Why? Because cancer treatments are not cheap and major medical may not cover the type of treatment you wish to receive. In addition, you will still have co-payments, a deductible, lost work time or even travel expenses. Cancer Indemnity Insurance helps cover costs like these. It is meant to help you through the physical, financial and emotional costs cancer carries with it.
Are There Other Benefits?
If you would like a second opinion, there is usually a benefit for that as well.
Remember, an indemnity policy is never intended to replace your health insurance plan.
The great thing about these policies is that patients have the flexibility to choose their types of treatments and the care they receive with great flexibility from the cash benefit they receive. If you would like to find out how a Cancer Indemnity Insurance plan can give you more peace of mind.
Long Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance (LTC or LTCI), an insurance product that helps provide for the cost of long term care beyond a predetermined period. Long-term care insurance covers care generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
The Benefits of Long Term Care Insurance
Other benefits of long-term care insurance:
- Many individuals may feel uncomfortable relying on their children or family members for support, and find that long-term care insurance could help cover out-of-pocket expenses. Without long-term care insurance, the cost of providing these services may quickly deplete the savings of the individual and/or their family.
- Premiums paid on a long-term care insurance product may be eligible for an income tax deduction. The amount of the deduction depends on the age of the covered person. Benefits paid from a long-term care contract are generally excluded from income.
- Business deductions of premiums are determined by the type of business. Generally corporations paying premiums for an employee are 100% deductible if not included in employee’s taxable income
Medicare Supplement Insurance
Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance can help pay some of the health care costs that original Medicare does not cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
A Medigap policy is different from a Medicare Advantage Plan. Those plans are ways to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements your Original Medicare benefits.
Important Things to Know About Medicare Supplement Coverage
- If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can apply for a Medigap policy, but make sure you can leave the Medicare Advantage Plan before your Medigap policy begins.
- You pay the private insurance carrier a monthly premium for your Medigap policy in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare.
- A Medigap policy covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, we’ll work with you to setup two separate policies.
- Any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company can’t cancel your Medigap policy as long as you pay the premium.
Contact us to learn more about the right Medicare Supplement Insurance coverage for you.
For My Business
Group health insurance
Group health insurance coverage is a policy that is purchased by an employer and is offered to eligible employees of the company (and often to the employees’ family members) as a benefit of working for that company.
Contact us to learn more about the right benefits for your group.
Group Ancilary Benefits
Group Accident/Supplemental Insurance
Critical Care Insurance
Group Dental Insurance
Group Vision Insurance
Group health insurance coverage is a policy that is purchased by an employer and is offered to eligible employees of the company (and often to the employees’ family members) as a benefit of working for that company. A group health insurance plan is a major part of many employee benefits packages that employers provide for their employees.
Group Life Insurance
Group life insurance (also known as wholesale life insurance or institutional life insurance) is term insurance covering a group of people, usually employees of a company, members of a union or association, or members of a pension or superannuation fund. Individual proof of insurability is not normally a consideration in the underwriting. Rather, the underwriter considers the size, turnover, and financial strength of the group.
Group Disability Insurance
Group Disability Insurance is a type of group insurance that provides regular income replacement payments to an insured member of the group in the event of an eligible disability resulting from illness or injury. Coverage is generally offered in two types: short-term disability (STD) or long-term disability (LTD).