Adulting, step 1: Looking at income protection and life insurance

Life insurance is one of those things I figured we didn’t need to worry about until mortgage/kids entered the picture.

But I’m starting to think that maybe sooner could be better (especially if we’re going to be taking on a car loan).

I’m mainly interested in the income protection aspect. Most standalone income protection don’t seem to cover redundancy, but some life insurance policies do offer redundancy cover as an add-on. That would alleviate my worry of major setbacks/hardship if T were to lose his job.

To be honest, I’m not sure it would have helped us this year, since the company let go T and a couple of others all within their 90-day trial period – which may not count as redundancy. But it would have helped back in 2008/2009…

And of course, life insurance is quite affordable as we are still young.

(Not that I’m worried about job security myself, but I already have life insurance through work now! Maybe it’s time to make it two.)

At the moment the two main options I’m looking at are life cover through his bank, and income protection cover through an insurer. Under the bank option we can get basic life plus redundancy, which is dirt cheap, and we could also add on temporary disability cover. The insurer option is pure income protection, including disability; it’s more expensive, but without getting into all the details, you do get more for your premiums. The disability cover could be useful in the event of illness, and to a degree, accidents. For injury, there is public ACC here to the tune of 80 percent of your earnings, although we had them refuse to cover T once a couple of years ago and that was a massive and costly pain in the ass.

This comment (on Reddit, no less) really hit me hard the other week:

A lot of people don’t realize how correlated events are. You are probably not going to lose your job, unless the economy goes really bad. If the economy goes really bad, that is the precise time when you cannot find any jobs because there are so many other people looking for jobs and few companies are hiring. That is also the time when you need to tap into your savings, but your stock portfolio will be decimated. You may want to borrow some money for the short term, but the equity in your home is gone too because real estate prices are all dropping and all your credit lines are cancelled because banks stop loaning money. Instead of “these things can’t all happen at the same time” it might be closer to “these things only happen at the same time”.

Now that we are above what I think of as the WINZ threshold – ie we earn/own too much, so that we’d have to both lose our jobs and use up most of what we have before being able to get assistance in the worst case scenario – it really is up to us to make provisions for ourselves.

Any advice on navigating the headache-inducing world of insurance?

5 thoughts on “Adulting, step 1: Looking at income protection and life insurance

  1. We’ve just been through this whole rigmarole and ended up going through an insurance broker. We were amazed at how much time it actually took to go through the process and we really wished that we’d got it out of the way before CJ was born. I can’t imagine it would be much fun to do when dealing with all the paperwork surrounding house purchases either. Good on you guys getting sorted with this now :)

  2. I’m not sure if NZ is the same as Australia, but it’s worth seeing if your superannuation fund offers life or income protection insurance.

    I pay about $2.50 a week through my industry superannuation fund which gets me about $200k in life insurance and a few months of income protection (enough for me at my stage of life).

    Having it go through my super fund also means that I don’t miss the money, as I’m not technically paying it outright.

  3. Ditto Amanda. I have life and disability insurance through my Kiwisaver provider (SuperLife). Cheaper than the others I got quoted. Easy peasy.

  4. While nobody expects an interruption to their income, accidents,sickness, and other problems can strike when you least expect it. With income protection, at least if your situation does change temporarily, you will be able to continue to pay your bills and support your family.

  5. I sometimes feel like insurance only makes me become more paranoid of what could happen, when it’s actually quite unlikely to happen. Oh well, maybe at that time when it actually happens (knocking on woo!d) I will be grateful I have an insurance.

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