Do you know whether or not your parents are protected against financial loss? If something happened to their home, and there was not enough insurance to cover the loss, could they live with you? What if one of your parents became ill and needed long-term care, will they be able to pay for it?
The only way to know for sure if your parents have adequate protection is by asking. Your approach will most likely be determined by your relationship, but the following are suggestions to start the dialogue, in order to make sure your parents' needs are met.
· Be prepared for a struggle. Most likely, your parents will think you are intruding, and that their insurance is none of your business. Explain to them that you truly are concerned, and only want to help.
· Privacy is key. A restaurant or public place is not the appropriate setting for this conversation. Your parent's home is the best place, as they will feel the most comfortable in their own surroundings. Also, make sure you have allowed for plenty of time during which the conversation can take place. Discussing matters such as these under a time constraint will only add to the stress of the situation.
· Safety in numbers. If you have siblings, it might be a good idea to include them in this discussion. Your parents are more likely to see that you are all concerned, rather than feel ambushed. However, if you have a sibling who has a habit of upsetting your parents or rubbing them the wrong way, it may be a good idea to exclude them from the conversation.
· Be direct. In a situation like this, it pays to be direct. Beating around the bush may only upset your parents or cause added confusion. Just putting it simply, "We need to talk," may be the best approach.
· Be indirect. You may find the "I have a friend" method works better for you. Describing an experience of the consequences of not having adequate coverage could pique your parent's interest, rather than approaching the subject as a lecture.
· Share your plans. Perhaps a good way to lead in to the discussion is by disclosing your plans to extend your own coverage. Then you can easily shift into a discussion about their coverage.
· Ask for their advice. You may find that approaching the subject as you needing their help may illicit a more positive response from your parents. You might ask their opinion on your insurance needs, and then ask questions about what they have.
· The old 'bait and switch.' Asking a simple, innocent lead-in question could give you an opening to start asking them about their coverage.
· Bring in the experts. You may want to ask your insurance agent for advice before speaking to your parents, so you have information to offer them or the ability to answer their questions. Or, at a later meeting, you may want to have your parents meet with an agent to discuss their needs more directly.
When having the initial conversation with your parents, there are several issues to take into consideration. These are the most important topics to discuss:
· What policies do they currently have?
· Which policies do they have, but no longer need?
· Which policies do they need, but do not have?
· What are the details of their current policies?
· Do their current policies provide adequate coverage? Or too much?
· How much can they afford to pay for premiums?
· If there are beneficiaries, are the proper persons named? Have the proper forms been completed?
· Who should be responsible for paying the premiums (you or your parents?)
· Where are the policies kept?
· Who is their insurance agent?
You will also want to address the different types of insurance, to determine which they may need, including:
· Medical insurance
· Long-term care insurance
· Life insurance
· Homeowner's insurance
· Auto insurance
· Disability insurance (although if your parents do not have earned income to replace this may not apply.)
If you would like to discuss insurance options with us in more detail, please give us a call.