By William Rowan | Life Happens

1. Review your life insurance beneficiaries.

All too often, people buy life insurance and then let the policy sit there year after year without reviewing who they have designated as the beneficiary of the policy. A beneficiary review is crucial because, after all, what good is life insurance if the death benefit will not be used by those who need it the most? Situations that would require a beneficiary change are (among others!):

  • a change in marital status
  • one of your beneficiaries has passed away
  • you have had more children

It is equally important that you have not only selected the correct primary beneficiary, but make sure that your secondary beneficiaries are labeled correctly as well.

Learn more about choosing a life insurance beneficiary.

2. Ensure you have enough life insurance coverage.

Life insurance exists to help you protect your loved ones financially if you were no longer in the picture. This protection tends to change over time. You may have had significant lifestyle change, or had additions or subtractions to your family. Or, you could have had salary increases over the past few years, providing your loved ones with an increased standard of living. Remember, it is a pretty good rule of thumb to carry coverage that is 10 to 15 times your net income. If you bought a policy years ago, your current amount of life insurance coverage could be setting your family up for a shortfall if you don’t address these changes. If you are unsure about how much life insurance you may need, start by using the nonprofit LIFE Foundation’s Life Insurance Needs Calculator.

Get a free estimate on how much life insurance you need.

3. Find out if you can save money on your life insurance policy.

Look carefully at the underwriting class if you got anything less than the best rates on your policy. If you were “rated” for any health reasons (meaning that you pay higher rates because of a health condition), you may now qualify for much better life insurance rates if the condition is no longer present, under control or existed long ago. This is especially true if you were a smoker, had any type of cancer, have lost weight or have gotten your high blood pressure or cholesterol under control.

As you can see, there are several things that you can do to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row when it comes to your life insurance. By taking 10 or 15 minutes to review your existing coverage, you make sure that your family is well covered.


Provided for educational purposes only courtesy of Life Happens. (2011)

Rowan, W. (2011, January) “New Year’s resolution: Get your life insurance ducks in a row.” Life Happens. Retrieved from