We love this picture of Rickie Fowler from the 2016 Ryder Cup because it shows what it's like to be single around coupled or married friends. You've graduated from college, have your first job and either renting on your own or looking to buy a condo. Establishing a financial foundation while also paying off student loans is a major priority (and stress). One of the biggest mistakes young adults make is not including insurance in the mix of financial planning. It's important to understand what affects the costs and availability of insurance. Price does not always equal value or the best coverage to protect you and your things. Lakeside Insurance Brokers is here to help you understand insurance risks and teach you how you can save money while increasing your insurance coverages.
What you pay for auto insurance depends on several factors:
- Prior claims
- Driving record including speeding tickets and other traffic violations
- Kind of car
- How many miles you drive
- Where you drive
For example, people who generally drive to and from work in or near a major city tend to pay more for auto insurance than drivers who live in the suburbs or rural areas, have shorter commutes and primarily use their cars on the weekends. A car that is popular with thieves or has expensive repairs will cost more to insure.
How can you save money on car insurance? You can lower your insurance premium by raising the deductible, installing anti-theft devices or dropping collision coverages if it's an older car. Plus, if you bundle your car insurance with a renters insurance policy, you could save on both policies.
If you rent, we're guessing you don't have renters' insurance unless your landlord requires it. The most common mistakes of those who rent is thinking your landlord's insurance covers your possessions in case of fire, flood or other catastrophe. NOT TRUE. You need your own renters insurance. It is relatively inexpensive and protects the things you own. It also provides liability coverage. Let's say your friend gets a little too into playing 1-2 Switch on Nintendo Switch and injures himself/herself. You would like to think that friend wouldn't sue you, but what if they do? Renters insurance provides you with protection from lawsuits resulting from harm that you or your pets cause to other persons or damage to their property. Renters insurance also helps you establish a good insurance track record, or loss history - helping you in the long-run when you purchase a condo or home. If you show that you are a responsible insurance risk, you'll have no trouble getting insurance when you eventually buy your own place.
Different than homeowners insurance, if you live in a condo or co-op, you depend on two insurance policies for you protection.
1. Your own coverage
2. The insurance purchased by the condo association or co-op for the common areas of the property (think lobby, roof, elevators, basement, boiler room, sidewalks, etc.)
The condo or co-op association may be responsible only for insurance your unit up to its bare walls, floor and ceiling. You may have to insure kitchen cabinets, built-in appliances, plumbing, wiring, bathroom fixtures and so on. Read your association's bylaws and/or proprietary lease to better understand where the association's responsibility ends and where yours begins.
If you're buying a home, and have a mortgage, you will need homeowners insurance. The cost will vary according to the following:
- Size and construction of the home
- Where it is located
- Fire safety features
- Anti-theft devices
- Property's loss history
The other thing that can be confusing, and sometimes frustrating, about homeowners insurance is replacement cost. You are required in the state of Minnesota to insure your home for the cost of rebuilding it as it is now (i.e. replacement cost) vs. the home's value (i.e. the amount you purchased it for). For more information on replacement costs, read our blog post here.
Your parents probably have life insurance which will be part of their estate. But now that you are on your own, you have to think about life insurance for yourself. When you are young, your life expectancy is high, which means the cost of life insurance is LOW. We're talking less than one large latte at Starbucks a week. Life insurance becomes increasingly important if you have others depending on you, including a spouse, children and even aging parents. The biggest reason you need life insurance is student loans. Who would be responsible for paying your student loans off if you die? The answer: it depends. If you have federal student loans, those would be discharged should something happen to you. However, like most of us, you probably have a mix of federal and private loans. The private loans are tricky. If you have a co-signer on a private student loan, which most of us had to, your co-signed (aka your parents) will be responsible for repaying your student loan debt. REALLY? Yes. More information on who is responsible for student load debt here. Your parents have already done a lot for you - don't leave with burdened with your debt for less than one latte a week.
Once you're out of school or older than 23, your parents' health plan won't cover you. Most likely, health insurance coverage is available through your employer. However, the plan options can be confusing so make sure you understand your options. But what if you're still looking for a full-time job or your company doesn't offer health insurance? Call Lakeside Insurance Brokers. We can help you find a plan that fits your needs, and budget!
In general, the earlier you buy long-term care coverage, the cheaper it will be. Your employer may also offer a small amount of long-term or short-term care coverage.
You may not be making a lot of money, but it's probably more than you've had before. You have an apartment or condo to decorate and furnish, a wardrobe to build for work and, most likely, student loans to pay off. It's important to save money, even small amounts. It's more important to know what not to do vs. what to do. Talking to a financial planner, unless one of your parents is one, can be very helpful. Most will meet with you free of charge, review your current debt, income and investment opportunities through your job and help you develop a budget and make suggestions. Call Lakeside Insurance Brokers and we can recommend a few financial planners.
Also, if your employer offers a 401(k) with matching fund, SIGN UP FOR THE MAXIMUM. It's "free money."
And, watch out for credit card debt. We live in a credit-card society and are bombarded with low interest or 0% for the first year on purchases. While it can be tempting, live within your means. Don't suffer from FOMO. Maintaining a good credit rating will help you in the long run when it comes time to purchase a car, home, and other toys or stuff. It can help you rent a better apartment and even save you money on your insurance!
CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENT
We know insurance. It's our job to help you and educate you on the options available to you. Our agents range from mid-20s and beyond. We've been where you are, some of us very recently! Call Lakeside Insurance Brokers to talk to one our agents today.