Millennials find themselves in the stage of life that may require them to purchase their own insurance. After having aged out of their parent’s insurance coverage and buying or renting a place to live, coverage needs may not be as black and white as one might think.
Knowing these five tips will help navigate through the sometimes-complicated policies out there.
- Shop smart for adequate coverage- Although cost is an important factor, having the coverage you need is equally important. You may be tempted to choose the least expensive plan but when it comes time to make a claim, you will see less of a financial benefit. In fact, a high deductible could cause a unexpected financial burden.
- Look for discounts- Often insurance carriers will offer discounts for bundling services, such as your home or rental insurance and your car insurance. In addition, there are discounts for being in school and getting good grades. Be sure to ask your agent about these and other possibilities.
- Fill in the gaps- An average policy will provide basic coverage but that may not be enough for all your coverage needs. For instance, a rental or homeowner’s policy may not cover personal items such as jewelry over a certain dollar amount. Be sure to ask if you have collectables or higher value items.
- Purchase life insurance- Life insurance is important, no matter how old you are. For a millennial, it may also save you money on a policy in the long run. It is especially important if you have children. Life insurance can help your family cover unexpected costs in your absence. If you have children, a life insurance policy can support their education or child care expenses.
- Consult an independent broker or agent- Talking with an independent insurance agent is the first step in finding the coverage you need and can afford. An independent broker works with multiple providers and can help you navigate the different policies and coverage. They can also help explain some of the terms and conditions that may be difficult to understand.
Beware anything that looks too good to be true!
Yes, your parents were actually right on this one.
Insurance is just math. If it’s cheaper, there is a reason. I have found that most of the time those reasons look like limits on care.
For example, many “cheaper” policies limit cancer coverage to $500,000. Sorry, but many
forms of cancer can eat that up in a month or less. In those types of plans, you would be
left holding the bag on the remaining cost of treatment, or WORSE, having the hospital or
physician refuse to treat you.
If you are looking at insurance options and one is much cheaper than the others, find out
why before you sign up! They often have clauses that lock you in for a year or may not be
qualified coverage so you can’t get in through the marketplace. It may be cheaper because
it excludes something you don’t care about (like maternity when you are done having kids),
but you need to read the fine print. And I mean the 130+ page document that outlines
Or ask a knowledgeable local agent who has probably read the contract for fun,
like the insurance nerds we often are.
To download the entire guide, click here.
Know your max liability
So many times, people get hung up on getting a lower deductible and having copays for something to be considered a “good” plan. However, most Americans miss the absolute most important thing in their health insurance documents: The Out-of-Pocket Maximum.
This is the most you would pay in one calendar year if everything went horribly wrong. If
you have health insurance, this is the maximum of liability and it’s a number you need to be
I often have clients tell me they want the “best” plan and are willing to pay for it! They want a
$250 deductible. In my state, the $250 deductible plan has a $7,900 out-of-pocket maximum
and is often 30% higher than an HSA plan for monthly premiums.
However, if they enroll in an HSA they can often get a lower out of pocket maximum. My plan
is a $4,500 deductible, but that is also the out-of-pocket maximum. At 30% less expensive
per month, it’s an absolute bargain! But most people ignore this plan because all the see is
Let’s look at an example:
Johnny needs a $60,000 heart surgery.
Plan 1: He’s paying $500 a month to get the lower deductible. That equates to $6,000 a year
in insurance premiums. When he has his surgery, he will pay $7,900. So, in total he spent
$13,900. Which beats the pants off $60,000 any day! But it’s not the best he could have done.
Plan 2: He is now enrolled in the HSA plan. He is paying $350 a month. That equates to
$4,200 a year in insurance premiums. BUT when he has his surgery, he pays $4,500. That
means he spent $8,700 less than on the “best” plan. But wait! He also got to put that $4,500
through an HSA account and gained the additional tax savings.
Read more here: The Single Mom’s Guide To Health Insurance