Four questions to ask your agent.

An annual review with your agent is always a prudent step. Here’s where to start.

New home, new baby, new job—a lot can happen in a year, which is why an annual review with your agent is a good idea. Think of it as “a year of your life in review,” a chance to catch up on all that’s happened since your last meeting.

So, where to begin? You can start by reviewing and making notes on this annual review checklist. Maybe you can even take it to your meeting as a conversation starter.

You may also want to ask your agent about a few items in particular, including:

  • Do I have enough insurance? Many people purchase life insurance for one reason: to protect the people they love. What you need to know is:

    • How much would be needed at death to meet immediate needs, such as final expenses and medical costs?
    • How much future income would your loved ones need to sustain their lifestyle and/or household?
    Your agent can help you go over your estimated costs, as well as calculate future needs—taking into account your home/mortgage costs, educational costs, business expenses, and more.

    If you'd like to get a head start, plug a few numbers into our life insurance needs calculator. You can review your results with your agent, who will compare them with your current coverage and make any necessary recommendations—ensuring that your future, and the future of the people you love, is secure.
  • Do I have the right kind of insurance? Ask yourself, “Do I need to consider more permanent insurance that’s going to build over time, or do I need more temporary insurance to cover my needs for a set period of time?”

    There are many factors that can help determine which product is the right one for you, and your best place to start is with your agent. He or she will help you think through factors such as the length of time you'll need coverage, what features appeal to you, and your budget. In the interim, familiarize yourself with the features and benefits of our whole life Insurance products.
  • Do I have the right beneficiaries named on my policy? Of course, only you can determine who your beneficiaries should be, and most people name their policy beneficiaries when they initially buy life insurance. But did you know that if you name your kids as beneficiaries and die while they’re minors, they might not receive the proceeds from your life insurance? Here’s why:

    1. For their own sakes, minors cannot receive or control proceeds.
    2. In most jurisdictions, state law determines when children are entitled to receive insurance proceeds, which may be as young as 16 or as old as 21—also known as the “age of majority.”
    3. Once a legal guardian of the minor’s estate has been appointed by a court, that guardian will control the money for the child’s benefit until the child reaches the age of majority, depending on state law.
    4. Additionally, if you care for a special-needs child or adult, inherited funds from you or anyone else may put their government support in jeopardy. This may disrupt the care and support programs they depend upon for their daily and future care.
    The use of wills and trusts can help ensure that the people you love—including your kids—receive the proceeds from your life insurance policy. Read up on naming minors as policy beneficiaries here: Should I name minors as policy beneficiaries?, and ask your agent to help point you in the right direction with a referral to a trusted professional in your community. Talking the matter over with him or her can get you started on the right path.
  • Where can I find more information and resources? Your agent is a fountain of knowledge—don’t hesitate to ask any questions that come up before, during, or after your annual review. He or she can provide you with helpful literature, referrals to professionals in your area, and more. You can also find more information right here. Of course, New York Life and its agents do not provide legal advice for your individual circumstances. Please contact your legal advisor to find out how the general ideas described in this article may or may not apply to your personal circumstances. Here are a few resources you may want to check out:

    Planning tools
    Life Insurance product resource page

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