Is individual life insurance necessary if employer coverage is available?

Group insurance has several things going for it. Coverage is easy to obtain. There are few eligibility requirements, which makes it an appealing option for individuals with ongoing medical conditions. Workers often pay little or nothing for basic coverage. Higher limits are available for an additional cost.

There are, however, drawbacks to group life insurance you should be aware of. At the top of the list is policy ownership. Workers have access to coverage, but the employer owns and controls the group life insurance policy. Ownership affects which insurance company provides coverage, pricing, and more. Next, maintaining coverage becomes an issue if you leave the company to retire or take another job. You may be able to convert to an individual policy, but the price will be significantly higher. Third, coverage limits are tied to salary and may not be enough to protect loved ones' financial interests. Finally, group plans typically provide term life coverage. Insurance companies offer a variety of other life products that might be better suited to your needs.

Figure out how much life insurance protection you need; explore group and individual options; confirm the financial stability and complaint record for the specific insurer you are considering; make a decision based on your unique situation.