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Step 26

Protect yourself by performing financial check-ups

Being in charge of the family’s finances is an awesome responsibility. In addition to providing your family with the basic necessities of life, you may feel responsible for their overall financial well-being. One of the best ways to care for your family is to be sure that you are prepared if something were to happen to you or another member of your family. 

Perform a health insurance check-up. Find out exactly what services are covered and learn what preventive services are offered while performing your health insurance check-up. Ask if there limits on medical tests, out-of-hospital care, mental health care, and prescription drugs. Research your premiums and co-payments. Explore the difference in cost between using doctors in the network and those outside it. Find out if there a limit to the maximum you would pay out-of-pocket. If you do not have health insurance, seek assistance from Medicaid or your local state-sponsored plan.

Perform an auto insurance check-up. Auto insurance pays for damages, injuries and other losses specifically covered by your policy. Most states require vehicle owners to purchase liability insurance, which covers bodily injury and property damage. Read your policy carefully while performing your auto insurance check-up to know exactly what it covers. Pay special attention to the exclusions section, which lists the things your policy does not cover.

Obtain adequate life insurance. The life insurance coverage offered by you employer may not be enough.  Realistically determine how much life insurance you need and then shop around. Term insurance is the most affordable type of life insurance, just be sure that the term lasts until your children are financially self-sufficient.

Don’t skimp on disability insurance. At any given age, your chances of becoming disabled are higher than your chances of dying.  If your employer does not offer group disability insurance, seek an individual policy.

Protect your assets. You don’t need to have a lot of assets to need a will. Most importantly, a will allows you name guardians for your children. Without a will, state law determines how your assets will be distributed. Keep your will in a secure location, such as a fireproof filing cabinet or safety deposit box.

Because this step is so important, create a customizable and printable goal certificate to ensure that you address these important protections.

For more on protecting your financial future, book author and financial advice columnist Steve Bucci lends you some of his tips.