You have done it! You have cleaned up your finances, figured out whatís what, built up a
wealth account , and you have even
begun investing. There is no more debt, your time is freed up, and you have a nice little
nest egg. Then it happens Ė WHAM!!! You are involved in a major car accident and are
seriously injured. Or maybe you are diagnosed with a serious illness. Either way, not only
can you not work for a while, but you have heaps of medical bills. Are you prepared? If
not, then all the hard work you have done to get yourself on stable financial ground and
begin building wealth, is gone. If you canít pay those bills and you are sued, then faster
than you can blink your assets will be sucked up to pay what you owe.
How would you feel if this happened to you? Really use your imagination and try to place
yourself there. What is it worth to you to ensure that this never happens? What would you
do to protect yourself?
What is protection? INSURANCE! Yes, it is easy to say, ďI donít really need it right now,Ē or,
ďI canít really afford it yet. Iíll wait until Iím making more money.Ē No matter how tight
money is, it will be far worse if anything happens to you and you are uninsured. Just
remember Ė you DO need it. The premium (charge you pay on a monthly/yearly basis) for
insurance will protect you and family from financial loss in the event of accident, illness,
fire, flood, or any other type of natural disaster.
Insurance is unavoidable if you own a car and/or a house. To qualify for a mortgage, you
will be required to have home insurance because the bank wants to protect their
investment. Just be sure to research insurance companies or make use of an insurance
broker (you donít pay for their services, the insurance companies do) and make sure you
have appropriate coverage. You donít want it to be too high and you donít want it to be
too low. It should be based on the estimated rebuilding costs of your house, not on
current market value. With car insurance, you will most likely have to show proof of some
basic coverage to register the vehicle. Make sure you are comfortably covered in case of
an accident and also for when you rent a car so you donít need to pay extra premiums.
(See Abundance Bound - Financial
Education and Planning for Actors and Artists" for more details and ideas).
It is also crucial that you have health insurance. Since the majority of artists do not have
coverage from a regular employer, they need to purchase individual coverage. You can
choose between fee-for-service insurance Ė allows you to choose any physician although
it is generally extremely expensive, or managed care Ė lower costs but limited choices with
regards to doctors and hospitals to which you have access. It is also recommended that
you obtain a policy that:
ē will cover a major medical problem
ē will handle at least 80% of your costs after the deductible
ē is guaranteed renewable (they canít drop you or hike your premium cost if you get
ē has a maximum lifetime benefit of at least $1 million
ē doesnít have large numbers of limits and exclusions
Recognize that insurance companies can be sneaky Ė read policies carefully.
Other types of insurance include renterís insurance, life insurance, and disability
insurance. Renterís insurance is important because your possessions are not covered
under the homeownerís policy of the person from whom you are renting. It also protects
you from liability, either in you own home or elsewhere. Life insurance is something you
need only if you have dependents. Donít let someone sell it to you otherwise. Disability
insurance is important to have in place if you have a regularly paying job in the event that
you become sick or injured and cannot work for a period of time.
Things to consider when shopping for insurance include:
1. How high a deductible you want to select. Higher deductibles will result in lower
premium costs. Just make sure you can actually afford to cover the deductible. If you visit
the doctor regularly for example, having a high deductible might not make sense.
2. Get quotes from several insurance agents. Donít be pressured into buying just
because you have been given a quote. Talk to both independent agents (they can sell
policies from different insurance companies) and captive agents (they represent one
company). Getting referrals from friends and family members who are happy with their
service and rates is a good way to shop. Then you know your insurance provider is tried
3. Explore companies that will sell a policy directly to you. This may be cheaper since
they avoid paying agentsí salaries.
4. The Consumer Reports Buying Guide can be an excellent resource for narrowing
down your top choices.
5. If you are considering a lesser known company because of good rates, make sure you
check them out carefully. Investigate qualifications, check with state insurance
department, and research the companyís financial stability. You donít want to be paying
premiums for months or even years, only to discover that the company has gone out of
business and will not pay your claim.
6. Always ask if you are eligible for any discounts.
It all comes down to protection and the feeling of security that goes along with it. If you
do not have insurance, you may be putting your whole future on the line. No one wants
lifeís difficulties to pop up, but we canít avoid them forever and if they are big, then you
could be financially ruined. And who wants the financial stress added to an already stressful situation
of illness, injury, or losing your house or possessions? Again, really take the time to
imagine how you would FEEL if any of this happened to you and you werenít ready. You
owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be prepared. Donít let all your hard work go to
waste. Get insurance and have peace of mind.
Adam Martin is a successful Assistant Director (most recently on Transformers, due this summer), and the co-founder and director of Abundance Bound, Inc,(http://www.abundancebound.com) a financial education company for actors, artists and creative professionals.
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