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Here's how to include insurance planning in your financial plan.

As you build your wealth, it’s important to protect your assets against any unforeseen events. While not as direct a way of saving as investing, insurance planning can save you significant amounts of money over the long-term. Think of insurance planning as a precautionary investment that shelters you from financial loss. As you get older, you may want to consider incorporating such coverage into your financial plan because it can be the deciding factor in how much you spend compared to how much you earn. Below, we’ll look further into the different types of insurance and explore the process behind paying for different policies. To access the help of a financial advisor, consider using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool.

Planning in general, whether financial or personal, involves setting objectives to be met over a specified or unspecified period of time. But with any plan comes risk. In working toward your goals, you may encounter obstacles that could thwart your entire plan. For financial planning, this is where insurance comes in. Insurance essentially makes it easier to navigate financial obstacles. There are several different types to explore, but we’ll begin by explaining how to build a financial plan.

How to Build Your Financial Plan

It helps to identify your short- and long-term savings goals as a starting point, but you’ll also want to determine which methods you’ll use to carry it out and the specific areas of finance planning you’d like to include in it. Estate planning, retirement planning, tax planning and investing are just a few of the many areas you could focus on. You’ll also want to map out your assets and liabilities to get a better picture of your financial situation. You can take a DIY approach to creating your financial plan, or you can can consult professional services such as online brokerage services, robo-advisors or financial advisors.

Online brokerage services and robo-advisors offer low-cost portfolio management for clients looking for a more hands-off approach to investing. If you’d prefer a financial advisor, you can either choose online financial planning consultations or face-to-face consultations. You should also consider our list of questions to ask a financial advisor before you set up an appointment. If you’re still interested in adding insurance to your plan, we’ll go further into the different types below.

What Are the Different Types of Insurance?

Here's how to include insurance planning in your financial plan.

There are generally seven different types of insurance, and the insurance premiums for each vary. These include life insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, liability insurance, disability insurance, health insurance and long-term care insurance. We’ve explained each type in more detail below.

  • Life insurance: This form of insurance is payable when you die. It allows any beneficiaries, such as your surviving spouse, dependents or children, to receive funds that can be used for things such as living expenses or debt. Life insurance costs can vary, depending on factors such as age, health, gender and type of coverage.
  • Auto insurance: This is a contractual agreement between you and an insurance company that protects you against financial loss resulting from theft. It also protects you from damage to your vehicle and/or from any damages caused by you or someone driving your vehicle.
  • Homeowners Insurance: With homeowners insurance, you can protect your home against any disaster-related damages such as fire, vandalism or theft. What homeowners insurance doesn’t cover, however, is earthquake or flood-related damages. Earthquake insurance and flood insurance are two different types of policies.
  • Liability Insurance: This form of insurance applies to policyholders who’ve exhausted their personal liability and lawsuit coverage in other policies.
  • Disability Insurance: Disability insurance replaces a percentage of your lost income if you’re unable to work for extended periods of time.
  • Health Insurance: Often available privately or through employers, health insurance keeps you covered when it comes to any expected or unexpected medical expenses.
  • Long-term Care Insurance: This type of insurance covers the costs associated with long-term care. Such costs typically aren’t covered by health insurance.

Should You Buy Insurance?

Although insurance isn’t a mandatory investment, it shelters you and your assets in the midst of damage, theft or injury. Even if you don’t buy all of the previously mentioned types of insurance, you should at least consider buying health insurance. Health insurance protects both your physical and financial well-being in the event of an accident. The remaining types of insurance come with varying premiums and terms, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with those if you decide to include any of them to your financial plan.

Bottom Line

Here's how to include insurance planning in your financial plan.

Whether you choose auto insurance, health insurance or disability insurance, insurance is nonetheless a considerable step to protecting yourself against financial loss. You may not need all forms of insurance, but health insurance, at the least, can be a worthwhile investment. It’s also important to remember that most insurance policies only cover portions of the costs associated with any damages, theft or medical expenses. It’s wise to keep this in mind as you structure your budget. Life comes with many unexpected events, so you’ll want to ensure you’ve secured both yourself and your assets.

Tips for Saving

  • Budgeting can be a simple, DIY approach to saving more money. Once you determine how much you’re spending versus how much you’re earning, you can make adjustments where needed. Our budget calculator can help you.
  • Insurance premiums vary based on a number of factors, including age, health, type of insurance and other factors. Before purchasing your policy, you’ll want to make sure you’ve done your research.
  • If you’d like professional guidance with your financial plan, a financial advisor could be right for you. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service connects you with up to three local advisors within minutes. After completing a short questionnaire about your financial situation, the tool matches you with the most suitable results.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/katleho Seisa, ©iStock.com/D-Keine, ©iStock.com/Rowan Jordan

Rickie Houston CEPF® Rickie Houston writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset. His expertise includes retirement and banking. Rickie is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). He graduated from Boston University where he received a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He’s contributed to work published in the Boston Globe and has worked alongside award-winning faculty for the New England Center of Investigative Reporting at Boston University. Rickie also enjoys playing the guitar, traveling abroad and discovering new music. He is originally from Wilmington, North Carolina.
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