This is such a big topic that I really don’t know where to start! Thankfully when we first got married we set up life and disability insurance and had health insurance through our employment. For auto insurance, I had State Farm since I first started driving and he got onto my policy since it was cheaper when we first got married.
Over the years we have evaluated and reevaluated the insurance we have and if it suits our needs. I think this is something that definitely needs to be done as life changes and the needs of the family are going to change. When we first got married our life insurance policies were only enough to cover funeral expenses since we didn’t have anyone depending on us. Now that we have 4 young children that has changed.
I’m not really going to spend much time talking about the individual policies and why we chose what we did because that would be a much larger topic. I will say that about 2 years ago Brian and I took a course by Dave Ramsey on financial planning and it has made a huge difference in our marriage and in our finances.
In our marriage, you say? yes.. We used to have lots of ‘friendly discussions’ (HA!) regarding how much we were making, how we were spending it, how much to save, where to invest, etc. We both had very different opinions mostly colored by different upbringings. After taking this class we understood each other better and why the other chose to use money in a different way. We also had a better idea of how to use our money now to work for us and to make a financial plan for the future of our family.
In the last two years we haven’t really had any disagreements regarding money when I would say this was our biggest contention previously. This was a huge change for us and I’m so thankful!
Here is an intro video that talks a little more about Dave Ramsey’s courses. I highly recommend them and what we learned is a lot of what is fueling this “Finding a Deal” series.
So… Life insurance… We have a worksheet that helped us figure out how much we should have a policy for. Basically we both have policies and we wanted to have enough that if one of us passes away then we could pay off the house, and give time to be off work to grieve and figure out how to make family work again with one less parent.
This number is different for different people, and for us we didn’t want extravagance, but we wanted the chance to have time to get back on our feet and figure things out. It also changes with how many children you have and what their needs may be, and what type of income you are used to living on.
Disability insurance was very similar. Thankfully we obtained this policy when Brian had a hotel job! He now climbs trees to trim them with a running chainsaw. If he were to apply now they would just laugh and tell him to get a good life insurance policy! So… since that is in place we do not have to update his vocation and for that I’m SO thankful! This also was something we debated on getting. However, we wanted to be insured well enough that all of our work of saving money and investing wouldn’t be ruined if we had significant injuries or loss of life. We wanted to make sure there was enough daily security that our long term planning could be protected.
For both life and disability insurance we have used Ameriprise which recommended a few different companies that they outsource to. We do have a financial advisor through Ameriprise that we have been very pleased with and we are happy to refer to. His name is John Langford and he has really done a great job helping us be well insured, but has also help us setup IRAs from 401ks from old jobs. After taking the Dave Ramsey course it was also so encouraging to realize that what John had led us to do with our money was very similar to what Dave Ramsey had recommended! It’s so good to feel like we did something right!
It also pays to shop around for these services. A company like Ameriprise can get great rates and often has companies they work with and recommend and they get great discounts because of the quantity of people they refer. Also, Dave Ramsey has plenty of companies he recommends as high quality on his website as well.
On to Auto insurance…. for about 10 years we have been with State Farm just because it was easy and they had become family friends. It was nice to call the office and when Fran picked up she you didn’t even have to mention your last name for her to know who you were. And even being married with a new last name she still knew who my parents and siblings were and would ask how they were doing… however, if finally came to my realization that as nice as this was, we really needed to save more money and tighten our purse strings even more…
I received a notice in the mail that since I was a registered nurse that I could get a discount with Liberty Mutual… and what a discount it was!
Previously for our two boats of cars (Brian’s Ford F350 and my Chevy Tahoe) we paid about $119 monthly for coverage. With the exact same coverage with Liberty Mutual we now pay $74/month. SO much better. In the past I had checked out Geico and Progressive, but they were very similar in cost to State Farm. So, needless to say, we were thrilled to be saving so much!
Last but not least is our health insurance. Actually we are considered uninsured, but thankfully our membership to a health care sharing organization satisfies the individual mandate in the recent Federal health care law. Because of their desire to protect religious freedom, Congress exempted participants of health care sharing ministries like Samaritan Ministries, from the required mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance. You can Google the following reference from the law: 26 United States Code, Section 5000A, (d), (2), (B) to see the text for yourself. This has been life saving for us. Before we found this opportunity we were paying well over $1000 a month (at one point it was $1700/month) for health insurance with maternity coverage and it was only increasing on a yearly basis.
Since Brian has his own business and I only work part time neither of us qualify for health insurance through a company and are responsible to pay out of pocket. Even with premiums at $1000 or more our deductible was outside of our ability to pay as well. So basically we were paying A LOT of money monthly and then paying for most of our Doctors visits as well since we hadn’t hit our HIGH deductible. Also since we see homeopathic doctors, chiropractors and midwives, most insurances wouldn’t cover those visits anyway… and I know this situation is very familiar with many other families as well.
A pastor at the church I grew up in, introduced us to Samaritan Ministries and after joining we have never looked back. Basically we are sharing medical needs for catastrophic injury (ER and OR type visits) and for maternity needs. It is our responsibility for the first $300 of a need, and all maternity needs through a midwife or birthing center is shared 100%, if conception occurs after joining.
So how does this work? especially since it isn’t insurance? Each month I receive notice that I’m to send my monthly share of $370 to a family who has had a medical need. I’m also to pray for them and send a note of encouragement, letting them know I’m praying, with my check. Once a year my $370 goes to the main office to pay for staffing and their administration fees, but 11 months out of the year my payments are going directly to families in need.
Here is a video telling a little about how it works:
We submitted our need for Xanthie’s birth and after the first $300 personal responsibility, the remainder was shared 100%! We received so many heartfelt and encouraging notes with personal checks covering the entire cost of the care and birth. There were grandparents encouraging us to raise our children in the Lord and how they have seen the fruit of doing so in their own family. There are other young families telling of how their children were excited to hear about the birth of our daughter and were celebrating with us. And there were singles hoping to one day be married and participate in the joy of the birth of a child. It was so fun to see how God provided for us in our need and how He brought His people together to help share our need. First hand we have seen this work and have received such blessing and encouragement through it. We highly recommend it!
I think that about covers our insurance and what we have decided is best for our family and the deals we’ve been able to find. I hope you’ve found something helpful here, This part actually concludes my ‘Finding a Deal’ series. If there is more you’d like to hear about, please let me know!