“Unexpected hole in our hearts”
In this blog for Life Insurance Awareness Month, American Family Insurance employee Michelle Luckmann reflects on how two sudden family deaths underscored the importance of life insurance at all stages of life.
My sister and her husband had just gotten married, bought a house, and had their first baby. You could say they were in the prime of their lives. So I was shaken when she called and told me, through her uncontrollable sobbing, that her husband died in a work accident.
My 26-year-old sister was left with a mortgage, a 2-month-old infant son, and a hole in her heart that is impossible to fill. But another thing that she was left with was her husband’s life insurance policy. As new parents and homeowners, they had just reviewed their coverage. He was killed only 14 days after they sent in their first premium payment. His policy helped my sister pay down the mortgage, save for their son’s college fund, and take some time off from work.
Life insurance isn’t just for new parents or homeowners. It is also important for empty nesters nearing retirement, as my family found out in 2015. My dad had been diagnosed with cancer, was getting treatments, and the doctors expected him to recover. But a couple months after his diagnosis, he got sick and suddenly passed away at the hospital, almost exactly four years after my brother-in-law died. Our family was heartbroken again.
As my mom tries to figure out the next chapter of her life without dad, she doesn’t have to worry about how she is going to pay the funeral bills or the mortgage payments. My dad didn’t expect to die in his 50s, but he wanted to provide for his wife even if he wasn’t alive.
My family’s experience with unexpected death makes me proud to work for a company that helps families in tough times. Thinking – and planning – for death can be uncomfortable, but nothing in life is more certain than death (and taxes). At some point, 100 percent of us will pass away, yet some statistics show that only 60 percent of Americans have life insurance, with the majority having less than $100,000 in coverage*.
Although I am grateful for the employee life policy we have through American Family, often two years of income won’t pay off a mortgage or help your kids with college. I encourage everyone, no matter your age or stage of life, to make sure you have adequate life insurance. Then you can gain peace of mind knowing that your family will have the means to get to the next chapter of their lives.
I am making life insurance a priority and urge you to do the same.
*Statistic from industry association, Life Happens.org.