The role of insurance is to protect against the unforeseen events of life that might negatively impact one’s financial plans and assets. Personal injury, illness, and accidents are examples of risk in everyone’s life. Having the needed insurance plans in place when these circumstances arise provides peace of mind and reassurance. Proper levels of coverage can also impact your monthly budget. Below is a primer on the basic types of insurance most people need.
Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance
Homeowner’s insurance covers the home itself and the things you keep in it along with the liability for any injuries and property damage you, members of your family, or family pets cause to other people. Renter’s insurance, sometimes called a Tenant’s Policy, covers your personal property, such as your furniture, clothes, electronics and most of the items you need to live in case of perils like fire, theft or wind damage from a hurricane. Clergy living in a church-owned parsonage should carry renters insurance.
If you drive a car, then auto insurance is a fact of life. Auto insurance offers protection from financial loss and vehicle damage resulting from harm caused to or by others while driving. All states require a minimum amount of liability coverage to protect others from damage caused to them. While collision coverage protects from loss resulting from damage caused to the vehicle in an accident, comprehensive coverage protects from theft and loss caused by vehicle damage in instances of no accident (i.e., a tree falling on it).
Escalating medical costs are a great financial risk to a personal financial plan. Health insurance helps off-set this risk in two ways. First, by providing coverage for specific health care services. Second, by contracting rates with doctors, hospitals, and labs that are much lower than you can get on your own. Although you generally pay a monthly premium, deductibles and either co-payments or co-insurance, the cost for insurance is far less than medical care would be if you paid it all yourself (out-of-pocket). NC Conference clergy and local church lay employees can visit the Conference Health Insurance webpage to learn more about these group benefits.
The inability to work and earn income because of medical reasons is one of the greatest financial risks people face. According to the Social Security Administration, a person entering the workforce today has a 1-in-3 chance of becoming disabled before retirement. There are two types of disability policies: short-term and long-term. Short-term disability is designed to cover a limited period, normally less than six months. Long-term disability policies have a maximum benefit period ranging from six months to the rest of your life. NC Conference clergy serving full-time have long-term disability benefits through the Comprehensive Protection Plan.
Premature death is one of the most significant financial risks a family can face. Whether the deceased was the primary wage earner or a stay-at-home parent, the family cost can be enormous financially and emotionally. While life insurance can’t do anything to alleviate the emotional pain of losing a loved one, it can minimize the financial burden so survivors can concentrate on healing. There are two basic forms of life insurance: Term and Whole Life (sometimes called Permanent). Term insurance is usually the least expensive and pays only if death occurs during the term of the policy. Rates vary with your age, health, gender and other factors. Whole life pays whenever you die as long as the policy is still in force. Premiums are initially higher than term insurance as some of the premium is reserved to build the policy’s cash value. NC Conference clergy and local church lay employees can visit the Conference Insurance webpage to learn more about the employer-paid and supplemental life insurance options.
Long-Term Care Insurance
This type of insurance covers costs arising from specialized care, typically resulting from old age or disability. Long-term care whether it be in-home care, assisted living, adult daycare, hospice care, or an Alzheimer’s facility, can be costly. Recipients may not be sick in the traditional sense, but may be old and frail or they may be disabled from illness or accident. They may be unable to perform basic living activities on their own such as getting in and out of a bed or chair, dressing, bathing, eating, toileting, and walking.
Did you know that your NC Conference Insurance benefits can help you make progress towards your personal money goals? Here’s three ways how:
#1: Flexible Spending Accounts Save You Taxes!
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is an arrangement available to participants in the NC Conference health insurance plan. A participant designates a portion of their gross salary as their contribution into the account. That portion is considered pre-tax and reduces the amount of their taxable gross income that year which may further reduce the amount of income taxes and self-employment taxes the participant pays. The funds in the Medical FSA are available to be claimed by participants as reimbursement for qualified health care out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays, eyeglasses, dentist fees, and much more. Funds in the Dependent Daycare FSA are available to reimburse the participant for daycare expenses for children or other dependents. When you use an FSA and pay less in taxes, then that savings could be redirected to your personal money goals like building an emergency fund or paying off debt! FSAs can only be set up once a year for the upcoming calendar year during Open Enrollment (November 1 – 30) at EbenefitsNow.com.
#2: Joining the Amazing Pace Walking Program Puts Extra Cash In Your Pocket!
The NC Conference Insurance Committee sponsors the Amazing Pace walking program as a free benefit for all clergy members of the NC Conference and their spouses. Clergy can enroll regardless of their participation in the Conference insurance plans or their appointment status. By joining Amazing Pace before the start of a new journey, wearing a pedometer and meeting the minimum average daily step count of 1,000 steps during the journey, each participant can earn up to $250 in Visa cash cards per year. If you meet this base criteria plus have a daily average step count of 5,000 steps over the calendar year, then you’ll earn an extra $50 each year for a total of up to $300 per year per person! For a clergyperson and their spouse, that’s $600 a year that could go towards saving for your next vacation or making a generous gift to your favorite ministry or mission! Enrollment in Amazing Pace is open year round. Each journey starts on the first day of the next calendar quarter.
#3: The WIN Program Can Help You Win With Your Money!
Participants in the Conference health insurance plan can earn Wellness INcentive (WIN) points for healthy habits such as physical activity, eating fruits and vegetables, and getting an annual check up. When each participant earns up to 150 points per year, they’ll receive a check for up to $200 per participant and per spouse and $150 for each child on the health plan! For a family of four that’s $700 per year that you could add to your retirement or college savings accounts! The filing deadline for the WIN rebate is March 31st each year but participation and points must be earned in the previous year.
Little steps towards your money goals really do add up and make a difference in how you feel about your money situation. Take action on these benefits by visiting the links above, checking out the Conference Insurance website or contacting a Conference Benefits Team member today!
What’s the next step?
Clergy and lay participants in the Wespath pension plans can learn more specifics about the various types of insurances described on the Financial Wellness Center Insurance topic through the EY Financial Planning Center. A certified financial planner can assist in evaluating your personal needs in each of these areas and advise you on implementing your next decisions. Planners are available to Wespath plan participants at no cost and on an unlimited, confidential basis.
*Information sourced from EY Financial Planning Center. Participants in the Wespath pension plans can create an account and log in for more estate planning information.