A single lawyer's real life insurance story

People buy life insurance for a variety of reasons. Here's a case study of a 31-year-old single lawyer making financial plans for her future family.

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Real Stories

Melissa's life insurance story

Melissa, 32 Lawyer

Meet Melissa

  • Single and dating

  • No kids now but planning on a future family

  • Enjoys reading

Melissa's financial situation:

  • Salary: $90,000

  • Personal savings: $10,000

  • Student loans: $45,000, with parents as co-signers

  • Mortgage: $200,000, with parents as co-signers

  • Auto loan: $28,000

Melissa had been sold a whole life policy in her 20s by her father's agent. She recently cashed it out but was disappointed by how little she got back, so she has been curious about how term life insurance works and wants to find a no-pressure way to learn more about it.

Melissa first asks her own financial advisor for advice, and supplements his answers with financial articles she reads in magazines and online. Her interest wanes after a while and she forgets about it—until she buys a house with her parents as co-signers.

Counting the student loan, her parents are now on the hook for nearly $250,000 of Melissa's debt; should something happen to her, they'd not only be heartbroken, but bankrupted.

What should she buy?

  • Melissa needs enough insurance to cover her student loan debt and her mortgage debt in the event she dies before they're both paid off.

  • Her student loan debt is $45,000, which will be paid off in 15 years.

  • Her mortgage is approximately $200,000 and 30 years, although by or before the 15th year Melissa expects to have either sold the house or refinanced it to remove her parents from the loan.

She comes across Policygenius in a New York Times article and checks them out. She likes the no-pressure approach to quotes they offer, and how they explain the benefits without lapsing into sales talk. They even explain the underwriting process to her when she gets a quote she thinks is too high.

Melissa decides to buy a 15-year term policy for $250,000

That amount of coverage will protect her parents for the total debt they co-signed on for 15 years, after which the student debt will be gone. Melissa doesn't know what may happen to her personal life in 15 years but she expects she might have a growing family by that point and will need to buy a new, broader policy by then anyway. In the meantime, this smaller policy will provide all the protection she needs.

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