You’re never too young to be properly insured. Insurance needs may differ from one generation to the next, but just about every adult will need some coverage. In this three-part series, we’ll explore the unique insurance needs of the three oldest generations. In Part 3, we are focusing on Generation Y or, as they are more commonly called, the Millennials. If you missed Part 1: Baby Boomers, you can read it here. If you missed Part 2: Generation X, you can read it here.
Who Is the Millennial Generation?
The Millennials were born between 1980 and 1994. They are currently 24 to 38 years old. Their family and lifestyles span a wide range. Younger Millennials could be recent college grads or have just finished an advanced degree. They could still be living at home with parents or may have their own apartment with roommates or a significant other. Only about half of Millennials own homes and there are conflicting reports about how many are seeking to buy one in the future. Some may have young children while others could be the parent of a teen. While many are struggling with massive amounts of student loan debt, there are also many who are on their way to accumulating wealth.
The Insurance Information Institute, citing a 2016 poll, found that only 41 percent of renters said they had renters insurance. While this poll looked at renters of all ages, it stands to reason that many Millennials are not properly insured. There are a variety of reasons renters forgo insurance, including a misconception of the cost, underestimating the need, a lack of understanding of what is covered by renters policies, and assuming their landlord’s insurance will replace their things.
Renters insurance is significantly less expensive than homeowners insurance. However, the protection it provides is essential. It’s important that renters understand that the insurance the landlord carries for the property only provides coverage for the building and not the tenants’ possessions. This means if the building you live in is destroyed by fire, for example, the structure will be covered, but the renter’s belongings will not be insured. A renter’s policy provides coverage for the property of the renter.
In addition to providing coverage for the contents of the renter’s apartment, it also provides valuable liability protection. If a guest is injured at the apartment or the policyholder is sued for any number of reasons, the personal liability portion of the insurance policy can offer protection in the form of legal defense or by paying the settlement, therefore protecting the assets and potentially future earnings of the insured, even if the lawsuit is without merit.
For some people, the most important factor in many decisions is price. When money is tight, as it often is for those just starting out, it may seem like buying auto insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements is a great way to save a buck. However, the savings won’t be worth it if the liability limits aren’t high enough to cover the expenses associated with being found at fault for a severe accident. It’s better to be safe than sorry and be sure liability limits are high enough to cover assets. Also, uninsured motorist coverage is essential since 15-20% of drivers carry little or no insurance. This is an affordable way to protect your assets if another driver without adequate insurance causes an injury to you or damage to your car.
Young, healthy people often think they don’t need life insurance. They may feel that if they don’t have any dependents, there’s no one relying on their income. However, there many reasons why buying life insurance is important for Millennials. First, it provides funds for a funeral, for which family members would otherwise have to foot the bill. Also, there are some instances where debt will become the responsibility of a parent or other family member. It’s also a good idea to buy life insurance early because it’s generally less expensive. Some policies, such as whole life, can accumulate cash over time, making them a savings vehicle rather than just simple insurance. What’s more, the earlier these policies are purchased, the better the long-term rewards will be.
Wedding and Event Coverage
People of all ages can throw big weddings, but Millennials are at the prime age for getting married. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $33,391, but in the northeast, the average wedding costs are higher – around $50,000. Though no one wants to think about it, lots can go wrong: a venue or vendor goes out of business, a hurricane can close the resort for the destination wedding, or the event may need to be cancelled due to illness or military deployment. In some instances, the couple could be liable for property damage to the venue or an injury a guest sustains at the event.
A Few Words about the Internet
Because this is the first generation to grow up with the internet, Millennials tend to be more active online and with social media than any cohort before them. As a result, two trends stand out more for this group than the others:
- Defamation and libel suits are a serious risk because they are more likely to post on social media about their experiences. A business, friend, teacher, boss, or coworker could also file a lawsuit if a post or tweet is deemed to be over the line. This increased risk emphasizes the case for liability insurance.
- Identity theft is a concern for this group more than the other generations. Online shopping, use of public Wi-Fi, a tendency to share passwords with friends, and using the same password across multiple websites put individuals at risk. Identity theft protection can not only provide coverage for losses sustained from theft, they can also help prevent theft in the first place.
Millennials tend to worry less about the risks they face and underestimate the likelihood something could happen to them, causing them to shrug off the need for insurance. They are working hard to build a future for themselves, and that future deserves to be protected.
The bottom line for this group is that while they will follow their instincts while searching for online solutions, there’s no substitute for talking to an independent agent who can provide multiple carrier options at a competitive price. Insurance always comes with a premium, so why not get impartial, professional advice along the way?