Unexpected Death Happens More Often Than You Think – Are Your Loved Ones Protected?
I’ve always thought life insurance was this boring thing that I was never going to buy. Yes, some smart people (the planners!) do it, and sometimes, tragically, it is used by families.
But me… do I need to bother? I’m healthy. My husband and I both have careers that can pay the bills if one of us dies. We have savings.
We would be fine, right??
No, we would not be fine. We would survive, but my kids definitely wouldn’t thrive.
When I chatted with Garry Larkin of Farm Bureau Insurance, I learned real fast that while I could pay my bills, things like helping my kids through college if my husband died was not something I could afford.
I learned that a simple online life insurance policy could really leave me hanging.
And that even if I could “make it” if something happened to my husband, don’t I want choices? Don’t I want my kids to have choices instead of just doing without?
“Losing a loved one or having to take on an unexpected financial burden is life changing, but financial resilience through crisis can help,” says Larkin.
“Life insurance shows that you love those who depend on you. Taking care of the financial responsibilities and removing additional stress and fear from your family shows your love for them.”
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Garry Larkin of Farm Bureau is Passionate About Protecting Families
Larkin has a lifetime of experience witnessing unexpected tragedies and how it affects loved ones.
This has given him a passion for his new career of helping protect Grand Rapids families in the face of loss.
When Larkin was quite young his father died in a tragic accident. And there was no life insurance.
His mom was suddenly a single parent with three young children.
“I’ve seen the routes you have to take when you are a single parent void of choices,” says Larkin.
“Having suffered the loss of a father at an early age, I know money cannot remove the pain, but it can give those left behind choices in life. Choices my mom and I did not have.”
Larkin later was a police officer in Scotland for 20 years, which gave him even more insight into loss. (And yes, if you call Garry about life insurance, you’ll get the Scottish accent experience!)
Again and again he’s seen worlds collapse when a loved one suddenly dies.
“Everything that could happen, that you say won’t happen, I’ve seen,” he shares. “I’ve been the guy to give the bad news.”
So now he wants to be the guy to give the good news. To tell families he can help them build a good plan.
“I want to help protect the families and children from an uncertain future, should the unthinkable become a reality,” says Larkin.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Life Insurance
Larkin says that education is one of the most critical parts of getting life insurance.
Life insurance is confusing for most people and Larkin takes pride in unraveling the mystery for clients. He loves helping them understand what their options are, and what works best for their family.
He looks at each client individually when crafting plans to make sure they get what they need, without a lot of unnecessary extras.
“It’s about choices,” says Larkin.
“Every family is unique and we want to understand and plan with families as they grow. Through good and hard times.”
Here are five things Larkins says to consider when choosing a life insurance plan:
1 – Life Insurance is Personal. Speaking With an Agent Makes Sure it’s Personal to you and your Wants and Values.
Like estate planning, life insurance has many options available.
And even more variables to add on when you consider all the different kinds of family situations.
“I don’t have a one size fits all formula, but a process to sit with families and discuss their life, their values and their wishes,” says Larkin.
There are single parent families, married couples, divorced couples, families with disabled children and also step children.
How can you even be sure you have the correct coverage??
You talk to a real person like you – someone who lives in your area. A local life insurance agent already knows the ifs/thens of the legal side. They know what questions to ask you to find the protection your specific family needs.
“I will always advocate for the children and those left to face life without a loved one.”
“Every family is different and every family’s abilities and finances are unique. If this is done correctly, we only have to do it once. It can be amended and adjusted as time and circumstances move on.”
2 – Online Plans Can Over-Insure and/or Under Insure… Read the Small Print.
If you’re going to be investing in life insurance, you want it to be right. No one wants to spend decades paying more into a fund than they needed to.
And no one wants to find out they were under insured when catastrophe strikes.
Make sure you read the small print of any policy you are about to sign.
Make sure you ask the right questions about what your policy does and doesn’t cover, so you can rest assured you’ve got what you need, and nothing more.
3 – The Sooner You Buy Life Insurance, The Better Rates You Can Get.
It’s never too late to get life insurance. But it’s also never too early.
Age is a large factor and getting it younger could save a lot.
“One of the misconceptions I hear is, “I’m young, I don’t need life insurance.”
But like any insurance, you need to get it before you need it.
“If you get it young, it can be ridiculously inexpensive. Like the cost of a cup of coffee,” says Larkin.
He pauses. “… Like a cup of gas station coffee.”
4 – There are Two Types of Life Insurance: Whole Life and Term
There are nuances between whole life and term life insurance that are better explained by the pros.
But know that you can choose from either, or even a mixture of the two.
Whole life has a cash value that increases over time and it’s kind of set as far as what you get.
Term life insurance is more adaptable and less expensive. Farm Bureau Term policies can also be converted later to Whole life. You have choices.
“Having a term policy opens the door to more options down the road,” says Larkin. “If you have changes we can adapt.”
A good agent will educate you on the two, and help you pick what’s best for your situation.
5 – You Can Take out Life Insurance on More Than Just Yourself or Your Spouse.
Larkin says you can take out insurance on a variety of people that you might want to protect.
This includes immediate family or someone you have a financial interest with. This could be a business partner, your child or co-signer on a loan.
“I took out a policy on my son when he was born. He could have life insurance forever and he might not need to take out any more policies in the future,” says Larkin.
And when his son becomes an adult, Larkin will hand this gift over to his son. His son’s future family will be protected should anything happen to him unexpectedly.
“You’re setting the child up for success. It’s setting the child up for a future.”
Farm Bureau is One of The Best Options for Life Insurance in Michigan
Larkin’s goal is for families to connect with a local insurance agent and set up plans that work for them. His door is open to every family in Michigan.
And while you can find many capable agents in West Michigan, I’m going to tell you that Larkin works for the best insurance company in the state.
When you call your Farm Bureau agent with a problem, they take care of it. Immediately.
My family has used Farm Bureau Insurance for decades and they have taken care of us repeatedly.
We’ve seen multiple car accidents, unprecedented floods (twice!) and medical claims. I’ve watched neighbors lose everything in a house fire and Farm Bureau went above and beyond.
I’ve also had the unfortunate experience of filing a house claim with a national competitor and it was 12 months of aggravation and time lost to get their full help.
When you’re going through tragedy, chasing down an insurance claim is the last thing you want to do. Questioning insurance’s estimates, getting your own estimates, advocating for yourself – you should not have to do these things.
Larkin shared that over the holidays he had five fairly large claims come through. Within minutes of hearing from his clients he was managing everything, and within hours, help was on the way.
You don’t get that with big box insurance companies.
“We are a Michigan company, owned, operated and run by and for our members. We know Michigan and we are here to protect the people from the risks of everyday life,” says Larkin.
“We are here, we are steady, and trying to look out for the people here as best we can.”
When you want the best protection for your family, you should call Garry Larkin.
You will get the best, most efficient coverage. You’ll also get the peace of mind knowing that if tragedy strikes, dealing with insurance will be the last thing you have to worry about. There’s no price tag you can put on that.
Larkin Agency – Farm Bureau Insurance
826 Parchment Dr Se Ste 225. Grand Rapids Michigan 49546