I Am A Licensed Insurance Consultant...

Image of Rick Rivera, Licensed Insurance Agent

I am licensed in 21 states and have been in the business since 1996. I love what I do. Generally, people aren’t very eager to talk to me about insurance because it means that they may have to add another bill to their monthly expenses. However, when someone suffers a loss and I deliver a check or a claim is filed and a check is received, well that changes everything. You see, in order to benefit from an insurance plan, something bad has to happen. Without adequate or no insurance at all, that bad situation can become more complex because of the negative financial impact that this situation has caused. So, having insurance can make a bad situation be somewhat bearable considering the circumstances.

I first was exposed to insurance when my father became ill. I lived close so I was able to help guide him and my mom through the maze of challenges and complications associated with insurance claims. The problem was that I did not know what to do either. It was really the blind leading the blind! So that meant that I had to learn very quickly and try not to let my parents know that I was learning as I went, because they really depended on me. I did not know what Medicare was, I did not know what an HMO, PPO was. I also found out very quickly that Social Security was neither “Social nor Secure”!

My dad was diagnosed with cancer in March of 1993 and died in July of 1993. So to answer the question: “Do I Really Need Insurance” consider this. My dad did not eat meat, did not smoke, and did not drink alcohol…..he was a minister. We don’t have to live that type of social lifestyle to be at more risk! Not having insurance would have been financially devastating on top of the pain and suffering of losing one of the most wonderful men God put on Earth.

Do I really need insurance? This question is asked not necessarily because insurance is not a good thing to invest in, but in most cases the cost makes us question the value. So here goes;
In my opinion the question should not be: “Do I really need insurance”? The real question we should ask ourselves is: “Can I really afford to NOT have adequate or any insurance?”

When I am talking to someone about insurance and they tell me, “Rick, I can’t afford to get insurance” that tells me the following: The real challenge this person is going to face in addition to suffering a loss is the financial ramifications or impact this loss is going to incur! So this means to me that this person REALLY needs insurance!

I am by no means suggesting that we should do without the absolute necessities that we need to live on a daily basis to accommodate the additional expense of having insurance protection or peace of mind. What I have a real problem with is this: A lot of people that tell me that “they can’t afford insurance” are already paying for a complete comprehensive cable program or a cell phone with all the bells and whistles or other commodities, you get the point. In essence they are rolling the dice saying that “those things don’t run in my family” or “they will never happen to me” and choose the key word here is choose to do without or not enough insurance.

Here are a few things to look out for when shopping for insurance. In my humble opinion, shopping for the cheapest insurance could be a very big mistake! What you don’t pay in the front end will cost you in the back end or in other words, when you file a claim. The less you pay per month, the more you pay in out of pocket expenses such as co-pays, deductibles, co-insurance and maximum out of pocket costs. These out of pocket costs can be very significant if you are not prepared or don’t understand your policy.

Please don’t be satisfied with just having insurance. Make sure you understand your plan and especially the limitations and exclusions. The biggest mistake many consumers make is having a different expectation of coverage than what the policy actually does. The best time to confirm this is NOT when you file a claim……it’s too late! Please study your policy and update it as necessary. For example, has there been a change in your life style that may warrant a change to your policy, such as; marriage, child birth, death, new home purchase, etc.

The best time to buy insurance such as health, life, disability, long term care or any insurance that is medically underwritten (you have to answer medical questions) is when you are young and healthy. The cost of these insurances are determined by age and health. The older you are the more it will cost and if you have a pre-existing health condition, you may not qualify or the insurance company can charge you a lot more because now you are a higher risk.

So the real question as I mentioned earlier is:

Sometimes the financial consequences of not having adequate or any insurance will cost you more in the long run than the small investment you are trying to avoid! A lot more! Really, look at it this way; “Do I pay a little now or a lot later”

Certainly insurance is not a pleasant topic to talk about. The question is; will it be any more pleasant to talk about when a loved one passes, or when someone just got diagnosed with a serious illness? Do you know what insurances if any your spouse has for themselves or for you? Do you know who to file a claim with and how? These are conversations to have before you need to file a claim. Please, please, please, do not forget to review and update your beneficiary information frequently and whenever you have lifestyle changes such as a divorce. Regardless of your situation today, whom you may be with, the policies will only pay the named beneficiary on record. If that is an ex spouse or someone that you now dislike, guess who gets the money!

I learned about insurance to be able to help my mom and dad get through an unexpected serious illness. I continued to learn and research to be a resource for my family. This insurance business is so very complex, and just when you are understanding a topic, it all changes. That’s why we get paid to do what we do. With technology today, you can do a lot on line to include enroll or buy. The computer will never replace the value of consulting with a licensed agent who is required to take Continuing Education classes in order to maintain a valid Insurance License. The computer certainly can facilitate the process and help with research.

I love what I do. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I played a part in helping someone transfer potential risks to an insurance company that in turn wrote a check to that person for their loss. This money could very well help prevent financial disaster at a very difficult time in that person’s life. That same person that was not very happy about having to pay for yet another expense, has given me the biggest hug and expressed their gratitude for helping and guiding them to make an informed decision.

So, the REAL questions is:

Can I really afford NOT
to have it?