Q&A: What residents need to know about life insurance

May 22, 2009

I know I need more life insurance than what my employer gives me, but how much should I get and what type should I get?

A: Since you're on a tighter budget as a resident, term life insurance is usually going to be your best bet. It's important to make sure the insurance company offers a convertible feature that allows you to convert your term insurance into permanent life insurance at any point during the term with no medical questions asked. This will add a lot of flexibility to your insurance plan.

As a resident, most companies will cap you at about $3 million of coverage. Given that you will soon be in practice and making more money, this might eventually be only 10 to 20 years of salary replacement. Generally, start in the $2 million to $3 million range as a resident, then reevaluate your goals for your family when you finish. Once you're practicing, your insurance needs will typically increase.

Answers to our readers' questions were provided by Jeff Turton (left) of North Star Resource Group in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Todd D. Bramson, CFP, of North Star Resource Group in Madison, Wisconsin. Turton and Bramson are registered representatives and investment adviser representatives of CRI Securities, LLC and Securian Financial Services, Inc, Members FINRA/SIPC, Registered Investment Advisers. CRI Securities is affiliated with Securian Financial Services. North Star Resource Group is independently owned and operated. 58404/5.09.