All parents worry about their children — about their personal happiness, providing a good education for them, and of course, about their financial futures. For low-income parents, and single parents in particular, financial worries can loom especially large.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to recently come across an offer for free life insurance for parents earning $40,000 or less who also have children under the age of 18. The life insurance offered is a $50,000 term-life insurance policy, and it covers the higher education expenses of your kids in the event of your death.
If you die, the $50,000 gets paid directly to the school your kid is attending to pay for things like tuition, books, fees and educational supplies.
I know, I know. It sounds too good to be true. But it isn’t. This offer comes compliments of a well-known and respected mutual life insurance company, MassMutual, which has been around for 160 years and is based in Springfield, Mass. So far, more than 11,500 people nationwide have received $575 million worth of free life insurance as part of MassMutual’s LifeBridge Free Life Insurance Program.
Here’s how it works.
Under the program, MassMutual pays all the insurance premiums for a $50,000, 10-year term life insurance policy. That insurance policy gets issued to a trust at no cost to the insured individual. But if an insured parent or legal guardian passes away while the policy is in force, the trust pays $50,000 in educational costs for the deceased person’s children. And your children have up to 10 years after your death, or until age 35 (whichever is later) to use this educational benefit.
To qualify for the insurance, you have to meet these criteria:
-You must be between the ages of 19 and 42.
-You must be the parent or legal guardian of one or more dependent children under the age of 18.
-You must be a permanent, legal U.S. resident
-You must be employed full or part time and earn between $10,000 and $40,000 annually.
-You must be the only parent or legal guardian in your household who has applied for the insurance
-You must be in good health as determined by MassMutual’s underwriting guidelines.
Apparently, the program is proving popular, especially among workers at government agencies. For example, in Fulton County, Georgia, 60 employees in the Fulton County Defined Contribution 401(a) Plan have each signed up for the free life insurance, garnering a total of $3 million in free coverage from MassMutual.
Interestingly, you don’t have to participate in a retirement plan administered by MassMutual or be a client of MassMutual’s to apply.
“MassMutual offers this great program, not just to its retirement plan clients, but to any working parent in the country who qualifies. Our MassMutual retirement plan relationship manager made us aware of this program, and we’re thrilled that so many of our employees have been able to take advantage of it,” says Tammy Goebeler, investment officer of Fulton County. “As a parent, you want the best education possible for your children. This program can give a parent peace of mind in the event that something unexpected happens.”
If you’re like me, you may be wondering how MassMutual can afford to do this, and maybe even why they’re doing it. Well, I’m no actuarial. But I have to imagine that the odds are in MassMutual’s favor that they won’t have to pay a lot of claims. For one thing, by keeping the age range for eligible applicants confined to between 19 and 42, that limits the company’s exposure.
After all, someone in their twenties, thirties or forties is statistically far less likely to pass away than someone in, say, their sixties, seventies or eighties.
Additionally, the 10-year limit on this term policy means that MassMutual won’t bear the risk forever of having to pay out claims.
Finally, it does require you to be in good health, making it far less likely that policy holders will be stricken with some kind of fatal illness or disease during the decade that the policy is in force.
Still, in an era when so many financial institutions seem to care about only one thing — making money — it’s refreshing to see this insurance company offering something free of charge that can be a huge benefit to a family in need.
As for the “why” question, MassMutual is offering this freebie as part of the company’s community programs and charitable donations initiative. MassMutual has even set a big community responsibility goal for the program: the insurer says it intends to give away $1 billion in free insurance coverage. It’s already more than halfway toward reaching that goal.
To learn more about the LifeBridge Free Life Insurance Program or to apply for this coverage, call (800) 272-2216 or visit www.massmutual.com/lifebridge.
Having life insurance is always a good idea when you have minor children. But for those who qualify, getting insurance coverage at no cost is an even sweeter deal.