It is a fact of life the baby boomers are reaching the final stages of life. Many are in their early 70’s or late 60’s, and it is a time when people reflect on what will happen after they are gone. The final estate is built up over the years, and senior citizens want to protect their assets for the sake of the loved ones they will leave behind. Funeral insurance can bite into that financial legacy, however. It is why final expense, or burial, insurance is an insurance product many older people will seriously look at. In this article, we will explore the Americo way regarding insurance.
Many companies offer a final expense insurance policy. Some of their products are whole life insurance and other policies are standard term policies, which will expire after a certain amount of time. Consumers have a lot to choose from and some of the companies are highly reputable. Americo is a major player in the final expense insurance market.
Americo: The Basics
Americo is rated A by A. M. Best. They are a privately held insurance company with hundreds of thousands of policyholders. This insurance company offers insurance in every state except New York and Vermont. Americo provides all kinds of products, and we are going to concentrate on their burial insurance. Their flagship final expense product is the Ultra Protector Series. There are three available policies, and two of them come with immediate protection. There is also the Eagle Series Plan and we will be looking at that too.
It Is All About Your Health
Senior citizens should be more concerned about health conditions instead of their age. Premiums may indeed be higher if you purchase a policy in your later years, but your existing health plays a significant role. Unfortunately, certain conditions may disqualify you from buying a policy.
A medical conditions questionnaire is part of the application process with many burial insurance products. It is unfortunate but saying “Yes” to one of the listed medical conditions can result in either higher premiums or outright disqualification (N.B. We strongly recommend that you be honest in filling out those medical questionnaires. Things get nasty when the insurance company finds out that you deliberately deceived them.).
Americo, surprisingly, stands out among burial insurance providers. It is possible to apply in the affirmative to some of the health questions on their questionnaire, and Americo will allow for first-day coverage. This is a company that does not automatically disqualify someone because of health problems.
What can make any person sit up and take notice is the way America deals with tobacco products. Some companies will deny coverage even for smokeless tobacco. Americo is different; what is essential is whether what you are using is not a cigarette tobacco product. Using smokeless tobacco allows you to qualify for America’s non tobacco rates, which are substantially lower than those charged to cigarette smokers. This is a fantastic concession to any interested buyer.
Americo’s Health Investigation
Americo does take into consideration the answers you give to their health questions when it comes to insurance. As you mentioned before, there are no knockout questions, and Americo uses additional information. They want to know about height to weight ratio, and they want to look at your prescription history and your MIB file. Americo can find out a lot more from your prescription history and MIB file, and the data is more reliable than answers to the questionnaire.
Essentially, what Americo does is determine which of their insurance plans you will qualify for based on all the information. It is wonderful to know that you are not going to be automatically disqualified for Americo coverage based on the health questionnaire. However, you may discover that you are only eligible for a given Americo product. That insurance coverage may or may not be what you want.
The Americo Insurance Plans: Ultra Protector III
Here is where things can get interesting. Health questions that Americo asks are divided into two parts. The first part is the Ultra Protector III questions. You do not have to answer any health questions if you don’t want to do that. But, if you don’t answer any of the health questions or answer “Yes” to any of the questions in Part One, you are automatically placed in the Ultra Protector III category. This is the worst coverage Americo offers.
Why is that? Ultra Protector III is a guaranteed issue plan. Guaranteed issue policies will not ask questions about health or medical history. There is no underwriting, but a guaranteed issue burial insurance plan has a mandatory waiting period. It is longer than usual.
The waiting period is staggered so that depending on when you die during the waiting period; you get a return of the premium and get paid interest on a percentage of the face amount of your policy. You qualify for the full-face amount in the fourth year. That is the most prolonged waiting period of a guaranteed issue policy, with many insurance companies only asking for a two-year waiting period.
The extended waiting period is sufficient reason not to bother with the Ultra Protector III insurance policy. Other companies can provide a guaranteed issue coverage with a smaller waiting period and at a much lower price.
The Americo Insurance Plans: Ultra Protector II
This is the best insurance policy Americo offers. It is available everywhere except New York, Mississippi, and Vermont. There is no waiting period, and coverage begins on the first day the premium is paid. The coverage will not expire, and the payments will not increase, nor will the coverage decrease if you stay current with premium payments.
Diabetes is a touchy issue in the burial insurance market. It is not a problem for Americo, and a person with a diabetic condition can qualify for first-day coverage. Those who have an amputation due to diabetes, suffer from kidney or eye problems resulting from diabetes, or have endured a diabetic coma will not be denied coverage. There is no waiting period at all for a person suffering any diabetic complications. This is the kind of policy that will attract people with diabetes. And there is more.
The Ultra Protector II policy has insurance writer options that are close to being irresistible. There is an Accidental Death Benefit Rider and a Children’s Term Rider. These additional extras to an insurance policy are relatively common, but there is one burial insurance rider that Americo offers that is, frankly, quite unique.
It is the Accelerated Benefit Payment Rider. This is intended for somebody who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and death is anticipated within 12 months (the period is extended to 24 months for Massachusetts, Illinois, and Texas residents.). Americo will advance the insured as much as 50% of the death benefit, with a maximum of $15,000 and a minimum of $1000. This rider, incidentally, is billed in the policy and will not cost a buyer extra.
The Americo Plans: Ultra Protector I
The best description of this option is “More of the Same.” You can qualify for the riders offered under Ultra Protector II, and your health condition must be acceptable. This policy does provide insurance protection, and payments will not rise, nor will the coverage decrease. Coverage also does not expire if your current with your premium payments.
This product is available everywhere except New York, Mississippi, and Vermont. You’re able to purchase as much as $30,000 and you must be between 50 and 85 years old.
We want to point out that this is a good policy, but it is nowhere near the high quality of the Ultra Protector II policy. We believe that there are other products in the market that provide comparable coverage and at a lower price. You, as the consumer, of course, decide.
The Americo Insurance Plans: Eagle Series
This Americo policy is available in the same states that offer the Ultra Protector I and II products. There is accidental death coverage that is provided at no additional cost to the buyer. What is interesting about this particular Americo product is a type of health conditions it covers.
There are certain health situations that senior citizens experience, which may make getting burial insurance difficult. The Eagle Series will offer immediate protection at an affordable price for several of these medical issues.
- A Heart Attack That Happened At Least One Year Ago but Less Than Two Years
- Systemic Lupus
- A Major Stroke That Happened At Least One Year Ago but Less Than Two Years
- Noncancerous Tumors
- Diabetes That Was Diagnosed before a Person Turned 50
- Parkinson’s Disease
We do not want to imply that other burial insurance companies will not cover the above. However, if you look at different insurance companies, you may discover that you will pay a higher than average premium with the Americo product. The Eagle Series offers immediate protection, but it does not come cheap.
You still have to say no to any of the health questions to be eligible and have no history of treatment for any conditions that are on the application.
A Buyer’s Dilemma: Americo vs. Colonial Penn vs. John Hancock Life Insurance?
The winner hands down … AMERICO, even though they are far from perfect.
There is no question that Americo offers some good products, even though one is a borderline disaster. This company does not have to rely on a slick advertising campaign because the quality of the coverages speaks for themselves. It tempts a buyer just to stop looking for burial insurance, and we do not recommend anyone do that.
You must remember that even though insurance policy looks excellent, there may be another one out there that is even better. It is because the insurance industry in the United States is such a large market. Some competitors will provide coverage at a lower rate. People who have serious health problems (fresh cancer diagnosis) will be looking for policies that cover their condition and will pay a higher price if necessary.
Honestly, a person on their death bed is at a disadvantage when looking for burial insurance. But my 84 year old Mom who took a handful of pills every day, qualified for a plan with no two year waiting period.
Anyone who is in half way decent health, on the other hand, is in an excellent position when it comes to burial insurance. Such a person ordinarily does not have the health issues found on the questionnaire. It means that he or she can look at various coverages and determine which one is the most affordable and the best financial decision. They do not have the same well-being worries and can do more comparison-shopping.
Why You Should Use an Agent to get covered verses buying off the TV from Colonial Penn Life.
Keep in mind, insurance companies know folks over the age of 50 or 55 are not going to be physically perfect. For younger folks, they are more stringent with their requirements. When you get older, they let a lot of things slip through like they did with my mother and her high blood pressure and 10 years of prednisonse use.
She was in bad shape and they still approved her in minutes.
A semi-healthy person ought to look at several insurance policies to get the best available deal. That is a time-consuming affair. Moreover, the financial condition of the company is as critical as the coverage that institutions provide. You would have to know a little bit about insurance finances to know which company is more stable than the other.
A person can do all the necessary research if that individual has unlimited time to spare. Unfortunately, even older people have constraints on the minutes and hours of their day. Moreover, they do not know where to look for information, and the search can become a tedious walk through financial papers. This is where an insurance agent can provide valuable assistance.
It is part of their profession to know or have access to information about insurance companies. An insurance agent has search software necessary to identify the best possible deals. Also, the specialized education of an insurance professional will allow them to point out important parts of the insurance policy.
Many insurance agents represent several insurance companies, and these include companies that can provide a better deal than Americo. A good agent is going to spend time with you finding out what it is looking for and what you need. It requires excellent listening skills and the ability to find what a person wants. Insurance agents who represent several companies will offer alternatives to a person. However, that agent will not push one product over another. It is the client who matters the most.
It is the way that we do business: the person looking for insurance is the priority concern. We want to make sure that people get an affordable type of policy, which, at the same time, covers all their needs. We represent very stable insurance companies that have a reputation for being fair and paying legitimate claims. These are not the kind of organizations that try to deny a person what he or she legitimately deserves.
We invite you to contact us at your earliest convenience if you are interested. We can sit down with you and explain the ins and outs of burial insurance and how we can help you find what you want to have. We can recommend options that are cost-effective and provide excellent coverage. We encourage you to contact us and find out more about our services.
Gary P. Cubeta
(Serving Americans In All 50 States)