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For over 20 years I have worked personally with Dave Ramsey, his listeners and team members to help them make important and informed decisions about their insurance needs and the most cost effective ways to address them. Through the years I have responded to over 10,000 of Dave’s listeners regarding their insurance questions.

This blog contains many of the most frequent questions and answers since they provide an excellent resource to Dave's specific advice on very specific insurance questions. I hope you find this information to be a valuable resource that you can refer to many times in the future as you progress along your financial path. Click on the category noted which relates to your question so that you can see the posting currently available. If you do not see your question or still have concerns please don't hesitate to use the "Question Widget" noted on this site for further information or call us toll free at (800) 356-4282.

Many people are surprised that the advice from Dave and I doesn’t always involve the purchase of insurance as the only alternative. Insurance is a key component of any family's financial plan but it can also be a drain and a detriment if the wrong plans are purchased. Implementing the plans and approaches that Dave and I recommend, most importantly, the establishment of an emergency fund, will help reduce a families overall insurance costs and allow them to focus their dollars on more important things such as getting out of debt and growing wealth.

− Jeff Zander

Jeff Zander of Zander Insurance talks about the importance of ID Theft Protection

2012 January 10
by zanderins

Identity Theft is a serious issue that affects millions of people each year and unfortunately there is no way to prevent it from happening. Listen to Jeff Zander talk about ID Theft and what you can do to save time and money by protecting yourself.

And then, visit our FAQ on Identity Theft.

Q: How Much Term Life Insurance Do We Need And What Time Period Should We Buy?

2011 December 16

Dave Ramsey recommends term life insurance when an individual or family has debts that cannot be paid from their current assets and if a wage earner was to die and there is a need to provide an income for those financially reliant upon them. Otherwise he feels there are much smarter things that you could do with your money. Per Dave’s advice, Zander Insurance only offers guaranteed level term life plans. Dave tends to lean toward the 15 or 20 year plans since you can accomplish very significant financial progress over this period so that you greatly reduce and eventually eliminate the need for life insurance.  At younger ages he does feel that considering a 30 year plan is OK since they allow more time and are useful if you are just starting out your family. However, as you get older the cost difference of the 30 year plan increases and does not represent as strong a value.

Additionally, Dave typically recommends that families carry an amount of life insurance equal to 10 times their income.  This level of protection will generally allow for a continuation of the financial lifestyle for the remaining family members and allow debt related issues along with education funding, emergency needs, and final expenses to be addressed. You can consider “laddering” policies and purchase numerous policies with different level term periods to address the different types of debt and savings/earning potential that you have.  The key to be careful of is not to go too short on the level periods overall, such as all on a 10 year plan, since the costs of these plans increase substantially at the end of the level periods.  It is generally advised to buy a slightly longer period, especially if the  premium does not go up that much to create a bit of padding. You can compare rates online at Zander Insurance or call Zander Insurance at 800 -356-4282 for personal assistance.

Q: Why Term Life Insurance Instead Of A Cash Value Plan?

2011 December 15

Dave Ramsey only recommends guaranteed level Term Life Insurance plans since it is the most affordable type of protection and it allows you to focus on more pressing financial issues. Term Life Insurance is a pure protection product which means it simply measures the risk of your death during the time period selected and therefore is the least expensive option available. This is why these are the only plans offered by Zander Insurance. The basic premise for cash value plans which are competitors to Term Life (Whole Life, Universal Life, Variable Life and Return of Premium plans) is that you will need life insurance your whole life so the plans overcharge you in the early years to pay the higher costs in the later years.  Both Dave’s and Jeff Zander’s opinion is that if you buy term life insurance then you avoid this overpayment period and use the savings to attack debt and to build savings.  Over 15-20 years with your debt eliminated and your savings grown you no longer need life insurance.  The insurance industry for years has convinced the public that you have to have life insurance for your whole life.  You only need life insurance for a period where your premature death would cause your family financial hardship.   It also makes no sense to save money in a poorly performing insurance plan while you still have more expensive credit card or other debt.  For more information on the benefits of Term Life Insurance please click on Term vs. Cash Value.

This is why Dave typically recommends 15 or 20 year level plans since he feels that you can accomplish very significant financial progress over this period so that you greatly reduce and eventually eliminate the need for life insurance.  At younger ages he does feel that considering a 30 year plan is OK since they allow a more time and are useful if you are just starting out your family. Additionally, Dave typically recommends that families carry an amount of life insurance equal to 10 times their income.  This level of protection will generally allow for a continuation of the financial lifestyle for the remaining family members and allow debt related issues along with education funding, emergency needs, and final expenses to be addressed. You can compare quotes online at Zander Insurance or call Zander Insurance at800-356-4282 for personal assistance.

Q: How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

2011 December 12

The first thing to make sure of is if you need life insurance at all.  Many agents try and sell life insurance for a multitude of reasons unrelated to family protection. Dave Ramsey recommends life insurance when an individual or family has debts that cannot be paid from their current assets and if a wage earner or stay at home parent was to die and there is a need to provide an income for those financially reliant upon them. Otherwise he feels there are much smarter things that you could do with your money. If you have dependents that are financially reliant upon you or debts that would not be paid from your estate then there is a need for life insurance. This is why Zander Insurance only offers Term Life Insurance plans because it’s the best value for pure protection.

As a starting point Dave typically recommends that families carry an amount of life insurance equal to 10 times their income.  This level of protection will generally allow for a continuation of the financial lifestyle for the remaining family members and allow debt related issues along with education funding, emergency needs, and final expenses to be addressed. You can adjust the multiples based on your personal situation and reduce or increase based on those specifics. For example, if you are single then your primary concern would be the amount of debt your estate would be responsible for and a multiple of 10 times is usually too much. If however, you have young children and significant debt then this higher amount would be appropriate. Any of our team members at Zander Insurance can help you further determine your specific insurance needs.

Additionally, Dave only recommends guaranteed level term life plans and tends to lean toward the 15 or 20 year plans.  He feels that you can accomplish very significant financial progress over 15 to 20 years so that you greatly reduce and eventually eliminate the need for life insurance.  At younger ages if you are planning a family or have younger children then considering a 30 year plan is OK since it allows more time as long as the additional cost does not strain your budget too much.  However, as you get older the cost difference of the 30 year plan increases and does not represent as strong a value.  At older ages, a 10 year plan may work if you have eliminated debt but are till working on growing your savings to make sure a surviving spouses financial lifestyle will not change. This is why Zander Insurance only offers level term life insurance plans. You can compare rates online at Zander Insurance or call Zander Insurance at 800-356-4282 for personal assistance.

Q: Which Company Should We Select For Our Term Life Insurance?

2011 December 12

There is very little difference between term life companies other than their pricing and the reputation that they have developed over the years.  Dave Ramsey’s advice with regard to which company to consider is basically related to price.  Since term life plans are very similar with regard to the benefits received, his advice is to find the best price from a reputable company.  You can access the financial ratings on our website by clicking on the Insurance Company’s  names which is linked to their AM Best or Standard and Poor ratings.  We only represent companies that have an AM Best rating of “A” (Excellent) or better.

Zander Insurance has been Dave Ramsey’s endorsed national term life insurance provider for over 20 years and he has entrusted us to make sure the companies we represent offer his listeners the most competitive pricing and are top quality companies.  We take this responsibility very seriously.  Just because you are not familiar with a particular company should not restrict you from giving them consideration.  Just as an example; Dave and I have our term life policies with Banner, Midland, Protective, Prudential and SBLI, some which you may have heard of and some not, but all are leaders in the business of writing term life and specialize in certain sections of the market.  Many of these companies have been in business for over 100 years.  It makes little sense to pay more for term life insurance plans especially if it takes away from your debt reduction efforts. You can compare quotes online at Zander Insurance or call Zander Insurance at 800-356-4282 for personal assistance.

Q: Should I Keep My Cash Value Plan?

2011 December 3

Dave Ramsey never recommends keeping a cash value policy (including whole, universal and variable life) regardless of how long or short you have had it, unless you are unable to qualify for a new competitively priced term life policy.  He feels that you are just compounding the mistake further by keeping it. The basic premise for cash value plans is that you will need life insurance your whole life so the plans overcharge you in the early years to pay the higher costs in the later years.  Dave’s opinion is that if you buy term life insurance then you avoid this overpayment period and use the savings to attack debt and to build savings. This is why Zander Insurance only offers term life insurance and helps Dave’s listeners find the most competitive rates available.

Over 15-20 years with your debt eliminated and your savings grown, you no longer need life insurance.  The insurance industry has convinced the public that you have to have life insurance for your whole life.  Both Dave and Zander Insurance feel you only need life insurance for a period where your premature death would cause your family financial hardship.  Once you are out of debt and built wealth, the need for life insurance is eliminated and there are so many smarter things to do with your money.  You can visit Zander Insurance and click on Term vs. Cash Value which will provide additional information.

Dave has long recommended using the cash value in the plan to intensify your debt reduction efforts, help establish your emergency fund and then take advantage of better investment options.  The savings you have in the cash value is typically earning a poor rate of return and it makes no sense to save money or leave it sitting while paying a much higher rate for credit card or other debt. The use of term life insurance is just one step in the overall process to get yourself out of debt and grow your savings.

When you attempt to cancel most companies will try and imply that dropping the policy will have “serious” tax consequences.  In reality there is very rarely any tax due, and if there is it is based on the amount you receive back that is in excess of the premium you paid. The advice we give Zander Insurance clients is to add up the number of years you have paid the premium times the annual cost you can quickly determine the extent of any tax that may be due.   The tax liability is only on the gain over the amount of premium paid, not the entire cash value amount. However, you need to include any dividends received during the policy term in addition to the cash value.  Even if a tax is due or surrender charges applied, Dave advises cancelling these plans and moving on to more effective strategies.  The key element for you to consider is to make sure you have the correct amount of life insurance that your family needs.  You need to see your mistakes behind you and move on toward more productive financial decisions and processes. Remember both Dave and Zander Insurance never recommend canceling an existing plan until you receive the new policy you are considering and you have reviewed it to make sure it meets your individual needs.

Q: Should We Buy Life Insurance While We are Still in Debt?

2011 December 1

YES!  Dave Ramsey does not include term life insurance in the baby step process since each household has different situations to address.  His advice is that if either of your premature deaths would cause financial hardship for the surviving spouse or family members then you need to consider these plans regardless of where you are in the debt snowball. Marriage is equally as important to have life insurance as having a child.  You have made a commitment to care for each other though the need may be less if you have not gotten too far into debt.   As you get out of debt you actually are reducing the amount of insurance you need so your peak time for protection is when your family is less capable to maintain their lifestyle because of debt and a lack of savings. Zander Insurance only offers term life insurance plans since they are the most affordable pure protection products on the market and help families afford the right life insurance they really need.  This is why Zander Insurance only offers level term life plans.  You can compare rates online at Zander Insurance or call Zander Insurance at 800-356-4282 for personal assistance.

Q: Do I Need an Accidental Death (AD&D) Policy?

2011 November 23

Dave Ramsey feels that Accidental Death and Dismemberment plans are a waste of money and people make a huge mistake buying them, especially if it is the only type of life insurance they have. Zander Insurance does not offer these programs as an individual or add on feature to any policy.  Both Dave and Jeff Zander feel you should have the amount of coverage that your family needs regardless of whether you die of an accident or sickness.  The chance of an accident greatly decreases as you get older and the cost is just a very poor value. Most people consider these plans since they just don’t envision their own death and emotionally accept that an accident can happen, but not another type experience.  Americans have a one in five chance of dying from heart disease and one in seven chance of dying from cancer, whereas the odds are one in 36 for an accidental injury.  It is gimmick insurance and takes advantage of people’s emotions.  These type of supplemental plans are just a waste of money and siphons off dollars that could be used more effectively in your financial plan.  Check out the Dave’s Do’s and Don’ts on Insurance since this issue and numerous others are specifically addressed.

You can compare term life insurance rates online at Zander Insurance or call Zander Insurance at 800-356-4282 for personal assistance.

Q: How Many Years Should I Purchase Term Life Insurance for 10,15,20 or 30 years?

2011 November 20

Dave Ramsey only recommends guaranteed level term life plans and tends to lean toward the 15 or 20 year plans.  He feels that you can accomplish very significant financial progress over 15 to 20 years so that you greatly reduce and eventually eliminate the need for life insurance.  At younger ages if you are planning a family or have younger children, then considering a 30 year plan is ok since it allows more time as long as the additional cost does not strain your budget too much.  However, as you get older the cost difference of the 30 year plan increases and does not represent as strong a value.  As you get older, a 10 year plan may work if you have eliminated debt but are till working on growing your savings to make sure a surviving spouses financial lifestyle will not change.

Additionally, Dave typically recommends that families carry an amount of life insurance equal to 8 to 10 times their income.  This level of protection will generally allow for a continuation of the financial lifestyle for the remaining family members and allow debt related issues along with education funding, emergency needs, and final expenses to be addressed. You can adjust the multiples based on your personal situation and reduce or increase based on those specifics.  You can also consider “laddering” policies which means purchasing multiple policies to address the different time frames of your personal situation. However, the savings here is usually limited unless you are older or looking at high valued polices. Zander Insurance only offers level term life plans. You can compare rates online at Zander Insurance or call Zander Insurance at 800-356-4282 for personal assistance.

Q: How Does Zander Insurance’s ID Theft Plan Compare to LifeLock?

2011 November 13

News about LifeLock Related to the Equifax Breach: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-lifelock-equifax-20170918-story.html

This is one of our most common questions since Lifelock is such a frequent advertiser on many media outlets. The primary differences in the Zander ID Theft Solutions product and Lifelock are integrity, price, and a continued effort to emphasize service and value to our members.

LifeLock has been difficult to follow over the years since they have changed their program many times – often to comply with FTC (Federal Trade Commission) settlements and other class-action lawsuits.   Their initial product touted their ability to “prevent” ID Theft, and in 2010 the FTC fined them $12million for false and misleading advertising.  They then had to pay an even larger fine to the FTC in 2015 in the amount of $68million for violating the terms of their original settlement.  You can read more about Lifelock’s troubles with the FTC in the links below.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/lifelock-agrees-pay-100-million-allegedly-violating-ftc-order

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/12/lifelock-pay-100-million-consumers-settle-ftc-charges-it-violated

Over the years, LifeLock has consistently tried to convince their customers that ID theft could be prevented, creating a false sense of trust and hope, and resulting in the aforementioned legal issues and dissatisfied clients.  As part of the settlement, the FTC required Lifelock to establish and maintain a comprehensive security program to better protect its users’ sensitive data, as well as note in all of their advertising that they cannot, in fact, prevent identity theft.

In our opinion, they also misrepresent the scope of their plan by labeling one type of service with many different names in an attempt to lead people to believe that their benefits are more extensive than they actually are.  For example, their bank alert programs leads clients to believe that they monitor your bank for suspicious activity but that only applies to a handful of banks.  The last we heard, they included 6 out of 10 of the top national banks but did not include thousands of regional and community banks, nor did they include credit unions.   In the end they spend a lot of money on advertising but deliver a product that is not as extensive as it appears, and they charge more money for it.

Since the inception of the Zander ID Theft Protection program, which Dave Ramsey helped us develop to meet their needs of his listeners, the price for membership has never changed.  We have been driven to constantly find new ways of enhancing the value of our program, as evidenced by the addition of benefits related to bank stolen funds protection as well as monitoring services, child protection  and lost wallet assistance, just to name a few,  without ever increasing the cost of membership.  We accomplished this while covering all types of ID Theft – not just financial fraud.

The Zander ID Theft Solutions product is more affordable than any individual or family plan offered by our competitors; in fact, our family plan includes up to ten dependents through age 18.  Lifelock does not include children in any of their standard plans – they charge an additional $5.99 per child for a “junior” version of their product, capitalizing on parents’ fears to generate more revenue. We believe that our clients should have the most cost-effective option on the market so that the money they’re saving can be used to attack debt and grow wealth. Spending more money doesn’t mean better protection.

We at Zander ID Theft Solutions know that no one can prevent ID theft from happening, so we have always chosen to focus on helping our clients with restoration.   Dave’s emphasis and endorsement of our plan is based on his opinion that you need to focus on the true risk of ID Theft, which is the time and effort it takes to clean up the mess.  We cover all types of ID Theft, including Social Security fdraud, Tax Refund Fraud, Medical ID Theft, Employment and Insurance related Fraud, Benefit and Family Fraud (the only plan to do so), as well as criminal acts committed in your name. Most importantly, we take over all the work to restore your identity to the pre-theft status and have had a 100% success rate in restoring people’s identities. This provides peace of mind to our clients, knowing that someone is going to work for them if their personal information is ever compromised or stolen.

Overall, Lifelock’s plan may look similar to ours on paper, but we feel that our company, team members, and commitment to excellent service sets us apart in a very positive way.  Our program is a balanced approach of thorough protection, proactive steps at prevention, and affordable pricing which makes it the smarter way to protect yourself.  That’s why Dave had endorsed our program for over a decade.