The year was 2006. In early spring, my brother Isaiah and I had taken off to Mexico with the Azusa Pacific University "Team Luke" outreach program. Our goal while we were there was to set up mobile clinics to offer basic medical care.
After crossing the border back into California, we received a phone call from my sister informing us our dad had been diagnosed with colon cancer. The loud engine of the old Ford pickup we were driving went silent as we both sat lost in thought of the possibility that this could actually be true. How could the "Superman" in our lives possibly be susceptible to this disease? Needless to say, it was a long trip back.
Flying home the next day, we realized it was not only true but also a lot worse than we all thought. My dad was in stage four of the cancer with no hope for reversal. His options were undergo chemotherapy and live 18 months, or do nothing and live 12 months. Because he only had a short time left and because he didn’t want my 9-year old sister to see him suffer, he opted to not do chemo.
There are a few things in life a 22-year-old child should never have to do and one of those is help your mom pick out your father’s casket when he is days away from death.
Unfortunately, that was my fate. But I remember heading to the funeral home with no worry about the cost of Dad’s funeral because I knew he had life insurance. I only had to think about picking something that I knew he would love but never see.
Dad’s funeral was beautiful for a funeral. My sister sang, my brother read the eulogy and I spoke about how this Assembly of God minister was now rejoicing with his Father in heaven. How we all conjured up the strength to do these things I’ll never know. Dad was escorted to the cemetery by a line of motorcycles (one of his many ministries).
I’m telling this story to let you know that not once did my family have to worry about where the money to take care of the funeral, headstone, mortuary, cards and other expenses was going to come from. The last thing you want to worry about on such a tragic day is where you are going to find the money to take care of everything and to take care of yourself after all is said and done, while the pain of the loss is still so fresh. But Dad left us with the comfort of knowing it was all taken care of through his life insurance.
Death is not something anyone wants to think about, but we all need to. My father not only set my mom up to be financially prepared for a few years, he also instilled in his children the knowledge that we also need to plan for the future with life insurance. The beautiful thing about this story is that it is now 2013 and my mom still has life insurance money to help her. My dad showed his love to her even in death.
Life insurance is so important for everyone – young or old. How much more can you let someone know you love them by insuring their financial future? Our family has seen the full benefit of life insurance, and I hope by reading my story, many more people may be able to reap the benefits as well.
Editor’s note: Need more information about life insurance? Check out our 10 reasons to buy life insurance. Or give our Life Needs Calculator a try for help estimating the right amount of coverage to ensure your dependents are financially stable.
As a life-licensed agent assistant, I’ve always believed in the value of life insurance as a way to financially protect families. But in my Hispanic community, life insurance is not in our culture and is often difficult for some to believe in, understand or even talk about.
Because I’ve been in the insurance business for quite a few years, I understand life insurance. Unfortunately my close-knit Hispanic family had to be educated by experience. Eight years ago, my uncle, (my father’s brother) passed away after a massive stroke. He didn’t have medical insurance or a life insurance policy, and all of his children had to get together and pay for his medical bills and funeral expenses. My cousins still have outstanding bills they continue to pay many years after he passed away.
After my uncle died so suddenly, I talked to my father and siblings about the need for my father to purchase life insurance. A retired dentist/small business owner, my father was 62 and working a part-time job without health insurance. After his brother’s family’s experience, my father was open to it and we all agreed it was the right thing to do. We were able to purchase an American Family Life Insurance Company whole life 10-year/$100,000 policy with a term rider although my father had controlled diabetes and was overweight. My brothers, sisters, father and I all contributed to the premiums as a family.
Four years later, in August 2011, while the rest of the family was in Guadalajara, Mexico, celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday, my father fell ill and was hospitalized in the Seattle area. Without experiencing advanced symptoms except a headache, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal cancer.
Our family was shocked.
After discussion, my father opted to use the accelerated death benefit rider on his policy, and received 75 percent of the benefit proceeds in advance. Until he passed away on Nov. 11, 2011, he was able to live the last two and a half months spending quality time with friends and family in Mexico, including a huge life celebration surprise party we organized for him. The policy also paid for his chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and other medical bills and funeral expenses, all without burdening my mother and our family.
I am thankful for the opportunity this life insurance gave our family. Without it, my father’s diagnosis, illness and passing would have been even more devastating. My story is bittersweet, but I believe in life insurance because I have lived it. That’s why I think it’s worth telling you.
Editor’s note: Need more info? Check out our 10 reasons to buy life insurance. Or give our Life Needs Calculator a try for help estimating the right amount of coverage to ensure your dependents are financially stable.
In the fall of my freshman year of high school, I’d just gotten my temporary driver’s license. My father and I were meeting with our insurance agent to complete my life insurance application at our kitchen counter.
As I matured into adulthood, I carried that strong belief in life insurance my father instilled in me. My life’s road has brought me a great husband, two wonderful daughters, and a large extended family.
Longevity runs in my husband's family. His grandfather and great aunts lived to be almost 100. In October 2002, it came as a huge shock when my brother-in-law, Scott, 42, was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer. He passed away in eight weeks.
Thankfully, Scott had life insurance to provide for his wife and two daughters, ages 12 and 15. He had a whole life policy purchased by his parents when he was a youth and a Universal Life (UL) policy he bought as an adult. He also had life insurance through his employer.
There was money for his funeral and burial expenses, enough to pay off the home mortgage, funds to continue health insurance coverage for the family, and money to be set aside for his wife and daughters’ future financial needs. The family could also pay for the unexpected expenses that crept up in the month or two after Scott’s death – the home needed a new furnace, plumbing needed repairs and the car died. Thank goodness he had life insurance that was able to ease the burden on his wife during this time of great loss.
The world doesn’t stop turning when you lose a loved one. A family must continue. In May 2005, we lost my 21-year old nephew in a car accident. Yes, Zach did have a whole life insurance policy his parents had taken out on him when he was a small child. The reasoning was to have money available for final expenses. They used the proceeds for this purpose, and his family used the leftover money for charitable activities in the community, which helped them in the healing process. The last of the money was spent this summer with the donation of playground equipment.
With my father’s passing in February 2010, his Universal Life policy covered his funeral expenses and provided for my mother to move from the old farmhouse to a more accessible home in town.
For whatever reason, my professional road led me to American Family in September 1997 as agent assistant for Herm Leitz (Ripon, Wis.). I have been life-licensed since 1998. What a privilege it is to work for a company that cares for and protects our families in their time of need. Life insurance isn’t just about money – it’s about security, peace of mind and healing to move forward.
Remember, the world does keep turning even though you feel it has stopped. Don’t wait for your world to stop to realize your family isn’t adequately provided for by life insurance.
Editor's note: Learn about the importance of life insurance on our website. You can also watch a video series about different kinds of life insurance products on the American Family Insurance YouTube channel.