My husband is my caregiver, and spending $45 a month on his life insurance means I won't be alone if he dies

rebecca chamaa and husbandCourtesy Rebecca Chamaa

When I became disabled with schizophrenia, my spouse became my caregiver. We had to deal with big changes in our lives and our thinking.

We spent the first few years working out our immediate needs, like medical coverage, financial stability, and time management.

My spouse took over all of my treatment needs, such as organizing medications, arranging doctor's appointments, and regular blood draws. I gave up driving, so that meant my husband had to coordinate his time to get us to events, appointments, and errands, like to the pharmacy or grocery store.

Even with many details of our new life worked out, though, we still experienced a great deal of stress. What would happen if my husband became terminally ill, or had an accident? We both worried about what a future without him would look like for me. This possibility plagued us, but we didn't initially set aside the time to address it.

What a 'safety net' means for us

Being a caregiver is a difficult job, physically, emotionally, and financially, and it's a role most Americans will play at some point in their lives. Family caregivers can find themselves in a position where taking care of their own needs, including mental health, is something they can rarely carve time out to do. But pinpointing concerns or stressors and eliminating them when it is possible is critical for the caregiver's health.

To try and take care of some of the uncertainty and stress, we started to talk about creating a safety net for me if the unthinkable were to happen to my husband. Like many people, my husband had a small life insurance policy at work, but that policy wouldn't cover our mortgage or provide enough cash for me to stay in our home, pay for funeral expenses, and arrange for someone to help me with household tasks, or at a minimum some caregiving activities.

A life insurance policy can give you the peace of mind you need. Get a quote from Policygenius today »

So, together, we went to an insurance agent to talk about our options.

Setting up our life insurance policy

The thing we most needed to consider was the monthly or annual cost of a life insurance policy. We both knew it was something we wanted to invest in, because you can't put a number on peace of mind, but we had to work within our budget. We also knew we only needed a policy for my husband, because if something happened to me, he would be stable financially.

We were both middle aged by the time we decided to look into this safety net, and because of our age, coverage for some types of insurance (whole life) was much higher. The type of insurance that we could afford, and that offered us what we were looking for, was a term life insurance plan.

With a term life plan, we could get coverage for a certain number of years (we decided on 15). At the end of the "term," my husband would be 65, could retire, and by that time (hopefully), we wouldn't have a mortgage payment, and other benefits, like his Social Security, would kick in.

When we met with the agent, he asked us what we thought I would need if something happened to my spouse. We told him the immediate needs of having a forever home, funeral expenses, and the cost of getting in-home assistance, and enough money to live off of for the remainder of my life.

We spoke candidly about our dream scenario, but we ended up having to trim expenses so we could get our premiums to a monthly cost we could afford.

Together with our agent, we came up with a policy that has a $300,000 cash payout, an amount that would pay off our mortgage, pay all costs related to a funeral, and provide enough to supplement my husband's Social Security benefits so that I could hire the help I would most likely need. Our policy would be $45 a month, and we could work that into our budget.

Thinking about not being around for our loved ones, especially those who depend on us for their daily care, is difficult, but spending the time to find an agent and talk about setting up a safety net in case of an accident or illness can take so much stress and uncertainty out of the picture. I'm only sorry we didn't seek the advice and sign up for a policy sooner.

Life insurance can protect your loved ones in the event of your untimely passing. Get a quote from Policygenius today »

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