Dear Dr. Yael,
I know of four young frum people who recently passed away without life insurance, leaving their family in terrible financial straits. I know for a fact that they loved their family and always wanted to provide for them, but this was something they either did not think of doing or felt was too much of an expense. I remember you once wrote a column about this and I was hoping you could reprint it. Life insurance isn’t something you ever want to use, but as with all other insurances, it’s important to have in case it’s chas v’shalom ever needed.
Numerous rabbonim have endorsed this need, including Rav Nissim Karlevitz, Rav Ahron Leib Shteinman, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashuv, Rav Michel Yehudah Lefkowitz, Rav Chaim Pinchas Sheinberg and Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner. It is even said that Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l told a talmid to buy life insurance already during the week of sheva brochas.
A Caring Person
I am saddened to hear about these recent deaths and do agree with you that life insurance is vital. As you requested, I am reprinting the column below:
Dear Dr. Yael,
I want to address a very important topic and begin with the words of the Mesilas Yeshurim. He writes in his introduction that the intent of his work is not to present new ideas, but rather to present well-known ideas that due to their simplicity and commonality have been forgotten.
Many communal leaders, rabbis and financial planners have discussed the importance of all heads of households obtaining adequate amounts of life insurance. Unfortunately, we hear of many tragedies today of young men and women, husbands and wives and parents of young children dying suddenly or prematurely without adequate amounts of life insurance. As someone who is in the business, I would like to emphasize the following points.
- Young people think they do not need to buy life insurance, they think it doesn’t pertain to them. However, the unfortunate reality is that people who need it the most cannot easily obtain it. Many people have told me that they wished they would have purchased life insurance when they were younger and in better health. Not only is life insurance cheaper when you are younger, life has shown us that people do not generally get healthier as they get older. Thus, insurance becomes expensive, sometimes prohibitive and, in some extreme cases, impossible to get.
- Amazingly, most people do not need to be sold on the need to insure their house, car and expensive assets, without realizing that their most precious asset is their own life and their ability to earn a living and/or provide services as a spouse and a parent.
- People are not concerned about life insurance since they think that the community will fund, raise and take care of their family. How dare someone burden our overwhelmed community with additional responsibility that they should have taken care of? If you really believe the community is responsible for taking care of your family, it is better to borrow money to purchase life insurance.
- Lastly, people believe that only the breadwinner, generally the husband, needs to be insured. I know of many cases where, unfortunately, young mothers have passed away leaving behind young children. Although there is no way to replace the love of a mother, in those instances where the mother had life insurance, the family was able to maintain a relatively normal lifestyle. The husband was able to take off time from work, and pay for adequate babysitting and homecare. On the other hand, when there was no life insurance, besides losing their mother, in some cases, the family had to be separated, making the situation worse.
In conclusion, I cannot stress enough the importance of both men and women purchasing life insurance to take care of their families. We worry about our children and our spouses. Instead of worrying, let’s protect them in whatever way we can.
An additional note: There was a campaign that ran some years back in The Jewish Press by Albert Nosson Kahn promoting the importance of life insurance. His campaign was specifically about rabbeim, but his points were sound and applicable for the whole community. He is not an agent and can be reached at 347-203-4712.