When you have a family, the need for insurance is pretty obvious, and the bill for it all can be a real expense of its own. For single folks, though, it’s easy to think that all insurance is just wasted money. Although that’s true for some coverage (most notably whole life), other forms are just as important for you as for others.
If nobody relies on your income, you don’t need to take steps to perpetuate that income once you’re gone. However, it’s good form to have enough coverage to handle the kind of sendoff you asked for in your will. If that’s just donating your body to science, you really don’t need any coverage at all. If you want an old-fashioned wake and a big marker for your memorial, a term life policy can provide the funds at a low cost.
You don’t need life coverage to handle your expenses when you’re gone, but you still need to eat and pay rent if you’re hurt or seriously ill. Disability insurance does exactly that by replacing your income while you recover. This is the only form of insurance that’s more important for single people than for people with families, since married folks can still rely on a spouse for some income while they’re ill. Inexpensive disability coverage is often available through your employer, or you can shop through a broker to get the most appropriate policy for your needs.
Single people who have bought a home should carry the same kind of homeowner’s insurance as a married couple with the same property. If you’re still renting, a renter’s insurance policy is designed to provide the same protection against theft and damage that a homeowners policy would. In most cases, this kind of policy – though very inexpensive – is usually unnecessary. If there’s a fire or catastrophe, your landlord’s insurance will cover damage to the building. As for your possessions, a typical apartment or home doesn’t have enough of value to bother insuring. Homeowner’s insurance is important because of the value of the home. The only exception is if you own collections or other items of exceptionally high value, in which case you should insure those items specifically as normal renter’s coverage won’t typically cover them.
The law says you should carry auto insurance if you want to drive, and each state mandates a certain minimum level of bodily injury coverage. However, that minimum amount may not be enough to pay for your entire recovery – including lost income – if you are at fault in a serious auto accident. It’s a good idea to increase your bodily injury coverage to an amount that realistically pays out what serious medical care is likely to cost.