Insurance: Mistakes, Misconceptions, Questions

By Jon L. Ten Haagen, CFP ®

Look around you, read the papers, listen to the radio, watch TV: What do you hear and see on the news too often? Earthquake here, bombing there, and accidents, from fires and car crashes to falling tree limbs. Unfortunately, our wonderful lives are occasionally thrown into unwanted situations. We don’t know when it will happen, or to whom. This reminds us of how important it is to be protected.

We all must be prepared to protect ourselves and our families. One way to do that is to investigate life insurance, an area we don’t like and or understand. But, bottom line is, what if you or your spouse aren’t here tomorrow? Is your family taken care of – can they live as normal a life as possible without you?       

There are different types of insurance to consider, life, disability, long term care, etc. You can go on the internet and research them, but one of the problems with some of the writers of articles on insurance is that they’re  not informed enough to give you enough information to make educated decisions. Another is that there are so many opinions and there is not necessarily one clear-cut solution to your personal need or needs.

My advice is to seek out a competent Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and an experienced insurance representative and ask all the hard questions. It will help if you have done some homework, so you have an idea of what questions to ask and if the answers you receive are truthful and in your best interests. Not all insurance or sales people are fully knowledgeable and straightforward. Ask friends and colleagues who they use and if they are totally comfortable with their knowledge and accessibility. Routinely review and assess your personal (and business) insurance policy coverage. Insurance coverage can range from home to auto, rentals and things like jewelry, electronics and artwork.

Here are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself annually: How much would it cost to repair the inside of my house if it is damaged? What is the cost of replacement of my belongings? Is there enough coverage for my home for full replacement? Do I need to insurance in case of disasters (earthquake, flood, hurricane, etc.)?       

Now you must determine which type policy is right for you and your family’s needs? For life insurance is it term, universal or whole life? Each is different and provide slightly different protection and charge differently. You must do some homework and again ask friends. Few people want to talk about insurance (other than those who sell it). As an aside, when I was younger and went to party’s people would ask what I do, and I would say I am a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Investment Advisor. I would then get all kinds of questions about this and that stock and what did I think? Well, I had come to the party have fun and relax, so I learned to tell people I sell life insurance and immediately they would excuse themselves and go to another part of the party and ignore me. Problem solved! I am not knocking people who work in the insurance industry. They are fine people and provide a necessary service. It’s just not a conversation at parties that stimulates me.

Your objective is to guarantee the security and safety of your family and their ability to live in a manor close to what it is now if/when you are not here. We can help you with your questions and needs for your family (and business). Give us a call to make sure you have the proper policies and coverage and if not to get them.

Huntington’s Jon L. Ten Haagen, CFP is founder and CEO of Ten Haagen Financial Services, Inc. which is an independent full-service Investment and financial planning firm. In this bi-monthly column he will answer your questions on the markets and investing. Ten Haagen has 39 years of experience as an investment professional. You can learn more about Ten Haagen Financial Services at

Ten Haagen is an investment advisor representative offering securities and advisory services through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., member of FINRA/SIPC, and a registered investment advisor. Ten Haagen is a certified financial planner (CFP) since 1982. The Ten Haagen offices are located at 191 New York Ave., Huntington. Please feel comfortable to call and stop by for a cup of coffee and a chat. E-mail questions to

Ten Haagen is very active in the community giving back. He is on the board of a number of nonprofits and is the liaison for the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs, Inc. The boating council represents approximately 4,500 boating families helping to keep our waters safe and upgrading the water quality.