Calculate How Much Life Insurance You Need – Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Calculate How Much Life Insurance You Need

Calculate how much life insurance you need

Life insurance is an important part of planning for the future. In your absence, life insurance can help protect your family’s finances, allow your small business to live on, and give you something to leave behind for your loved ones or a favorite charity.

Many people understand the importance of life insurance.

According to LIMRA, 80% of consumers believe that most people need life insurance and as many as 132 million Americans rely on life insurance to protect their financial security. But when it comes to actually purchasing a policy, the confusion sinks in and one big question often comes to mind: how much life insurance coverage do I need?

A life insurance policy isn’t “one-size-fits-all.”

Everyone has a unique financial situation, so coverage needs are just as unique. To answer this question, you’ll need to get your own personal estimate. Although meeting with your life insurance agent will give you the most accurate results, there are a few different methods you can use to get started.

One way to determine the costs you’ll leave behind is through the “DIME” method. DIME stands for:

D – Outstanding Debts
I – Income Replacement
M – Mortality
E – Education

To get an estimate of how much coverage you will need, take some time to list out all of your expenses that fall under these four categories.


Outstanding debt can be anything from outstanding student loans, to money you owe on a credit card. You also want to be sure your family can keep their home and stay there for years to come, so be sure to factor in your mortgage into your life insurance estimate. Regardless of how the debt was accumulated, you don’t want these expenses falling on the shoulders of your loved ones.


How will your absence affect your family’s finances? Income replacement calculates just that—the amount of coverage your loved ones would need to continue living a similar lifestyle. Consider day-to-day living costs, as well as other types of spending, like childcare. And keep in mind that inflation will likely cause costs to increase. Don’t forget to factor in income that comes from any investments, in addition to the income that comes from your job.


The mortality portion of “DIME” covers all final expenses, including funeral costs and other expenditures associated with end-of-life. When estimating final expenses, you may want to leave a little wiggle room for costs that you may not anticipate or be able to determine an exact number for, such as unpaid medical bills. There are also many costs and taxes that come along with settling your estate, so keep that in mind as well.


If you have children who are in or are planning on going to college or even a spouse who may want to go back to school, consider the costs of their education when estimating your life insurance policy.

Once you add up all of these expenses, you may end up with a pretty big amount. However, there are a few items that you can subtract from this number, such as the amount of coverage on a group life insurance policy, funds from your retirement plan, or any other savings you’ve accumulated.

In addition to the DIME exercise, there are many online tools you can use to help you estimate your needs. For instance, Life Happens provides a nifty online calculator for estimating these costs. Enter all of your information in the form, and click on the question marks next to each form field for additional tips and information. Once you’ve filled in all of the fields, Life Happens will instantly estimate how much life insurance you need.

While the DIME method and Life Happens’ calculator are helpful tools, they cannot replace the knowledgeable insight and helpful advice of an independent insurance agent. An agent will speak with you about all aspects of your life, and work with you to find the right amount of coverage for your specific needs, contact Andy Simmons, our Life Insurance specialist, and get the coverage you need to protect your loved ones’ financial future.

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Covid-19 Consumer Alert – Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Covid-19 Consumer Alert

Information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing rapidly.  The information below consumer alert may be updated frequently.

As Michigan residents and businesses implement the measures outlined in Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders aimed at mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 virus, questions may arise as to how insurance and financial services may be impacted. The information below will aid consumers and industry professionals in addressing these concerns.

Consumer Health Insurance Consumer Alert

Health Insurance

If you’ve recently lost your employer group health insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period. For additional information, visit DIFS’ Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program (HICAP) website at or call 877-999-6442.

Consumers enrolled in a fully insured health plan may be eligible for expanded COVID-19 coverage such as:

  • No cost for medically necessary diagnostic testing or treatment of COVID-19
  • Increased access to prescriptions
  • Prior authorization waivers
  • Expanded access to telehealth services

For more information on the benefits offered under your health plan, contact your insurer directly.

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National Bike To Work Month – Shield Insurance Agency Blog

National Bike To Work Month

National Bike To Work Month

May is National Bike To Work Month, promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to give biking a try.

Bike to Work Week 2020 will take place September 21-27, 2020. Bike to Work Day is Tuesday, September 22!

This National Bike To Work Month will necessarily be different. With a focus on well-being and connection, we’re highlighting how #BikesUnite and benefits physical and mental health. Whether you’re riding for fun, fitness or with family, or taking essential trips to work or shop, you are part of our movement for safer streets, connected communities, a healthier planet, and happier people.
As a national sponsor, the League provides resources to help you plan an event in your area, and each year the number and diversity of National Bike To Work Month celebrations continue to grow, accelerating the momentum around bicycling nationwide.


In other years, National Bike Month is a success because of the countless, diverse local events organized by dedicated bicyclists in their communities, organizations, and workplaces. In 2020, we encourage you to promote biking and connect with others in the movement virtually. Step one: go for a solo bike ride, step two: share your experience on social media with #BikesUnite. 


For additional assistance or questions, please contact

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Financial Resources For Covid-19 – Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Financial Resources For COVID-19

Financial Resources And Relief For Those Affected By COVID-19

Here’s where to go for financial resources if you’ve lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

By Casey Bond 04/24/2020 05:26 pm EDT | Updated April 27, 2020 |

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged us all in ways never imagined. Not only does constant danger lurk of contracting COVID-19, but our daily routines have been turned upside down. It certainly doesn’t help that the virus has also placed enormous financial pressure on workers and businesses owners.

If your income has been affected by the crisis, it can be overwhelming to figure out which bills to pay and where to go for help. The good news is that many financial resources are available if you know where to look. is a great place to start, according to Leslie Tayne, a debt resolution lawyer and author of the book “Life & Debt: A Fresh Approach to Achieving Financial Wellness.” “The website helps navigate you to state and federal level benefits, including unemployment insurance, job placement and training, and more,” she said.

Click here for the rest of the story…

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Teacher Appreciation Time – Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Teacher Appreciation Time

How to Still Make Teacher Appreciation Special, Virtually

This May, Teacher Appreciation Week is definitely going to look a little different. There won’t be any snack carts or staff luncheons, but with a little creativity, you can still make those hard-working teachers feel special. Welcome to virtual teacher appreciation:

Yard signs

We love the idea of posting signs in the yards of your staff. A lot of people are doing them for graduates, so why not teachers? Try something like, “A rock star teacher lives here!” or “I’m kind of a big deal at [SCHOOL NAME].” This is also a great way to support local businesses.

Online games

During Teacher Appreciation Week, we try to up the fun factor with trivia and games. You still can—you just have to take it online. Class Team Building is offering a weeklong game show for $45. It includes daily challenges like this: “Get anyone in this school to respond ‘LOL’ to one of your texts, but you can’t tell them beforehand that is the response you are looking for.”

Gift cards

There are plenty of gift cards you can send via email, including teacher favorites like Target and Starbucks (they currently have three fun teacher designs). This is also a good time to support local restaurants that are hurting and grab gift cards to your staff’s favorite places for takeout.  

Quarantine survival kits

How about baskets you drop off at doorsteps filled with all kinds of isolation goodies? We’re thinking a fabric mask, hand sanitizer (if you can get it), snacks, and drinks. Add an inspirational book, adult coloring book and markers, or a puzzle. You could even throw a roll of TP in there for a laugh!

Personalized items

If you’re looking for a more traditional with a little creativity, you can still make those hard-working teachers feel special, try personalized notepads like this one from Shutterly. You can include a handwritten thank-you note on the first page. We also like the idea of custom t-shirts and cloth screen cleaners. Consider setting up an online “store” and letting teachers choose their gifts.

Drive-thru or delivery meal

Many schools have set up drive-thrus to keep kids fed during school closures. A similar set-up would work to distribute a meal (or even just warm cookies!) for your teachers. Or you could deliver right to their doors. Either way, consider using a local establishment to cater your event and show teacher appreciation.

Virtual raffle

Looking to go big? If you want to go in for some bigger prizes (think: a $100 grocery store gift card or a personal laminator), you can use an app like Random Picker to draw your winners. Then do the announcement over a video-conferencing app like Zoom.

Teacher’s lounge makeover

If it’s in the budget (or you want to pool what you would have spent on teachers individually), you can plan something really great for when teachers return to school: an upgraded teacher’s lounge. You might consider new furniture or decor, invest in an espresso machine, or stock the pantry and shelves with snacks and personal items.

Involve students and parents

Heartfelt messages are probably the most important part of teacher appreciation. Google Docs and Padlet are nice ways to work collaboratively on a project with kids and parents, or just solicit ideas that you can then turn into your own presentation. 

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Michigan PIP Reform Explained – Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Michigan PIP Reform Explained

What is it? What should you expect?

Michigan’s Auto Insurance Reform, it’s finally coming around the corner on July 2, 2020. As many of you know, Michigan passed a bill that will hopefully save many drivers money each year on their auto insurance. This is partially due to the PIP Reform coverage on your auto insurance policies.  There are other parts to this, but this blog focuses on just the PIP portion of it.


Personal Injury Protection


PIP is the coverage on your auto insurance policy that pays for the medical costs for auto-related injuries. This will cover not only the medical bills but for any long-term care, wage loss, and replacement services.


PIP will cover the named insured of the policy, also known as the policyholder and their resident relatives. Being a listed driver on the auto policy is NOT the same as being a named insured or a resident relative.


The definition of a resident relative can be difficult to define as not everyone’s family and living situations are the same. The generalized response would be anyone who is legally a relative of the named insured that permanently resides in the same home as the named insured. This would include the named insured’s children and spouse. Please have a conversation with your insurance agent if your family/living situation does not fall into the “traditional” circumstances.


Drivers will now have different options to choose from other than the unlimited PIP coverage. Currently, anyone with an auto policy in Michigan has an unlimited amount of PIP so there is no cap on how much an insurance company will pay out on a PIP claim. As of July 2, there will be options available, but it is important to know that not all options are available for everyone.

The options are:

  • Unlimited
  • $500,000
  • $250,000
  • $250,000 (with opt-out options for those listed on the policy with Qualified Health Coverage)
  • $50,000 (only for named insureds enrolled in medicaid AND any spouse and all resident relatives have either Qualified Health Coverage, medicaid enrolled or covered under another auto policy with PIP coverage)
  • $0 – Opt Out (only allowed if named insured has Medicare A and B AND if everyone else in the household has Qualified Health Coverage.)

The first 3 options have no stipulations so anyone could choose them. The last three options have certain requirements. It is important to discuss your health insurance circumstances with both your health insurance carrier and your auto insurance agent to know which options are available for you. Such as, does your health insurance fall under the “Qualified Health Coverage” under this new law?


As defined under the new law, Qualified Health Coverage is: health and accident coverage that does NOT exclude or limit coverage for injuries related to auto accidents/injuries and has an annual individual deductible of $6,000 or less per person. Medicare recipients with BOTH parts A & B would also qualify.

Medicaid and health care sharing ministries are examples of coverages that are NOT considered Qualified Health Coverage.


Call your health insurance company using the number on the back of your ID card. If your current health insurance is through your employer, you may be able to also contact your HR department. You may have to provide proof to your auto insurance company that you have the right kind of health insurance.


Call your auto insurance agent to discuss what options are available for you.


The beginning of June will be an ideal time to reach out to both your health insurance company to verify your coverage and your auto insurance agent. By this time, all auto insurance companies will have the rates available for the different PIP options. It is ideal to contact your health insurance carrier and get that answer, and then your auto insurance agent.


Two options that most auto insurance companies are offering if you wish to change your PIP coverage to anything other than unlimited are: 1)You will be able to just make an endorsement (change) to your policy the same as if you were to swap a vehicle on your policy. 2) Some companies are requiring that your policy be rewritten so you would have a new policy vs just making the changes on the current one.


Shield has a plan in place starting in May to try and make this change go as smoothly as possible. We will be emailing all our clients we have email addresses for a quick 2 question survey for how they would like to address their auto policy regarding the new law. There are options to select if you already know your decision or you can select to have someone call or email you to discuss. For those who do not have an email address on file or who don’t respond to the emailed survey, we will be reaching out to you by phone prior to July 2.

To learn more, please feel free to email us at or call or text us at 616-896-4600.

You can also visit for more information.

Submitted by Agent Melissa Hunt

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