As we get closer to Halloween — and what might feel like the end of the world, given this year’s election cycle — it’s important to prepare ourselves for all possible scary situations.
Related: 5 voluntary trends to keep an eye on
More specifically, I’m here to talk to you about the zombie apocalypse. (In case you’re wondering about my qualifications, here you go.)
Sure, a zombie attack seems far-fetched, but any insurance professional will tell you insurance exists so people can take preventative measures to protect themselves and their families — whether that be against accidents, illnesses, or the brain-eating undead.
While voluntary benefits sometimes take the backburner to popular “bread and butter” benefits (or as a zombie might say, “brains and brains” benefits), these add-ons shouldn’t be ignored.
In fact, they might be just what you need to prepare before, during, and after the zombie apocalypse.
Prepare your furry friends
If you’re among the 95 percent of Americans who own pets and consider them family, there is no way you’re leaving your furry friend behind when the apocalypse starts.
Which is probably a good idea, considering canine companions are critical to human survival during a zombie takeover. In the Max Brooks novel World War Z, dogs are the real heroes — not Brad Pitt, as portrayed in the movie adaptation of the story.
A dog’s heightened sense of smell can detect rotting flesh from miles away, which will ensure a head start for you and your apocalypse crew over other dog-deprived survivors. A dog’s scent detection can also be used to scout out the undead as your team looks for shelter, or in sensing which humans might be infected before reanimation. Worried about a zombie sneaking up on you? That won’t happen if you have a dog’s sense of hearing in your zombie survival kit.
But not all dogs will be up to the challenge, especially if they aren’t in great health before the apocalypse begins. Ask anyone who has watched a single episode of The Walking Dead; fighting off zombies is not for the weak.
So take precautions now, like buying pet insurance to provide routine care that keeps your dog healthy and zombie-ready, as well as protecting your dog’s well-being should he need a more expensive procedure like surgery or cancer coverage.
Many pup ailments can be caught and treated if you invest in routine care, but sometimes the high price tag deters people from preventative care like vaccinations and health screenings. If you remove the worry of astronomical bills by purchasing pet insurance — without it, a common dog injury like an ACL tear can cost up to $2,000, whereas the average cost of pet insurance is $32 a month — you’ll be more likely to visit the veterinarian regularly, upping your chances of keeping your dog in keen zombie-fighting shape.
When the zombie apocalypse begins, money will no longer be a top commodity; your delicious brains will be.
But for now, money concerns remain top of mind for many Americans, with 60 percent worried about paying for medical costs due to an illness. If you’re unable to work, like 25 percent of Americans will be at some point in their career due to a disability, it might be hard to replace that missing income without the help of disability insurance.
So, should you get injured or be diagnosed with an illness that requires you to take time off from work in the months leading up to the zombie apocalypse, you could be more in a bind than you think.
According to a Lincoln Financial report, only 67 percent of employees are enrolled in employer-sponsored disability coverage. The remaining 33 percent, while eligible to enroll, choose not to because they believe it unnecessary or too expensive.
While that income won’t protect you against zombie bites, it can still heighten your chances of survival during the apocalypse.
Without income replacement provided by short- or long-term disability insurance, how will you accrue necessary supplies before the zombie apocalypse? If you’re injured or ill, how will you afford the care needed to get you back on your feet, and capable of fighting off the undead?
Another reason to bank on disability insurance: No one escapes the zombie apocalypse unscathed. Even if you survive it, returning to work immediately following an outbreak might not be an option if you lose a limb or struggle with PTSD.
Prepare your family
Eventually, the zombie hoards will start to thin, and with the exception of a few decomposing shufflers, the world will return to normal. But there is no guarantee that you or your spouse will be among the final survivors.
Related: The game of life (insurance)
Although “zombie attack” isn’t currently covered under most life insurance plans, it might be one day. If the apocalypse is around the corner, do you really want to be among the 34 percent of Americans who said, “I’ll buy it next year,” or the 65 percent who said it’s too expensive?
Life insurance is meant to quell the ramifications of the unexpected, and losing a loved one during the zombie apocalypse certainly qualifies. But if you didn’t prepare before the outbreak, what will you do if your primary wage earner is one of the apocalypse’s casualties?
Rather than waiting for the unexpected, protect yourself and your family now from whatever it may be later. Consider that life insurance won’t just help replace income, but it can also be used to repair your home after zombies have set up shop in your dining room, or for a proper burial of an undead husband or wife.
Life insurance can be difficult to talk about — in fact, a Penn Mutual survey said 44 percent of American families would rather discuss the zombie apocalypse than life insurance — but it’s silly to skirt the issue just because accidents (or zombie bites) don’t happen every day.