I have been a huge fan of insurance policies ever since I heard Brooke Davis, of One Tree Hill, want a job enough to cover her car’s insurance premiums. Filipinos have long been skeptical about investing in these policies but thankfully that mind shift has changed according to the Insurance Commission figures.

A huge reason why people are wary about these policies is that they do not truly understand what it is for. Why pay for something you can’t even use in your lifetime (at least in the case of traditional life insurance plans)? There have also been several cases where policyholders are left with not a single centavo after investing all their hard-earned money in a pre-need plan.

Now, if you are on the fence as to getting these policies or are simply confused on which ones to get, here’s a quick overview of the types of insurance plans every Filipino family should have:

1. Philhealth

This is perhaps the type of plan that we are most familiar with. Fortunately, the government mandates each and every working individual — and senior citizens! — to have this.

We did make an expensive mistake last year. We only paid for our Philhealth accounts for a quarter when we became voluntary members in 2015. Our daughter was hospitalized for three days for pneumonia (if you’re on insurance, you’d most likely stay for five) and set us back around Php 15,000. Thank goodness for friends but it would have costed us next to nothing had we paid the Php 600 quarterly premiums. (We learned from that mistake and, nine months later, paid only Php 15,000 when I gave birth to our son.)

2. HMO Insurance Plan

If you are working with a company then you probably know what this is all about. Although we’d never wish for anyone in the family to be ill, it’s always good to have this just in case. It’s actually one of the things that I miss ever since we started freelancing.

Sadly, individual accounts are a little costly and most of them do not accept monthly payments unlike when you’re paying for it through your employer. There are also more affordable, prepaid options but a lot of research is required before purchase.

3. Long-Term Health Insurance

We’re all familiar with the cycle: we’re born, we study for nearly two decades and then work for four more. If we’re lucky, we get to spend some of our savings in frivolous activities but, if we’re not, all of that hard-earned money — plus a bit more from our family — goes into our hospital bills.

This type of insurance helps cover hospital and nursing care — because we never really know if we’re lucky enough to live much longer than we expect.

4. Life Insurance

Life insurance is more than just setting aside some amount of money for, as harsh as it sounds, your burial or as helpful as your family tries to get back on their feet after you’re gone. In estate planning, life insurance is used to help pay for the estate taxes, which is set at 20 percent of the market value, which you have also left to your heirs.

Other Insurance Plans Worth Considering:

Critical Illness

Many people die from one of the many dreaded diseases (this could vary from company to company). The thing about these types of diseases is that they can be very costly so having such a policy helps cover these medical expenses.

Income Protection

This insurance policy is most beneficial for breadwinners. Paying off bills, tuition fees, mortgage, buying groceries or paying for medical and funeral bills can be very difficult if you are the main earner, if not the sole one, in the family. This helps replace a breadwinner’s lost income and gives the family enough time to find a way to permanently replace it.

Mortgage Redemption Insurance

This type of insurance is one I am familiar with as this is part of taking out a Pagibig loan. An MRI is best for breadwinners in the family who took out a loan as it ensures that the remaining mortgage balance is paid in case the borrower suddenly dies or is inflicted with a permanent disability.

Home Insurance

This provides coverage for when your home gets damaged due to natural disasters, water damages, robberies, and other similar incidents. Having may provide you with additional benefits such as legal and medical assistance, and relocation allowance.

Travel Insurance

If your family loves to travel like ours, it may be worth looking into getting a travel insurance policy. This provides protection against flight delays and cancellations or lost or opened baggage.

In Conclusion

Shopping for insurance policies can be very overwhelming so do your research first and find out what you really, truly need at this point. Then, find a trusted insurance agent that you can discuss your options with — go for one that is after your best interest and not the commission they could potentially get from you.