Three things they need to know
■ Chronicle News Service
(StatePoint) From single parents to traditional and multigenerational households, modern families come in all shapes and sizes. But did you know there’s an uptick in the number of grandparents raising grandkids? According to data from The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2.9 million grandparents were raising their grandchildren in 2015 compared with 2.5 million in 2005.
Oftentimes, grandparents become primary caregivers due to unforeseen circumstances. Here are three things those taking on this responsibility should consider.
Protect their financial future
A recent study found 30 percent of all households don’t have life insurance, according to LIMRA, a life insurance research organization. Grandparents should be sure this coverage is up to date.
They might also consider purchasing term insurance – life insurance issued for a limited period of time. More affordable than a whole life policy, it provides financial security for the golden years, helps supplement retirement income and can assist with final expenses. A term life insurance policy can even help pay off a mortgage – so grandparents have peace of mind knowing that dependents have a roof over their heads – and can also be used for other child-rearing expenses, such as college tuition.
Keep them safe
Accidental injury is the leading cause of death for children up to 14 years old, and more than a third of accident-related deaths happen in the home, reports KidsHealth.
To create a safe living environment for younger children, secure large furniture to walls, purchase safety gates for staircases, and install outlet covers, corner protectors, security locks and appliance latches. It might also be a good time to update in-home safety features for grandparents, too. Handrails provide better grip on staircases, and anti-slip mats and grab bars in the bathroom can add extra stability.
Promote smarter driving
As teens get behind the wheel, encourage them to drive safely. A 2015 statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says six teens die every day in car crashes in the U.S., and this is the number one killer of teens. Distracted driving is the cause of 58 percent of teen-involved traffic crashes, according to the National Organization for Youth Safety. Remind grandkids about the dangers of texting, using apps and changing the radio station while driving.
Also, reevaluate your auto insurance policy. Talk to an agent about whether it makes more sense to add grandchildren to an existing policy or take one out for them specifically.
Grandparents may be able to add grandkids as secondary drivers on a policy, but should be prepared to pay higher rates since teens may be considered high-risk. Look for a cost-effective solution, such as youthful driver discounts. Eligible licensed drivers 20 and under can save up to 20 percent on their car insurance. Plus, drivers under age 21 who complete an accredited driver’s education course may also be eligible for discounts.
Caring for grandkids can be overwhelming. However, preparation can help ensure your family’s safety and security.