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Course Review: HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning

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Course Review: HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning

I just finished HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning and I wanted to share my review of the course. This was the second course I completed from The American College of Financial Services ChFC/CFP program.

> HS 300 Course Review

If you’re unsure why I am doing a review, I recommend reading my first post regarding my pathway to becoming a Financial Planner.

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” – Abigail Adams

HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning

According to the American College website, the course focuses on the role of planning for risk management needs. The topics covered include:

  • Fundamental principles of risk management
  • Principles of insurance
  • Human capital risk
  • Liability risk
  • Property risk
  • Financial wealth risk

The book consisted of twenty chapters as of the 6th edition. The book was twice the size and length than the last course. I was able to complete the material and final exam within ten weeks. Depending on your schedule and ability to memorize the material, you could complete it sooner.


The HS 311 course was very thorough explaining risks, managing risks, the insurance industry, insurance regulations, ethics and the various types of insurance, along with annuities. Honestly, I felt overwhelmed and I didn’t perform as well as I hoped on the final exam. It was a lot of information to memorize and process.

I have a profound respect for insurance regulators and professionals. The industry is massive, trillions $$ massive, and very complex. I found myself stacking flashcards to study due to the amount of information that was being fire-hosed into my brain. Twenty chapters is a lot of information to sort and remember, so I recommend strapping yourself in for this class.

school funny

I am part of a few Financial Planner Facebook groups where members collaborate and discuss issues. Life insurance and risks are hot subjects. Often planners are seeking the advice and knowledge of others regarding their clients. I am going to touch on elements I learned that have helped me better understand the issues and solutions discussed in those groups that I learned from this course.

Life Insurance

I was excited to learn about life insurance and its intricacies – something often overlooked by families. Life insurance is like soda, there are various flavors and huge differences. Since there were so many differences and flavors, I ended up diving down a few rabbit holes on Google to better understand Life Insurance.

I learn better by application, so, once I understood the concepts, I searched various insurance policies offered by companies to apply my learning. I kind-of “nerded out” and started looking through my own Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy. This helped me to apply some of the terminology and concepts I learned from the reading.

From the course, I was able to ascertain which insurance policy would be best given the scenario. Not all situations are clear and as I learned from my last course, communication is necessary – particularly asking the right questions – to determine which policy would be best for the client. I found that information invaluable and I feel better prepared to serve my future clients.

Auto Insurance

Auto insurance.……pretty simple right? Naw. I learned quickly I had no idea about auto-insurance, or my own insurance policy. I figured I paid my premium every 6 months and I am good to go. I was wrong. I didn’t realize how exposed I was if something went wrong. I was looking for the cheapest deal like everyone else and didn’t realize the risks.

There are several coverage options but the most common are:

  • Liability
  • Comprehensive
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist
  • Collision
  • Medical
  • Personal injury

The book covers extensively the coverage options – what they mean, what it covers, what it doesn’t cover, who it covers, who it doesn’t cover. Multiple scenarios were provided in the text and quizzes, leading to a comprehensive understanding of auto insurance policies.

car wreck

Here is a sample test question from the book:

Robert has a personal auto policy with split limits of $250,000/$500,000/ $50,000. He negligently caused an accident that destroyed a motor home and seriously injured the couple who were riding in it. How much would Robert’s insurer pay if he is determined to be legally liable for $300,000 to the wife for her injuries, $45,000 to the husband for his injuries, and $95,000 for damage to the motor home?

  1. $345,000
  2. $390,000
  3. $395,000
  4. $440,000

What did you guess? If you guessed anything other than A, you’re wrong – sorry. Don’t worry when I guessed wrong the first time, I did a double-take. It’s fascinating but nerve-racking to think you’re covered for something that you aren’t. If you want to find out why the answer is A – take the course!

Final Thoughts

I could expel a considerable amount of time and information on what I learned from this course, but I need to start studying for the next one. HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning helped me understand the necessity for risk planning. I have applied the knowledge towards correcting my own risk management deficiencies, especially auto insurance which will only serve me better when I help others.

I continue to recommend the program, even after two courses. As a servicemember remember, they do offer full-ride scholarships and are always looking for applicants.

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