What is life insurance?
Life insurance is designed to help protect your loved ones financially if something happens to you. It helps cover funeral expenses, tuition fees, mortgage payments and more. This way, your family doesn't have to worry about money in an already difficult time.
Different types of life insurance
There are two main types of life insurance: term life insurance and whole life insurance.
Term life insurance typically lasts from one to 30 years and covers your loved ones if something suddenly happens to you in that period of time. Life insurance lasts, well, your whole life. It also comes with a savings account called "cash value" which grows a certain percentage each year.
What type of life insurance should I get?
Term life insurance is the most common life insurance policy. It is especially nice to have if you are a young family who is still paying their debts (mortgage, children's education, car payments). A forward policy can help pay off these debts if something happens to you and is also 3 to 10 times cheaper than a full life policy.
Whole life insurance can be good to have if you have a permanent employee – say, a child with special needs who will always rely on you for their care. It is also a good option if you want to spend your savings on retirement but you still have an inheritance to pass on to your family.
When to get life insurance
When it comes to buying life insurance, the general rule is: the sooner the better. Premiums tend to be lower for young people and remain the same throughout the political period.
A milestone in life is also a good time to think about life insurance. Like when you buy a house: a new mortgage is a great reason to get covered. If the unexpected happens, your family will not be left with most of the mortgage payments.
How much life insurance do you need?
How much life insurance you need depends on your family. The choice of coverage boils down to a number of factors, such as:
Annual salary and how old your family may need it
Remaining mortgage balance
Future tuition fees for children
Living expenses (credit cards, automatic payments, etc.)
And all of these can be subtracted from the savings you already have. For example, existing university funds, 401 (k) and other savings accounts.
Questions? We have answers.
The best way to save on life insurance is to buy it when you are young and healthy. You will likely get a lower premium that remains the same for the duration of validity.
Also important is to frequently reevaluate your needs. Once you pay for the car, say, you may no longer need the same amount of coverage. The same goes for things like your kids' mortgage or college tuition. Plus, as your savings grow, you can probably start reducing your coverage … and your premium.
Let's put it this way: you are never too young to buy life insurance. But for most young people, student loans and other debt are the priority, not life insurance.
But life insurance should become the best thing when you have a family. And if you're a young family, term life insurance might be right for you.
Here are some factors to think about when measuring your life insurance term.
The duration of your mortgage
When your last child graduates from college
When your partner or spouse plans to retire
Ideally, life insurance should reflect all your debts. So when you pay them, you can start reducing your coverage.
Each milestone of the guarantee deserves a review of life insurance. Taking out a mortgage on a new home is a perfect example: a policy that covers the remaining balance of your mortgage helps ensure that your family doesn't have to bear the costs alone if something unexpected happens to you.
In short: frequently review your life insurance policy. Once the mortgage has been paid off … once you have a lot of savings in the bank … it may be time to start reducing your coverage (and your premium).