Buying insurance of any kind is often confusing. In order to compare policies by price, you have to be sure that each policy carries the same benefits for the same amount, and figure in a dozen different factors. It’s enough to set your head spinning in most cases.
Term life insurance coverage can be relatively easy to comparison shop. It simply covers you in the event that you die before the end of the term for which you are covered.
Term life insurance will pay out a specified lump sum to the person that you name as beneficiary in the event that you die before the policy expires. The payout is subject to a few exclusions, most often suicide or other self-inflicted conditions.
Other than deciding if you want guaranteed or renewable premiums, there’s no need to worry about other bells and whistles, so comparing policies is a simple matter of comparing premiums among the various life insurance providers.
The biggest decision you’ll face is how much life coverage you need. The general rule of thumb is that, at a bare minimum, you should provide at least enough to pay off your outstanding debts and cover your funeral expenses. The face value of your policy should cover any remainder on your mortgage and other debts, and provide a cushion to help your family get back on their feet financially after your death. If you have young children, you should also cover your expected annual salary multiplied by the number of years until the youngest is no longer financially dependent.
There are a number of factors that may affect how much you pay for your policy aside from the amount of the death benefit you choose. These include your age, your gender, the state of your health and any pre-existing conditions, and whether or not you smoke. Smokers can expect to pay higher premiums than those who don’t use tobacco products.
If you are the major breadwinner or a major contributor to family income, you should be insured. No one likes to imagine what will happen if they die, but it makes sound financial sense. Potentially, your life insurance benefit can mean the difference between your family keeping the home in which you live and losing it to debt if you are no longer able to provide for them. In general, if you are carrying a mortgage, you should carry at least enough insurance to cover the remaining mortgage so that your heirs aren’t left with an ongoing financial impact.