How Long Do I Need Life Insurance?

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how long do I need life insurance

Life insurance is one of the most important purchases that you’ll ever make for you and your family. It’s vital that you get the safety net that your family deserves. It’s one of the only ways that you can ensure that your family has the protection that they need if something tragic were to after to you.

There are several different components that go into purchasing life insurance from the most popular life insurance companies. One of the most important parts is the length of the plan that you’re going to buy.

We get this question all the time.  This isn’t a “one size fits all” answer, it’s different for everyone. 

We suggest you examine the purpose for the life insurance and determine what’s come up that has prompted you to want to buy life insurance.  Is it income replacement?  Family protection?  Mortgage protection?  Estate planning?  Final expenses? A combination of all of these?

Once you determine the reason you’re buying the life insurance, we can drill down how long you need the coverage. There are so many different factors that you’ll need to consider, it’s hard determining how long you’ll need coverage, but there are some general reasons that people use life insurance.

Maybe you’re concerned about qualifying for life insurance if you have a health condition such as someone searching for life insurance for diabetics or life insurance for overweight people. We can help you in your search even if you’re in search of high risk life insurance policies.

Income Replacement
In most cases, income replacement is used if a family relies on a sole or majority breadwinner.  In this case, you want the life insurance to last until projected retirement.  In other words, until the income you are protecting  will end.  Term life insurance is the best option here because it’s a temporary risk.    

Family Protection
When buying life insurance to protect your children’s future, you want to purchase the insurance for as long as your children are financially dependent on you.  In other words, make sure the coverage lasts at least through college.   Again, term life insurance is the best option here because it’s a temporary risk you’re covering.

Mortgage Protection
Many consumers buy life insurance for the first time when they purchase a home.  They want to make sure the mortgage is paid off in case something happens to them.  Ideally, you’ll want to make sure you have the coverage for the full length of the mortgage.  If you have a 30 year mortgage, buy a 30 year term.  Make sure you use a company where you can “shed” some coverage and lower your premium as you start paying down that mortgage note.  Many consumers also opt for return of premium life insurance where they get all their money back (tax free) at the end of the term period.

Estate Planning
With estate planning, you’ll need permanent life insurance coverage. There are various different reasons that you would want to include life insurance in your estate planning. The payout from the plan is a great way for your loved ones to pay off any estate taxes or related fees that they would run into after your passing. A whole life plan is the best option for including a life insurance plan with your estate planning.   

Final Expenses
According to, if you want to cover your final expenses (i.e. funeral costs and remaining debts), a small permanent policy is the best option. 

Hopefully this helps in your research for how long you need life insurance. 

Like myself, most consumers have a mixture of all these reasons for obtaining life insurance.  We help consumers every day with their life insurance planning and can help you with a short phone call.  If you’re not sure how long you need life insurance, we’ll be happy to make a recommendation.

Aside from deciding how long you need to buy life insurance, you’ll also need to decide how much life insurance protection you need. There are several different factors that you’ll need to calculate to see how much insurance you need.

The first factor to add up is your debts and final expenses. The primary goal of your life insurance plan is probably going to be to give your loved ones the money that they need to pay off all of those debts. As we mentioned, it’s a great idea to have your life insurance plan that matched the length of your mortgage, but you should also ensure that your plan is going to give your loved ones enough money to pay off that mortgage bill and any other plans that they would be responsible for.

The next factor that you should look at when you’re deciding how much coverage you should buy is your paycheck. We mentioned that income replacement should be factored into how long of a term you need to buy. If you’re one of the main income earners in your household, your family would struggle financially if anything were to happen to you. There is no “perfect” number on how much you should get, but most insurance agents suggest that you get anywhere from seven to ten times your annual salary.

If you have any questions about getting life insurance or how much coverage you need, please contact one of our agents today and we would be happy to answer them for you. Life insurance is one of the most important investments that you’ll ever make for your family. It’s vital that you make the best decision. Maybe you are searching for $100,000 policy or a million dollar life insurance policy, we can help. Perhaps you’re interested in other types of coverage such as insurance for parents. It is our pleasure to help you obtain the coverage you deserve.

The best way to get affordable life insurance is to work with one of our independent insurance agents. Unlike a traditional insurance agent, we don’t only work with one single company. Because of insurance company is different, you could receive drastically different quotes for the same coverage. Instead of wasting your time talking to various insurance companies, let us do all of that work for you. We can give you quotes from dozens of insurance companies all at once.

We know that buying life insurance can be a long and difficult insurance process can be, but we are here to make the process as quick and easy as possible. Nobody should have to go without the life insurance they deserve. Contact one of our agents today to get the process started.

About Jeff Root

is the owner of He's an independent life insurance agent who has helped 1,000's of consumers purchase life insurance online and over the phone.

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