How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

Have you thought about how your dependents are going to survive, in case you, their sole provider, pass away? This is where life insurance comes in. Keep on reading to find out how much life insurance you need.

Just like taxes, death is also unavoidable, however a great many people may not be quick to harp on it. However, guaranteeing that you have the right monetary assets set up, including life insurance, is significant on the off chance that you have loved ones who rely upon your pay. Life insurance can help cover funeral and burial costs, take care of remaining obligations and make managing everyday costs less troublesome for those you leave behind. The pandemic has a ton of people reevaluating their requirement for life insurance. Almost 30% of adults are bound to purchase life insurance over the course of the following year contrasted with their tendency to get it pre-pandemic, as indicated by LIMRA, an industry-supported research organization. In case you are thinking about purchasing a life insurance strategy, one of the primary questions you pose, is a significant one: How much life insurance do I need?

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is an agreement where an insurance organization consents to pay a predetermined sum after the passing of an insured party as long as the expenses are paid and updated. This sum is known as a death benefit. Policies give insured people the affirmation that their friends and family will experience peace of mind and have monetary assurance after their passing. Life insurance falls into two distinct classifications — whole and term. Whole life arrangements are a sort of permanent life insurance, which means you are covered for life as long as your charges are paid. Some lasting life policies offer an investment part that permits you to fabricate cash value, taking the expenses you pay and putting them into the market. Term life insurance, then again, covers you for a set term. For example, you may buy a 20-year or 30-year strategy, contingent upon your age and how long you need coverage. A few policies permit you to renew your coverage after a specific expiry date, while others require a clinical test to do as such. Between term life and permanent life insurance, term life will in general offer less expensive premiums.

How much life insurance do I need calculator

A life insurance calculator utilizes your current assets and obligations to find out how much life insurance coverage you will require. In the event that you need assistance sorting out your resources and obligations, there are various online calculators to assist you with ascertaining those qualities. You can likewise follow this general way of thinking to track down your own objective coverage sum: financial obligations minus liquid assets.

  • Calculate obligations: Add your yearly compensation (times the number of years that you need to supplant pay) + your mortgage balance + your different obligations + future requirements, for example, college and funeral costs. In case you are a stay-at-home parent, incorporate the expense to replace the services that you give, for example, kid care.
  • From that, take away liquid assets, for example, savings + existing college funds + current life insurance.

As an example, let us create a hypothetical situation with a fictional couple: Jack and Hailey. They have two children, ages 2 and 5. Hailey makes $75,000 per year, and Jack is a full-time stay-at-home father. They have a $150,000 total on their mortgage, owe $16,000 on two vehicle loans and have $3,000 in credit card obligation. Heather has group life insurance equivalent to twice her yearly compensation, and Jack has none. Together, they have $20,000 in a bank account and $10,000 in their children’s college savings. The couple choose to have a 30-year term life insurance policy. Before the finish of the term, their children will be grown-ups, their mortgage will be paid off and, on the off chance that they adhere to a savings plan, the remaining spouse will have a retirement savings.

To compute her life insurance needs, Hailey would calculate the sum of her obligations:

  • $1.2 million for income replacement ($75,000 times 16, the number of years before her youngest child graduates from high school).
  • $150,000 for the mortgage expenses.
  • $19,000 for debt ($16,000 in car loans, plus $3,000 in credit card debt).
  • $200,000 for the college education of her two children.
  • $7,600 for final expenses — almost the median cost of a funeral with a casket, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

This makes $1,576,600. From this, Hailey would subtract:

  • $20,000 in savings.
  • $10,000 in the children’s’ college funds.
  • $150,000 of group life insurance.

This means Hailey should purchase a $1.4 million ($1,396,600) term life policy.

Here is how Jack would calculate his life insurance amount. His obligations would include:

  • $100,000 to replace the child care that he now provides, until the kids are teenagers.
  • $150,000 for the mortgage expenses.
  • $19,000 for debt.
  • $200,000 for the college education of the two children.
  • $7,600 for final expenses.

The sum of this is $476,600. From this, he would subtract $30,000 to account for the couple’s savings and their children’s’ college funds. The final value of his life insurance is about $450,000.

How much life insurance do I need?

On the off chance that you need to immediately decide your current life insurance needs, dependable guidelines can be a simple method to get a value. These frameworks are superior to a random speculation, however, they regularly neglect to represent significant parts of your monetary life. Use an online calculator to find out about how much life insurance you need, at that point compare that figure with these evaluations.

Rule of thumb No. 1: Multiply your income by 10.

As per Marvin Feldman, previous president and CEO of insurance industry group Life Happens, “It is not a bad rule, but based on our economy today and interest costs, it is an outdated rule”. The “10 times income” rule does not investigate your family’s necessities, nor does it consider your savings or existing life insurance arrangements. Also, it does not give a coverage sum for stay-at-home parents, who ought to have coverage regardless of whether they do not make an income. The value given by the stay-at-home parent should be supplanted on the off chance that the individual passes away. At an absolute minimum, the remaining parent would need to pay somebody to offer the types of assistance, for example, child care, that the stay-at-home parent provided for free.

Rule of thumb No. 2: Buy 10 times your income, plus $100,000 per child for college expenses

Education costs are a significant part of your life insurance computation on the off chance that you have children. This recipe adds another layer to the “10 times income” rule, however it actually does not investigate the entirety of your family’s requirements, resources or any life insurance coverage effectively set up.

Rule of thumb No. 3: The DIME formula

This rule of thumb urges you to investigate your funds than the other two. DIME represents debt, income, mortgage and education, four territories that you should take into consideration while ascertaining your life insurance needs.

  • Debt and final costs: Add up your debt, other than your mortgage, in addition to an estimate of your funeral service costs.
  • Income: Decide for how many years would your family require support, and multiply your yearly income by that number.
  • Mortgage: Calculate the sum you need to take care of your mortgage.
  • Education: Estimate the expense of sending your children to school and college.

By adding these obligations together, you get a significantly more balanced perspective on your requirements. Notwithstanding, while this formula is more thorough, it does not represent the life insurance coverage and savings you as of now have. It likewise does not consider the unpaid commitments a stay-at-home parent makes.

Regardless, the best amount for you is the one that gives you the most consolation that your family will be taken care of, whether you are around to give that care or not. Recollect that these overall principles are only that – all-inclusive statements that are not specific to you. Possibly you have different resources, like an offer in a private company. Or then again different obligations you are worried about, like how to really car for old parents. Those particulars can get muddled quite quickly – that is the reason it is best to make the effort to chat with somebody who truly knows and understands life insurance.

What is the minimum amount of life insurance you need?

An enormous piece of picking a life insurance strategy is deciding how much cash your dependents will require. Picking the face value — the sum your arrangement pays on the off chance that you pass away — relies upon a couple of various elements and accordingly, the minimum measure of coverage you need might be altogether different from what another person requires. Monetary specialists regularly prescribe buying 10 to multiple times your yearly income in coverage, however your own number might be higher or lower. Here are the absolute most significant considerations for picking a minimum amount of life insurance.


Life insurance can be utilized to take care of remaining debts, including student loans, mortgage, vehicle loans, credit cards and personal advances. In the event that you have any of these obligations, your strategy ought to incorporate sufficient coverage to take care of them in full. So for example, on the off chance that you have a $200,000 mortgage, and a $4,000 car loan, you need at any rate $204,000 in your policy to cover your debts. However, remember the interest. You should take out somewhat more to settle any additional interest or charges also.

Income Replacement

Perhaps the greatest factor for life insurance is income replacement. In the event that you are the sole supplier for your dependents and acquire $40,000 per year, you will require a policy payout that is adequately huge to replace your income, in addition to something extra to prepare for inflation. To lean toward the safe side, expect that the lump amount payout of your strategy is contributed at 8%. You will require a $500,000 strategy just to replace your income. This is anything but a set guideline, however adding your yearly income back into the strategy ($500,000 + $40,000 = $540,000 for this situation) is a genuinely decent protection from against inflation. When you decide the necessary presumptive worth of your insurance strategy, you can begin looking. There are numerous online insurance calculators that can assist you with deciding how much insurance you will require.

Insuring Others

Clearly, there are others in your life who are essential to you, and you may contemplate whether you ought to insure them. When in doubt, you should just protect individuals whose demise would mean a monetary misfortune to you. The passing of a child, while emotionally difficult, does not establish a monetary misfortune since kids cost cash to raise. The passing of an income-procuring spouse, in any case, causes a circumstance with both emotional and monetary misfortunes. If this is the case, follow the income supplanting estimation with their income. This likewise goes for colleagues with whom you have a monetary relationship. For instance, consider somebody with whom you have a common duty regarding mortgage payments on a co-possessed property. You might need to think about a policy for that individual, as that individual’s death will hugely affect your monetary circumstance.

How much life insurance do I need Dave Ramsey?

Financial specialists like Dave Ramsey suggest setting your death benefit at 10 – 12 times your yearly compensation. This is for a significant reason, which is providing for your family’s future. For instance, if a person’s compensation is $40,000, and their policy death benefit is $400,000 ($40,000 times 10). On the off chance that that person passes away, their family could put the $400,000 in a shared asset that makes a 10% return. That investment could yield $40,000 each year — the individual’s original salary. The premium that the person’s family could acquire every year would cover the individual’s compensation. Furthermore, the first sum contributed could remain there inconclusively as they utilize the interest to help go through life without their loved one. Above all, this gives significant peace of mind and monetary security for that person’s friends and family during a really troublesome time

What is the average amount of life insurance?

The average expense of life insurance is $26 per month. This is with regard to information gave by Quotacy to a 40-year-old purchasing a 20-year term life strategy, which is the most well-known term length sold. However, life insurance rates can differ significantly among candidates, insurers and strategy types.

Average cost of life insurance by age and gender

These yearly life insurance rates are dependent on a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance strategy for super preferred applicants.

Age: 30          

  • Average annual rate for men: $227
  • Average annual rate for women: $193

Age: 40          

  • Average annual rate for men: $341
  • Average annual rate for women: $289

Age: 50          

  • Average annual rate for men: $842
  • Average annual rate for women: $654

Average cost of life insurance by policy type

These yearly life insurance rates are dependent upon a $500,000 strategy for super preferred applicants.

20-year term life

Age: 30          

  • Average annual rate for men: $227
  • Average annual rate for women$193

Age 40:          

  • Average annual rate for men: $341
  • Average annual rate for women: $289

Age: 50          

  • Average annual rate for men: $842
  • Average annual rate for women: $654

Whole life

Age: 30

  • Average annual rate for men: $4,015
  • Average annual rate for women: $3,558

Age: 40

  • Average annual rate for men: 6,042
  • Average annual rate for women: $5,413

Age 50:

  • Average annual rate for men: $9,432
  • Average annual rate for women: $8,440

Average cost of life insurance by health

These yearly life insurance rates are dependent up on a $500,000, 20-year term life policy.

Age and gender: 30-year-old woman

  • Super preferred: $193
  • Preferred: $233
  • Standard: $354

Age and gender: 40-year-old woman

  • Super preferred: $288
  • Preferred: $354
  • Standard: $521

Age and gender: 50-year-old woman

  • Super preferred: $654
  • Preferred: $774
  • Standard: $1,156

Age and gender: 30-year-old man

  • Super preferred: $228
  • Preferred: $294
  • Standard: $421

Age and gender: 40-year-old man 

  • Super preferred: $341
  • Preferred: $421
  • Standard: $668

Age and gender: 50-year-old man

  • Super preferred: $842
  • Preferred: $991
  • Standard: $1,562

Average cost of life insurance by term length

These yearly life insurance rates are based on a $500,000 term life policy for a 40-year-old applicant in the super preferred class.

Term length: 10 years         

  • Average annual rate for men: $211
  • Average annual rate for women: $185

Term length: 20 years         

  • Average annual rate for men: $341
  • Average annual rate for women: $289

Term length: 30 years         

  • Average annual rate for men: $595
  • Average annual rate for women: $478

How much life insurance do I really need?

This will consistently be an individual decision and will probably rely upon a couple of elements – including how much your dependents depend on your income, weighed against how much the expenses cost and what you can bear to pay every month. In case you are uncertain, there are a couple of things to consider prior to settling on your official choice.

1. Cover your mortgage

For many of us, a mortgage is the greatest loan we will at any point take out, so it merits thinking about how your family would bear the cost of the reimbursements should you pass away. This frequently drives property holders to conclude that having a lump sum life insurance pay-out enormous enough to clear the mortgage is the minimum measure of cover required. Mortgage life insurance arrangements cater for this. They commonly run until the mortgage is paid off and can either be level term or diminishing term cover. The vast majority with reimbursement contracts go for diminishing life polices, which implies the size of the pay-out diminishes as your mortgage obligation gets lesser over the long run. On the off chance that you as of now have an interest-only mortgage and are just reimbursing the home loan interest and not the capital obligation, make sure to incorporate both capital and premium when working out the amount to cover your need.

2. Cover other loans and debt

A mortgage may not be the solitary exceptional obligation you have. On the off chance that you owe cash on different loans and credit cards, these likewise should be paid from your domain should you pass away. While figuring how much life insurance cover you need, incorporate these additional obligations as well.

3. Cover family expenses

Just as your debts, ponder over other outgoings that your family may battle to pay for in the event that you were not present anymore. For instance, work out the amount you may need to cover food bills and service bills, along with the expense of running a vehicle. In the event that you have kids, factor in their education and the amount it may cost to get them through school, advanced education, and even further education. Prior to purchasing cover, consistently check with your employer to perceive the amount they will pay out in case of your demise. Organizations ordinarily pay death in-service benefits comparable to four times your compensation, which would mean you would not need to take out a lot of life cover. In the event that you are not working, this does not naturally mean you can’t profit by cover. For instance, in case you are a stay-at-home parent, your accomplice could utilize the life insurance pay-out for childcare expenses should you die.

4. Income replacement

Another method of working out how much life insurance you need is to multiply your income by the quantity of years you need to continue to procure. The advantage of this methodology is that should you pass away unexpectedly, your dependents will not suffer monetarily in light of the fact that the pay-out will permit them to proceed with their present lifestyle. Nonetheless, while you need the sum insured to cover current and future costs, on the off chance that you ascertain the pay-out entirely through to retirement, you may see the month-to-month premiums are very costly – and you will have to find some kind of balance.

5. Critical Illness

It is feasible to add basic sickness cover to your life insurance strategy, for extra significant serenity that your family would be monetarily secured on the off chance that you endure a genuine disease and can’t work. Joining cover in this manner can mean less expensive premiums than if you somehow managed to take out two separate policies. Basic sickness insurance covers a scope of indicated ailments, like malignancy and coronary illness. Albeit all approaches should cover various core conditions, most arrangements cover a wide reach. It is consistently worth checking the small print to see precisely what security the arrangement gives. Remember that critical illness premiums will be more costly than life insurance expenses in light of the fact that measurably there is a lot more serious danger that you will experience the ill effects of a genuine ailment sooner or later than you are to die before the age of 65. Numerous individuals in this way limit the measure of cover they need to two to three times their income, or the estimation of their mortgage.

6. Funeral costs

Funeral costs are another cost that life insurance can help cover. You could either consider the additional expense when taking out an arrangement, or select an expert funeral plan. As the name proposes, a funeral plan is a method of masterminding and paying for your memorial service before you pass away, so you realize that your desires are dealt with and your friends and family are not left with a huge bill. You either pay portions or a singular amount to a funeral planner, which puts your cash into an insurance policy or an autonomous trust fund. At the point when the opportunity arrives, your arrangement takes care of the expenses of your funeral service and your last wishes are satisfied.

How much life insurance do I need as a single person?

Single individuals without any children frequently need not bother with life insurance in light of the fact that nobody is depending on their income. However, there are a few reasons why you may require life insurance on the off chance that you are single. In the event that you pass away, who would pay for your funeral? Indeed, even a basic service could be expensive. On the off chance that you do not have life insurance, another person (e.g., a relative) may need to foot these bills. Regardless of whether you have just a small policy, the death benefits could be utilized to cover these costs.

Do you have debts in overabundance of your resources, or do you owe cash along with another person? Maybe you are a joint debtor with your sister on her mortgage. In the event that you passed away, she would be answerable for the whole debt. Would she have the option to make the regularly scheduled payments all alone? A life insurance strategy naming her as your recipient could give her enough assets to cover a lot of the mortgage, or maybe to take care of the whole debt.

Also, it is conceivable that your health could disintegrate? Perhaps you have a family background of cancer heart diseases. In the event that that is the situation, you may experience difficulty purchasing life insurance later when you are older, particularly if your health has started to deteriorate. Regardless of whether you are single, it would be smart to purchase life insurance now before it gets excessively costly, or you become uninsurable. All things considered, you may not remain single until the end of time.

Since life insurance rates can differ from company to company, get in touch with your insurance agency and research your options to find out how much life insurance you need as a single person and where to get the best rates.

How much life insurance do I need for my spouse?

In case you are looking for life insurance, you perceive the need to have a monetary safety net for your family. However, in case you are hitched, your safety net most likely will not be finished except if your spouse likewise has a life insurance strategy. Married couples looking for life insurance together have a couple of key considerations when setting up the correct coverage for their family. Looking for life insurance with your spouse is like looking for an individual life insurance strategy without them. You will have to guarantee that your strategy sufficiently ensures your dependents, which means deciding how much coverage you need and how long your approach should last. However, wedded couples have unique considerations when looking for life insurance, including whether to pick a joint arrangement and how much coverage is required for stay-at-home parents. Since life insurance rates can differ from company to company, get in touch with your insurance agency and research your options to find out how much life insurance you need for your spouse and where to get the best rates.


In the event that you need life insurance, it is imperative to know how much and what kind you need. Albeit usually, renewable term insurance is adequate for a great many people, you need to take a look at your own circumstance. On the off chance that you decide to purchase insurance through a specialist, settle on what you will require beforehand, in order to try not to stall out with lacking coverage or costly coverage you need not bother with. Similarly, as with investing, teaching yourself is vital for settling on the correct decision. So make certain to do your research to guarantee that you secure the most ideal life insurance.

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.

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