Life Insurance

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Life insurance can help protect your family financially if anything happens to you, but it’s important to make sure you’re not overpaying for the coverage you need.

How does life insurance work?

Life insurance is a planning tool that provides financial protection for your dependents.

The asset provides a tax-free lump sum of money which is paid to your dependent after your death. Typically, life insurance is bought so that your dependents would be able to sustain payments for bills, college tuition or other after-life expenses.

Key components of life insurance policies are:

  • Term: When buying life insurance you would choose how many years your policy will last. This will also depend on the type of life insurance that you purchase — permanent insurance has a term that will last your whole life for example.
  • Death benefit: The face value for the life insurance policy. This is the amount of money that would be paid to the beneficiary if you passed away.
  • Premiums: The monthly or annual payments that you give to the insurer to keep the life insurance policy in place. If you miss a payment or decide not to pay the life insurance policy would be canceled.

How to calculate your life insurance needs

your needs

Every individual has a different financial situation and therefore will require different life insurance needs.

When calculating your needs you should consider what the life insurance will be used for and why you may need life insurance in general.

If you are young and do not have any dependents then buying life insurance may not be a necessary purchase at this point in your life. On the other hand, if you are starting a family in which the financial livelihood of the family relies on your salary, then you may want to consider purchasing some life insurance coverage and calculate your future needs.

When beginning to calculate how much life insurance you need, you should start by adding up your current and future financial obligations. This can include obligations such as:

  • Future salaries
  • Mortgage balance
  • Debts
  • College costs
  • Funeral costs

After you have figured out your obligations, you can add up your current assets such as savings and college funds. Finally, by subtracting your current assets from the obligations you will arrive at a target amount for how much life insurance you will need. It is important to note that this is a rough estimate for coverage and it may be useful to purchase slightly more life insurance to compensate for unexpected financial situations that your dependents might face.

Types of life insurance

Life insurance companies will typically offer two different types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance.

A term policy will last for a set period of time before expiring while permanent plans stay in effect for your entire life. Furthermore, some permanent life insurance policies will have a cash value component that will grow as you make premium payments.

Term life insurance
Permanent life insurance
Period of coverageSpecified term, usually one to 30 yearsLifelong
Cash valueNoYes
Average monthly premiumCheapExpensive

Depending on your situation and what the purpose of your life insurance is, the type of life insurance that you need will change.

For example, if you are looking for a cheap policy to cover future financial obligations like college tuition, then choosing a term life insurance policy with a death benefit that matches the total tuition may be the best option. On the other hand, say you have Type 1 diabetes and have had problems with getting approved for life insurance. In this case, a permanent policy like guaranteed acceptance life insurance may be a better option for coverage.


Average cost of life insurance policies

The cost of your life insurance policy will be dependent on a variety of factors including your health, age, occupation and if you smoke. However, the largest determinant will be if you are a smoker.

Smokers will have an average cost of life insurance that is 306% higher when compared to a nonsmoker.


Average Cost of Life Insurance for Non-Smokers vs Smokers

graph comparing life insurance cost of non-smokers vs smokers
graph comparing life insurance cost of non-smokers vs smokers

Find Cheap Life Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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Life insurance company reviews

When searching for the best cheap life insurance we would recommend getting life insurance quotes from as many insurers as possible. To aid you in this process we have provided detailed reviews of some of the best life insurance companies in the industry.

You will notice that many life insurance providers will have favorable underwriting requirements for certain individuals. For example, if you smoke you may find that Northwestern Mutual will have some of the best smoker life insurance rates available. Additionally, some insurers will specialize in certain products such as Mutual of Omaha which has one of the cheapest guaranteed whole life insurance products in the industry.

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class=\"ShortcodeImageBare--root \" \u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeImageBare--image-container \"\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"js-event-click\" data-eventcategory=\"Teaser\" data-eventlabel=\"Gerber Grow-Up Plan & Life Insurance Review: Better for Seniors Than Saving for College\" title=\"Gerber Grow-Up Plan & Life Insurance Review: Better for Seniors Than Saving for College\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/life-insurance\/gerber-life-review\"\u003E\u003Cimg alt=\"Gerber Life logo\" class=\"ShortcodeImage--image lazyload\" data-src=\"http:\/\/res.cloudinary.com\/value-penguin\/image\/upload\/c_limit,dpr_1.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_1600\/v1\/referral_logos\/us\/life_insurance\/ZGRB\" src=\"http:\/\/res.cloudinary.com\/value-penguin\/image\/upload\/c_limit,dpr_2.0,e_blur:1000,f_auto,h_1600,q_1,w_1600\/v1\/referral_logos\/us\/life_insurance\/ZGRB\" 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teaser-review--image\"\u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeImageBare--root \" \u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeImageBare--image-container \"\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"js-event-click\" data-eventcategory=\"Teaser\" data-eventlabel=\"New York Life Insurance Review: Great Variety of Whole and Universal Life Insurance Policies\" title=\"New York Life Insurance Review: Great Variety of Whole and Universal Life Insurance Policies\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/life-insurance\/new-york-life-review\"\u003E\u003Cimg alt=\"New York Life logo\" class=\"ShortcodeImage--image lazyload\" data-src=\"http:\/\/res.cloudinary.com\/value-penguin\/image\/upload\/c_limit,dpr_1.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_1600\/v1\/referral_logos\/us\/life_insurance\/NEWY\" src=\"http:\/\/res.cloudinary.com\/value-penguin\/image\/upload\/c_limit,dpr_2.0,e_blur:1000,f_auto,h_1600,q_1,w_1600\/v1\/referral_logos\/us\/life_insurance\/NEWY\" 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Life Insurance Research & Analysis

The Most Expensive States for Smokers Mix Aging Populations, Low Incomes and Poor Access to Quality Care

The states with the highest populations of smokers — led by West Virginia — pay 16% more for health insurance than those with the least... Read More

55% of Consumers Talked With Loved Ones About Life Insurance During Coronavirus Pandemic

While the pandemic generated conversations about life insurance, 39% of consumers remain without coverage — and those who do have coverage... Read More

Lemonade Life Insurance: Quick Coverage You Can Buy Online

Lemonade offers affordable life insurance that policyholders can buy online without a medical evaluation. Read More

Social Security Survivors Benefits Only Cover About Half of Lost Earnings for Young Families

As many as 6 million Americans rely on Social Security survivors benefits to replace lost income after a loved one has died. Whether you're... Read More

83 Million Americans Say Coronavirus Makes Them More Likely to Buy Life Insurance

Survey finds men more likely to consider life insurance because of the pandemic, as well as significant gaps in consumer knowledge on what... Read More

1 in 3 Vapers Will Continue Vaping Despite Health and Illness Risks

Today, the coronavirus crisis has led many doctors and the World Health Organization to reassess the health risk of smoking, stating that... Read More

How Is the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affecting Life Insurance? An FAQ

If COVID-19 has you wondering whether to get a life insurance policy or request assistance on your premium payments, there are a number of... Read More

What Is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust and Should I Create One?

An irrevocable life insurance trust is a financial planning tool that allows for better asset management and death benefit flexibility. By... Read More

Should I Buy Life Insurance for my Parents?

Buying life insurance for a parent requires two criteria — consent and insurable interest. Permanent life insurance is usually one of the... Read More

Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance Review: Best Guaranteed Whole Life Insurance

Mutual of Omaha is a good life insurance provider if you are looking for guaranteed whole life insurance or other cash value life insurance... Read More

What Is Imputed Income for Group-Term Life Insurance?

Life insurance imputed income is the value the IRS assigns to the premiums you've paid for any group-term life insurance policy that... Read More

What is Straight Life Insurance?

Straight life insurance is a form of permanent coverage that provides the policyholder with lifetime protection. Read More

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