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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data-srcset=\"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\/ladder-3 1x, http:\/\/res.cloudinary.com\/value-penguin\/image\/upload\/c_limit,dpr_2.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_1600\/v1\/referral_logos\/us\/life_insurance\/ladder-3 2x\"\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n \u003Ch3 class=\"h4 teaser-review--label\"\u003E\n \u003Ca\n class=\"teaser-review--link js-event-click\"\n href=\"\/life-insurance\/ladder-life-review\"\n data-eventaction=\"click\"\n data-eventcategory=\"Teaser\"\n data-eventlabel=\"Ladder Life Insurance Review: Quick and Simple Coverage You Can Manage Online\"\u003ELadder Life Insurance Review: Quick and Simple Coverage You Can Manage Online\u003C\/a\u003E\n \u003C\/h3\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E","\u003Cdiv class=\"node-teaser teaser-review block row\"\u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"block teaser-review--image\"\u003E\n 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Life Insurance Research & Analysis

How to Borrow Against Life Insurance Policy

It’s simple to borrow against the cash value of a permanent life insurance policy as there are no loan requirements or qualifications aside... Read More

How Variable Life Insurance Works: Pros and Cons

Variable life insurance, also called variable appreciable life insurance, provides lifelong coverage as well as a cash value account. See... Read More

Life Insurance for Your Family and Children

There are a several different ways to purchase life insurance for your family and children. Find out if your best option would be child... Read More

4 Mistakes to Avoid With Your Life Insurance

When you buy a life insurance policy, you might just assume that your beneficiary will receive a payout if you pass away. But if you make... Read More

Are Life Insurance Proceeds Taxable? Cases in Which Life Insurance is Taxed

Life insurance proceeds are typically not taxable as income, but there are several cases in which a life insurance death benefit or policy... Read More

Should I Buy Group and Supplemental Life Insurance?

Group and supplemental life insurance from your employer can provide coverage at discounted rates. But should you buy individual term life... Read More

Best Burial & Final Expense Life Insurance Companies

Burial insurance and final expense insurance policies are typically whole life insurance policies with low death benefits and limited... Read More

VGLI Life Insurance for Veterans: Good Rates in the Short-Term, but Not Over Time

VGLI is a good short-term life insurance policy for veterans, but rates increase dramatically as you get older. Compare VGLI's rates... Read More

Sagicor Life Insurance Review: Great Service & Options for No-Medical-Exam Coverage

Sagicor Life has outstanding reviews and is a top choice for no medical exam life term or whole life insurance. Learn more about how their... Read More

How Much Life Insurance Do You Actually Need?

How much life insurance you need is directly tied to your reason for purchasing a policy. Read about a couple simple rules of thumb for... Read More

What is Universal Life Insurance? Pros and Cons

Universal life insurance offers permanent coverage, similar to whole life insurance, but has better rates and the opportunity to not pay... Read More

What Happens to my Debt When I Die? Is it Forgiven or Transferable?

When you die, some debts are forgiven but most are collected from the value of your estate during probate. If your outstanding loans are... Read More