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

No Medical Exam Life Insurance: Cheap Term & Whole Life Insurance Without a Physical

No medical exam life insurance, also called simplified issue, lets you purchase coverage without a physical or blood and urine tests. Find... Read More

MetLife Life Insurance Review: Few Coverage Options and High Rates for Smokers

MetLife offers no medical exam term life insurance, also called simplified issue term life insurance, for those that want coverage but have... Read More

AARP Life Insurance Review: A Good Option for No Medical Exam Coverage

AARP works with New York Life to offer term and whole life insurance coverage to seniors that have pre-existing medical conditions or would... Read More

Banner Life Insurance Review: Great Quotes and Coverage for Term and Universal Policies

Banner Life offers some of the best rates for term life insurance and universal life insurance policies. The Legal and General America... Read More

How to Choose a Life Insurance Beneficiary & How Claims Work

When you purchase a life insurance policy, you’ll be given the option of designating one or multiple beneficiaries to receive a death... Read More

What Insurers Look for in a Life Insurance Blood Test & Exam

Life insurance companies require medical exams and blood tests to check for disease and drug use in their applicants. We looked at how this... Read More

What is Credit Life and Disability Insurance? Do I Need It?

Credit life insurance is primarily sold by lenders and pays off the balance of a particular debt if you pass away. Similarly, credit... Read More

Mortgage Life Insurance: Good Rates for Homeowners With Medical Issues

Mortgage life insurance is an optional policy that offers enough coverage to pay off your mortgage in case you pass away, so that your... Read More

How to Find the Best Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance, is a type of whole life insurance policy with a limited death benefit. There's no medical exam and... Read More

How to Get Cheap Life Insurance With Preexisting Conditions

It can be difficult to find cheap life insurance with preexisting medical conditions, and a wide range of health problems can hurt your... Read More

What's Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance?

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance, also called AD&D insurance, offers coverage for your family if you lose a limb or pass... Read More

Transamerica Life Insurance Review: Wide Range of Products & Competitive Term Prices

Transamerica offers great options for term and final expense life insurance policies, particularly if you don't have a perfect health... Read More