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Buying life insurance? 4 factors you should consider

Which option suits us best?
There are a series of items to consider when choosing a life insurance policy. Nicolas Hansen/Getty Images

Life insurance offers financial security by issuing a lump sum of money to beneficiaries following the death of the policyholder. This is particularly important for those who have lost the reliable income of the deceased.

Even if money isn't tight, the added peace of mind that life insurance provides is beneficial and worth pursuing. If you're currently in the market for life insurance, or just want to increase the coverage you already have, now is a good time to do so. 

Start by getting a free price quote so you know exactly what to expect.

4 factors to consider when buying life insurance

Just because the decision to enroll in life insurance is obvious, it doesn't mean that the process is simple. In fact, there are multiple considerations to account for. As you review your life insurance options, ask yourself the following questions to better determine the policy and coverage you need.

How much life insurance do you need?

Probably the most important consideration when it comes to life insurance is the amount you need. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question. How much life insurance you need is specific to your individual personal financial situation and circumstances. The way to determine a figure is largely tied to the answers to these questions:

  • Are you the sole income earner? 
  • What are your long-term plans? 
  • How healthy and old are you?
  • How much debt do you have? 
  • What standard of living are you and your family used to?

By honestly answering those questions, you'll be able to come to a more accurate figure. You can get a free price estimate here now or use the table below to review some top providers.

How much can you afford to pay?

Equally as important as the coverage amount is the cost of the life insurance policy you want. But the price - like the coverage amount - is tied to a variety of factors. This includes, but is not limited to, your age, health, income and ability to pay. Cheap life insurance isn't always the best route to take, but it's better than nothing. 

Still, there are reliable ways to get the best and most affordable policy:

  • Start early. The older you are, the more likely you are to have health issues, making your policy a more expensive one to insure.
  • Comparison shop among companies. This seems obvious but can get overlooked when provided a seemingly cheap initial quote. Shop and compare rates and policies among providers to get the best plan for you and your loved ones. You can explore your options right now. There are multiple providers to choose from.

Which type of life insurance should you get?

This is one of the trickier questions to answer. There are many types of life insurance to consider (although you may not be eligible for each). The most well-known are whole and term life insurance

Whole life insurance tends to be more expensive because it remains active for the full life duration of the insured. There is no policy expiration date. Consequently, premiums are relatively high.

Term life insurance is cheaper but is limited to a select term or time frame of your life. It will need to be renewed. Terms can be 15, 20, 30 years, or some other agreed-upon time frame.

If you're younger (think below 50) term life insurance probably makes more financial sense. If you're older, whole may be better. But that's a simplification. It's really tied to your own circumstances and preferences. It's easiest to speak to a provider who can answer your questions and help point you in the right direction. 

As mentioned, life insurance is a smart financial move. But be careful how you proceed. You don't want to buy a policy you can't afford but you also don't want to leave those who rely on you in a precarious position because your coverage was lacking.

Who will you list as beneficiaries?

If you're considering purchasing life insurance then you may already have beneficiaries for the policy in mind. However, there are some reliable tips for picking life insurance beneficiaries that you should keep in mind. Here are two of them:

  1. Go back to the basics: When you get insured for a large sum it can be tempting to list a variety of people as beneficiaries. But keep the people you purchased it for at the top of your mind. Is this policy to support your children after you have died? Then they should be listed. If you want to leave it to your spouse to make up for lost income in your absence then they should be put down first. When it comes to listing life insurance beneficiaries sometimes the most obvious choice may also be the right one.
  2. List multiple people: Perhaps you only have one person in mind for your plan. You can list them first but don't exclude others. You never know what could happen in the future. Primary beneficiaries could be hard to track down, may refuse the funds or could have even died since the policy was first established. So, make sure you have someone else to receive those funds. If you have more than one contingent beneficiary that's fine, too. You can allocate policy portions as you see fit.

Have more questions? Not sure how you should allocate your beneficiaries? Speak to a life insurance expert today who can help steer you in the right direction. 

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