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Updated: May 14, 2020 4:03 PM ET | Originally published: January 3, 2020

Thinking about life insurance can be unnerving. It can remind you life is temporary — that you or someone you love will eventually pass away.

Uncomfortable thoughts like these can push buying life insurance farther down your to-do list.

But the possibility of an unexpected death is exactly why you need coverage. If your loved ones rely on your income, life insurance could help protect them and alleviate financial stress if you die.

The Best Life Insurance Companies

With that in mind we’ve done the research, and here are the top 15 best life insurance companies of 2020:

  1. AIG Direct: This huge company has strength, stability, and flexibility.
  2. Bestow Life: Best for no health exam – the best way to get coverage during COVID19.
  3. Haven Life: Super fast access to MassMutual term life policies online.
  4. Northwestern Mutual: An industry leader with a flair for customizing coverage.
  5. New York Life: The oldest life insurance company in the nation.
  6. MassMutual: Solid financial strength across a variety of life insurance types.
  7. Transamerica: Excels with living benefits coverage.
  8. Health IQ: Your good health can lower how much you pay for coverage.
  9. State Farm: An agent down the street could guide you through the buying process.
  10. Ladder Life: For shoppers who want the flexibility to tailor life insurance for their specific needs.
  11. American National: Offers a broad selection of riders to customize your coverage.
  12. Lincoln Financial: Ideal for whole life insurance policies with an investment component.
  13. Prudential: Good for cancer survivors and others with health concerns.
  14. Mutual of Omaha: Another good option for complex health histories.
  15. Banner Life: Best for large term policies.

1. AIG Direct: Strongest Financial Ratings

By life insurance standards, AIG Direct is relatively young having opened in 1995 — a century and a half after New York Life started writing policies.

But in its short history, AIG Direct has grown into one of the largest life insurance companies around. AIG Direct maintains an A rating from A.M. Best.

AIG Direct offers a full line of life insurance products, including universal life insurance, whole life insurance, accidental death insurance, and more.

Its most popular option is term life insurance, which can save you money because the coverage is temporary, lasting from 10 to 30 years.

AIG Direct offers three different versions of term life insurance:

  • Level (or standard): You pay the same premiums and keep the same coverage throughout your term.
  • Renewable: When your term expires you can keep the coverage by renewing at a higher price.
  • Convertible: Allows you the option of trading your policy in for permanent life insurance when your term expires.

The company also provides a range of different riders, which are optional add-ons that can customize your policy.

For example, with AIG Direct you can choose a “quality of life” rider that allows you to start drawing from your insurance before you pass away if you’re ever diagnosed with a critical, chronic, or terminal disease.

If you’re a little unsure about life insurance and you want to learn more about it before purchasing a policy, AIG Direct provides a number of helpful articles on insurance products, including how to determine the best type of policy for you, how to calculate the amount of coverage you’ll need, and many more topics.

How to buy: You can learn more or request a quote at aigdirect.com.

2. Bestow: Best for No Medical Exam

In the last few months, no-exam life insurance has seen a surge in popularity as more consumers search for life insurance policies but deal with the reality that more traditional life insurance requires a full medical exam.

Bestow Life is different. The agency uses proprietary algorithms to judge your health level without the exam.

That means no nurses, no needles, and no handing your blood samples over to a faceless corporation.

Skipping the exam also speeds up getting coverage. It can take weeks to go through the full underwriting process for a typical life insurance policy, but with Bestow’s exam-free application, you may be able to finish applying for a policy in as little as five minutes.

The whole application process is online, unlike other insurance companies that offer an online quote and then refer you to an agent to complete the process.

Need help along the way? No problem. You can contact Bestow’s insurance agents either by phone, email or live chat.

It’s a business model that plenty of people are happy with, but note that this convenience may come at a price: you may be able to qualify for cheaper rates on life insurance by going through a medical exam with another insurance company, although it’s still worth it to get a quote from Bestow to see if this applies to you.

Bestow only sells term life insurance in two flavors: short term life insurance for two years, or longer term life insurance for either 10 or 20 years. That’s a smaller offering than many other life insurance companies, which typically also offer permanent or whole life insurance.

Bestow works directly with one company, the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, which itself has an A+ rating from A.M. Best.

Change your mind about the policy? Bestow offers a full refund within 30 days.

3. Haven Life: Super Fast Term Coverage Online

We just mentioned MassMutual’s Direct Term program which lets consumers buy term life insurance directly from MassMutual.

But if you’re shopping specifically for a MassMutual term life policy, Haven Life offers an even more direct approach.

Haven Life, an all-online insurance agency, sells only large, medically underwritten term life insurance provided by MassMutual. Haven was born during the digital age. Connecting customers to term life online is all they do.

So you’ll get an intuitive experience on mobile or desktop, instant access to life insurance quotes, and a good shot at skipping the medical exam and still getting quality and affordable coverage.

Shoppers 45 and younger can skip the exam if Haven’s digital underwriting process doesn’t uncover any red flags. If you can’t skip the exam, you can still get coverage; it’ll just take longer than half an hour.

How to buy: Get a rate estimate at Haven Life’s web site a complete online experience.

4. Northwestern Mutual: Strong and Flexible

This fact can illustrate Northwestern Mutual’s performance: This insurer won J.D. Power’s 2019 life insurance customer satisfaction survey even though it does not interact with its customers online.

The company’s customer service and customized policy options are so strong customers don’t mind working a little harder to access coverage.

Whole life policyholders become shareholders in the company, earning dividends most years.

We especially like Northwestern Mutual’s lump-sum premium option for some universal policies. You could buy the policy outright and keep it the rest of your life.

How to buy: You’d have to work with an authorized Northwestern Mutual agent to buy a term, whole, or universal life insurance policy.

5. New York Life: A Tradition of Strength

New York Life is another legacy carrier — it started in 1845 — with financial strength and a wide variety of life insurance products. As with Northwestern Mutual, MassMutual, and Mutual of Omaha, whole life policyholders can receive dividends from New York Life.

Whether you buy term, whole, universal, or variable life your coverage will be top-notch. A.M. Best consistently rates New York Life A++, its highest rating.

New York Life excels with its convertible term life insurance which you can change to permanent insurance without going through the underwriting process a second time.

How to buy: You won’t be able to buy coverage from New York Life online. You’d need to work with an authorized agent. Your customer service experience will depend a lot on the performance of your local agent.

6. MassMutual: Access Quality Term Online

MassMutual, another household name in the life insurance market, lives up to its reputation by consistently earning A.M. Best’s top rating of A++. As a mutual company, whole life policyholders earn dividends.

MassMutual has flexible coverage options with an emphasis on more complex permanent life policies such as universal and variable life.

Most customers still access coverage through MassMutual agents, but unlike many legacy insurers, MassMutual has started interacting directly with customers online.

Term life shoppers can get coverage within minutes through MassMutual’s Direct Term program. You’d need a medical exam within 90 days to finalize your coverage, and the exam’s results could change your premiums and eligibility.

How to buy: Through a MassMutual authorized agent in your area or at the company’s site for some term policies.

7. Transamerica: Focusing on Living Benefits

Life insurance shopping becomes more difficult when you start imaging the way life could change in the future. The decisions you make now about your coverage will impact your life 20 or 40 years from now.

Transamerica’s policies — especially its Trendsetter LB term life policy — add some flexibility later in your term. If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness you could access your policy’s death benefit early — while you’re still alive — to help pay medical bills.

Granted, almost any life insurer offers this option as a rider; Transamerica happens to specialize in these sorts of “living benefits” which also include extending part of your death benefit to cover a child or grandchild. Transamerica also sells a term policy you can later convert to a whole life policy.

This insurer also has standard term policies and large whole life insurance policies — up to $2 million in coverage — as well as smaller burial life insurance choices with $50,000 in coverage.

Transamerica also makes our list because of its competitive rates and flexible underwriting process. Smokers have a better-than-usual shot at getting more affordable rates, and smaller term policies won’t require a medical exam.

How to buy: It’s not easy to buy a policy. You can get a quote online for a simple term policy, but you’ll have to call Transamerica to be set up with an agent near you.

8. Health IQ: Best for Health-Conscious People

Avid exercisers like Health IQ because this company can save them a lot of money.

The agency’s name can be a little confusing. The name Health IQ refers to the company’s innovative underwriting procedures which can lead to the savings.

A sophisticated quiz developed by leading experts and health researchers will help the company find your Health IQ.

But you won’t see questions about how much you exercise and how much you weigh. Instead, the questions will discern your knowledge about health and wellness.

The company’s research has found a correlation between knowledge about health and actual health. This innovative approach could save you up to 41 percent off standard life insurance rates.

You can also qualify for lower rates by proving you’re active — by participating in a competition or running a mile within a certain amount of time, for example.

Rewarding healthy people doesn’t stop with physical fitness with Health IQ. The insurer offers similar plans for diabetics who manage their condition successfully. They could save up to 38 percent on premiums compared to other insurers’ rates for diabetics.

Customers rave about Health IQ’s good customer service from friendly agents, part of the reason why it has a five-star rating on TrustPilot.

9. State Farm: Best for Local & Online Support

State Farm has 18,000 offices spread across all 50 states. This carrier also has solid financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s.

State Farm has a wide selection of life insurance products. You could get a small term policy instantly online or work with your local agent to build the long-term protection you need.

As with other carriers with networks of local agents, your customer service will depend a lot on your local agent. Many towns have a dozen or more local agents so you could visit a few before making a decision.

State Farm has whole, term, and universal life insurance. For such a huge, nationwide company, you can do a lot on State Farm’s site and mobile apps. You could change your beneficiary online, for example. Your beneficiary could begin a claim online, too.

How to buy: Visit a local State Farm agent or get started on the insurer’s home page which includes life insurance quotes.

10. Ladder Life: Best for Flexible Coverage

Term life can save you a ton on premiums compared to permanent insurance. But your coverage amount stays the same throughout your term. What if your needs change?

For example, you may pay off some big debts, which could decrease the amount of life insurance you need. Or maybe you have a baby which increases your coverage needs?

You can always buy more insurance, but you can’t buy less—unless you go with a life insurance company like Ladder.

Ladder sells only term life insurance policies from 10 to 30 years, but you can increase or decrease your coverage online without paying additional fees.

What’s more, the price you pay for a given insurance amount won’t ever change during its term with Ladder’s “Price Lock Guarantee.”

The quote and application process is all done online, which means you can get a quote and purchase a policy within minutes – no medical exams needed. Ladder’s insurance agents don’t work on commission, so they won’t try to upsell you a policy with coverage you don’t need.

If you need help during the process you can get information via live chat. Ladder’s 30-day money-back guarantee gives you the option of canceling the policy if you find it’s not the right fit for your needs.

To offer this life insurance, Ladder has partnered with Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company, which carries an A.M. Best rating of A.

If you opt to have your policy renew at the end of its term, the policy will be underwritten by Hannover Life Reassurance Company of America, which carries an A.M. Best rating of A+.

11. American National: Best for Riders

It may not be the flashiest insurance carrier out there. After all, it’s an old-school company, having been founded over a century ago in 1905.

But American National Life Insurance offers a more robust assortment of products than most carriers, and the coverage has earned an A rating from A.M. Best.

You can buy term life insurance as either short-term annual policies, or longer-term policies lasting from 5 to 30 years.

American National also offers whole life insurance policies, universal life insurance policies, and guaranteed universal life policies, among other options.

Along with its variety, American National made our list because of its wide range of optional riders. For example, you can purchase disability riders, accelerated benefit riders, and guaranteed cash-out riders to help your coverage adapt to your changing needs.

As a full-fledged insurance company, American National not only offers a large variety of life insurance products but also a full line of insurance policies – from home, auto and health insurance, to specialty products like credit life and disability insurance, guaranteed asset protection, and more.

If you’re looking for more than just life insurance, but you’d like to stay with one company, American National may be the best choice for you.

12. Lincoln Financial: Best for Complex Policies

Unless you’re shopping for more elaborate types of life insurance like variable or indexed universal, you may not be familiar with Lincoln Financial. The company excels with complex coverage. It even has a survivorship policy which covers two people at once.

Now term life shoppers who need smaller coverage amounts can get a policy quickly — usually after a few minutes on the phone.

Still, Lincoln makes our list because of its flexibility with complex life insurance. Some of the company’s universal life insurance can pay long-term care benefits later in life, for example.

Doing this cuts into the actual death benefit, of course. But life needs some adaptations sometimes.

Another way Lincoln Financial excels: Its underwriting for people with complicated health issues. Every insurer sees your health differently, and Lincoln — which has an A+ from both Fitch’s Ratings and A.M. Best — often has a more favorable view.

This means younger and healthier shoppers who can get more insurance for less in premiums may pay too much here.

How to buy: Get connected with an authorized financial professional through Lincoln’s site.

13. Prudential: Best for Former Smokers

Life insurance costs more for smokers because cigarettes and other tobacco products create health problems. But what about life insurance for former smokers?

A lot of life insurers charge more for former smokers, too, because of the long-term health problems smoking can cause later in life. As we’ll see below, life insurance companies want to know about policyholders’ health because it can affect the company’s financial strength.

The longer ago you smoked, the better chance you can find lower rates. Prudential, another A+ rated provider, has a more nuanced approach to writing policies for former smokers.

This can lead to lower rates for former smokers. But If you never smoked and are in good health, you could pay less with another provider on this list.

For an old and established company, Prudential has embraced 21st century technology. As a policyholder, you could change your beneficiary online. And, your beneficiary could file a claim online.

How to buy: Get life insurance quotes and buy coverage directly from Prudential.

14. Mutual of Omaha: Best for Final Expense Life

Mutual of Omaha sells term life policies but it excels with smaller whole life policies designed to cover final expenses.

Shoppers up to age 85 can buy this coverage, though premium payments will be much cheaper if you buy in your 60s. You can get just enough coverage for final expenses such as a burial or cremation so your family doesn’t have to pay.

Your beneficiary could, of course, use the payout for any reason including paying off your credit card debts or making a donation in your memory to a favorite charity.

For the best coverage at the lowest price, shop with an authorized or independent life insurance agent. Buying directly from Mutual of Omaha’s site will give you more expensive guaranteed issue coverage.

How to buy: Find an authorized agent through Mutual of Omaha’s site.

Banner Life (William Penn Life in New York State) has some of the largest term policies in the market. You could also extend your term length to 40 years with Banner, which is underwritten by Legal & General. Policies can reach $10 million in coverage.

Banner also sells terms in 5-year increments which is unusual. Overall, Banner keeps its insurance simple, offering term, final expense, and universal life options.

You could get a quote online anytime, but Banner’s customer service reps work only during business hours, Eastern time. After generating your quote, you’ll enter contact information and wait for a callback. Still, Banner’s customer satisfaction ratings remain high.

Premium prices are about average and Banner will charge a cancellation fee which could discourage some shoppers.

How to buy: Get a quote online and leave your contact information.

How We Found the Top Life Insurance Companies

The best life insurance companies offer measurable advantages over their competition. We used these criteria to choose our winners:

A.M. Best Rating of A or Better

Life insurance works differently than other types of insurance because it’s a long-term commitment. You don’t want to lock in your premium now, based on your current age and health, only to have the life insurance company fold later.

That’s why we selected companies with a strong financial footing, as measured by A.M. Best, a credit rating company for insurance companies. Other rating agencies include Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings.

Companies that have an “A” rating or better are among the most solid life insurance companies you’ll find. These companies should be around for the long haul.

Strong Online Presence

More and more people use their smartphones to take care of personal business such as buying life insurance.

We tried to find companies offering a strong online presence and make getting quotes and buying policies easy online.

However, several of our top choices still don’t do much online. We expect this to change in the coming years, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. MassMutual, for example, has embraced selling online through its own site and through its subsidiary, Haven Life.

We also favored insurers with multiple avenues of contacting company representatives for assistance if necessary.

Unique Business Models

After a while, insurers start to seem the same, especially once you’ve weeded out companies with less financial stability.

So we also favored companies that have embraced new technologies to connect you with quality coverage. That’s how Bestow and Ladder entered the picture.

Often, these companies still partner with older, time-tested life insurance companies which pairs a stable financial backing with the new tech-driven underwriting. We think it’s a win-win combo.

Choosing the Right Type of Life Insurance

To find the best life insurance company for you, it helps to know exactly what type of insurance you need.

Knowing the difference between whole, term, and universal life insurance — and knowing which riders you might actually use — can narrow your search for the best policy.

Here’s a breakdown of the basic types of insurance. Which type would best meet your needs? Let’s find out.

Term Life Insurance

Term life provides a fixed death benefit for a specified period of time.

Let’s say you buy a $25,000 policy for a period of 10 years. If you pass away during those 10 years, the death benefit would be paid to your survivors. If you lived beyond the 10-year term of the policy, your coverage expires and no benefits would be paid.

Term insurance policies almost always cost a lot less than other kinds of insurance because your insurer takes less risk. You can buy a lot of coverage for a smaller amount of money.

Some insurance providers let term policyholders renew their coverage for a new term, but the premiums will be more expensive because they’re based on your age and health when you renew.

Your policy’s term could range from 1 to 30 years. Most term policies last at least 10 years. Others can be tied to a specific age (commonly 65).

There are two basic types of term insurance policies:

  • Level Term policies mean that the death benefit stays constant during the full term of the policy.
  • Decreasing Term means the death benefit payout goes down, normally in one year increments, during the term of the policy.

Some insurance companies may also provide a “return of premium” feature. If you outlive your term, this feature could refund your paid premiums. This feature will add significant cost to your coverage.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance covers a variety of policy types, all of which can span the rest of your lifetime.

Just like term life, permanent life policies can pay a lump sum of money to your survivors when you die. Unlike term, permanent policies also accrue their own cash value over time.

This cash value could be withdrawn, borrowed against, or in some cases used to reduce the amount you pay in premiums to keep your policy.

Premium payments on permanent life insurance policies are almost always significantly higher than those for term life insurance policies, so these policies may not be the best option if you are on a tight budget.

Here are a few common types of permanent life insurance:

Whole Life Insurance: This most common type of permanent life insurance allows you to lock in a fixed-rate premium for the life of the policy. The savings portion of the policy will accumulate cash value at a fixed rate, much like a savings account, and interest earned is usually tax-deferred.

Universal Life Insurance: This permanent coverage also provides a death benefit and accumulates value, but universal life offers a lot more flexibility than typical whole life. A universal policy’s cash value can interact fluidly with its coverage. As a result you could adjust the amount of your death benefit or use accumulated cash to reduce premium payments later in life. However, once the cash value amount is gone, you either start paying the premiums again or the policy may lapse. People who want the stability of a fixed premium but the flexibility to change the amount of coverage over time should consider universal coverage.

Variable Universal Life Insurance: Variable universal life insurance features flexible minimum and maximum premium payments but with a twist: You could invest the cash portion in insurance company-managed mutual funds. Your cash component could grow — or decline — depending on the performance of the funds. Many companies will cap your policy’s potential gains and also absorb some of your policy’s heavy losses.

Indexed Universal Life Insurance: The cash value component of this policy connects to a stock index such as NASDAQ or the S&P 500. Your cash can grow or decline along with the broader market.

Types of Life Insurance Riders

A rider adds benefits or amends the provisions of your life insurance policy, making your coverage more flexible.

Common riders include:

  • Accelerated Death Benefit: If you became terminally ill, this rider would let you access your death benefit early to pay for medical care.
  • Long-term Care Provisions: You could access your death benefit early to pay for assisted living or other long-term care.
  • Premium Waivers: You could keep your coverage even without paying life insurance premiums if you became disabled and couldn’t work. These waivers tend to be temporary.
  • Benefit Exclusions: Riders could even prevent your insurer from paying your death benefit if you died from specific causes.

Riders also add cost to your premiums, so try to avoid adding too many. You can add riders only when buying your policy. You can’t add them later.

Life Insurance FAQs

We get a lot of questions about life insurance. Here are some of the more common questions and their answers:

What’s the difference between whole & term life?

A term policy expires after a set period of time, while whole life insurance is permanent and accumulates a cash value that consumers can borrow against. Many financial experts recommend term life insurance for the average family since that is adequate for most needs. Term lengths can be set to match the timing of your debts and other liabilities.

Is whole life insurance a good investment?

Whole life insurance is often sold as an investment, but it comes with much higher premiums than term policies. And if you simply want to invest your money in the stock market, buying low-cost index funds is a cheaper way to go. In and of itself, life insurance isn’t a good way to invest money.

Will I need a medical exam to get coverage?

Most life insurance companies will require you to take a free, in-home medical exam as a part of the application process. You can avoid the medical exam but doing so normally makes your coverage a lot more expensive, especially if you’re healthy enough to qualify for low premiums.

How much life insurance should I buy?

There are many ways to estimate how much life insurance you need, such as purchasing a policy worth 10 to 12 times your income or estimating the expenses and debts that need to be covered if you die with those obligations. This topic is important enough to expand on below.

Do I really need life insurance?

Not everyone needs life insurance — if no one would be harmed financially by your death, it may not be for you. Or, if you have so many health conditions buying coverage would be too expensive, you should pursue other forms of protection such as investments or savings.

How do I know if a life insurance company is ‘good?’

You can find several online tools for measuring the quality of an insurance company. Financial rating agencies like A.M. Best, Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s grade insurers on their financial strength. For customer service questions check with Better Business Bureau, TrustPilot, or Money’s parent company, ConsumersAdvocate.

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

While having the right life insurance provider is important, so too is buying the right amount of insurance. Too little, and your loved ones won’t be fully protected. Too much, and you’ll be overspending for years to come.

Rich Kasparian, financial advisor and president of Garden City Financial Group, says you should consider your debts and your assets when you choose a life insurance policy amount.

He suggests buying enough coverage to replace your income for years to come.

“There’s a misconception about insurance that, instantly, the beneficiary gets the money and then just pays every bill off,” he said. “That’s all well and good but if they have no money left after paying the bills it doesn’t really help them.”

Luckily, there are a few different methods for deciding how much to buy.

Rule of Thumb: 10 to 12 Times Your Income

At a bare minimum, many financial experts recommend a quick back-of-the-napkin calculation: buy coverage equal to 10 to 12 times your annual income.

For example, if you make $50,000 per year, you’d need to purchase $500,000 to $600,000 worth of life insurance.

This is a good starting point for most people, but realize your actual needs might vary.

For example, if you’re debt-free with no children and your spouse earns more than you do, you may not need as much life insurance as this. That’s why many experts recommend crunching the numbers as a better approach.

Tally Up Your Financial Obligations and Savings

Unless you’re getting fancy with high-net-worth estate planning, most life insurance has a specific purpose: to provide financial support for your loved ones upon your death.

For most people, this means paying off the mortgage, credit cards, and other debts; paying your children’s college tuition; and providing a supplemental income to keep your family afloat in the absence of your regular paycheck.

You may also consider funding your funeral expenses, budgeting enough money for your spouse to take bereavement leave without having to worry about going back to work immediately, and including the costs of raising a child until age 18.

Case Study: The Smiths

Meet the Smiths, a hypothetical family with a set of twins and two working parents who each earn $50,000 per year.

If the Smiths have $500,000 worth of mortgage debt, $10,000 worth of car loans, and $50,000 worth of student loans, their total debt is $560,000. The Smiths also want to save $20,000 each for their kids’ college education, and expect that a funeral would cost $10,000.

So the Smiths tally up their financial obligations: $560,000 of debt, $40,000 in anticipated college savings, and $10,000 in funeral expenses, for a total of $610,000.

In addition, the Smiths want to provide enough income for the other spouse to live on for a full five years if they choose (add on $250,000), and enough money to raise their two children to age 18, from their current age of five.

The USDA estimates it costs $14,000 per year to raise one child, so the Smiths will need an additional $364,000 to raise their children.

Adding up all these expenses, and the Smiths estimate that they’ll each need about $1.25 million in life insurance coverage.

Use a Life Insurance Calculator

You can also take a shortcut and use a life insurance calculator, which are available for free on many of the best company websites as well as other insurance advice websites.

If you opt for this route, try using several calculators and taking the average life insurance amount so that you’re getting the best estimate.

Using a life insurance calculator can provide a better estimate than a rule of thumb, but it may not be as accurate as calculating how much you need yourself, or even asking for professional help.

Still, it’s a reasonable alternative and will give you an idea of how much coverage you’ll need to buy.

Ask a Financial Advisor or Life Insurance Agent

The best way to find out how much insurance you need is to ask a life insurance agent, or even better, an independent financial advisor.

While agents are essentially salespeople for life insurance policies, they can still be able to help you find a policy that meets your needs.

An independent agent — one who doesn’t work for a specific insurer — has the most freedom to help you.

Financial advisors often receive a commission based on the investments they manage for you, but you can find a fee-only financial advisor.

These financial advisors provide unbiased financial advice for a flat fee, and they can help you determine how life insurance fits into your larger financial picture.

“It makes sense to talk to a financial advisor that can assess your needs based on your assets and on your family dynamics,” Kasparian said.

Review Your Policy Regularly

This may not sound like fun, but it should be a part of your financial or estate planning.

You should review your life insurance policy regularly to make sure the coverage you initially chose is still the right one for your needs.

Circumstances in life can change. Events like getting married (or divorced), having children, and buying or selling a house can all affect how much insurance coverage you need or the number of beneficiaries you have designated on the policy.

“I generally say to customers that if there is a life-changing issue, anything positive or negative,” says Kasparian, “that’s when it needs to be reviewed.”

In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, you should make a habit of reviewing your policy once a year – this way you won’t forget to do so if a major event does occur in your life.

Having life insurance is important. The buying process can be confusing, but the right information makes the process much smoother — and you’ll be able to choose the best options with confidence.

How Can I Afford Life Insurance?

Life insurance costs will be higher for a shopper with health problems or someone who’s 45 or older.

Because of this fact, some people assume they’ll never be able to afford coverage, especially if they’ve had health issues in the past, Kasparian says.

Yet many companies can evaluate your condition and, in most cases, still be able to provide coverage. These companies will evaluate the risk presented by those suffering from conditions like cancer, diabetes or heart disease, decide the risk is acceptable, and provide coverage.

Premiums may be higher, but having the protection of a life insurance policy for your family is worth the investment.

Younger shoppers who are healthy often feel intimidated by the potentially high cost of life insurance. In fact, according to LIMRA’s 2018 Insurance Barometer Study, Millennials estimated the cost of life insurance at five times its actual price.

While people habitually overestimate its cost, in reality, life insurance doesn’t have to be that expensive, especially if you purchase a policy early on in life.

Thanks to new technology, you can get quotes and buy coverage more quickly than ever online. Customer satisfaction has been high with these options.

In fact, almost half of adults looking for life insurance in 2018 researched purchasing it on the internet, according to the LIMRA survey.

“To me, insurance really mostly serves the purpose of protecting loved ones,” Kasparian said.

Losing a loved one is hard enough without finding out you’ll have to leave your home, he added.

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