If you stop and think about all the time, effort, and energy you have put into creating your family’s assets and your family itself, can you say that you have accumulated enough financial resources that your family would be secure upon your death or the death of your spouse? Or, would it be more likely that you or your spouse’s loss would financially devastate your family?
Generally, term life insurance is taken out to protect your loved ones from debts. For example, if you and your spouse own a home, and you were to die suddenly, your spouse could potentially pay off the mortgage instead of worrying how he or she will make the monthly mortgage payments alone. A term life insurance policy could also enable your spouse to pay off any of your existing credit card or other miscellaneous debts as all of those are passed down to your survivors.
Additionally, if you have children or if your spouse does not work, term life insurance can protect your family's finances by providing money for college and living expenses if you die before your children are fully-grown. Your survivors can maintain their lifestyle as they currently know it. To be sure, buying term life insurance gives your family peace of mind knowing they would be financially protected should the unthinkable occur.
Figuring out the Length of Term You Should Purchase
When determining what kind of term life policy you should buy, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What is your income? The rule of thumb is to buy 10 times your annual salary.
2. What are your short-term debts? Credit cards, car payments?
3. What are your long-term debts or financial obligations? For example, do you need money for future college educations?
4. What is the remainder of your mortgage?
The answers to these questions will help you determine how long a term to buy. Whether you buy a 10, 20, or 30-year policy is determined by your total debts, financial needs, and the needs of your dependents. If your children are almost financially independent, then you can purchase a shorter-term — unless, of course, your spouse might need more financial support or if other relatives depend on you for money. You can also buy term life insurance coverage until you reach a certain age, usually 65 or 70. Just keep in mind that term life insurance policies expire at a set time, and premiums usually increase upon renewal.
It is important to review your policies annually. Many aspects of our lives change, thus affecting what kind of insurance we may need. Life-changing events occur that would definitely change what kind of term life coverage we may need. Perhaps the birth of a new child may prompt you to increase your term coverage from 20 to 30 years. Perhaps a divorce will prompt you to scale back on your coverage.
Besides life-changing events, you may also review your policy for any other financial protection you may need. Did you start a new business in the past year that would need to be protected financially upon your death? Do you want to leave money to charity or any heirs?
All of these things should be considered each year, as our lives are never consistent. You want to maintain proper coverage without wasting money on too much policy for your family’s needs.