More than half of Americans (54 percent) have life insurance, according to a 2017 survey, but nearly one in three say they need more.
What’s holding them back? Knowledge and finances. According to Life 2017, a survey released by LIMRA, an international research group, 4 in 10 consumers say they have no life insurance because they don’t know what they need or what kind to buy. At the same time, many believe that life insurance is simply too expensive and say other financial priorities, such as living expenses, debt management and retirement savings, must come first.
But, for many families, life insurance is vital when a loved one dies. More than half of Americans say they would have immediate or near immediate trouble paying for living expenses if their family’s primary wage earner passed away, according to the survey.
Life insurance can provide plenty of peace of mind for families. And while there is a cost (the average monthly life insurance cost for a non-smoker age 25 to 65 is between $27 and$347) it can make all the difference for those who are left behind.
The answer to, “Do you need life insurance,” will vary widely depending on your own family and living situation. But here’s the big question you’ll want to ask yourself: “How will my death financially impact other people?
You’re the household’s primary earner
For some, this might be the most obvious person in a family to get life insurance. If you earn the bulk of your family’s income and your family would struggle if you died and no longer brought home those paychecks, you probably need life insurance. The payout could support your loved ones for the remainder of their lives or, at the very least, until they can replace your income.
You’re a stay-at-home parent
Just because you aren’t bringing home the bacon doesn’t mean you aren’t financially contributing to the household. The hard work to raise a child falls to you daily, so your spouse or partner can work outside the home. If you died, who would care for your child? Would your family be able to afford child care? Life insurance could cover any child care costs.
You have children or other dependents
You may have already selected a grandparent, aunt, uncle or godparent to raise your child if you unexpectedly died. But would those caregivers be able to afford the cost of raising your child? How will they pay for daycare, college expenses, clothes and activities?
And, don’t forget, a person’s dependents can extend beyond children. Many also care for elderly parents.
A life insurance policy can ensure that all your dependents are cared for if you die.
You have debt
If you don’t want to leave your family to cover any of your debts, you may need life insurance, which would come in handy in cases where your loved ones will be required to make up the difference.
You’ve co-signed for a loan or credit card
If your child is in college and you’ve co-signed for student loans or their credit cards, it’s a good idea for both parties to get life insurance. In the case of some student loans, according to MoneyUnder30.com, the entire balance could become due if either person dies. A life insurance payout will ensure that you don’t have to come up with potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars during an already difficult time.
Your family couldn’t afford funeral expenses
The average cost of a funeral is around $11,000, according to Huffington Post -- an eye-popping number that can be terrifying for families who are already cash strapped. A small life insurance policy could help your loved ones cover this enormous cost.
You want to provide your loved ones an inheritance
If your savings are slim, a life insurance payout could provide some financial support for the next generation.
Exactly how much you’ll need in a life insurance policy will depend on who will need help when you pass on. You’ll want to consider potential funeral costs, the amount needed to pay off debt, expected annual living expenses for your survivors and more. CESI Solutions’ life insurance calculator makes it easy to consider all of those needs to ensure the total amount will cover your loved ones’ expenses.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit committed to empowering and inspiring consumers nationwide to make wise financial decisions and live debt free. Speak with a certified counselor for a free debt analysis today.
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