How much life insurance cover do you need?
What level of life insurance cover is right for you? In this guide, we highlight some of the factors worth considering before you commit to buy.
How much life insurance cover (also known as life assurance) you need really depends on your circumstances and the type of protection you’re looking for.
For example you may be looking to protect your mortgage, cover additional debts, or provide a lump sum for your loved ones to maintain their standard of living.
Fortunately, Confused.com can give you some tips on how to work out how much cover is right for you.
Before you compare life insurance, it's worth bearing in mind that the amount of cover you need will very much depend on your own personal circumstances.
Such as the needs of your family and dependants, and – quite simply – how much you can afford in monthly life insurance premiums.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the amount of cover – as well as how long it lasts for – will vary from person to person. Nevertheless, this guide sums up the main things to think about.
Covering your mortgage
Your mortgage repayment is probably your biggest single current outgoing.
If you’re the main earner in your family, a mortgage is something you’re unlikely to want your loved ones to have to take responsibility for in the event of your death.
So a mortgage life insurance policy could provide just the type of protection you need.
Most mortgage lenders will try to sell you life cover when you take out your mortgage. You’re under no obligation to buy from them, so it’s worth taking the time to shop around.
When working out how much cover you need, check that you have sufficient cover against both capital and interest repayments.
Covering other loans
The same goes for any other loans you may have taken out, which are not already covered by some form of insurance. Once again, you may want to ensure that your family is not left with large debts to pay off in the event of your death.
There are a number of life insurance policy types that could provide cover for these, and you can find more information to help you decide which is best for you in our beginner’s guide to life insurance.
Allowing for childcare expenses
If you have a young family, it’s not just your role as breadwinner that could be missed.
You may want to consider the unpaid responsibilities you currently perform as a parent or guardian, and whether alternative or additional childcare arrangements might need to be made if the worst were to happen.
Just how much life cover is likely to be needed, and for what period of time, will of course depend on how many children you may have, and how old they are.
You may want the peace of mind that your children will be able to continue at the same schools, or be able to complete their university education.
School fees and university expenses could therefore be included in your list of provisions to be made.
If you were no longer there as principal earner, how much money would your dependants need to continue their current lifestyle?
This is the most difficult calculation of all, of course, since it involves taking your current salary into account, and attempting to predict the family’s future needs.
Think about how much time you may need to take off from work to recuperate from serious illness, and the potential additional financial pressures that may bring.
Would you also want to make provision for private medical treatment? You can read our guide to critical illness cover for more information on how these policies can work.
The amount and level of life insurance cover you need will depend on your own personal circumstances, and it’s important to have an idea of the level of cover you need before buying any policy.