Things to Ask Yourself Before You Look for Life Insurance

It takes a good understanding of your family’s financial position now—and some foresight into your loved ones’ needs down the road—to ensure you have enough life insurance coverage. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some questions to ask before you buy life insurance online. Thankfully online life insurance quote calculators exist to help you figure out the term policy length you'll need. Take advantage of our free calculator below.

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Tim is a licensed life insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with term life insurance. He writes and creates stuff for QuickQuote and other insurance and financial websites.

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 29, 2020

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To protect your family’s financial well-being, term life insurance could be a very smart move. But to figure out how long you’ll need it and how much you’ll need, you need to do a little research and put some thought into it.

It takes a good understanding of your family’s financial position now—and some foresight into your loved ones’ needs down the road—to ensure they’ll have enough funds to continue living a comfortable lifestyle.

Thankfully, online life insurance needs calculators exist (like ours or the one on to help you figure out the term policy length (typically 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years) and questions like: “how much life insurance do I need?” can be quickly estimated.

Before you use those estimators, however, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions like those below.

How much will my family need to pay for my funeral and related expenses?

Did you know that the median cost of a funeral in 2012 was $7,045? (That amount doesn’t include the cost of a monument, cemetery fees, and the approximately $1,000 for a vault—which cemeteries usually require.) And rates are trending upward.* Also, don’t forget your family may have to pay for your uncovered medical expenses.

How many years are left on my mortgage and how much are the monthly payments?

A roof over your loved ones’ heads arguably stands as the most important thing worth protecting if anything were to happen to you. While luxury items may be dispensable, a place to live is not. And don’t forget the other things that go into maintaining a home—heat, electric, water, sewer, trash disposal, etc.

How much will my family need to cover other living expenses?

Consider the day-to-day living costs all families incur—groceries, haircuts, cable TV, phone, gasoline, etc. Factor in the cost of inflation and price increases as well. Cable TV and phone rates, for example, seem like they go up every other month.

How long will my kids be in college, and how much will their college tuition and other education-related costs amount to?

A few things to think about: Will your children attend a public or private university? Will they live on campus, in apartments, or at home? Will they work while going to college? Is it likely they’ll receive scholarships, grants, or loans to help offset the costs? All these questions are reasons to review your life insurance policy.

Do I have car loans or other debt? How much and for how long?

Consider both the amount and the funding terms for any outstanding debt your family would be responsible for if the unthinkable happens to you. Do you have auto loans, home equity loans, financing on appliances, etc.?

Yes. There’s a lot to think about, and it all adds up!

But don’t let that scare you away from looking out for those you love.

Term life insurance provides a flexible, cost-effective way to protect your family. So after you’ve calculated the amount of life insurance you’ll need and determined how long you’ll need it, get a term life insurance quote quickly and confidentially online. You’ve got nothing to lose and peace of mind to gain.

* “Statistics.” National Funeral Directors Association. Accessed 1.12.2015.

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