If you already have a life insurance plan in place, you should check in with your policy from time to time to see if it’s still meeting your needs. As life continues to change and your obligations grow, you may be wondering if you need more life insurance coverage. Here’s what you should know about how life insurance works and when it might be time to up your coverage.
How life insurance works
Life insurance is a policy that protects you and your loved ones in the event of your death. While the primary purpose of life insurance is to provide a death benefit, it can also help while the policyholder is still living. For example, an accelerated benefit can provide you with funds to cover expenses if you have a critical illness.
During the application process, the life insurance company will help you to determine the amount of coverage you should receive. But as your life changes and your liabilities grow, there may come a time when you need more coverage.
How to figure out whether you need more coverage
Deciding on when to increase your coverage amount or even purchase another life insurance plan can be challenging. Here are a few key steps you can take to figure out how much coverage you need:
1. Multiply your income by 10 to 15
One rule of thumb for deciding how much coverage you need is to multiply your income by 10 to 151. So, if your annual income is $50,000, 10 times that number is $500,000, meaning a $500,000 policy might be the right option for you. But keep in mind that this method doesn’t take into account other factors like investments or dependents.
2. Consider your dependents
While a standard rule like multiplying your income by 10 to 15 can be a great starting point, the right coverage for you can vary based on how many dependents you have. For example, if you have another child, you may want to increase your coverage so that your growing family won’t be in a financial bind if you pass away.
3. Consider whether your current plan would cover all expenses
If you currently have a life insurance policy, take some time to iron out the expenses you would want it to cover in the event of your death. From there, you can decide whether it’s a good idea to increase coverage. Here are a few expenses life insurance can be used for:
- Debt payments
- End-of-life services
- Education expenses
The bottom line
Life insurance can provide immeasurable financial relief for policyholders and their dependents. But in order to make sure your investment in a policy is worthwhile, it’s important to consistently monitor and adjust your policy to reflect current coverage needs.
Be sure to revisit your policy annually and before or after every major life change. And if you need additional coverage, speak with your life insurance company to ask about increasing your policy amount or taking out a new policy for supplemental coverage.