How much life insurance should I get?
How much life insurance cover you need is dependent on your personal, specific circumstances.
For example, in the event of your death, you may want your life insurance to cover:
- Your mortgage
- Pay off debts
- Provide your partner with a regular income
- Pay for your funeral
- Provide a lump sum for your family so they can maintain their standard of living
Each of these require a different amount and type of life insurance cover .
When you’ve chosen what you’d like your life insurance to cover for your loved ones left behind, you can work out how much cover is needed.
To help with this, you can use our easy life insurance calculator to work out how much life insurance you need. Just fill in the simple questionnaire to help calculate the amount. Whether you have a mortgage you’d like to pay off, your children’s education or just want to ensure your family don’t need to change their standard of living, this calculator will help you figure it out.
What life insurance do I need?
There are various types of life insurance, and each one is more suited for a different requirement. Below we’ve listed the most common life insurance needs, and the types of policies available:
Cover an interest-only mortgage, debt, or maintain the same standard of living for your family
Level term life insurance policies cover this - it lasts for a specified length of time, and the payout will be a fixed lump sum if you pass away within this agreed term.
Cover education fees, or rising debts
Increasing term life insurance covers costs that may increase after your death. This is also for a specific period of time, and during this fixed term, the payout amount goes up annually by a fixed amount.
Increasing term life insurance has the benefit of accounting for inflation, so the payout sum rises alongside the inflation rate, and protects your family against the rising cost of living.
Cover mortgage repayments, or day-to-day living expenses
Decreasing life insurance (also known as mortgage protection insurance) covers this, and is perfect for covering financial commitments that decrease over time.
This cover lasts for a fixed length of time and the payout reduces in line with the way a repayment mortgage reduces.
This type of insurance is often used to pay children a larger sum if you pass away while they’re still young, but a smaller lump sum as they get older and become financially independent.
Cover funeral costs, or inheritance costs
Whole-of-life policies cover this - it lasts for the rest of your life, and the insurance company will pay out regardless of when you die.
To cover a monthly income for your family
Family income benefit policies cover this - rather than receiving one large payout, your beneficiary will receive regular monthly payments.
What is the average life insurance cost?
The average cost of life insurance in the UK significantly depends on your individual circumstances.
There are a number of factors that determine the cost of your monthly life insurance premiums including, age, health, smoking status, type and level of cover.
Life insurance providers use these factors to determine the level of risk you pose and the likelihood that you will make a claim. Higher risk applicants are likely to be charged higher monthly premiums.
How to pay for life insurance - monthly vs yearly?
For most people taking out life insurance, paying monthly premiums is easier to factor into budgets, whereas paying annually requires a larger payment in one go, but without the benefit of a discount.
However, this is all down to personal preference, and what works best for your finances.
What is the price of my life insurance based on?
Your life insurance premiums are based on how risky you are deemed by the provider. Generally, the higher the risk, the higher the monthly premiums.
Here are a few of the factors they consider:
Generally, the younger you are when you take out your life insurance, the lower the monthly premium costs will be.
Health and BMI
Most health conditions are covered on life insurance, but you may need to pay more per month to cover some of these.
Family medical history
Hereditary conditions or illnesses in your family can increase the price.
Due to the additional health implications caused by smoking, the monthly cost of life insurance for a smoker is higher than for a non-smoker.
Alcohol consumption levels and taking part in risky sports can affect premiums
Type and level of cover
The larger the sum of protection you would like, generally, the higher the cost of monthly premiums.
Some professions are more dangerous than others and can impact policies.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, as it varies between providers. Some life insurance companies scrutinise more than others and consider some factors more important than others.
How can I reduce the price of my life insurance?
There are some factors that affect your life insurance that you can’t control such as age and family history. However, there are changes you can make to reduce your life insurance premiums.
The main thing to consider is timing, most providers will require you to have made a change for at least one year, rather than just before you apply for life insurance.
Life insurance policies often look at non-smokers more favourably as they are less at risk of some health issues. Therefore stopping smoking can help to lower the price. However, it’s important to note that once you apply as a ‘non-smoker’ for your life insurance, you may need to wait for a year without smoking to have your premiums reduced.
Obese BMI results can also affect your premiums, as this brings a higher risk of developing conditions such as, diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Improving your lifestyle and reducing your BMI, can also help to lower your life insurance premiums.
A high level of alcohol consumption can mean an insurance provider deems you a higher risk, therefore either not offering cover at all, or higher premiums. Reducing your alcohol intake can help to lower your monthly payments. Again, this is unlikely to be an immediate reduction though.
Some life insurance providers deem your hobbies and lifestyle important. You may receive a quote with higher premiums if you regularly partake in extreme activities such as skiing, bungee jumping, skydiving, mountain climbing, and more. Living a safer, risk-free life can help to reduce your risk to providers and therefore reduce monthly payments.
What costs should my life insurance cover?
Life insurance can cover you for a range of things including:
- Your mortgage
- Loans and debts
- Income replacement
- Day-to-day expenses
- Childcare expenses
- Education expenses
- Funeral costs
The costs that your life insurance should cover is entirely dependent on your personal circumstances and choices. It’s best to work out how much money is needed to financially protect your family and dependents in the event of your death. You may want this amount to take into account their day-to-day living costs, the mortgage and any other loans or debts.
To ensure you have the correct amount of life insurance to cover all of your loved ones’ costs, we've designed an easy life insurance calculator to help you work out how much cover you might need before looking for quotes.
If you are unsure about what policy to choose and would like advice, you can enlist help from insurance brokers. Here at I’m Insured, we strive to find the most suitable policy for you and your family - you can call to speak to one of our experts on 0800 334 5980.