How much life insurance do you need? Our life insurance calculator tells you.
Last Updated: September 12th, 2017
Life insurance shoppers start their buying process with two crucial questions:
- What type of life insurance do I need?
- How much coverage should I buy?
Insure.com’s life insurance calculator (at right) makes it simple for you to find quick answers to these questions. The tool offers an individualized analysis of your life insurance needs.
By answering questions about family debt, college-bound children, inheritance plans and other financial obligations, you’ll receive an analysis of whether you need term life or permanent life insurance (or both), and the amount of coverage you should buy.
Armed with answers to the two starting-point questions, you’ll then be ready to seek life insurance quotes.
Ensuring you have sufficient life insurance coverage is one of the best ways to provide a financial safety net for your family should you no longer be there to provide for them. You’ll see by the findings below that while most people realize life insurance is essential, they need help figuring out how much to buy. Key findings from the 2017 Insurance Barometer report by the research trade association LIMRA and the non-profit life insurance awareness association LifeHappens.org show:
- 85% of people say they need life insurance, yet just 59% own it
- Many have put off buying life insurance based on the belief that it costs too much, but consumers tend tooverestimate the price. For instance, when asked how much a $250,000 term life policy would be for a healthy30-year-old, the median estimate was $500 — more than three times the actual cost
- More than 20% of those who own life insurance say they don’t have enough coverage
- 39% wish their spouses or partners had more life insurance coverage
- Four in 10 households without any life insurance would have immediate trouble paying living expenses if their primary wage earner died.
Insure.com’s life insurance calculator can help you figure out what you need. It takes into account a variety of life situations. For example, a person who wishes to cover certain debts like a mortgage often needs term life insurance, which provides insurance protection for a specified period of time. On the other hand, someone who oversees a family business or who wants to provide an inheritance to children through life insurance may need a permanent life insurance policy.
Our life insurance calculator keeps a running total of coverage amounts required, and its analysis shows how your answers led to the specific results.
Permanent Life Insurance Cost
How Much Does Permanent Life Insurance Cost?
The cost of permanent life insurance will vary depending upon your personal profile and the life insurance company you buy a policy from. Each life insurance company has its own complex methodology for calculating premium costs. You’ll term life insurance is consistently less expensive to buy than a permanent life policy. Permanent life insurance policies have a cash value accumulation feature, but term insurance provides death benefits only.
To make an informed decision on the right policy for you, find a local independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network who specializes in life insurance. Your local member agent can help you compare permanent life insurance costs and find the right policy to meet your needs.
2012 Life Expectancy Rates: How the U.S. Compares
The United States ranks among the top 50 countries worldwide for life expectancy. As you’re thinking about your life insurance policies, here are a few facts to consider:
- No. 1 Life Expectancy Ranked Nation – Japan – 83 Years
- No. 2 Life Expectancy Ranked Nation – Switzerland – 82 Years
- No. 34 Life Expectancy Ranked Nation – United States – 78 Years
There are many ways to plan for your future, no matter your age or how long you live. Life insurance policies are one important way to protect your loved ones and your finances when you have passed. For more information on life insurance, contact a local independent agent.
How Are Permanent Life Insurance Rates Calculated?
There are a variety of factors that every life insurance company uses to determine the premium. There are three basic types of permanent life insurance policies:
All three of these types of plans have variations and their costs are calculated differently. While all permanent life insurance policies provide death benefits, what differentiates them is how the premiums can be paid and how you can use the cash value accumulation.
Every life insurance company uses “actuarial analysis of mortality statistics” to gage the amount of risk they are taking to insure a customer. This analysis gives the life insurance company a good idea of your life expectancy, and includes a number of variables that a company will use to determine the premium you will pay.
One important point to remember is that the younger you are when you buy a life insurance policy, the cheaper your premium will be. Regardless of the policy, life insurance becomes progressively more expensive as you age.
The main variables used to determine how much your permanent life insurance policy will cost include:
- Your age: The younger you buy life insurance, the more affordable it will be. Your chances of dying or developing life threatening health risks increases as you age.
- Your gender: Life insurance tends to be somewhat cheaper for females and more expensive for males.
- The state of your health: The healthier you are, the lower your risks are and the more affordable your policy will be.
- Whether you smoke: Smokers pay considerably more for life insurance. You can reduce your rates if you quit smoking, although you will likely have to have quit for at least a year or more.
- Your lifestyle: If you live a healthy lifestyle, your life insurance rates should be cheaper.
- Your family medical history: If your family has a history of heart disease or cancer, you may pay a higher premium.
- Your occupation and hobbies: Some hobbies and jobs are considered risky to insure. If you work as a commercial deep sea diver, for example, or you drive race cars for fun on the weekends, your rates will almost certainly be higher.
- Size of the policy: The amount of death benefits you choose will directly impact the premium you pay.
- Your medical exam results: If your medical examination shows that your blood pressure and other vitals are in a normal, healthy range, your rates will be lower.
Note that some life insurance policies are available without a medical exam. However, the premium you pay for a policy that requires you to take a medical exam will be cheaper than for a policy that does not require a medical exam. A medical exam allows the insurance company to know exactly the health status (and risk) of every customer they insure – without that data, the risks are unknown, and premiums tend to be higher as a result.
How Do Life Insurance Companies Use Premiums?
Different types of permanent life insurance vary in how the insurance company uses your premiums. In some policies, such as universal life and variable life, you have some options to alter the amounts, but essentially your premium gets used to pay for three major components of the policy:
- The amount targeted to pay your death benefits
- The amount you pay to cover the cost of administering your policy
- The cash value accumulation or saving/investment component
To review how a type of permanent life insurance manages these different components, meet with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network. Talking with an independent agent will get you one step closer to choosing the policy that best fits your situation. Your agent can evaluate your life insurance and investment needs and help choose the right policy for you.
How Much Does Whole Life Insurance Cost?
With whole life insurance, the higher the premium you pay, the higher your cash value accumulation. This type of permanent life insurance is not difficult to understand. Once you decide on the amount of death benefits you want, the premium you pay is guaranteed for the life of the policy. The minimal amount of return that you will receive on your cash value accumulation is also guaranteed.
The types of whole life insurance policies you can choose from include:
- Non-participating policies: You’ll have no say in how the insurance company allocates your premium
- Participating policies: You’ll have a say about how the company uses the dividend
- Combination policy: A permanent policy used in conjunction with a term policy
- Joint policy: You and your spouse buy a whole life policy jointly as opposed to separately
Non-Participating, combination and joint policies tend to be cheaper than participating policies.
Let’s take a look at a few quote examples. The following figures will provide a rough idea of what you might expect to pay for a whole life policy with death benefits valued at $250,000. The assumption for each of these examples is that the policyholder is a non-smoker, in good health, who lives in Nebraska.
Monthly and Annual Whole Life Insurance Rates
How Much Does Universal Life Insurance Cost?
Universal life insurance has added flexibility that you don’t find in a whole life policy. With universal life insurance, you have choices with what to do with your accumulated cash value in the event that you run into financial challenges. For example, you can use the cash value to pay your premium. You can also increase or decrease your premiums or death benefits. These choices will have a bearing on your cash value accumulation portion of the policy.
Let’s look at a few sample quotes using a similar scenario as above. This example will give you a rough estimate of what you might pay for a $250,000 policy if you are a non-smoker and in good health.
Monthly and Annual Universal Life Insurance Rates
How Much Does Variable Life Insurance Cost?
A variable life insurance policy is similar to a mutual fund. The cash value accumulation has a more distinct investment component than other types of permanent life insurance because it allows you to choose from a variety of investment options. There are many variations on variable life insurance, and your costs will vary widely depending upon the type you choose.
Variable insurance is different from whole life and universal life because the company is obligated to provide you with a prospectus that breaks down all the costs for your policy, including the fees and the expenses for the “sub-account,” which is the portion allocated for investment.
To learn more about variable insurance, find an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network who specializes in life insurance. One of these agents, right in your area, can provide a complete review of variable permanent life insurance costs for you.
What Happens If You Miss a Life Insurance Payment?
What happens if you miss a life insurance payment depends on the type of permanent life insurance policy you are buying. With a whole life policy, it is quite simple – if you miss a payment, your policy lapses.
With a universal life insurance policy on the other hand, the company will take the premium from the cash value accumulation portion and continue to pay the premium. A variable life insurance may or may not offer similar options.
How much permanent life insurance costs can vary considerably from company to company. To find the best quotes and get the help you need to choose a policy that meets your life insurance needs, find an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network. These agents have access to several different life insurance companies and can provide the information you need to make an informed decision. Contact an agent today to get started.
Term vs. Whole Life Insurance Comparison Calculator
Term life insurance offers low cost protection with guaranteed level premiums for a fixed duration, typically 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Whole life insurance offers lifetime guaranteed coverage with the additional benefit of accumulating cash values.
It’s the great debate among life insurance professionals, consumers, and financial planners.
Term life insurance vs. whole life insurance.
While each has its pros & cons, follow these 3 steps to find out which is best for you.
Term vs. Whole Life Insurance Comparison Calculators
COMPARE QUOTES NOW!
Now that you’ve got your term and whole life quotes, let’s dig into the pros & cons of term and whole life, and then you can use our comparison calculator.
Perhaps you’ve heard Dave Ramsey say, “You should only buy low-cost level term life insurance. Anything else is a rip-off or a gimmick,” or Suze Orman state that whole life insurance is a “waste of money.”
In fact, it seems like the only people who say whole life is a good idea are. Insurance Agents.
Surely only a very small minority of people still buy whole life, right?
Wrong! The American Council of Life Insurers reported in 2016 that 62.1% of all individual life insurance policies bought in the U.S. were Whole Life Insurance policies.
Key Term & Whole Life Insurance Questions
When analyzing term vs whole life insurance, of course you’ll want to look at quotes (the cost) the best companies, learn how cash value works, and learn the pros and cons.
We’ll cover all that here, but let’s start with the most crucial questions.
What is the difference between term and whole life insurance?
Term life insurance offers low cost protection for a specified period of time, such as 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. During this time the premiums and death benefit is guaranteed to stay level.
Term life insurance is the most basic form of life insurance and offers a death benefit as its only real benefit (it has no cash value).
Pros of Term Life Insurance:
Term life insurance is clearly the most affordable and the most suitable form of life insurance for the majority of Americans. Term is very affordable for younger people and a fraction of the cost of what you would pay for a similar whole life policy.
Term is an excellent choice for providing for:
- Income replacement
- Mortgage and Debt Payoff
- Business policies (key person and buy-sell arrangements)
- And more!
Term provides coverage for a specific period of time suitable to the needs of most people. The majority of term policies also come with a conversion feature where you can convert your term policy to a permanent policy without having to take a medical exam.
Cons of Term Life Insurance:
Term life can be very costly if you have to renew the policy when it expires because of your age and health issues. Policies do not offer any living benefits and has no savings features.
Whole Life Insurance Definition, Pros and Cons?
Whole life is a form or permanent life insurance.
Whole life insurance also pays out a death benefit upon the death of the insured person. However, it differs from term in that it offers lifetime coverage with fixed level premiums. Additionally, it offers the benefit of accumulating cash values.
Pros of Whole Life Insurance
A few benefits of whole life are:
- Whole Life provides coverage for your entire lifetime
- Premiums are guaranteed
- The cash value accumulation feature is non-taxable unlike other investment vehicles.
- You can borrow against the cash value accumulation feature.
- Many policies offer living benefits.
Cons of Whole Life Insurance
Whole life policies are typically very expensive and easily cost 10X or more than what you would pay for a comparable term life insurance policy.
Whole life policies are very inflexible as it relates to your premium payments, and compared to “traditional investments”, you might also think it’s inflexible, as you have no choice in how the money is invested.
The cash value accumulation rate of investment is generally much lower than rates provided through other investment vehicles.
What Happens to the Cash Value of a Whole Life or Permanent Life Insurance Policy?
The cash value accumulation portion of any permanent life insurance is only available to the insured person while they are still alive, and is available to borrow against (for which the policyholder will be charged interest) or for withdrawal.
If you have borrowed against the cash value accumulation while still alive, any amount that has not been re-paid, along with interest, will be deducted from the death benefits when you die.
Here’s the real shocker! What most people don’t know is that when you die the cash value is not payable to your beneficiaries – it is absorbed by the life insurance company. This applies to all forms of permanent life insurance policies, whether it be Whole Life or Universal Life.
How do Term and Whole Life Insurance Work?
Whole life insurance contains 3 components:
- Death Benefits
- Cash Value Accumulation
When you pay your premium, a portion of the premium is applied to death benefits and a portion to the cash value accumulation. For the first 5 to 10 years the majority of the premiums you pay in these early years of the policy is applied to the death benefits portion (cost of insurance) along with policy fees & commissions.
After this period, the cash value will receive a greater portion of the premium. Another portion of your premium is also used to pay for administrative costs.
Your beneficiaries are entitled to receive only the death benefit portion of the policy when you die. You have no choice in how the life insurance company applies the premium you pay.
You can cash in or surrender your policy at any time. Otherwise, coverage is for your lifetime.
Cashing in your Whole Life Policy – How it Works?
You can cash in either a portion of the cash value accumulation or receive the full amount if you surrender the whole life policy.
The cash value portion is non-taxable so long as it does not exceed the amount of total premiums you paid (the cost basis) when you cash in a portion or surrender the policy. Any cash value in excess of the total premiums paid is taxable.
All you have to do is contact the life insurance company and they will provide you with current values and a surrender/withdrawal form. You complete the form and submit it to the company. If you surrender the policy, you may receive less than what you paid in.
How Term Life Insurance Works
Term life insurance is the most basic form of life insurance because it pays death benefits only.
Choosing a term life insurance policy is quite simple as it is 3 step process which includes:
- Select the amount of coverage (death benefits) you want
- Choose the length of coverage or term such as 10, 20 or 30 years
- Choose your beneficiary(s)
What is a “Convertible Term” Life Insurance Policy?
Most term policies sold today come with a conversion feature.
This allows you to convert your term policy to either a Whole Life or Universal policy. You can do so without having to take a medical exam.
The type of permanent policy and amount of coverage available varies from company to company. Generally, you must convert the policy at certain time periods specified in the policy.
What is Group Term Life Insurance?
Group term life insurance is generally available through an employer or a professional association or organization.
It covers all members who apply for the coverage period. Benefits are payable for the coverage period. Most of these policies are not portable and you are only covered while an employee or association/organization member. The majority or group term life insurance plans do not require a medical examination.
What is Universal Life Insurance?
Universal life is a form or permanent life insurance similar to Whole Life.
Universal Life provides both death benefits and a cash value accumulation portion. The major difference between Universal life and Whole Life is that Universal policies are more flexible in that that they options for your death benefits, how premiums are payable, and various investment options.
At Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services, we don’t offer whole life, and never will. We believe agents push whole life to their clients to earn high commissions, and consumers continue to buy because the benefits are confusing.
Consumers are made to understand that with whole life, they are getting a blend of permanent life insurance protection as well as some cash value build up that may be able to supplement their retirement. The problem is 99% of them don’t need permanent coverage. They need term.
We believe that if consumers knew the cost of term life insurance, and what their money could do for them if they were to “buy term and invest the difference,” that far fewer people would buy whole life insurance.
This calculator aims to provide what no other life insurance needs calculator provides, clear and conclusive proof that buying term and investing the rest is almost always best for consumers.
Whole Life versus Term Life Insurance Calculator
Cost Comparison of Term vs. Whole Life:
Let’s See What Happens if We Invest
the Savings, , at % Over 30 Years. Assuming an annual % return compounding, with deferred (or no) taxation during accumulation.
Whole Life Insurance:
Term Life Insurance:
Recalculate On Your Own Terms
Free Whole Life Insurance Analysis
Did you get sold a bill of goods and you’re not sure what to do now with your whole life policy? Fill out this form to bypass our agents and one of our owners Chris or Kim will contact you directly.
Assumptions and Disclaimers
Assumptions: We have assumed an annual % return compounding, with deferred (or no) taxation during accumulation. The assumption is that these funds would be available for tax-free withdrawal, similar to withdrawals from a Roth IRA or tax-free loan from a life insurance policy. These are loose assumptions, and for illustrative purposes only. In the case that the savings by buying term instead of whole life were to exceed $5,500 (or the current allowable max contribution to an Roth IRA), we have NOT adjusted our assumptions for these maximums. When available, we have compared whole life insurance to 30 year term life insurance. Longer terms are not available at older ages, so some calculator uses will see term rates presented for shorter term lengths, such as 15 or 20 years instead.
Disclaimers: Term and whole life rates above are not actual quotes from insurance carriers. They are estimates developed internally at Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services for illustrative purposes only, which we believe reflect current whole life and term rates from some of the top life insurance carriers in the US. The rates above are not to be considered an offer for insurance. Do not use this information to make any decision, as our numbers could be completely wrong. Each individual must speak to a knowledgeable financial or insurance professional for accurate quotes and advice as to how life insurance fits into his or her overall financial plan. We’re just showing you what the numbers are under the above assumptions and any minor change to the numbers, your financial situation or the cosmos could completely throw these numbers off and so you shouldn’t rely on them but thank you for using our calculator. Now don’t make any decisions based on what information you did or did not imply from it. And even after we’ve told you not to use this information, if you do, you cannot sue us because we’ve already told you the numbers are not be be used for such purposes. Entertainment only.
Invitation for application for life insurance on insuranceblogbychris.com are made through its designated agent, Christopher Huntley, only where licensed and appointed. All applications in the state of California will be submitted by Huntley Wealth Insurance Services, Inc., DBA Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services, California Lic. #0K23182. Christopher Huntley is a licensed life insurance agent in 48 states. The following agent license numbers are provided for Christopher Huntley as required by state law: CA Lic. #0E60169, LA Lic. #529134, MA Lic. #1933366, MN Lic. #40239532, UT Lic. #323130, TX Lic. #1605079, AR. Lic. #8274215. Additional licenses are available upon request.
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Life insurance policies described, quoted, shown, and illustrated throughout this website are not available in all states and may include those issued by: American General Life; Banner Life Insurance Company, Urbana, MD, and William Penn Life Insurance Company, Garden City, NY, both Legal & General America companies; United of Omaha Life Insurance Company, Omaha, NE, a Mutual of Omaha affiliate company; Fidelity Life Association, A Legal Reserve Life Insurance Company, Oak Brook, IL; Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Lynchburg, VA and Genworth Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY, member companies of Genworth Financial, Inc.; Lincoln Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York, Syracuse, NY and The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, IN, both insurance company affiliates of Lincoln National Corporation, whose marketing name is Lincoln Financial Group; First MetLife Investors Insurance Company, New York, NY, MetLife Investors USA Insurance Company, Irvine, CA and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY, all three members of the MetLife family; Protective Life and Annuity, Birmingham, AL; Pruco Life Insurance Company, Newark, NJ and Pruco Life Insurance Company of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, member companies of Prudential Financial, Inc., Newark, NJ; VOYA Life Insurance Company, Minneapolis, MN, VOYA Life Insurance Company of New York, Woodbury, NY and Security Life of Denver Insurance Company, Denver, CO, member of the ING family of companies; Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Company, Harrison, NY, and Transamerica Life Insurance Company, Cedar Rapids, IA, both AEGON companies.
Rates and time taken to qualify and purchase a life insurance policy vary by product and underwriting requirements.