When’s the best time to take out life insurance?

Is it time to get some?

Let’s face it, most people would rather not think about what will happen after they die. Especially if you are young and healthy, taking out life insurance is unlikely to be at the top of your agenda. However, failing to prepare for the worst case scenario could have serious financial implications for your loved ones, and it’s important to think about how your family would cope if you were no longer around to support them. In the event of your death, having life insurance in place could make the difference between your nearest and dearest struggling to get by or having financial security.

There’s no denying that purchasing such a serious financial product can be daunting, and if you are unsure of whether you need to start thinking about taking out life insurance, this simple guide should help.

Do I need life insurance?

Life insurance is designed to allow people to provide for their families when they die. Of course, we’re all at risk of accidents and ill-health, and this type of cover could prove invaluable if you have dependants.

As a general rule of thumb, if you have a spouse, children or any others members of your family who depend on your income to cover living expenses, having life insurance is a good idea. By taking out this cover, you can benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that your loved ones will be provided for if the worst should happen.

However, if you have no dependants, or your partner’s income is substantial enough for your family to live on, life insurance is generally not considered necessary. Likewise, if you work for a company that includes ‘death in service’ benefits (where a lump sum will be paid if you die while employed by that organisation), you may not need extra life cover.

What types of personal cover types are available to me?

There are two main types of life insurance available: term life and whole of life. Term life policies run for a set period of time, whereas whole of life policies will cover you for your entire lifetime and they tend to have higher premiums as it is a guaranteed pay out. However, if you are taking out term life insurance, it’s important to remember that if you die after the specified period ends, you will not be covered.

An insurance policy can be paid off in a lump sum or in regular payments over a fixed period of time. If you need advice on which type of cover is best suited to your needs, you may benefit from enlisting the help of professional insurance advisers.

When is the right time to take out life insurance?

There really is no set age when it becomes necessary to take out life cover and you can apply for a policy anytime between the ages of 18 and 64. However, the decision should be based on your individual circumstances instead of your age. For example, if you have a family, or are thinking about starting one, it’s a good idea to consider taking out life insurance to ensure your loved ones can live comfortably in the event of your death. Likewise, if you are buying your first property, moving house, or taking out a large loan, having life cover in place will help to make sure that you won't be leaving your family with any debts to pay off. You may also need to consider getting insurance if you become the main breadwinner, or if your partner loses their job.

If you are young and healthy and take out a policy in your 20s or 30s for a long term, you will also benefit from paying lower premiums as you will likely be considered low-risk by your insurer. However, the cost of your premiums will gradually increase as you get older and the risk of you developing health problems rises.

How long will I need it for?

There are several factors to consider when working out how long you will need life cover for. Exactly how much cover you need will depend on your salary, any debts you have, such as your mortgage or loans, and how many dependents you have.

Ideally, you should have enough cover in place to ensure that your dependants can be financially independent after you’ve gone. For example, if you and your partner have a 15 year old child and no cover, you may want to look at taking out cover that has a 10 year fixed period so you can be certain that in the event of your death her or she will be fully cared for until such times as they are financially dependant and out of the family home. However you need to remember after the term is up you will have no cover in place for funeral benefits down the line. This is something that is forgotten by many people.

With Life insurance you really need to look far down the road to be sure you have the cover you need for Life!

Exclusions

It’s also worth bearing in mind that life insurance will only cover death and you will not be covered if you become ill or are injured. If your death is the result of drug or alcohol abuse, you may also not be covered and you will usually have to pay for additional insurance if you participate in high-risk sports.

If you have a chronic health condition, your life insurance premium may be heavily loaded due to the increased risk of death in the future because of the condition.

With this in mind, it’s always worth thoroughly checking your policy to ensure you have the right level of cover to suit your circumstances.

Other considerations

If you have no dependents, but share a joint mortgage or loan with someone else, you may also want to consider life insurance for added protection. Remember, debt does not die with the owner, your family will have to pick up the bill. If you have dependants or are a one working parent family, you can consider taking out income protection or critical illness cover in addition to life insurance.

Once you have a policy in place, it’s important to review it if your circumstances change. For example, when you are older and your children are financially independent, you will likely want to reduce your policy.

If you are still unsure as to whether you need to take out life insurance, our team of experts here at Chill Insurance can offer you their professional advice and compare different quotes to help you to make an informed decision.