As household bills continue to rise, its all too easy to let the need for adequate life insurance slip down your list of financial priorities. Its not a happy thing to think about and, if it adds another cost to our already tightly-squeezed budgets, its tempting to put it at the back of our minds.
If that sounds like you, youre not alone: the majority of Britons dont have any life insurance at all. According to recent research quoted in the Telegraph, only 44% of us actually have life cover, although 97% know what it is and understand its importance.
Even if you do have a life insurance policy, you may not have checked recently to see if this would provide enough cover should the worst happen. And yet this is vitally important if you want to protect your loved ones in the event of your untimely or unexpected death - especially if you only bought your policy when you got a mortgage, for example, and your circumstances have since changed, perhaps with your gaining a new baby or a bigger home.
But if working out how much life insurance you need is confusing, a good starting point could be to check an online life insurance calculator. These are quick and easy to use, but to get the most out of them, youll need certain figures at your disposal.
The amount you want to leave your dependents
This is probably one of the first things you'll have to consider, and if thats stumped you already, it can be tempting to give up now. But dont despair. As a rough idea, most experts believe this figure should be ten times your salary, or at least s100,000 for each one of your dependants. This of course depends on your individual circumstances.
The money needed to cover your debts
Youd obviously want your family to carry on living in your home after your death, so make sure you have adequate cover for both the interest and capital parts of your mortgage. If you bought a policy when you bought your first home and have since moved to a bigger property, remember to update your life insurance policy to reflect this.
And dont forget about other debts, such as personal loans or credit card balances. Make sure you take out enough insurance to pay these off too, so you wouldnt leave any nasty surprises for your family.
The cost of funeral expenses
The average cost of a funeral is another expense to consider. Age UK found the average cost of a UK funeral in 2010 was s2,857, but, the charity says, this could rise to as much as s4,050 in 2015.
Education costs for your children
Although it may seem far into the future if your children are young, dont forget that one day they may need your help to pay their university fees.
If you have a young family, youll also need to factor in the costs of extra childcare, as therell be greater pressure on your surviving partner to take care of the children alone.
Critical illness cover
What would happen if you got ill and couldnt carry on working? Critical illness cover could give you extra peace of mind if youre the main breadwinner and can be built into your life insurance plan. This extra cover means that your family could not only get a payout if you die, but also if you are diagnosed with a specific illness or are permanently disabled. The terms and conditions are different depending on the provider.
So dont forget to put aside some time to go over exactly how much life cover you need. It could be as important as making a will when it comes to ensuring that your family is left in a good financial position when you die.
Issued by Sainsburys Finance
Sainsburys Finance is a trading name of Sainsburys Bank plc. All information correct at time of publication, but may be subject to change. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any part of the Sainsburys Group of companies.
Sainsburys Finance is a financial services provider engaged in savings accounts, credit cards, and personal loans. It also supplies insurance services in car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, pet insurance and travel insurance as well as being a provider of travel money services