The aim of life insurance is to protect your family and those who are dependent on you for financial support in the event of your death. Certain types of life insurance can also include add-on protection which can benefit you directly, such as critical illness cover.
So who needs life insurance? The first thing to consider is who will be affected if you die. Do you have a spouse, partner, children or other dependants? If so your death is likely to have an impact on their future lives as your income to the household will be lost with you. You need to leave them in a position that they can manage financially for possibly many years to come after you have gone.
Families with children particularly need to be provided for – some estimate that it costs in excess of £210,000 to support a child to the age of 21, including education and living costs (source: LV= Insurance report, March 2011). Even if you feel it is less than this, it will still be a cost you are not contributing to if you have died. If there are joint parents they will both need insuring even if they are not earning – as their contribution to the household and family, including domestic chores and childcare, would be costly to replace if they die.
If you are planning to start a family your life insurance needs should be considered before the process is even begun. If the man dies once you are pregnant, that baby is still coming!
For joint mortgage holders there is an obvious need to protect each other in case of death. Often both incomes are used to obtain the mortgage, and it would become unaffordable if just one income remained. However, you should also consider the long term impact of ill health and suffering from a very serious illness. Cover can be arranged to produce either a lump sum or regular income to mitigate the financial effects of these life crises.
Single people are not excluded from the need for some cover. Most of us would leave some debt behind if we died, even if it is only a £3,000 – £5,000 funeral bill! Added to this are the legal and other costs of winding up your estate – and do you really want to leave someone else with the financial burden of dealing with this?
When you get older the need for life insurance may seem to reduce, especially if you are more financially secure. But the premature death of a partner can leave a big hole in the lifestyle of the person left behind. Will you still be able to afford a new car every few years, and an annual foreign holiday like you have been used to? Also consider how long the savings might last? Whilst you might never get over the loss of a partner, simple life assurance can mitigate the financial effects.
For detailed advice and recommendations for life insurance, Lincoln adviser Andy Wilson can guide you.