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There are some guarantees in life that you never want to think about, death is one of them, but preparing for the unexpected is the best choice that you can make. You’ve probably heard of life insurance but haven’t really put much thought into if you need it or how much you might need. Here are some tips to help guide you through.

The amount of life insurance you need is entirely dependent on your personal situation. Someone who has 3 kids, has a big mortgage and is the main breadwinner will need more life insurance than say someone who is single with a small mortgage and no debt. There are certain things you need to consider when choosing the amount of coverage such as the amount of your outstanding debts, how much is owing on your mortgage, how many dependents you have, if you are the sole income in your household and if your children are still in full-time studies. Remember, that when trying to consider the amount of life insurance to take out, include interest payments, future school expenses and how much it will take to keep your family at their current standard of living.

Considering the unforeseeable is a good way to calculate for your needs, along with debt and future family needs you will also need to plan for inflation of markets and critical illnesses that may involve extended hospital stays and pricey medical procedures. Another thing to know is that the earlier you get life insurance the better premiums you can get because age and health are a big factor in determining premiums. The best way to buy life insurance is to plan ahead and figure out your needs before shopping around for the best rates.

There are 5 main types of life insurance available; term insurance, mortgage life insurance (also known as decreasing term insurance), increasing term insurance, renewable term insurance and joint life insurance. Term insurance guarantees a payment should you perish in a specified time (or term) and the payout never changes for that specified term. Depending on how long of a term you take out you may be able to save on premiums. With mortgage life insurance the payouts and premiums decrease as the time increases to account for the fact that your mortgage is being paid down and there will be less to cover as time goes on, this is a good way to ensure that you aren’t over covered. Increasing term insurance, on the other hand, increases the payout and premiums as the term lengthens to account for things like inflation in the market. Renewable life insurance is priced for a set period of time but can be renewed for a longer term without the need for further medicals so your premiums may increase with advanced age but not because of ailments. Joint life insurance is one policy that can be shared by two people, but remember unlike other life insurance policies this one will only payout for one death not both. Joint life insurance can however make it more affordable as you are basically only paying for one person. Lastly, insurance incurred through an employer is sometimes a good option as group plans can be cheaper than one procured through the individual, however, most of these policies are not portable when your employment ends.

Choose the plan that fits your needs and calculate the right amount you need. Having this piece of mind is a great way to make sure your family and debts are taken care of.