Who needs life insurance?

The short answer is most people. Without life insurance, the people who depend on you, (financially or otherwise) could be left struggling if you passed. Life insurance helps ensure they’d be taken care of if they lost you.
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If you fall into one of these categories, you likely need life insurance:

According to the USDA, it costs about $234K to raise a child, without even considering college tuition. If you own life insurance at the time you pass, it can help ensure your children will have financial support to grow and live the life you want for them.

Married couples

Make sure the person you share your life with would be taken care of if you passed unexpectedly. It’s recommended that both partners in a marriage should have a life insurance policy that factors in things like debt, expenses, or future financial plans


A mortgage will probably be the largest debt you ever take on, and you wouldn’t want to leave your cosigner or family members stuck with it. If you own a home, consider life insurance coverage that lasts at least as long as your mortgage.


If someone depends on you, like an elderly parent or family member with a disability, what would happen to them if you weren’t around? You may want to consider coverage to make sure they’d be taken care of.


Unfortunately, your student debt might not disappear. If you have a private student loan, your parents, cosigners, or other family members could be on the hook for your debt if you pass away.

Business owners

You’ve put a lot of work into building your business. Life insurance coverage can help ensure that your business could continue operating if something happened to you.

When to think about life insurance
Because life insurance rates increase as you get older, applying sooner means you can lock in your lowest possible rate. With that said, there are several milestones in life when you should reevaluate the coverage you have—or get some for the first time—to make sure you’ve got everything covered. These milestones include:
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Getting married
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Having a child
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Buying a home
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Taking on debt, like student loans
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Starting a business
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Planning for retirement
What if I already have coverage through work?

You may already have some life insurance coverage from your employer. However, that policy might only provide a fraction of the coverage you actually need. Employer-sponsored policies typically offer coverage that is about 1-2X your annual salary. However, financial experts recommend having coverage that is about 10X your salary. This disparity can result in a large gap in protection if you’re solely relying on your policy through work—which is why many people buy individual term policies to supplement the coverage you receive through work.

employer policy vs what you need
What if I don't have a job?

Even if you don’t provide an income, chances are you provide a measurable value to your family that they would have to replace if you passed away. Consider the free services that stay-at-home parents provide, like childcare and household chores, and how much it would cost to hire someone else to do them.

Salary.com found that stay-at-home parents contribute the equivalent of a $162,000 annual salary to their families. For you, a life insurance policy means that your partner would have the death benefit to lean on.

Who doesn't need life insurance?

Young singles without debt

If you have no dependents and no debt (including student loans and credit card debt), you probably don’t need it now. However, if you have plans to take on debt later in life, it may be a good time to lock in a lower rate now when you’re young and healthy.


If your children are self-sufficient, you’ve paid off major debts, and you (and your partner) have finished saving for retirement, you probably don’t have a big need for coverage

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