There are many factors to consider when calculating life insurance. Some of those factors include marital status, dependents, earnings of each spouse and how much time they have left to work. With life insurance, you want to avoid a situation where the insured is either under-insured or over-insured. Under-insuring means that there will not be enough money left over for loved ones and over-insurance is a waste of money in the unlikely event of a death.

Most insurance companies say that a rule of thumb for life insurance is six to 10 times the amount of annual salary. Another way of calculating the amount of life insurance needed is to multiply annual salary with the number of years left until retirement. For example, if a 40 year old man currently makes $20,000 a year, under this approach, the man will need $500,000 (25 years * $20,000) in life insurance. Many life insurance companies and advisory firms offer free life insurance calculators for customers to use to figure out what amount is the right amount for them.

Regardless of the source of the estimate, life insurance must be enough to replace the earnings of the deceased. In other words, the amount of life insurance taken out should be enough to replace the earnings gap that will be left behind when the breadwinner is gone and any additional expenses that might be incurred (estate tax preparation fees, etc).

To learn more, read Bundle Your Insurance For Big Savings.

This question was answered by Chizoba Morah.

  1. Can I borrow from my annuity to put a down payment on a house?

    You can borrow from your annuity to put a down payment on a house, but be prepared to pay an assortment of fees and penalties. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are the risks of annuities in a recession?

    Annuities come in several forms, the two most common being fixed annuities and variable annuities. During a recession, variable ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the biggest disadvantages of annuities?

    Annuities can sound enticing when pitched by a salesperson who, not coincidentally, makes huge commissions selling them. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How can I determine if a longevity annuity is right for me?

    A longevity annuity may be right for an individual if, based on his current health and a family history of longevity, he ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can your life insurance company sue you?

    A life insurance company generally cannot sue you, but it can sue your estate. The company may do this in order to recover ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can your insurance company cancel your policy without notice?

    In most states, an insurance company must give a policyholder written notice of at least 30 days before canceling a policy. ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    Getting Life Insurance in Your 20s Pays Off

    Find out how Americans in their 20s can benefit from a well-thought-out life insurance policy, especially if they are able to build cash value for retirement.
  2. Insurance

    Using LinkedIn to Find Life Insurance Leads

    Learn how LinkedIn can help you generate leads as a life insurance agent, and understand the steps to turn your profile into a lead-generating machine.
  3. Retirement

    Why Are Annuities Important for Retirement?

    Understand how annuities work, and identify the benefits they provide for retirement, the most salient being a guaranteed income stream for life.
  4. Savings

    Become Your Own Financial Advisor

    If you have some financial know-how, you don’t have to hire someone to advise you on investments. This tutorial will help you set goals – and get started.
  5. Retirement

    The Better Way to Save: Life Insurance or IRA?

    Sure, you can tap your permanent life insurance policy to help fund your retirement. But in most cases, an IRA is the better choice. Here's why.
  6. Insurance

    Life vs. Health Insurance: Choosing What to Buy

    When you only buy the coverage you truly need, the debate over medical insurance vs. life insurance might just be one you can avoid.
  7. Insurance

    The 5 Biggest Russian Insurance Companies

    Discover the five companies that dominate the Russian insurance market, and learn a little more about their business operations and ownership.
  8. Insurance

    Life Insurance & Annuities: Sound Investments?

    There are certain scenarios in which investing in insurance is a savvy move. But expect a big chunk of your money to go toward fees.
  9. Insurance

    Biggest Life Insurance Companies in the US

    Read about the top life insurance companies in the United States as measured by written premiums and learn a little more about their business operations.
  10. Investing

    Why to Buy Term Life Insurance with a Conversion Option

    Why you should always purchase a term life insurance policy that allows for an unrestricted conversion option.
  1. Automatic Premium Loan

    An insurance policy provision that allows the insurer to deduct ...
  2. Cestui Que Vie

    The individual who is the beneficiary of a trust or insurance ...
  3. Classified Insurance

    Insurance coverage provided to a policyholder that is considered ...
  4. Guideline Premium And Corridor Test (GPT)

    A test used to determine whether an insurance product can be ...
  5. Cash Value Accumulation Test (CVAT)

    A test method used to determine whether a financial product can ...
  6. Noncancellable Insurance Policy

    A life or disability insurance policy that an insurance company ...

You May Also Like

Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!