Personal Resource Center

Life Insurance: How much do you need?

Grandfather holds baby how much life insurance do I need
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About 80% of people overestimate the cost of life insurance. Find out just how easy and affordable getting life insurance can be.

If you have someone (a spouse, children, a partner, or an aging parent) who is dependent on your financial or physical assistance, it's important to have life insurance so they are able to survive financially in the event the unthinkable happens. If you're single with no one depending on you, you may want to carry life insurance if you have outstanding debt that has a co-signer.3

Getting life insurance is easier than you think

Sometimes employers offer life insurance benefits. Because your employer will typically qualify for a group rate and contribute to the policy cost, employer-based life insurance may cost less than what you'd find on the open market. However, as you age group insurance may become more expensive, and if you leave your employer you may lose coverage. Additionally, the policy you get through work may not provide enough coverage.

Advisors usually recommend having coverage equal to seven to 10 times your salary.4 So if you earn $50,000 a year, for example, you should consider buying somewhere between $350,000 to $500,000 of insurance. So even if you can get life insurance through your employer, you may need to purchase your own supplemental policy.

An earlier study by Life Happens and LIMRA found that 80% of people overestimate how much life insurance costs.5 Life insurance doesn't have to be expensive at all, especially if you enroll when you're younger and in good health.

Permanent (Whole) vs. Term Life Insurance

When it comes to choosing the right type of insurance, you have two main options: permanent and term.

  • Permanent life insurance, also called whole life insurance, is designed to cover you for your entire life. There can also be an investment component or cash value to help you grow money tax-deferred. Modern policies also allow you to bundle your insurances. The death benefit can serve two purposes; protect your loved ones when you die or protect you if you need long-term care. Some policies allow you to access the death benefit while living to help pay for LTC expenses.
  • Term life insurance, on the other hand, covers you for a set period of time (such as 20 or 30 years). Essentially, it's meant to protect your dependents in case you die early, with no other value other than the death benefit. It's the more simple form of life insurance, and it usually costs less.

According to research by personal finance site NerdWallet, a 20-year, $250,000 term life insurance policy could cost as little as $157 per year for a 30-year-old, non-smoking man. For a 30-year-old woman who is a non-smoker, it could be as little as $139 per year.6

At Synovus, we can help you explore insurance solutions. Visit a local branch or email ssiinsurancehelp@synovus.com. We'll get you in touch with an advisor to answer your questions.

Important Disclosure Information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

Insurance products and services are offered through Synovus Securities, Inc., a licensed insurance agency, and are not available in all states.

Insurance products marketed through Synovus Securities, Inc. are underwritten by insurance companies not affiliated with Synovus and are subject to normal underwriting procedures. Coverage is dependent upon underwriting criteria. Riders are optional and may not be available in all states. Coverage benefits are subject to the financial strength and claims paying ability of the issuing company.

  1. Life Insurance Awareness Month, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, accessed July 1, 2018. Back
  2. 2018 Insurance Barometer Study, Life Happens and LIMRA, LifeHappens.org, accessed June 27, 2019. Back
  3. Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Information, "Debts and Deceased Relatives," accessed July 24, 2018. Back
  4. Kristin O'Keeffe Merrick, “Yes, You Probably Need Life Insurance And Here's Why," Forbes, May 11, 2017. Back
  5. Maggie Leyes, “The No. 1 Reason People Don't Buy Life Insurance and Why They Are Wrong," Life Happens, April 14, 2015. Back
  6. Barbara Marquand, “Term Life Insurance Is Way Cheaper Than You Think," NerdWallet, July 10, 2015. Back