Policy Questions? Call us at+18006552795

How Much Insurance Do You Need?


There is no simple answer to this question. Calculating your coverage needs is crucial in buying life insurance. Here’s all you need to know about calculating coverage and factors that affect life insurance.


  • The amount of coverage you need depends on a variety of factors, including your age, health, income, family situation and financial obligations.
  • Some experts agree that you should have a policy that’s worth at least 7 to 10 times your annual salary. But this is just a general guideline and if you have young children or a lot of debts, you may want to have a larger policy so that they can be taken care of financially if something happens to you.
  • The best way to figure out how much life insurance you need is to use the DIME formula. DIME stands for debt, income, mortgage, and education expenses.
  • You start by calculating your annual income and then multiply that by the number of years until you retire. Then you add up your mortgage balance and any other debts you might have. Finally, you estimate how much money your family will need to cover expenses each year after you’re gone.


The amount of coverage you need depends on a variety of factors, including your age, health, lifestyle, and financial obligations. But how do you know how much life insurance is enough? Start by considering these three factors:

  1. Your current income and financial obligations: How much money would your family need to replace your income if you were no longer there to provide for them? Be sure to factor in things like mortgage payments, education costs, and day-to-day living expenses.
  2. Your future income and earnings potential: If you’re the primary breadwinner for your family, they’ll need to replace your income if you die. Make sure your life insurance policy is large enough to cover this loss.
  3. Your personal assets: Do you have any savings or investments that could be used to help your family in the event of your death? If not, you’ll need to make sure your life insurance policy is big enough to cover all of your family’s financial needs.

Some other things to consider when determining how much insurance you need:

  • Do you have young children or other dependents who rely on you for support?
  • Do you own a home or other property that would need to be sold to pay for expenses like funeral costs or estate taxes?
  • Are there any special needs or expenses that need to be covered in the event of your death?

Once you’ve taken all of these things into consideration, you’ll have a better idea of how much life insurance coverage you need.

How to calculate your insurance coverage amount

Here are two of the most effective ways to calculate your insurance coverage amount:

1. Multiply your annual income by 10x

A good rule of thumb is to multiply your annual salary by 10x. So if you earn $50,000 per year, you should have a life insurance policy worth at least $500,000. This will ensure that your family is taken care of financially if something happens to you.

This is the most straightforward way to determine your life insurance needs, but it has limitations. It does not comprehensively consider your finances or your family’s necessities. Additionally, it does not work for stay-at-home parents. Even if they may not earn an income, a parent who stays at home requires life insurance just as much as a parent who works. If a stay-at-home parent passes away, the surviving spouse must employ someone to assume some or all of the deceased’s tasks.

If you plan to have children, you might also want to consider their education costs. If you have more than one child, multiply the total income by ten and add $10,000 for each child’s college expenses. As with the “10 times income” criterion, this does not account for the needs of your family, your existing assets, or unpaid contributions made by your spouse or partner. You may want to have a larger policy so that they can be taken care of financially if something happens to you. Or if you have a lot of debt, you may want to get a policy that will cover those debts in the event of your death.

2. The DIME formula

The DIME formula is the most all-encompassing of the three rules of thumb. It guarantees that your life insurance covers four essential areas: debt, income, mortgage, and education.

Debt: Add up all your debts (including credit cards, car loans, student loans, and any other outstanding debts or any other financial obligation that is not forgiven upon death).

Income: Consider the number of years your loved ones will need financial assistance. Then calculate your annual income (before taxes).

Mortgage: The balance on your mortgage does not disappear when you die, so make sure you estimate the mortgage balance on your home (if you have one).

Education: Are you planning to send your children to college? If so, how much will they need?
Finally, add up the future education expenses for your children.

DIME formula is an excellent starting point for calculating your life insurance needs.

Here is an illustration of how to calculate life insurance needs using the DIME algorithm.

Consider that your entire debt is $30,000. This includes credit cards, credit lines, automobile loans, and school loans. However, this does not include the mortgage, which you will calculate separately. You may also include any future debts you cannot pay, such as your funeral expenses. Consider that you will need $12,000 to cover your final expenses.

Therefore, your total debt is now: $30,000 + $12,000 = $42,000.

You should decide for how long you would like your family’s income to be replaced. You can use the years it will take for your youngest child to reach 18, graduate from college, or buy her first home. It is also possible to examine how many years remain until retirement. Assume you make $60,000 annually. Within 20 years, you wish to have enough funds to support your family until your youngest child graduates from college.

Income: $60,000 x 20 = $1,200,000

Calculate the remaining balance on your mortgage. Say you owe $500,000 on your mortgage. Total mortgage obligation: $500,000

Consider education and, lastly, how much money would you need 20 years from now to send your child to college? If you have multiple children, consider the maximum lifetime contribution to an RESP in Canada, which is $50,000.

So, that’s $50,000 for one child’s education.

Using the DIME formula, you will require $1,742,000 in coverage for 20 years.

While the DIME formula can give you a good starting point for how much life insurance you need, it’s always best to talk to a professional before making a decision. An experienced life insurance agent can help you tailor a policy to your specific needs and budget.

What is a life insurance premium?

The amount of money you pay to your life insurance company periodically to receive life insurance coverage is called a premium. You and your beneficiaries’ financial security interests will be protected as long as your premiums are paid on time. According to how the policy is set up with the insurer, life insurance payments are typically made monthly, quarterly, or annually. (add an example of premium here)

What factors affect life insurance coverage?

There are a lot of factors that affect the need for life insurance coverage. The average life insurance purchased by individuals is 10 to 15 times their annual salary. This enables them to cover the majority of all of the costs listed below:

Everyday expenses and monthly bills: The payout from your life insurance policy should cover your monthly expenditures and essential living needs, such as food, utilities, and clothing. In the end, it ensures that your family can keep its current standard of living without having to worry about income loss.

Short-term debts: If you have short-term debts, such as a student loan or car loan, they will survive your death. After you pass away, your family will be forced to deal with it. Without your salary, this might be difficult. Here comes life insurance into play. It can eliminate your short-term debt and protect your family from financial difficulty.

Child care: The payoff from your life insurance policy can cover all of your existing child care bills. This includes tuition, after-school programs, and additional expenses. If you have or are planning to have children, you should also consider college expenses, given their rapid increase.

Funeral costs: Death is not cheap. You may spend thousands of dollars on cremation, funeral homes, and gravestones. In Canada, the average cost of a burial ranges between $5,000 and $15,000. If you do not wish to burden your family with the funeral expense, you should include it in your policy.

But if you have long-term debts such as mortgages, you may want to have a larger policy so that they can be taken care of financially if something happens to you. That’s where DIME comes in. The DIME formula that provides comprehensive calculation for your coverage needs. It takes into account your current income and long and short term debts, as well as any future expenses like college tuition or retirement.

How long do you need life insurance coverage?

There is no one way to go about this. The amount of coverage you need mostly depends on your debt load. If you have a mortgage or other debts that would be left unpaid in the event of your death, life insurance can help ensure that those obligations are met. Nevertheless, you should take these factors into account when choosing how much coverage and how many years you need:

Your age: Your age is a useful predictor of how long you will continue to provide your family with an income that would need to be replaced if you were to pass away. If your beneficiaries depend on your income, you should choose a policy that lasts until you plan to retire or until you have sufficient savings and assets to provide financial security for your family.

Your longest debt: Life insurance coverage should last as least as long as it will take you to pay off your longest debt such as mortgage balances. This can prevent your loved ones from inheriting your debts in the event of your death.

Your children: If you have young children or are planning to have them soon, term life insurance for 15 or 20 years or longer can provide stability for your family. If something were to happen to you, your policy might assist to support your children until they complete college or become independent.

Do I need life insurance if I have a lot of savings?

If you’re healthy and have enough saved up to cover your family’s needs in the event of your death, you may not need life insurance. But keep in mind that savings can always be depleted – whether by unexpected medical expenses, long-term care costs, or simply living longer than anticipated. So it’s important to consider all factors when deciding whether or not life insurance is right for you.

Here are three reasons why you should consider life insurance, even if you have significant savings:

1. Your savings may not be enough to cover final expenses

Your savings may be substantial, but it is important to consider how far those funds would go in the event of your death. Final expenses, including funeral costs and outstanding debts, can quickly eat away at your nest egg. Life insurance can help ensure that your loved ones are not left with the burden of covering these costs.

2. Your savings could be subject to taxes and probate

Depending on the size of your estate, your savings could be subject to taxes when you die. Additionally, your assets may have to go through probate, which can be a lengthy and expensive process. Life insurance proceeds are generally not subject to either taxes or probate, making them a more efficient way to provide for your family after your death.

3. Your family may need access to cash right away

In the event of your death, your family will likely want or need access to cash immediately. This can be used to cover final expenses or simply help with everyday living expenses while they adjust to their new reality. With life insurance, your beneficiaries can receive a lump sum payment that can be used for whatever they need.

While having a robust savings account is a critical part of financial security, life insurance provides an additional layer of protection in the event of your untimely death.

How does life insurance protect a mortgage?

You can include the mortgage balance so your family can remain in their home without worrying about foreclosure. If income replacement (above) already accounts for mortgage payments and other costs, there is no need to add additional mortgage funds. A mortgage life insurance policy gives a death benefit to the lender if a home borrower passes away during the loan’s term. This term insurance is designed to correspond to the number of years remaining on a mortgage, with death benefit levels that change annually to reflect the yearly reduction in the mortgage balance.

Borrowers whose lender forces them to obtain mortgage life insurance may also choose permanent life insurance, allowing them to name new beneficiaries once the mortgage obligation is met.

How can I determine whether I need life insurance?

Most people choose to get life insurance for one main reason: to financially protect their loved ones in the event of their death. If you have dependents who rely on your income, life insurance can help ensure they are taken care of financially if you’re no longer there.

But life insurance can also be used for other purposes, like covering estate taxes or providing money to pay off debts. And if you have a lot of savings, life insurance can be used as a way to pass on wealth to your heirs tax-free.
Not all individuals require life insurance but certain people and situations make it a good idea to have it. Those who have amassed sufficient wealth and assets to provide for their own and their loved ones’ needs in the case of their death can forego purchasing life insurance, particularly a term policy.

On the other hand, according to some experts, there are categories of people who should never be without life insurance: couples, mortgage holders, new parents, parents of minors, children (minors), divorcing parties, and business owners.

Frequently asked questions about life insurance

Do life insurance policies cost more with age?
As we age, our life insurance premiums generally increase. This is because older people are more likely to die than younger people, so insurers charge more to cover the increased risk. In general, life insurance is less expensive for younger, healthier individuals. Therefore, you should purchase it as soon as possible if you believe you will require it now or in the future.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you’re in good health and have a history of good health in your family, you may be able to get a policy at a lower rate than someone who is the same age but has health risks. Similarly, if you live a healthy lifestyle with no risky behaviors like smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, you may also be eligible for lower rates.

How long should my term life insurance be?
Your term life insurance policy should match the duration of your financial obligations and outstanding debts. If you do not get a good term length and need to purchase additional life insurance coverage in the future, your premiums will be significantly higher.

Should I continue my life insurance coverage after the policy expires?
The question of whether or not to continue coverage after the policy expires is an important one. There are a few things to consider when making this decision. First, what is your current financial situation? If you have paid your long-term debt, you may not need the coverage. However, if you are struggling financially, life insurance can provide much-needed security for your family. Another thing to consider is your health. If you have health issues, life insurance can be a vital safety net for your family. Finally, think about your family situation. If you have young children, you may want to continue your life insurance coverage so that they will be taken care of if something happens to you. However, if you have adult children who are independent, you may not need as much coverage.

What happens when a term life insurance policy expires?
When a term life insurance policy expires, the policyholder is not required to take action. The insurance provider notifies the policyholder that the policy is no longer in effect, the policyholder ceases paying premiums, and there is no potential death benefit.

How much is life insurance coverage required at the age of 40?
Calculating the amount of life insurance you’ll need begins with calculating the difference between your assets and your responsibilities, regardless of age. At age 40, you may be in a moment of transition, between a job and retirement, with children in college or living independently. All of these factors impact the amount of life insurance you may require.

Should I buy life insurance at the age of 70?
At age 70, your debts and obligations may be far lower than they were earlier in life. You may pay off your mortgage, your children may be adults, and you may be approaching retirement (or already retired). Consider purchasing life insurance to help your loved ones pay off any outstanding debts in the event of your death. Using the gap between your assets and debts, you may determine the quantity of coverage you’ll need.


So, how much life insurance do you need?

Since life insurance protects your dependents, you must prepare a financial plan based on their needs in the event of your death. Consider your family’s existing and projected expenses in addition to your annual income and assets.

If you are unsure about the value of life insurance, remember that it is always preferable to purchase a smaller coverage than to have none. Any life insurance can help alleviate the financial strain on your family during your death. Protecting your family requires ensuring they have a financial safety net; even a modest net is preferable to none.