We all wonder what will happen after we’re gone, and thinking about this can be quite stressful. Luckily, buying life insurance can give you some peace of mind for when this difficult situation eventually arises. Life insurance gives your family money to use to fund your funeral, pay off your debts, and support their lifestyle, among other things. If you have a big family or a lot of financial responsibility, you may be wondering – what is the largest amount of life insurance you can buy?
Whole Life Insurance
If you’re buying whole life insurance, there’s usually no limit on how much money you can put on your policy. As the name implies, whole life insurance will cover you for your entire lifetime, and the premiums are typically much higher than they are for term life insurance. Because the premiums on these policies are higher, insurance companies will be willing to work with you if you want a particularly high death benefit and it’s reasonable given your lifestyle. Many of the world’s wealthiest people are insured for several million dollars. The current Guinness World Record for the most expensive life insurance policy is $201 million, reportedly held by a Silicon Valley billionaire.
Term Life Insurance
However, with a term life insurance policy, there is a limit on the size of death benefit you can take out. You do have a choice as to how much you want to take out – this flexibility is there so people can design the policy that’s going to be most effective for their families. The catch is that you need to qualify for the insurance. When you initially apply for life insurance, the insurance company will not only perform a medical exam, but they will also assess your lifestyle and financial situation to determine what amount of coverage is reasonable. Insurance companies don’t want to overpay if your beneficiaries don’t need the money, which is why these rules are in place. They will look at factors like your family situation, your career and income, any businesses or properties you own, and more. They may ask you to justify your request for a certain amount of money – maybe you want to pay for your child’s college education, or you want coverage to pay estate taxes. It’s important to communicate this to the insurance company, otherwise, you may be denied coverage. If you are applying for a particularly large policy, you may need to provide tax documents or pay stubs.
If you have a spouse that doesn’t work, they still need life insurance as well to cover their funeral costs and any debts that need to be paid off. These policies are usually purchased in conjunction with the spouses’ policy, and insurance companies are much stricter about how much money they will provide for non-working spouses. Typically, the maximum amount you can take out with these policies is $1 million, although that’s not true for every insurance company. Your insurance company may also determine how much you qualify for based on a specific percentage of your spouse’s income.
Before you apply for life insurance, it may help to use an online insurance calculator to determine how much coverage you need. You can also work with an insurance agent if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own. There are many ways you can go about determining how much insurance you need. In the past, companies would recommend that you multiply your income by 10. However, this doesn’t address the complex financial needs of families today.
You can start by calculating realistically how many years your family would need financial support without you after you pass away. Then, multiply your income by that number of years. Then, add up all of your debts that would come due when you pass away, as well as the cost of your funeral expenses and the cost of your mortgage. Finally, if you have kids, add on the estimated cost of their college education.
Calculating the amount of life insurance you need can feel overwhelming at first, but ultimately, you’ll just need to think about the realistic expenses that your family will need help with when you pass away. Your life insurance needs may change over time – for example, you won’t need as much coverage once your kids become adults and are self-sufficient. Since term life insurance policies only last for a certain amount of time, you can switch your policy to accommodate your life changes.
Although you want to make sure your loved ones are taken care of after you pass away, you may not need as much life insurance as you initially think. If you are interested in purchasing a high-value life insurance policy, talk to an insurance agent to see what they would recommend given your situation.