Budgeting for life insurance might not be as exciting as budgeting for a new car or a fun trip, but it is much easier. Many people think about life insurance, but then decide to put it on the back burner because they think it’s expensive. Well guess what? Life insurance is actually very affordable.
Life insurance is really about protecting your loved ones from financial disaster if you should pass away. Think of it as income replacement.
Plan for what you need
Most people overestimate the cost of life insurance by 3-4 times. Life insurance is less expensive than you think. On average, you can get a $500,000 policy for $50 per month! We recommend getting coverage that is at least 5-10 times your income, but most importantly you should buy what you can comfortably afford. Having $100,000 in coverage is a million times better than having nothing at all.
Here’s what you need to cover:
- Personal debt (car, student loans, credit cards)
- Funeral expenses
- Monthly income your family will need (future college tuition for children, groceries, monthly bills)
How to save money on life insurance
There is no such thing as a coupon for discounts on life insurance, but there are other ways you can save money.
- Buy term. Term life insurance is the most affordable coverage you can own. Permanent insurance can cost 10 times more than term life insurance.
- Pay annually. Insurance companies add fees for the extra administrative work needed to provide you that convenience of paying monthly or quarterly. Paying annually typically saves you around 5%.
- Compare quotes. Life insurance pricing isn’t the same across the board with insurance companies. Different carriers evaluate your application on their specific guidelines, so you may save money by choosing a company that is more lenient toward your health situation. When you compare quotes using a tool like Quotacy, you are provided with competitive prices from all the top life insurance carriers.
- Take another look. You may be overpaying especially if you purchased life insurance directly through an agent that only represents one insurance company. Chances are you may be able to get a lower rate just by comparison shopping different companies.
- Unbundle your coverage. Bundling your life insurance with home and auto insurance is typically more expensive.
Put the cost of life insurance into perspective
We insure our health, cars, home, valuables, and even our phones, but most of us don’t realize that life insurance is cheaper to insure than most of these. In life we face financial challenges. We budget for daycare, student loans, phone bills, car payments and much more. Life insurance may not feel like a necessity when we are on a tight budget, but when you realize that you can get your family covered for pennies on the dollar, it’s easy to make that decision. If you feel the financial struggle now, what happens to your family if you die? Make sure your family is protected.
Fitting life insurance into a budget
Let’s look at three easy changes that you can make to fit life insurance into your budget. I’ve even made them myself!
1: Practice BYO (Bring Your Own)
Do you go through the Starbucks drive-thru or out to lunch on a daily basis? What about those happy hours and brunching on the weekend? I get it. It may take baby steps to start making your own coffee, packing your own lunch, and cutting back on eating out in general. But you’ll be surprised at how quickly the savings adds up.
My girlfriends and I alternate between throwing our own happy hours or brunches on the weekends. There’s no pressure to get all dolled up, and we make it easy by having everyone pitch in and bring their favorite drink or dish. Sure, I still go out and have fun, I just do it a little less often.
2: Conduct a subscription audit
These days with all the apps we have our fingertips and that fine line between need and want, it’s easy to let the number of subscriptions we have get out of hand. So many of these subscriptions are auto withdrawn, so when you look at your bank account it’s hard to decipher what you are even paying for anymore. Chances are you don’t need to pay for Hulu, cable, and Netflix, or Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes Radio. Give up a few and your bank account will thank you.
I’m the queen of subscriptions. But after my budget boyfriend became my budget husband, I was encouraged to give up a few subscriptions in order to save for our future. I thought $10 per month was no big deal, but when I added everything up, it became a real chunk of change. I encourage you to go through your subscriptions and decide what you really need.
3: Get creative with date nights
Going out for a date night gets expensive. Even if you just go out for dinner and a movie, that night adds up quickly. A dinner for two can quickly reach $50 or more, especially when you add in drinks. Have you been to a movie lately? Evening tickets are averaging $12-$14 each! And of course you want that delicious, buttery popcorn to go along with that show. It’s easy to spend $100 for a simple night out.
I’m a lover of date nights, but when my husband and I made it a weekly thing, it became a large monthly expense. While we enjoy a dinner and a movie, sometimes we make it a daytime activity. A lunch and a matinee can cost almost half the price of an evening out. Or, we choose a movie on Netflix and make a dinner at home.
We also decided to spice things up by finding activities we both enjoy and took up tennis lessons. Now we love taking our dates to the tennis court and loser has to make dinner at home. Fortunately my game is better than his, so I rarely have to cook. Not only do we save money by not going out, we also get a good sweat session in.
How to shop around for life insurance coverage
Admittedly, you’ll be shopping for the lowest price. Make sure the prices you see are from well-known brands with high financial strength ratings (A rated or better). These companies have been around a century or more and will be here for a long time to come.
Let’s say you’re looking for a $500,000, 20 year term policy. To stay competitive, insurance companies all have around the same price for the same policy, maybe just within a few cents of each other, so at first look they all appear to be about the same. Starting prices are based on your gender, your age, what state you live in, and whether or not you smoke cigarettes.
From there, pricing starts to change based on specific niches that insurance carriers have created for certain medical conditions and lifestyle habits. For instance, if you enjoy an occasional cigar during your monthly golf game, many carriers will consider you to be a smoker at a higher price, while a few companies see that as less of a big deal and will classify you a non-smoker at lower prices.
Here’s another example. Even if you are the epitome of health, but one of your parents wasn’t, prices can be higher because of the genetic risk they passed onto you. Let’s say your father died of cancer before we was 50. Your low rate won’t be affected with one or two carriers, but with all the rest your price will be higher.
A good place to start your shopping is at Quotacy. When you use Quotacy’s life insurance quoting tool you’ll see how easy it is to find and compare prices between the top carriers. You’ll be able to find the right price for you.
Jeanna Simonson is a writer and the Ambassador of Buzz at Quotacy. She has been researching and writing educational articles on the importance of life insurance since 2015. When not writing for Quotacy, you can find her scoping out the newest fitness and beauty trends for her own personal blog, traveling and spending time with her husband and fur babies. Connect with her on LinkedIn.