Nov 19 2010 9:13 AM

How much life insurance should I buy to protect my family?

If you have young children, you probably want to make sure that they are taken care of in case you or your spouse dies. Insurance can help put your children through college, provide for your spouse’s retirement and pay off your debts. However, many families with young children don’t have life insurance. Make sure you buy enough life insurance to replace your income and allow your family to live comfortably without you.

Many employers offer life insurance; however, the coverage is usually not enough. Additionally, an employer-provided policy is not portable if you leave your job. That’s why it’s important to buy your own life insurance policy as soon as you have dependents and are still young and healthy. When you plan to buy coverage for your family, make sure you obtain several life insurance quotes to get the best rates.

Women need to make sure they have adequate life insurance to protect their families, regardless of whether they are working mothers or stay-at-home moms. Unfortunately, women are less likely to have life insurance than men. If a mother doesn’t have enough life insurance coverage when she dies, her family could face financial hardship. Almost two-thirds of American families depend on two incomes to make ends meet. Even if a woman stays home, she’s making a substantial contribution to the household. Some studies estimate a stay-at-home mom can provide her family with services worth more than $120,000 a year.

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Our Insurance Expert

Laura Adams is a personal finance expert and award-winning author who is Senior Insurance Analyst for InsuranceQuotes.com. She represents Bankrate Insurance’s web properties in the media and works as an advocate to make sure consumers protect their financial futures by having the right kinds of insurance.

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