How much life insurance do I need?

How much life insurance do I need?

It’s easy to see the benefits of having life insurance as a financial safety net to help protect your family. The challenging part is knowing the right amount you should have in place. 

Where do you start?

Here are some starting points for helping to determine how much life insurance you need.    


Think about your expenses

Studies suggest that the average family should have at minimum up to 5.25 years of replacement income through life insurance in the event a breadwinner or caregiver dies suddenly¹. (The average replacement for most U.S. households is only three years.) An important question to ask yourself is, “Are you comfortable knowing your loved ones will have just over five years of replacement income if you’re not there?”

In reality, that number is just a guideline and doesn’t reflect your unique needs, even though a formula or calculator can be a conversation starter. Having conversations with family and loved ones about how the money would be used will help identify your unique needs. What do they need to feel comfortable? What's the plan to move forward if you're no longer around to help care for the family? You may have unique needs you want to take care of such as owning your own business, caring for a family member with special needs, or helping with future estate taxes for your heirs.

That's where a financial professional comes in. Not only do they bring expertise in helping you design a strategy, but they can ask helpful questions to guide conversations, and get you thinking about challenges from a different perspective.

Before you have a conversation with a financial professional, start listing the expenses your family would face should you die, including:

  • Mortgage payments
  • Taxes
  • Tuition costs
  • Monthly bills
  • Outstanding debt

If you can project these expenses out over five years, you’ll have an idea of the minimum life insurance coverage you’ll need. You may find that you want to provide a greater amount of coverage for your loved ones that may help them beyond that timeframe.

Calculate your potential premiums

Use our term life insurance calculator to input your information and see coverage amounts from Ohio National. This will help you understand annual life insurance premiums for the coverage you desire. You may be surprised to find that it is more affordable than you thought.

Talk about it

Talking with a financial professional is an important step. They not only can help you determine how much you may need, but also show you ways you can use life insurance beyond helping to provide protection for your loved ones.


¹ LIMRA, Celebrate Insurance Awareness Day – Help Your Clients Review Their Needs, June 2017

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Life insurance is issued by The Ohio National Life Insurance Company and Ohio National Life Assurance Corporation. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Loans and withdrawals may reduce the death benefit, cash surrender value and any living benefit amount.

Products, product features, and rider availability vary by state. Issuer not licensed to conduct business in NY.