Help protect your family’s future. Enter your zip code to get your free quote today!

Get Your Free Quote

How Long Should I Get Life Insurance For?

How long should you get life insurance for? You thought enough about life insurance to reach this point but maybe didn’t consider the answer to this key question. Read through the information below to better understand life insurance term options.

Q&A: Life Insurance Policy Length

Deciding on a policy length can be tricky. Buy too long of a plan and you may end up paying for coverage you no longer need. But buy too short of a policy and you may end up without any coverage when you actually need it.

The correct length of a life insurance policy is going to be different for everyone, as there are several things to consider in order to arrive at a proper number.

Answering the following questions can help you decide how long your life insurance policy should be.

1. How Close Are You to Retirement?

The purpose of life insurance is to serve as a replacement for your income in case you were to die. If you figure you are 30 years away from retiring, then you may want to consider getting a 30-year life insurance policy. That way, the full lifespan of your working career will be backed up by insurance for those that depend on your income.

If you anticipate retiring in 20 years, then a 30-year life insurance policy may not make sense because you won’t have any income to replace for the final 10 years of the policy, making it difficult to justify a decade’s worth of premiums while living off your retirement benefits. 

When determining how long to buy life insurance for, it’s a good idea to match your policy length to the amount of time you expect to continue earning a living.

2. Do You Have a Mortgage?

Let’s say you own a home and are the primary income contributor of the household. Your spouse relies on your income in order to pay the mortgage each month. If you were to die without life insurance, your spouse may have a difficult time making the payments on their own.

The length of your life insurance policy should correspond to the amount of time you have remaining on your mortgage. If you still have 25 years left until your house is all paid off, you will want a life insurance policy that lasts at least as long.

3. How Old Are Your Kids?

If you have children, they will be financially dependent upon you until at least the age of 18. And these days, half of college graduates are still financially dependent on their parents two years after graduating. 

The Bottom Line

Determine your answer for each of the three sections above related to retirement, mortgage and children. Of your three answers, choose the highest number. Now round up to the nearest five-year increment as term life insurance is typically sold as 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30-year plans. This is how long you should get life insurance for.

For example, if you determined you have 23 years until you retire, 19 years until you pay off your mortgage and 13 years until your youngest child is no longer financially dependent upon you, then your highest number is 23. Now round that up to the nearest five-year increment and you will want to purchase a life insurance policy good for 25 years.

Licensed life insurance agents can help you determine the length of your desired life insurance policy, answer any additional questions and provide quotes.


This is an advertisement for life insurance. 
Applications for life insurance may be subject to acceptance by insurer. Issuance of the policy may depend upon answers to health questions. Rates and coverage amounts depend upon the carrier selected. Your policy may be subject to underwriting approval. You will receive only the benefit amount in the policy issued.


Help protect your family’s future. Enter your zip code to get your free quote today!

Get Your Free Quote

Related Information

Meeting Your Life Insurance Needs

Read some tips on how to determine what amount of life insurance is right for you.

Read More

Deciding How Much Life Insurance You Need

How do I know how much life insurance I need? You can determine the figure by considering your debts, assets and income.

Read More

Calculate How Much Life Insurance You Need

Before purchasing life insurance, calculate how much money your family will need if you die unexpectedly. Learn how to evaluate your life insurance needs.

Read More

How Long Does Life Insurance Last?

Is it possible that your life insurance policy may expire before you die? And what happens if it does?

Read More

How Does Life Insurance Work? Here’s What to Know.

This primer will help you learn how life insurance works and the different life insurance options you have to choose from.

Read More

How Life Insurance Payouts Work

If you have a life insurance policy, a payout of the death benefit is preceded by a claim providing a death certificate.

Read More

When to Consider Buying Life Insurance

Do you need life insurance? If you’re considering buying a policy, you should first read this primer on life insurance policies.

Read More

What Is Supplemental Life Insurance?

Supplemental life insurance policies can work alongside your employer-provided life insurance coverage. Learn more about this form of life insurance.

Read More

Who Needs Life Insurance?

Here are some guidelines to help you determine if buying a life insurance policy is the right choice for you.

Read More