People buy life insurance for a variety of reasons. Here's a case study of a 36-year-old man who took a new job and needs new life insurance coverage.
Anthony, 36 Business Manager
Married to Tammy
Loves to bike
Is an expert-level gamer of credit card reward programs
Shared retirement savings: $150,000
Auto loans: $56,000
His parents suffer health problems that could become expensive in the coming years
Anthony has life insurance through his employer. Trouble is, he's taken a new job where there's greater potential for professional growth (not to mention a better salary), and HR is telling him that he can't take his policy with him. Now Anthony needs to find a new, hopefully better, life insurance policy, and he'd rather buy his own than worry about being dependent on his employer for coverage again.
The first thing Anthony does is start paying closer attention to the celebrity personal finance experts he already enjoys, like Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey, and he keeps hearing them say "buy term, not whole life insurance" over and over. Then he starts reading up on what determines price variation for life insurance, and what levers can push the price down.
Anthony and his wife are building up a decent retirement savings.
But their mortgage and auto loans are significant, so if Anthony's income is lost, his wife will have a hard time paying for everything without draining that savings.
Anthony wants to make sure that if he's gone, his wife can pay the mortgage and car loans in full and still live comfortably on the equivalent of a two-income household until she retires.
Anthony also knows their parents may need help paying for advanced medical care in the future. He and his wife are making room in their budget for this now, but they'll need both incomes to make the plan work.
One of the celebrity personal finance experts Anthony watches recommends Policygenius for people who are thinking about buying life insurance, so Anthony goes to the site and gives it a test. Because Anthony is focusing on finding the best value for the cheapest price, he's impressed that the site shows him different plans side by side where he can comparison-shop. Furthermore, there are detailed breakdowns of each policy, so he can see what extra benefits or drawbacks are tucked away in each prospective policy.
Although a smaller benefit probably would have been enough for just the mortgage and spousal support, Anthony chooses a larger amount to make sure that both his wife and his parents will be shielded from any unforeseen increases in their living expenses due to future potential medical costs. And if all goes as expected, by the time the term ends, he and Tammy will have saved enough to retire comfortably and cover any parent-related costs on their own.