Getting Ready: Life Insurance Checklist – Part 1

Getting started can be the hardest part and organizing your thoughts can be challenging.  Use this list to help guide you.  It will help you ask the right questions and get the answers you need from an advisor.

1. What you would like your life insurance policy to do?

  • Pay the mortgage off and other debts?
  • Pay funeral arrangements?
  • Provide income for your dependents? For how long?
  • Fund the cost for future education of your children?
  • A combination of some or all of the above?

Once we know what the purpose is, then we can being to quantify (or put a number on) the amount of insurance needed.

2. Who needs the life insurance?

There’s a variety of products available to meet your family’s specific life insurance needs.  You may need insurance on each spouse and in differing amounts, and there are many ways to customize the coverage specifically for your family.  For example, you can get an individual life insurance policy on your own life and also your spouse’s, or you can get a joint policy.  A joint policy covers both people but they are insured together under one policy. A policy that pays on the death of the first person is called a “joint-first-to-die” (JFTD) policy.  If this type of policy meets your needs, then you can save up to 15% on your overall insurance costs. There are some drawback with this type of coverage, so be sure to read my article on JOINT INSURANCE.

3. How long do you need the insurance for?

  • How long is your mortgage amortization?
  • How long will your children be dependent on you?
  • What age do you plan to retire at?
  • Do you want to use life insurance to leave a legacy?


These 3 questions should give you a great start at narrowing down how much life insurance coverage you need and for how long.  Please go on the PART 2 when you’re ready.