Spend a few minutes with a life insurance calculator to easily figure out how much coverage you need and for how long.

Calculators: They’re great. Whether you were using them to type juvenile messages in elementary school or playing games on your fancy graphing calculator in calculus class, they’ve always helped you … well, goof off. (We’ll also assume they also helped you add, subtract and create sine wave graphs.)

Anyway, it turns out a life insurance calculator is also both fun and useful, assuming your definition of fun includes making sure your loved ones are protected if something happens to you. But let’s focus on the useful: Spending a few quick minutes with a life insurance calculator is the easiest way to help determine how much coverage you need and for how long, while also keeping you from overpaying for coverage you don’t need.

Let’s break it down.

In this article:

How a life insurance cost calculator works

Broadly speaking, life insurance works by getting a large number of people to pool their money together with one insurance company. That life insurance company then manages the money, paying out a set amount to people if the worst should happen. To make this all possible, the insurer makes actuarial calculations about how long people will live.

It’s complicated, but fortunately, you don’t have to worry about all that. You need only concern yourself with what’s right for you and your family, based on your age, your health, and your financial needs. That’s where the calculator comes in.

Simply put, you’ll provide some information about yourself into the calculator, which will help you estimate the amount of protection you may need. With an online calculator, the answers are estimates intended to guide your decision-making. When you apply, your final rate will be based on your application and third party data obtained during underwriting. Here are some of the things you’ll need to provide:

  • Your gender
  • Your date of birth
  • Where you live
  • Whether you smoke or use other nicotine-containing products
  • An overall self-assessment of your health (average, good or excellent)
  • Your annual income
  • The size of your family and the age of your partner and/or kids
  • How much debt you have, if any (this includes mortgages, student loans, etc.)

And that’s it! Essentially, the calculator is looking to sort out the range of coverage you may need given your financial situation, taking into account your family’s income, debts and living expenses, and the money or coverage you already have (including any life insurance policies).

The calculator uses this to determine what’s called a “coverage gap” — essentially, the total amount of life insurance coverage your family would need if something happened to you. With term life insurance, which covers you for a specific duration — the coverage term — the calculator is also determining how long you will need coverage.

These two figures will be used to decide how much coverage and the coverage duration you may want to consider — for example, a 30-year, $1 million term life insurance policy. (If you’re wondering more about how much life insurance you need, check out our helpful article How much life insurance do I need?)

The cost of life insurance

According to a 2015 study by LIMRA — an organization that tracks such things — most people overestimate the cost of a term life insurance policy by 200 or even 300 percent. This means that getting a policy might be cheaper than you think. This is why term life insurance policies often appeal to those interested in affordability or in purchasing coverage for the time you expect to need it the most, such as for the duration of your mortgage or through the time your children are in college.

If you’ve decided to purchase a term life insurance policy, in order to determine the cost of your policy (your life insurance rate), the calculator will consider these factors:

Your age

Because, obviously, the younger you are, the longer you are likely to live — which means you can pay a lower premium over a longer period of time.

Your health

The healthier you are, the less of a risk the life insurance company is taking on, which results in a lower premium to you.

How much coverage you need

For the same person buying the same term (see below), more coverage equals higher premiums. It’s that simple.

Your term

Typically speaking, a shorter term length will cost less than a longer one — both overall and on a per month basis. You’ll pay higher life insurance premium on a longer term because it covers the years when you’re older and likely in poorer health, meaning you’re more of a risk to the insurer. (Learn how to choose the right life insurance by age here.)

For example, a 35-year-old man in excellent health could purchase a 30-year, $500,000 Haven Term policy issued by MassMutual for less $42 a month. That term length would see a 1-year-old child through college — and the insured close to retirement.

Now say that same man in excellent health buys the same coverage amount ($500,000), but only for a 15-year term. He’ll pay $15.66 per month over half as many months. This will cover him until he is 50 — potentially enough if he plans to retire early, his kids are older and nearing financial independence, or if he’s nearly paid off a mortgage.

What kind of life insurance should you get?

Another factor that affects cost: What type of insurance you get. Everything we discussed so far pertains to term life insurance, but many people opt for permanent life insurance. A common type of permanent life insurance is whole life insurance. Unlike term life, whole life insurance provides coverage for your entire life and includes a cash accumulation component known as the policy’s cash value that can grow over time.

This type of coverage is generally more complex and significantly more expensive than term life insurance and may require the assistance of a financial professional or life insurance agent to purchase.

Term life insurance is a simpler proposition than whole life insurance. You determine how much coverage you need and for how long. Your rate is set based on the factors above. You pay in for the length of the term, and if something happens to you, your family will reap the benefits of your foresight.

Choosing your policy

Life insurance is a highly-regulated industry, and you certainly have options. Obviously, you want to do what’s right for your family and your budget. You also want to consider the financial strength of the issuing company and the convenience of the application process.

That sounds a lot like Haven Life, a life insurance agency backed by industry leader MassMutual. MassMutual, and its subsidiary C.M. Life, issue the Haven Term policy. MassMutual and C.M. Life are rated highly for their financial strength, and Haven Life offers the simplicity of an online application process for term life insurance and consistently great customer service reviews.

If you want to learn more, you can get started with Haven Life’s super-useful online insurance needs calculator to determine how much coverage you need.

Already know what you need? Get a free online life insurance quote today.

Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children. This article is sponsored by Haven Life Insurance Agency. Opinions are his own.

 Haven Life Insurance Agency offers this as educational only, and the information provided is not written or intended as specific legal advice. Haven Life Insurance Agency does not provide legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own legal counsel.

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About Louis Wilson

Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children.

Read more by Louis Wilson

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus

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  • Simple process, fast approval with out any exam.

  • Cheapest we could find, simple application, didn’t require a health screening since I’d had a recent physical. Quick answers from customer service both times I had questions for them.

  • Easy process, painless, pretty quick turnaround. great rates!

  • Easy online application and the decision on my coverage came within 24 hours.

  • Oh my gosh. I am finally writing a review after a week of daily begging from Haven Life. Pretty good experience overall but it is life insurance. So a bit of a pain and not very transparent as to what is affecting rates. I got a good policy approved in under a month which is great. My rate was surprisingly high. I have several mild health issues but taken together they probably provide cover to rate my higher risk. I am pretty sure I could have gotten (and may still) a better rate if I had gone the traditional route. But that is even more invasive and time consuming. I am giving a 3 because of rate and lack of reasons for rate and because – it is life insurance – which in my experience is never very pleasant.

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