Life insurance for families.

Family having breakfast in kitchen

What is the best life insurance for a family?

Life insurance is a topic many people deliberately avoid; it can make them quite emotional to even think about leaving their loved ones behind. But that’s exactly why you should think about life insurance for families. It will secure financial protection for your family if you can’t be there for them.

If you’re starting to think about the family life insurance policy that will best suit your needs, you’ve come to the right place. The first step is to take stock of your family’s current and future goals. Do you want temporary protection, or lifetime coverage? Legacy or simple protection?

What types of insurance are there?

New York Life has four life insurance products that will work as family life insurance that can prepare your family for the unexpected. These options are term life Insurance, whole life Insurance, universal life insurance, and variable universal life insurance. Whole life, universal life, and variable universal life* provide long-term protection as long as the premium is paid when due; term provides protection for a set time period. Each product is different and has unique benefits that can provide life insurance coverage for families.

What is the difference between whole life and term?

Among these four options, it’s common for families to choose term life insurance, whole life insurance or a combination of both.

  • Term life insurance can secure what matters to you the most right now, and it can evolve to fit your needs as your life changes over time. You can choose how long you want coverage, lock in premiums that are guaranteed to stay the same for a selected period and convert to a long-term policy if your needs change later.
  • Whole life insurance gives you the benefits of lifetime permanent protection, plus it has a cash value component that grows tax free over time. You can access the cash value at any time and for any reason for expenses such as a down payment for a home, paying for a child’s college, covering student loan debt, paying medical expenses, or supplementing your retirement savings if the insurance needs decrease later in life. Of course, accessing cash value will reduce the death benefit and available cash surrender value. 

Whichever life insurance product you decide on, you’ll gain peace of mind about your family’s financial security.

Family sitting on porch steps


When it comes to the cost of coverage, there are a few factors that will determine how much you’ll spend on a family life insurance.

  • Affordability and buying early. The older you are, the more you could end up paying for life insurance, so it’s best to purchase a policy at a younger age. Since a younger person is more likely to live longer and have more time to pay premiums, the younger person’s premiums are lower. Gender can also affect life insurance costs. Women have a longer life expectancy (and more time to pay premiums), which could result in lower insurance costs. Overall health considerations, including tobacco use, family history, occupation, and lifestyle also have a significant influence on the amount of your premiums.
  • Insurance age. This is the age that life insurance companies use to set your rates. Your life insurance age depends on the age that you’re closest to instead of your current age. If you’ve reached your half birthday, insurers view you as if you’ve already aged by one year.
  • Versatility. Term life coverage is temporary, but because you can set the period—a longer term will be more expensive than a shorter term. Since whole life can last your entire life, as long as you pay the premiums, it is initially more expensive. Typically, the amount of coverage you buy affects what your premiums will be. A policy with a higher death benefit would likely cost more than a policy with a lower death benefit.
  • Tailored/customized for each family. To ensure that you get coverage that fits your unique needs, you have the option to add riders to the policy, some at additional cost; they give you and your family extra benefits, such as your premiums being paid if you become disabled.

Who has life insurance?

Fifty-two percent of Americans have life insurance, and the average amount of coverage is $178,150[1]

People between the age of 35 and 45 are the most common group to buy life insurance, but the grief and trauma of losing a loved one to the COVID-19 pandemic caused attitudes to shift about the need for life insurance among millennials (ages range from 25 to 40), who saw a greater need to plan for the final stage of their lives[2].

While attitudes around life insurance have seen some change, millions of Americans still lack enough or even any life insurance. Thirty-five million households don’t have any life insurance at all. This means the loss of one or both income earners could be financially devastating to a family.

There are seven groups that are likely to be under- or uninsured—single parents, parents who both work, stay-at-home moms (or dads), homeowners, business owners, people with a history of minor health issues, and people whose employers provide group life insurance.

Even if you don’t fall into one of these groups, you and your family may still lack the financial protection you need. A New York Life financial professional can help you assess whether you have enough insurance or need more for the unexpected.

How does life insurance work?

Life insurance is an agreement between you and your insurance company. In exchange for the payment of premiums, the insurance company agrees to pay a lump sum in the form of a death benefit to the loved ones you’ve elected as your beneficiaries**. Your loved ones can use this money to pay for everyday expenses and more.

How can a New York Life agent help your family?

You can work with one of our New York Life agents to get a specific quote. Your agent can help you decide the amount of insurance your family needs and identify the product (or products) that will best fit your budget. And once you find the policy that’s best for you, your agent can help you proceed.

Related Articles 

Want to learn more about life insurance?

A New York Life financial professional can help determine what’s right for you.