Published 3/1/2013
Nicole Dierking

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

Understanding why you need life insurance isn’t difficult, especially if you have a family. Life insurance helps protect the financial future of your family should something happen to you. If you don’t have a family, life insurance can help protect the future of your business or provide a meaningful legacy for a cause in which you believe.

Determining how much life insurance you need, however, may be a little harder. Your need for coverage may vary during your lifetime—generally increasing as you build your family and estate. This article outlines one way to determine the amount of coverage that’s right for you.

Protecting your family
As you evaluate life insurance policies, take an inventory of all the things you do—little or big, monetary or not—to help your family. What would it take to maintain this standard after you’re gone? The following issues are some that you should take into account:

  • Your income—How much are you contributing now? What might you anticipate earning over the course of your career? What would your family lose without your earnings?
  • Your work benefits—Be sure to take your employer-provided benefits into account when deciding how much life insurance you need. For example, if your family relies on your employer-provided health insurance, how much will they need to replace that coverage? If your company matched your retirement plan contributions, what will your family need to supplement those benefits?
  • Outstanding debts—How large are your outstanding debts? Take into account mortgage payments, auto loans, school loans, personal loans, credit card debt, and any other debts.
  • Estate costs—Life insurance can help cover any estate taxes, final expenses, administrative fees, or probate costs that become payable after your death.
  • What you do to make your family’s life easier now—This category covers “incidental” costs for things that you do and for which your family will have to assume responsibility. For example, childcare, gardening services (even something as simple as mowing the lawn), and home repairs can all add up.

Protecting your business
If you are a solo practitioner, life insurance can provide funds to help cover costs while your family attempts to sell your practice or close it down. Partners and members of small groups may need life insurance to meet the costs of buy-out arrangements.

The AAOS Member Advantage Program
The life insurance coverage available to you through the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) leverages the buying power of the AAOS to provide discounts that you cannot obtain on your own.

For detailed information on the group term life insurance offerings through the AAOS Member Advantage Insurance Program—including a complete list of benefits, limitations, and costs, visit www.aaosinsurance.com or call 866-679-0888 to speak with a knowledgeable AAOS Insurance Plan Administrator representative.

During the AAOS Annual Meeting, stop by the Practice Management kiosk, located in Academy Row, Hall B, for more details.

Nicole Dierking is a copywriter for Pearl Insurance, which administers the AAOS Group Term Life Insurance Plan.