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How to Determine the Ideal Coverage Amount for Term Insurance

The unpredictability of life, especially in the face of events like natural disasters or epidemics, underscores the importance of life insurance. However, selecting the right life insurance policy with appropriate coverage can be challenging. As a general rule of thumb, those below 55 are advised to opt for coverage 10-12 times their gross annual income. However, there is more to this calculation. It is essential to gain a thorough understanding of the factors influencing this decision to avoid potential financial difficulties in the future. 

What is Term Insurance Coverage?

Term insurance coverage refers to the guaranteed payout (also known as the death benefit) that the beneficiaries of a term insurance policy receive in the event of your passing away during the policy term. This coverage is a predetermined amount that you choose when purchasing the policy.

The purpose of term insurance coverage is to provide financial protection to your dependents in case of your untimely death. It can help cover daily living expenses, debts, and future costs such as children's education or spouse's retirement.

It's important to note that if you survive the policy term, there is typically no payout unless the policy is a "return of premium" type, which returns the premiums paid over the term back to you at the end.

Things to Consider Before Buying Term Insurance

You must consider several personal factors that can influence the type and amount of coverage you need for the best term plan. Here are some key aspects to consider - 

  • Monthly Expenses: Evaluate your family's monthly expenses, including rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation, education, and healthcare. Your coverage should be sufficient to cover these expenses for several years.
  • Financial Liabilities: Consider any outstanding debts such as home loans, car loans, personal loans, or credit card bills. The term insurance coverage should be enough to clear these liabilities so your dependents don't have to bear the burden.
  • Age: The earlier you buy term insurance, the lower the premiums will be. It's advisable to buy term insurance early in life.
  • Income: Your current and potential future earnings are important in determining coverage amounts. A common rule of thumb is having coverage 10-15 times your annual income.
  • Dependents: The number of people financially dependent on you, their age, and their life goals (like higher education or marriage for children) should be considered when deciding the coverage amount.
  • Health Status: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, it may affect your premium rates and policy terms.
  • Retirement Plans: If you're planning for early retirement, you might want a policy term that aligns with those plans.
  • Inflation: Over time, the purchasing power of your money decreases due to inflation. Therefore, deciding the coverage amount's important to factor in inflation.
  • Life Goals: If you have specific life goals such as buying a house, funding your child's education or wedding, or planning for retirement, these should be factored into your coverage amount.

How to Calculate The Correct Term Insurance Coverage

Here are some tips to determine the ideal coverage amount for term insurance - 

  • Human Life Value (HLV) Method: It considers the economic value as an economic asset. It takes into account future income, expenses, liabilities, and investments. 
    According to the HLV method, it is recommended to take into account your income, expenses, future responsibilities, and goals in order to assess your insurance requirements. Many insurance companies provide an HLV calculator on their websites to help calculate this for your term plans.
  • Income Replacement Method: This method suggests that the term insurance cover should replace your lost earnings. A simple way to calculate this is to multiply your current annual income by the years left until retirement. 
  • Expense Replacement Method: This method suggests calculating your daily household expenses, loans, and goals such as children’s education and providing for financially dependent parents for their entire lives. Deduct the present value of your investments and existing life cover from this total to get an idea of how much coverage you need for your term insurance plans.
  • Underwriter’s Rule: It suggests having a minimum of 10 times your annual income. However, financial advisors often recommend a cover of at least 15-20 times your annual income.


Determining the right term insurance coverage is a crucial task involving careful consideration of your income, expenses, and future goals. While various methods provide guidelines, personalising these for the best top term plan is key. Consulting a financial advisor can be beneficial in making an informed decision. Ultimately, the aim is to secure your family's financial future, providing you with invaluable peace of mind.

You can also consider Aviva term insurance policies and determine a plan that offers adequate coverage that suits you and your family's requirements. 


AN Aug 26/23 

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