Your coverage will depend on your individual circumstances. Factors you should consider include anticipated final expenses (e.g. medical bills and burial costs), living expenses for your surviving family members, any outstanding loans (e.g. auto and credit cards), the outstanding balance on your mortgage, anticipated education costs for your children, estate taxes, and business continuation expenses.
A simple way to achieve a “starting point” is to take a multiple of your annual income and adjust for the factors listed above. We recommend ten times your annual income to start. Keep in mind that your needs will most likely change over time and what seems like enough money today may not be adequate in ten years. It is usually best to purchase an amount you can afford while at the same time considering future needs.
Most insurance companies will allow a certain multiple of your annual income based on your age and are usually flexible if you can demonstrate other needs. The amount you choose is up to you for the most part; however, you will need to justify amounts over and above a company’s income multiple guidelines.