Life insurance doesn’t need to be complicated. With the right information, you can navigate the process with confidence.

Are you thinking about getting life insurance cover but unsure what it does or how much you need? MetLife’s Katrina Mellor nominates eight ways to get you started.

1. Understand what life insurance is meant to achieve

Life insurance provides peace of mind because it can cover living costs for your family if you pass away. It also provides certainty because it means less financial stress for an individual or family member if you’re no longer around to provide for them.

2. Know the right time to get life insurance

It’s a smart financial move to consider life insurance if you’ve recently:

  • had a child
  • married or entered a de facto relationship
  • started a new job
  • bought a house

3. Figure out how much you need

Look at your financial situation and consider:

  • Your level of debt and savings
  • The number of dependents you have
  • Your work arrangements: are you a sole trader, salaried employee or gig economy worker?

These things will determine your optimal level of cover.

4. Understand why some cover is better than no cover

It’s advisable to put life insurance cover in place sooner rather than later, that meets some of your needs, if not all of them (the perfect moment may never come).  Figure out the minimum amount you would need and put basic cover in place that would provide some financial support for those important to you.

5. Your insurance inside super might not be enough

Check how much life insurance cover you have through your superannuation. Would it be enough to provide for your family if you weren’t there? Also, it’s important to know you need to opt into insurance inside super if you want it.

6. Use comparison calculators to kick start your research

Moneysmart's online insurance calculator can be a great starting point for research. You enter your personal and financial details and discover an estimate of how much cover you need. Don’t commit to a policy without knowing the finer details around underwriting, pre-existing conditions, medicals, waiting periods and the duty of disclosure. Always read the product disclosure statement and see a financial adviser if you’re not sure.

7. Your life insurance needs to change with your life cycle

Life insurance should always meet your needs. When you're younger, you likely don't have that much debt or many dependents so you can get away with a smaller amount of cover. Then people hit a point in their life that lasts for about 20 years where they have dependents and a high level of debt. Later, the kids move out and maybe you have investments and have extinguished a lot of your debt. Then you can start to look at scaling back your cover.

8. The right financial adviser can help

A financial adviser will take the time to know your financial situation and understand what's important to you. They're well versed in different life insurance products with various companies, so they can help ensure you get comprehensive but affordable coverage. They'll also help you prioritise your finances based on your current situation and future goals.

Find a financial adviser who will help you get the life insurance cover you need for your life stage.