Life insurance may not sound all that exciting, but when you do stop to think about life insurance it’s not uncommon to assume that since the concept is simple enough, so too are the products.  It’s also fairly easy to rationalize the things you really don’t understand about life insurance, and before you know it, you’re harboring potentially damaging life insurance myths. 

For your own edification, and frankly, for the safety of your loved ones’ financial futures, it’s important to understand exactly what life insurance is, what it does, and how — not to mention if — you should make a move either to purchase or upgrade your coverage. 

Read the myths below to see if you need to adjust your thinking when it comes to life insurance.

The coverage you get at work is enough.

While this may, in fact, be the case if you’re single, in good financial standing, have no dependents and aren’t worried about estate taxes, for most people, the term policy offered through their employer just won’t be enough to sustain their families’ needs.  After all, your insurance payout must not only support your family financially, it must also pay off any debts, such as the mortgage or even the MasterCard, as well as settle up with Uncle Sam.

2. Only the working spouse needs life insurance.

This is a curious — and wildly inaccurate — belief, yet it somehow persists.  Life insurance on the breadwinner is intended to fill in the gap left by the loss of a paycheck, but that discounts all the valuable work a stay-at-home partner contributes to the relationship.  If you’re used to this arrangement, how would you pay for child care, home cleaning or manage the household without a little financial help in the event of such a loss?  It can be easy to overlook the many contributions of the non-breadwinner, but to do so would be remiss.

The value of your life insurance coverage should equal two years’ salary.

Everyone’s financial circumstances are different, and so are their life insurance needs.  You might require more coverage than two years’ salary if you incur medical bills or other debts, have a young family, a mortgage to pay, or any number of life obligations to meet.  If your lifestyle is more modest and you’re not financially responsible for anyone, on the other hand, then two years’ salary may even be excessive.

Single people without dependents don’t need to own life insurance.

While it’s true you might not have a family to provide for, odds are you’ll still have to cover the cost of your funeral, pay off a few debts, and maybe leave a little bit behind for your parents.  Using a life insurance policy to fund a gift to a favorite church or charity can also be a wonderful legacy for a single person to leave behind.

You don’t need professional services to buy life insurance.

While this is in fact true, as any consumer can go online and shop for term and permanent life policies, electing to go it on your own can be detrimental to your financial future.  A professional life insurance agent can help you identify the needs you have, what you must protect and how best to protect it.  With the knowledge of a myriad different policies, if you’re honest about your financial and life circumstances, a professional can not only help you determine how much coverage you need, but also help decide whether a term or permanent policy is right for you.  They can even customize a plan to meet your unique needs.

Life insurance is an important product for most everybody to consider, but it helps if you have your facts straight. So whatever else you think you know about life insurance, you might consider running it past an agent or advisor.