Parents drawing colors with child

7 Life Insurance Facts and Myths

Updated July 3, 2024 . AmFam Team

There are many misconceptions about life insurance and whether it makes financial sense. We're here to clear up the confusion. Let's take a look at some myths and facts about life insurance so you can decide if it makes sense for you.

Myth: Life insurance is too expensive.

Fact: Most people overestimate the cost of life insurance to the point where they don't consider it at all. But the truth is, a healthy 30-year-old female could secure $250,000 of term life insurance for 20 years for around $20 per month – much less than most people think!*  Of course, your actual cost would depend on things like your health, age, coverage amount and type of insurance for which you applied. And, when you look at life insurance as financial protection for those who matter most — meaning it could help them financially in the future if you were to die — it's much easier to add it to your budget. Do your loved ones a favor and get a quote from an American Family Insurance agent. They'll help you look for options that work with your budget.

Friends eating pizza together

Myth: Life insurance isn’t important right now because I’m young, single and don’t have any dependents.

Fact: This is one of the biggest misconceptions about life insurance. Some young people don't believe that life insurance is important because they might not have dependents or many assets. But, getting life insurance when you're young and healthy means you may be able to secure a lower rate on your premium than later in life since coverage typically becomes more expensive as you age. Also, when you consider your debts, like car loans or credit cards, and final expenses such as funeral costs that would need to be covered in the event of your death, life insurance can help offset the financial burden on your loved ones.

Plus, when you're young and get a permanent life insurance policy, like Dream Secure Whole Life Insurance, you can start building cash value, which is a component of a permanent life insurance policy that allows you to borrow from it later in life.** The money is yours to use as you see fit, but could be used for going toward things like a home purchase, college tuition, retirement income or even to invest in a business. The younger you start, the earlier you'll start building cash value.

Myth: If I have life insurance through my place of employment, I don't need a personal policy.

Fact: Though life insurance through your employer can be a great benefit, it might not be enough to provide for your family long-term. In fact, a typical payout is usually only around twice your base salary. If you were to lose or leave your job, the employer policy often does not come with you. Having a personal life insurance policy ensures your life insurance is not tied to your job.

Senior couple walking in the park

Myth: My kids are all grown up, so I don't need life insurance anymore.

Fact: You might be an empty nester, but you probably still care about the financial well-being of your children. There are many benefits of life insurance that help at all stages of your life. It can help pay for end-of-life costs, like funeral expenses, or perhaps medical bills or hospice in the event you were to die with outstanding medical debt. Life insurance can also help pay for any debts you leave behind, like a mortgage. You can even buy life insurance with the intent to leave your children with an inheritance.

Myth: It would always be better to put my money in savings instead of toward life insurance.

Fact: Many people find that they can put money into savings as well as life insurance. Cash savings and life insurance serve separate purposes – and you may not be able to accumulate in your own savings what a life insurance policy could offer in the event of your death. Whether life insurance makes sense for you depends on your financial situation, but your agent can work with you to provide options so that you can decide how life insurance could fit into your financial goals.

As we mentioned before, some life insurance policies also allow you to build cash value that you can borrow against while also providing a death benefit for your beneficiaries.**

Father with two young kids

Myth: I'm a stay-at-home parent. I don't need life insurance because I don't have an income that needs to be replaced.

Fact: Even if you aren't bringing in an income because you are a stay-at-home parent, consider the cost of childcare. Sometimes, the cost of childcare itself amounts to one parent’s income. So, if your surviving spouse (or partner) needs to now pay for childcare, the life insurance death benefit can address those often-expensive costs. When you're a stay-at-home parent, you provide a valuable resource that is expensive to replace, so take a good look at what you contribute toward your family's finances — even though it may not be a tangible paycheck.

Read more about life insurance tips for new families.

Myth: Life insurance is too overwhelming. There are too many options...

Fact: Don’t worry. Life insurance doesn't have to be difficult. There are many resources we provide to help you better understand your options. Your best resource is an American Family Insurance agent — they’ll be able to answer your questions — or you can check out our life insurance coverages to help get you up to speed. The more you understand, the better you can protect those who matter most.

This information represents only a brief description of coverages, is not part of your policy, and is not a promise or guarantee of coverage. If there is any conflict between this information and your policy, the provisions of the policy will prevail. Insurance policy terms and conditions may apply. Exclusions may apply to policies, endorsements, or riders. Coverage may vary by state and may be subject to change. Some products are not available in every state. Please read your policy and contact your agent for assistance. 

*Premium estimate based on the Preferred underwriting class for a DreamSecure Term Life Insurance policy.

**Any loans taken from your life insurance policy will accrue interest. An outstanding loan balance (loan plus interest) will be deducted from the death benefit at the time of claim or from the cash value at the time of surrender. If the loan balance grows too large for the cash value to support it, the policy could terminate.

Policy Forms: ICC18-34 (20), L-34 (20)(ND), L-34 (20)(SD), ICC17-227 WL, L-227 (ND) WL, L-227 WL

Life insurance underwritten by American Family Life Insurance Company, 6000 American Parkway, Madison, WI 53783.

Tools & Resources

Explore our tools and smart tips.