Image of a young couple reviewing their life insurance policies with their insurance agent.

How Often Should I Review My Life Insurance?

Updated April 24, 2024 . AmFam Team

When you think about why buying life insurance is important, you probably think of financially protecting your family and loved ones in your life when you pass away. With life insurance in place, you can help ensure financial support for those that matter most. But have you spent time reviewing your life policy and ensuring it still meets your needs since purchasing it?

We recommend reviewing your life insurance every year. Having the right coverage in place means less for you — and those you care for — to worry about. Because so much can happen in 12 short months, it's important to make sure your policy is right for you and your family today.

To get you started, we’ve put together a list of 9 key reasons why you should review your life insurance policies every year.

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9 Reasons to Review Your Life Insurance Policies Annually

Reviewing your life insurance every year helps make sure your policies are up to date and that additional coverage is added if needed. If you do choose to add additional coverage, in most cases you’ll need to apply for — and then purchase — a new policy. Because term and whole life insurance premiums typically increase as you age, the new rate may be higher for the additional policy.

Use the opportunity to adjust coverage to your needs or make changes to any details on file. This brings us to the number one reason you should annually review your life insurance policy:

  1. To Review or Change Your Beneficiaries

  2. Your beneficiaries are the people or entities you’ve selected to receive your life insurance death benefit.

    Your annual life insurance policy review should always include a beneficiary checkup. Take this opportunity to add, remove or change your designations due to any big life events (e.g. marriage, divorce, death of named beneficiary) that occurred over the past year or any changes in how you wish the proceeds from the life insurance death benefit to be distributed. Doing so will help make the claims process easier when your loved ones need it most.

  3. Your Family Has Grown
  4. As you welcome new members to the family, it's important to update your life insurance. From final expenses to loss of income, your coverage should always meet your growing needs.

    You may also want to consider a DreamSecure Children’s Whole Life Insurance policy. With it, there is the opportunity to purchase more coverage as your children grown.*

  5. You Started a New Job
  6. In the pursuit of your dreams, landing a job you've been hoping for is a big step. The right opportunity can open many doors and bring you closer to bigger goals.

    After a promotion, or when you start a new job, check in with your agent to make sure your policy still meets your needs. It's important to account for extra income.

    Store owner opening for business
  7. You’re Starting a New Business

  8. Whether you’ve opened a new online store or launched a brick-and-mortar commercial venture, your big investments probably came with a big loan or may be the result of a large personal contribution.

    If you had previously earmarked the savings you’ve since invested for an inheritance, an additional life policy may be necessary to make up the difference and help ensure your loved ones are provided for if you were to pass away. And if you took out a loan that your loved ones could be responsible for, you’ll want to know that you have enough life insurance to cover this new obligation.

  9. You’ve Added Debt

  10. Did you take on any loans over the past year? Things like home equity loans, or credit consolidation loans to lower interest payments? Those small shifts in your finances could possibly make a big difference when your loved ones are on a fixed income.

    It’s always a good idea to have an updated monthly budget when you review your life insurance. Having a full scope of your finances can help provide needed relief to your beneficiaries.

  11. Conditions Have Changed for Your Parents

  12. Things may have changed for your parents, resulting in a move to an assisted living facility or moving into your home. This could mean taking on a greater monthly financial load.

    If this is true for your family, it's important to consider adding coverage for increased costs. You may also want to consider final expense coverage for your elderly parents at the time of your review.

  13. New Marital Status

  14. Few changes in your life will be bigger than a shift in your marital status. For the recently engaged or married, you’ll most likely want to be sure your partner is named as a beneficiary on your life policy.

    This also applies to divorced or separated couples. Take the time to make sure your beneficiaries are up to date and reflect your wishes. When this step is overlooked, previously named beneficiaries could be legally entitled to funds you may want others to now receive.

    Mother and daughter embracing behind car on college campus
  15. Your Kids Are out on Their Own

  16. As kids grow up, they move on. Often, though, they still need your financial support; especially for students starting college. Help keep their future secure by verifying your policy details. If your children are more financially independent, you may consider allocating benefits elsewhere.

  17. You Recently Bought a Home

  18. If you’ve recently closed on the purchase of a new home, that’s a change worth reviewing with your insurance agent. With a new mortgage in play, you’ll likely want your family to continue living there after your passing. Make sure your policy has the coverage amount and duration needed for your beneficiaries.

Bundle and Save on Your Insurance

Need one more great reason to review your life insurance? You may be able to score a discount!

If you have auto or homeowners insurance with American Family Insurance, and you buy a life insurance policy from American Family Life Insurance Company, you may be able to get a discount on your auto and home premiums.** Be sure to check in with your agent and verify your discounts are up to date.

How to Review Your Life Insurance Policy

Here’s a quick checklist of some of the things you should be looking for when you review your life insurance policy:

  • Type of policy. What type of insurance policy are you reviewing? This sounds like a no-brainer, but there are so many different types of insurance, it’s easy to get confused. Make the type of policy you’re updating the name of the file.
  • Insurance carrier. Who is your insurance provider? The name of the company, along with the customer service number and the name of your agent, should be easy to find on page one. If you have a business card from your agent, consider including this in your file, too. Also, don’t forget to have the policy number in your file!
  • Beneficiaries. Who are the current beneficiaries and do you need to change them? For example, an ex-spouse listed on your policy might need to be removed. 
  • Coverage amount How much coverage do you have? Is this amount still enough to cover your life insurance needs?

Review Your Life Insurance Coverage Today

As life unfolds, circumstances may change. Because of that, so should your insurance. Be sure you're selecting coverage from a company with the flexibility to meet your needs.

Reach out to an American Family Insurance agent today to make sure your policy does exactly that. In addition to well-crafted life insurance, you’ll also have the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that your loved ones are covered when they’ll need that coverage most.

*Available only at specified dates and life events and is subject to benefit amount limitations. See policy for additional details.

**Discounts may vary by state and company underwriting the auto or homeowners policy. Discounts may not apply to all coverages on an auto or homeowners policy. Discounts do not apply to the life policy.

Policy Forms: ICC17-223 WL, L-223 (ND) WL, L-223 WL, ICC17-224 WL, L-224 (ND) WL, L-224 WL

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