You have a lot to worry about when you get married and start a family. There are a lot of items on your plate, and some things get pushed down until they just fall off your list. But life insurance should not be one of those items. Life insurance is probably the single most important thing that you can provide to your family.
You don't want to imagine the worst case scenarios - a world without your spouse or a world in which you die before reaching old age. But it can happen, and it is important to plan for every scenario.
How much life insurance do you need?
You want to get enough life insurance to see your spouse and children through the next decade or two. A general rule of thumb is 5-10 times your annual salary. But no widow or widower ever thought "Gee, I wish we hadn't taken out so much life insurance. I don't need all this money."
Life insurance is fairly inexpensive. Depending on your term and amount, you will be looking at $20–$30/month per person. For a simple calculation, add up all your debts and the amount to put your children through college. Add in a year's salary for your grieving spouse to take unpaid leave if necessary. Then add another $50,000 for good measure. It will probably end up in the general range of 5–10 times your annual salary.
What to Expect
Getting life insurance is a simple, straightforward process. There are even several websites that will compare multiple insurance agencies and get you the best price. Simply tell them your information, and they will get you quotes.
After you pick a company, the only thing left to do is a health evaluation. It isn't as bad as it seems. The insurance company will send a registered nurse to your home to collect urine and blood samples. The nurse will also weigh you and measure your height, along with your waist circumference. This allows the insurance company to put you in the correct category for premiums (male/female, smoker/nonsmoker, normal weight/obese, etc.).
Life insurance is not set in stone. You can always cancel or update your policy. If you lose enough weight to go into a cheaper premium category or quit smoking, simply contact the insurance company. They will do another health evaluation and update your policy with the new premiums.
Life happens, and the happenings are not always good. If you really want to protect your family, make sure that you have life insurance.