Understanding Life Insurance and How Much You Need

Every day the Kennedy Insurance team works with Oklahomans and Kansans to determine life insurance needs. Most people don’t want to think about life insurance very often. Thinking about the what-ifs and death-related scenarios isn’t typically enjoyable. Still, the benefits of a robust life insurance policy can provide peace of mind that makes up for that temporary unpleasantness.

So our team is putting our expert knowledge to good use and breaking down life insurance so you can feel equipped as you consider policies. Of course, we’re always happy to talk too! Give our team a call if you have questions, would rather hear all about policy options, or want to learn more about your current life insurance coverage. We’re here to help. 

What Is Life Insurance? 

In the simplest terms, life insurance is a contract between a person and an insurance company. As long as the premiums are paid, the contract provides the policyholder coverage and a benefit (a payout of a certain amount of money) to the policy’s specified beneficiaries upon the policyholder’s death. 

Many people choose to purchase life insurance because of the security or peace of mind it provides as they consider their dependents or other aspects of their life. 

There are many things to think about when it comes to life insurance. It is customizable to your needs and desires. Outlined below are some of the things to consider when choosing a life insurance policy. 

Types of Life Insurance Coverage

There are two main types of life insurance policies: term life insurance and permanent insurance. Term life insurance is a policy type that provides coverage for a specific period of time, and permanent life insurance provides coverage throughout your lifetime. There are pros and cons to both types of policies. 

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance coverage provides coverage for a specified amount of time. Many individuals choose a term policy that will range until they are at or close to retirement age. Others choose term policies because of the flexibility they provide and the cost of the premiums. 


  • Affordable, lower premiums 
  • Simple coverage that is straightforward and easy to understand 
  • Ideal for covering foreseeable financial obligations like mortgage, private school or college tuition, or vehicles 


  • The coverage ends when the term expires (terms can range from 10 to 30+ years) 
  • Cash value does not accumulate 
  • Premiums increase with the policyholder’s age 

Permanent Life Insurance  

Under the umbrella of permanent life insurance, there are specific policy types, including whole-life life insurance, universal life insurance, and variable life insurance. Each of these policies is structured slightly differently, but each accumulates cash over time as a way to guarantee protection in the event of your death, and all are life-long policies. 


  • Life-long coverage 
  • Cash value accumulation that provides a level of security 
  • Tax-deferred savings 


  • Higher premiums than term life insurance policies 
  • Typically more complex and difficult to understand
  • The cash value may not be worth the additional cost for you and your family 

Consider Why You Need It and Your Beneficiaries 

As you consider life insurance, assessing your financial goals, commitments, and needs is essential. Considering these needs and priorities for your family will help you determine if term life insurance or permanent life insurance is better suited for you. 

Life insurance can help provide financial security in difficult circumstances. When facing the death of a loved one, the last thing those mourning want to think about is if they will be able to pay for the funeral, keep food on the table, or pay tuition. If you have outstanding debts or other large expenses, life insurance can ease the burden of those as well. 

Consider who your beneficiaries will be. Your spouse or children may come to mind first; however, many of our clients in Oklahoma and Kansas have selected beneficiaries such as a trusted friend, a charity, a trust, a business, a church, or someone else.  

Determine How Much Coverage You Need 

The amount of life insurance coverage you need is highly variable. You probably need a different amount than your friend or brother, and that’s ok! Our team of insurance experts in Bartlesville can help you work through exactly what you need, and which policy type meets your needs best. A few things we may consider include your age, debts, income, and the number of dependents you have. 

Generally speaking, you can begin to estimate how much coverage you should have by multiplying your annual income by 10 to 12. This estimate is not exact and doesn’t work for every situation, but it is a good place to start. Policy premiums vary widely as well based on the amount and type of your policy. Regardless of your financial position, though, there are affordable life insurance options available through the Kennedy Agency team. 

How to Choose The Right Life Insurance Plan 

Choosing the right plan is an important and big decision to make. The length of policy terms, the premium costs, and the amount of coverage will all play a role in how you make a decision. There are online calculators available and other methods to help, but nothing can replace the knowledge and expertise of an insurance professional who can consider your family’s financial goals, needs, and obligations to help make a recommendation. 

When you work with the Kennedy Agency insurance team, we can provide comparisons of plans so you’ll be able to see the specific differences between policies. We’re also always happy to chat with you about how life insurance policies work and explain how they provide financial security. Maybe you purchased a life insurance policy in your 20s and now you’re wondering if you have enough coverage. We can help with that too. 

We believe that most people should have a life insurance policy. Often the question should be, “What kind do I need?” instead of “Do I need it?” Contact our team today to begin talking about life insurance options. 


111 SE Frank Phillips Blvd
Bartlesville, OK 74003