How much of life insurance is right for you

To help make sure your whānau is taken care of after you’re gone, it’s important to determine how much life insurance is right for you. According to financial services consultant Russell Hutchinson, "most New Zealanders have too little life insurance".

Calculating how much life insurance you need isn’t always easy, but getting it right can make a big difference to your family when you aren’t around to take care of them. You should consider a benefit amount that can help to pay off any outstanding debts you have and give your loved ones financial assistance to help them maintain their quality of life after you’ve passed away.

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Everything you need to know about life insurance

How do you determine how much life insurance you need?

When choosing life insurance, it’s important to make decisions based on how much your loved ones will need and the ongoing cost of your premiums. To help calculate how much life insurance you need, ask the following questions:

  • How much is owing on your mortgage?
  • How much outstanding debt do you have (credit cards, personal loans, etc.)?
  • How much does your family need for living expenses?
  • How much would you like to leave to pay for funeral costs?
  • How much do you have in savings and super?

Everyone’s situation is unique. Speak to a New Zealand Seniors team member to walk you through available options for Seniors Term Life Insurance and provide you a personalised quote based on your needs.

Age factor

With hindsight, it’s easy to see how our needs change over the years. One of the upsides of getting older is having more time to build wealth and learn from those choices we made when we were younger. With life insurance, you can factor your changing circumstances into your policy, making sure you have the right type and amount of cover for every stage of life. 

Here are some things worth considering, depending on where you are in your life’s journey:


  • Will your partner need to make alternative living arrangements?
  • How long before your partner will be financially stable?
  • How long before your children are financially independent?


  • Will your partner need to downsize after you’re gone?
  • Can your partner afford the mortgage repayments on their own?
  • Are you planning to pay for your children’s wedding or help them buy their first home?


  • Does your partner have enough for a comfortable retirement?
  • Can your partner cover costs for any unexpected health concerns?
  • Will your partner be able to afford travel, renovations, etc.?


  • Does your partner have enough to cover cost of living increases?
  • Does your partner have enough to cover the cost of reduced health?
  • Is there a safety net to cover any nasty surprises?

Lifestyle factor

Working out how much life insurance you need and how much that cover will cost is largely dependent on what stage of life you’re at. Here are some of the things you’ll need to give careful thought to:


Even if you don’t have any dependents and aren’t too worried about your debts being paid off after you pass away, you still need to consider how you’re going to manage your twilight years. For example, on top of everyday living expenses, consider how a terminal illness might impact your budget. With the median weekly spend of single adult Kiwis being $645, adding the cost of palliative care to this could be hard to afford without an ongoing income.


With basic living expenses averaging $1,349 per week for Kiwi households, having your household income halved due to your sudden passing could leave your partner burdened with covering any outstanding financial commitments. If you have a mortgage, consider how much your partner could pay if they were on their own.

Family with older children

If you passed suddenly, how long would it take your family to recover some financial stability? Even if you aren’t the main provider, your partner may need to step away from full-time work, which could mean a reduced household income. When working out the amount of cover your loved ones will need, consider both their weekly living expenses as well as any long-term plans you have for your dependent children.


Over the 2021 financial year, the cost-of-living rose 4.0% on average across all Kiwi households. The amount of cover you’ll need should factor in long-term expenses such as any outstanding mortgage, as well as immediate costs that your partner would face without you, such as downsizing or planning your funeral. If you’re old enough to access your superannuation, you should factor this in when working out how much cover you’ll need.

Protect your family’s future with Seniors Term Life Insurance

Calculate how much life insurance you will need

When working out how much life insurance you need, it’s important to remember that any calculation will be different for everyone based on individual circumstances.

Start by adding up your annual cost of living, and decide the number of years you want (or need) your loved ones to be protected for, to help you work out how much cover you need. The size of your family, the quality of life they’re used to, your income and your partner’s income, any savings or investments, and your living situation can influence this figure.

Having enough cover in place can help you rest easy knowing you or your loved ones won’t have any financial worries if the worst happens. But be aware that all of the above can affect your premium, along with other factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, health and medical history.

When do you no longer need life insurance?

While life insurance can bring peace of mind for the policyholder, there are certain situations where cover may not be needed.

As an older person, you may think life insurance is unnecessary if you don’t have any dependents or outstanding debt. But even with sufficient assets and income to take care of your loved ones after you’ve gone, life insurance can still come in handy if you were to suffer a terminal illness. With expensive medical treatment adding up over time, having the extra financial security of life insurance could provide welcome support and save you from having to dig into your savings.

Before cancelling or changing your life insurance policy, always seek financial advice to make sure it’s the best time to do so.

Considering life insurance?

Who needs term life insurance?

As we get older, our insurance needs change. That’s why it’s important to know about the different types of life insurance products that are available and which one is best for your specific situation. At New Zealand Seniors, we believe insurance should meet your needs, not someone else’s. That’s why we focus on providing beneficial cover for Kiwis over 50.

With Seniors Term Life Insurance, anyone aged 45 to 79 can apply for up to $100,000 cover, which means you can protect your family financially for the next 20 years – or until you turn 85, whichever comes first. You don’t need to take a blood test or fill out any complicated paperwork to apply. Just answer eight questions about your health, then decide on the amount of cover that works for you and your loved ones – it’s that simple!

How can New Zealand Seniors help?

With New Zealand Seniors, you can tailor your policy to suit your individual needs and budget. Choose the level of cover you need, and rest assured knowing you’re backed by a respected and award-winning insurer.

Benefits of choosing Seniors Term Life Insurance

Flexible cover amount that suits you

Choose how much you or your family will receive if you pass away or become terminally ill. You can set a benefit amount from $10,000 up to $100,000.

Easy to apply with no medicals

Simply answer eight questions about your medical history over the phone. Once approved, you can get covered in minutes.

Immediate cover

Once your policy is set up, you’ll be covered straight away for death by any cause, and for terminal illness1 (excluding suicide for the first 13 months).

20% advance payout to cover funeral costs

When your family makes a claim, we’ll give them 20% of the benefit amount in advance, so they won’t have to worry about the cost of your funeral or other immediate expenses.

Triple payout for accidental death

Your family’s benefit amount will be tripled if you pass away from an accident, helping with any last-minute expenses they might face.

Your own personal claims specialist

If you or your family need to make a claim, we’ll assign you a dedicated claims specialist to look after everything. No need to explain things to multiple people.

We’ll keep your premiums manageable

Unlike some life insurance policies, your annual premium increase won’t be based on your age which will help with budgeting later in life. Plus, we offer lower starting premiums for non-smokers.

Cover for when you need it most

We know that the older you get, the more you have to protect. That’s why our cover is designed for people aged 45 to 79, protecting you and your family for the next 20 years or until you turn 85 – whichever comes first.

How to get life insurance

If you’re a New Zealand resident aged 45 to 79, the process is quite simple:

  1. 1 Request a quote

    Answer eight questions about your health and we’ll get you a quote in minutes.

  2. 2 Choose your cover

    Tailor your policy and choose the level of cover you need.

  3. 3 Get covered

    Rest easy knowing the people you care about most are in safe hands.

Need more help deciding?

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Everything you need to know about life insurance

        1. Terminal illness with diagnosis of 12 months or less to live.

How can we help?

To find out more about New Zealand Seniors,
speak to one of our friendly insurance specialists now