The first thing to do if you want to have a baby, according to a financial planner

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Do i need life insuranceImages By Tang Ming Tung/Getty ImagesIf you have dependents, or are expecting to have them, you need life insurance.
  • One of the first things to do when planning for a family is to get life insurance, says CFP Ryan Cole.
  • You can buy it while expecting a baby or after a baby is born, but buying it before you need it enables you to get lower monthly rates.
  • The rule of thumb for life insurance coverage is eight to 10 times your annual salary, more than a typical employer life insurance plan typically covers.

If you’d like to become a parent in the near future, there is one financial move you can’t afford not to make.

According to Ryan Cole, Certified Financial Planner and private wealth advisor at Citrine Capital in San Francisco, that move is buying life insurance.

Generally, you need life insurance if someone else is depending on your income, whether that’s a child, partner, or ageing parent. Retirees, children, and stay-at-home parents usually don’t need coverage.

In the event of your death, life insurance can protect your family financially and ensure all their needs are met.

To find the right life insurance coverage for you, compare your options with our partner Policygenius »

“While you can buy life insurance when you get pregnant or after you have a baby, I recommend buying it before both of those things. You’ll be more likely to secure a more affordable premium when you’re young and healthy and have not yet started a family,” Cole told Business Insider.

Wondering how much life insurance you need to buy? According to Cole, the rule of thumb is eight to 10 times your salary. While you may be able to get some life insurance through your employer, you’ll likely need to purchase it privately as well.

How much life insurance would you need? Get an estimate with this calculator from our partners:

Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback calculated coverage needs for Americans at different income levels in US cities with low, average, and high costs of living, and found the least coverage needed for an individual with a working spouse, two kids, and a home is about $US471,000. That number varies from person to person, depending on your cost of living, family, and expenses.

That sounds like a lot of money, but insurance-comparison site Policygenius estimates a 30-year-old man or woman in good health can get a $US250,000 policy with a 30-year term for $US23 a month, or $US19 a month, respectively. Life insurance companies take a variety of factors into account when deciding on your rate, including your health, age, and credit history.

If you’re in the market for a private life insurance policy, Cole recommends checking out TIAA, a 100-year-old insurance provider with a variety of policy options as well as high financial strength ratings, which estimate the likelihood that an insurance company will be able to meet various financial obligations like paying claims.

You can also compare policies from different insurance providers for free, through an insurance-comparison site like Policygenius.

“When evaluating life insurance companies, it’s imperative to pay attention to financial strength ratings,” Cole said. “You can find out whether an insurance company has a high financial strength rating by visiting AM Best,” which rates carriers based on their financial strength and can help you make an informed decision on a life insurance policy for you and your family.

To find the right coverage for you, compare your options with our partner Policygenius »

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.