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Life insurance is a complex topic, and not fully understanding it can end up causing your loved ones a lot of headaches when the time comes to use it – if you have it at all.

Learning about life insurance can help ensure you have the coverage you need. We spoke with life insurance experts and asked them the biggest mistakes they see people make over and over again to help you figure out what to avoid.

Here’s what they said.

Not having life insurance at all

Life insurance is there to provide a financial benefit for your loved ones after you’re gone. Having no life insurance can leave your family in serious financial trouble. Yet, only 57% of Americans have a life insurance policy.

Phil Murphy, VP of insurance at Ethos, said that many people, especially millennials, overestimate the costs of life insurance. However, many policies for those in good health cost barely more than a Netflix subscription.

Only breadwinners need life insurance

Most people think only the person who provides the primary source of income should worry about life insurance.

The reality is different, Murphy said.

“If you aren’t the breadwinner or are a stay-at-home parent, you may think you don’t need life insurance. However, a stay-at-home parent obviously provides a huge value, and if a household were to lose this person, they’d need to pay for all these expenses.”

Murphy cited childcare and housekeeping as expenses that would need to be covered, either by paying for assistance or having the surviving spouse step in, which could cut down on their income. Dependent life insurance can cover the cost of the contributions a stay-at-home spouse makes.

Not having enough life insurance

Beyond having no life insurance at all, the experts who spoke to Business Insider said not having enough coverage was another huge mistake many people make.

What experts advise is figuring out what coverage you need before you start shopping.

If you only want to cover funeral expenses, understand that the median cost of a burial today is approximately $8,000 and can range up to $15,000. For a policy that will replace your income to help provide for your family, you will need much more coverage.

“When you’re a kid, $10,000 seems like a lot of money. It’s not. It’s not even enough to live comfortably for a year now, much less to provide for a family upon your death,” Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful, said.

Relying only on employer-provided life insurance

Many employers offer life insurance as part of a benefits package. But, before you think you’re set with just that coverage, not so fast, experts warn.

“It’s extremely easy to sign up for employer-provided life insurance, but it often doesn’t actually provide enough coverage,” Murphy said. “Employer-issued life insurance policies typically amount to a year’s worth of salary, oftentimes less.”

Steiner agreed, telling Business Insider, “Where people make mistakes is making this their only option. Group life insurance likely doesn’t provide a significant amount of payout, and if it does, you’re paying for it. And if you swap jobs? You’re in trouble.”

Waiting too long to buy

Buying life insurance is not something you want to put off. Yet because it’s something that people think is far off in the future, they wait too long to get it.

That can end up dramatically increasing costs. The reality is your best chance of getting an affordable rate on your coverage is when you’re young and in good health.

“Policy premiums are going to go up if you develop health conditions or when you get older. Some won’t even insure you depending on the condition. If you haven’t developed anything troublesome yet, it’s a good time to get insurance. Immediately,” Steiner said.

Forgetting to update your beneficiaries

When you get a life insurance policy, you name the beneficiaries, i.e. the people who will get the money after you die. But this is one area where you don’t want to set it and forget it because that could have serious consequences.

It’s a good idea to make a plan to revisit your policy consistently and update your beneficiary accordingly. That conventional wisdom is especially true after significant life changes, including marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child. The beneficiary listed on your life insurance supersedes whatever is written in your will, so be sure to update this as needed.

[“source=businessinsider”]