Life insurance is an important purchase, and there have been many instances where a generous death benefit has saved a family from financial ruin. Life insurance is something that none of us are anxious to think about, but it is important for every responsible adult to consider his or her life insurance needs. Life insurance does much more than protect the life of the insured – it also protects the family members and loved ones who are left behind.

There are many benefits to having a well funded life insurance policy in place. First and foremost life insurance provides a death benefit that the beneficiaries can tap in the event the family’s breadwinner dies before his or her time. The lump sum payment provided can be used to pay the family’s living expenses, including rent and mortgage payments, utility bills, heat for the home and more. Without these funds coming in the family members left behind could suffer severe financial stress in addition to the severe mental stress that always accompanies the death of a loved one.

But term life insurance coverage can do much more than pay the day to day bills. Life insurance proceeds can also be used to pay off the family home, relieving the surviving spouse and family members of their single biggest monthly expenditure. The absence of a monthly mortgage payment can provide some much needed breathing room to cash strapped families and relieve them of the risk of losing the family home to foreclosure.

The proceeds from a life insurance policy can also be used to pay the college tuition of any children in the family, freeing them from the crippling debt burden that all too often comes with a college degree. This will allow those young people to enter the workforce without a mountain of debt hanging over their heads. Large college debts can pose a real problem for young people seeking their first jobs, and in some cases it can even derail a promising career as hard financial choices must be made.

While all of these advantages are important reasons for carrying life insurance, there is another benefit that may be the most important of all. Having sufficient life insurance coverage in place can allow the surviving spouse to stay home and spend time with the children instead of having to go back to work. Family time is precious, and much of it can be lost when a former stay at home mom or dad has to return to the workforce following the untimely death of his or her partner. A well funded life insurance policy with a generous death benefit can allow the surviving spouse to continue his or her role as the primary caregiver to the children left behind. Of all the many advantages of life insurance, the ability to spend more time together as a family is perhaps the most important and the most profound.