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This calculator will estimate your life insurance needs and tell you the cost for a 20-year term life insurance policy – one of the most common types of coverage available. 

What does one million dollar life insurance mean?

When people talk about the one million dollar policy, they usually refer to the "face value" or size of the death benefit. That's the amount of money paid out to your family if you unexpectedly pass away while the policy is in force. The benefit is paid out income tax-free and typically as a lump sum – although a beneficiary can choose instead to receive the money in installments over time.

When does million dollar coverage make sense?

Why do people typically buy life insurance? Because if something happens and they pass away, it will help provide the financial support their loved ones need. So, it may make sense to get coverage of a million dollars (or more) if that’s the life insurance payout needed to meet future expenses and help ensure they can afford the life you want them to have.

There are several ways to estimate what that means in actual dollars. Our life insurance calculator uses the "Human Life Value" method, which looks at your current annual income plus what you expect to earn in the future. Between the ages of 18 and 40, it multiplies current income by about 30; as you get older and have fewer working years left, that multiple decreases.1 Other rules of thumb include:

Consider multiplying your income by 10

Take your annual salary, and add a "0" at the end. So $50,000 salary equals $500,000 of coverage, $75,000 equals $750,000, and so on. 

Consider multiplying your income by 10 – and add college tuition for each child

How much should you add? Account for somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000 per child. If you split the difference – and have two kids – that's an extra $250,000.

Consider using the DIME formula

DIME stands for Debt, Income, Mortgage, and Education. This method estimates your coverage needs as the sum of your financial obligations and other expenses:

  • Debt: Total all your outstanding debt, including credit card balances, personal loans, and other financial obligations. 
  • Income: Take your salary and multiply by the number of years you think your family needs protection – or at least as long as you have children at home. 
  • Mortgage: Look at your last statement and get the payoff amount. 
  • Education: The anticipated cost for sending each of your children to college.

How much does a million dollar policy cost?

The actual price you'll pay for a million dollar policy depends on several factors that determine your risk to insure, such as age and health, as well as the specific features of your policy. To better understand how some of those factors affect cost, we'll look at the monthly premium amount for a $1 million policy by gender, age, and term length.

Monthly cost for a $1,000,000 policy by gender (age 30)

  Female Male
20-year term life policy $48 $61

Monthly premium cost $1,000,000 of 20-year term life coverage, for healthy non-smoker applicants, age 30, according to, accessed Aug. 2022

Women pay less for life insurance than men of comparable age and health. This has nothing to do with chivalry; women enjoy lower average rates because they have a statistically proven tendency to live longer than men – so they pose less risk to the insurance company.

Monthly cost for a $1,000,000 policy by age (20-year term life policy)

  Female Male
Age 30 $48 $61
Age 40 $73 $92
Age 50 $167 $234

Monthly premium cost $1,000,000 of 20-year term life coverage, for healthy non-smoker applicants, according to, accessed Aug. 2022

Why does life insurance get more expensive with age? Because as you get older, life expectancy decreases – and the likelihood of an insurance payout increases. So understandably, age is an important factor that affects rates. It also means there may never be a better time to get life insurance than now: the longer you wait, the more you'll typically pay.

Monthly cost for a $1,000,000 policy by term length (Healthy non-smoker, age 30)

  Female Male
10-year term $34 $42
15-year term $42 $50
20-year term $48 $61
30-year term $96 $119

Monthly premium cost $1,000,000 term coverage, for healthy non-smoker applicants age 30, according to, accessed Aug. 2022

The longer your coverage term, the more you pay for coverage. Why? Because while a person may have a very small chance of passing away over the next year, there's a much higher chance of death over the next 30 years. Nevertheless, if you think you'll need protection for 30 years, you should probably apply for a 30-year policy, as opposed to, say, a 20-year policy now and another 10-year policy after it expires. You'll pay significantly higher rates for the policy you purchase in 20 years, and if you develop a health issue, you may not even qualify for coverage. Another alternative? Instead of getting a 30-year term policy, get a permanent whole life policy that covers you for the rest of your life – with monthly premiums that never go up.

The type of policy affects the cost of coverage

All life insurance policies pay a death benefit to your loved ones if you pass away. But they don't all work – or cost – the same. Here's what you should know about term vs. whole life insurance, two of the most common types of policies:

Term life insurance

Term life insurance rates are typically significantly less than permanent whole life, making a million-dollar policy very affordable, especially for younger buyers. However, term is "pure" life insurance coverage designed only to provide a death benefit if you die while your policy is in effect. The protection is temporary, typically for a set period of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. No matter how long your term lasts, when it ends, there's no value to the policy despite years of paying premiums. Also, you're no longer protected – you either have to apply for a new policy and pay higher rates (because you're older) or go without coverage. However, many term life policies (such as those from Guardian) may let you convert to permanent coverage while the policy is still in effect.

Whole life insurance 

This type of permanent insurance costs more than term because it is designed to provide life-long protection and other financial benefits. Like a term life policy, there is a guaranteed death benefit payable from the first day the policy is in effect.2 Unlike term life coverage, that protection never ends, as long as premiums are paid. You also get a financial asset that can last your entire life because whole life policies build cash value.3 A portion of your premium dollars can contribute to a policy’s cash value and that sum grows at a guaranteed rate – with tax advantages.4 A mutual insurance company (such as Guardian) may also pay dividends, which can further compound growth.5 Over time, the cash value can grow into a significant sum that can provide tax-advantaged personal loans, provide cash to supplement retirement income or even be used to help pay monthly premiums.6

How to buy a million dollar policy

At work

If your workplace offers life insurance as a benefit, it could be a good place to start – even if you can't get the full amount of coverage you want. Employer-provided life insurance policies feature group rates, which may be a better value for you. As a result, it's generally affordable and easy to buy. Your employer has done the work of getting reputable quotes and choosing a policy, so enrolling typically requires little more than signing a form. For lower coverage amounts, you do not have to have a medical exam or provide medical records. If the maximum benefit amount isn't enough for your needs, you can supplement your coverage with another policy.


If you don't have workplace coverage – or want to supplement it – it's easy to get term life insurance quotes online. Many providers, including Guardian, will estimate how much you need, make it easy to compare rates, and start your application – all within minutes. On the other hand, if you're looking for a whole life policy that builds cash value, it's harder to get a quote for permanent coverage online. These types of financial products are more complex and should be tailored to your individual financial needs, so it's worth your while to talk things over with a financial professional.

Working with a financial professional

If you're interested in permanent coverage with a wealth-building component – or you're not sure what kind of protection is best for you – it's a good idea to work with a professional who can help guide these important financial decisions. They can provide knowledgeable information about the options that fit your current budget and long-term financial goals. If you have a financial professional you trust, ask them how much coverage and what type of policies to consider. Otherwise, Guardian can connect with a financial representative who will listen to your needs, tell you about some of the best ways to meet those needs at a cost you can afford, then help you decide. 

Frequently asked questions about million dollar life insurance

How much is a million dollar life insurance a month?

A healthy, non-smoking, 30-year-old woman can get $1 million coverage for as little as $34/month with a 10-year term life policy. Monthly premiums vary by age, gender, and other factors, including the type of policy, because term life insurance rates are lower than whole life rates.

Can I get a million dollar life insurance policy?

If you are reasonably healthy, you will likely qualify for a million dollar policy, and if you're in your 20s, 30s, or even 40s, the cost may be lower than you think for term life coverage. However, rates increase due to age and age-related health factors, and at a certain point, a million-dollar policy may become unaffordable for your budget. The younger and healthier you are, the greater the likelihood of getting affordable million dollar coverage.

Is a million dollar life insurance policy worth it?

If you don't have other assets to protect your family's financial future – and provide for them if you pass away – then a million dollar life insurance policy can be an affordable way to give them a large sum of money to help maintain their lifestyle. However, only you can decide if that benefit is worth the monthly cost.

How is a million dollar life insurance policy paid out?

If you pass away while the policy is in force, your beneficiaries (typically, your spouse or other family members) have to file a claim with the insurance company and provide a copy of the death certificate. So you should ensure they know your coverage and where to find the policy documents. The insurance company will need some time to process the claim. This could take just a few days or as long as two months, for example, if the policyholder passes away abroad. Once the claim is validated, the insurance company pays your beneficiaries a $1,000,000 lump sum typically free of income taxes. If they choose, your family can also opt to annuitize the payments: the insurance company invests the benefit amount and pays a set of guaranteed installment payments over time. Taxes may be owed on any investment earnings, but the million dollar principal sum. 

How do million dollar life insurance policies work?

It depends on the kind of policy. With a million dollar term policy, you may pay premiums, and if you pass away during the term, the insurer pays the death benefit to your family. However, once the term ends, you're no longer covered, and there's no payout. With a million-dollar whole life policy, coverage lasts for life, so your beneficiaries are guaranteed a payout as long as premiums are paid up. These policies also build cash value that can be accessed while you're still alive.

Who offers million dollar life insurance?

All large national life insurance companies can write a million dollar policy, but it pays to be a bit choosy when getting a large policy. Some companies are more financially sound. Others are easier to work with. If you want to find and work with some of the best life insurance companies, there are objective metrics that can help:

  • High Financial Strength Ratings (FSRs) 
    Independent organizations rate the financial strength of insurance companies to ensure their ability to provide coverage and meet obligations. 
  • High customer satisfaction scores 
    Customer surveys and reviews can tell you how satisfied others are with an insurance company's services. 
  • Low customer complaints 
    The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) collects data about complaints with state regulators. 

How much is a million dollar life insurance policy for a 25-year-old?

A healthy, non-smoking 25-year-old can get a million dollar 10-year term life insurance quote for as little as $33 a month. The cost for a male is slightly higher: $41/month.

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1 The Human Life Value method of estimating life insurance needs:

Age Maximum Life Insurance
18-40 30 times income
41-50 20 times income
51-60 15 times income
61-65 10 times income
66-70 1-time net worth
71-80 1/2 times net worth
81+ case by case

All whole life insurance policy guarantees are subject to the timely payment of all required premiums and the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Policy loans and withdrawals affect the guarantees by reducing the policy’s death benefit and cash values.

3 Some whole life polices do not have cash values in the first two years of the policy and don’t pay a dividend until the policy’s third year. Talk to your financial representative and refer to your individual whole life policy illustration for more information.

Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation.

Dividends are not guaranteed. They are declared annually by Guardian’s Board of Directors.

Policy benefits are reduced by any outstanding loan or loan interest and/or withdrawals. Dividends, if any, are affected by policy loans and loan interest. Withdrawals above the cost basis may result in taxable ordinary income. If the policy lapses, or is surrendered, any outstanding loans considered gain in the policy may be subject to ordinary income taxes. If the policy is a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), loans are treated like withdrawals, but as gain first, subject to ordinary income taxes. If the policy owner is under 59 ½, any taxable withdrawal may also be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty.

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