Life insurance: How much do I really need?

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 63, No. 9, November 2021, Pages 367-368 News
By: Hali Stus

When speaking with our members about life insurance, I am often asked, “How much do I really need?” That depends on a few key areas of consideration, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. An experienced advisor can walk you through your specific situation and will generally look at the following areas:

Primary capital needs

These are outstanding debts such as a mortgage and/or line of credit. Many of our members are the primary income earner for their family. If they pass away, they want all debt paid in full to ensure their surviving family can remain in the family home and not be forced to sell or deplete retirement savings to maintain mortgage payments.

Secondary capital needs

These include money to cover the cost of dependants’ postsecondary education, charitable bequests, and final expenses, including burial, final tax filings, and legal fees to settle your estate.

Income replacement

This discussion is highly individualized, based a person’s situation and comfort level with risk. If your spouse works outside the family home, is their income enough to cover living expenses for the surviving family after all debts are paid off? The amount needed will vary based on their lifestyle and the age of any children. If there are no dependants, then the income replacement need may be minimal.

Once the appropriate coverage has been determined, Doctors of BC offers our physician members up to $5 million of group term life insurance at highly competitive rates. We are also able to offer individual policies through several major Canadian insurers.

How often should you review your life insurance? If it has been several years since you last reviewed or made changes to your insurance, please review your beneficiary details to ensure they accurately reflect your intentions. It’s an unhappy surprise for your heirs to find out after your death that your list of beneficiaries is out of date.

If you have questions and want to discuss your personal life insurance requirements, please speak with a noncommissioned, licensed Doctors of BC insurance advisor to get a full assessment. Email or call 604 638-7914 for a complimentary appointment.
—Hali Stus
Insurance Advisor, Members’ Products and Services

Hali Stus. Life insurance: How much do I really need?. BCMJ, Vol. 63, No. 9, November, 2021, Page(s) 367-368 - News.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply