BOSTON (CBS) – Insurance is a big ticket item in a budget. Take the time to review your insurance policies annually. With a bit of research you may be able to save hundreds of dollars and keep the same coverage you have.

Let’s start with life insurance; life insurance is used primarily to cover the loss of your income stream for your dependents if you should die.

There are many other reasons to own life insurance but for young families it’s for pure protection. If no one is relying on you for support then you probably don’t need much life insurance if any.

If you are 40 and single with no dependents you don’t need a lot of life insurance, maybe enough to bury you. But if you are 40 and married with 3 small children to educate, a mortgage and a spouse working part-time you need a lot of life insurance.

If you should die tomorrow who or what will provide for your family? You need enough life insurance to cover the loss of your income to your family. How much will that be? Do you want to send the kids to college? That could be $100,000 each even if they go to UMass, so that number gets factored in.

Do you want the mortgage paid off? Add that in also and let’s say its $250,000. Do you want to replace some of your lost income to the family until the kids are grown? The youngest is 5 so that will be 17 years until she is finished with college. So you will need to provide for at least 17 years of income.

Adds up quickly! With just those three requirements it could easily be $750,000 of life insurance you will need. Now if you wish to provide for your spouse for the rest of his life that could indeed push you to a $1 million policy. This is a rough guesstimation on my part.

Spend some time doing a needs analysis to get a more accurate picture of the dollars needed.

My personal preference is to buy term life insurance for you are buying just life insurance. Term life insurance is inexpensive. Life insurance premiums have actually decreased because the insurance industry has figured out that people are living longer.

The cost of term insurance does increase every year unless you buy a level term policy that may run for 10, 20 or 30 years. Buying a 20-year term life insurance policy may give you the coverage you need if you have a young family and want to provide protection until they are in college.

I did some research and a healthy 40-year-old male nonsmoker can get a $1 million of life insurance for as little as $61 a month from GenWorth Financial. And a 40-year-old female would pay $56 a month. To search on the web, type in “life insurance quotes”.