Buying life insurance is an important decision. In essence, it’s a promise you make to your loved ones that they’ll be covered if anything happens to you. Buying life insurance can be a complicated decision, too, because there are so many variables to consider. There’s no single solution for everyone, so think about what’s best for you and your family.

There are three key questions to answer when deciding on your life insurance needs:

What type of life insurance is right for you?
There are two major types: term and permanent. Term is less expensive but has a shorter coverage period. There are a few different kinds of permanent life insurance, which provide lifetime protection and might even accumulate cash value.

How much life insurance do you need?
You want to make sure the coverage will cover your final expenses, pay off any outstanding debts and provide for dependents or other beneficiaries after you’re gone.

How much will it cost?
That depends on your health and habits, the type of insurance you choose and how much you want the policy to pay to your beneficiaries. The premiums also have to make sense for your budget.

You can take control of the decision-making process by thinking through those questions before you meet with an insurance agent. That’s the idea behind the Nationwide Life Insurance Wizard. This online tool guides you through the process of answering these three questions in detail.

Knowing you’ve considered what’s most important to you and your family will help you feel more comfortable about making a decision. You’ll also be prepared to ask informed questions when you meet with your agent, who can provide professional guidance to help you choose the life insurance product that’s right for you.

Insurance 101 is a series that helps to explain insurance: what it is, whom it’s for and which kind might be right for you. Take a moment to read “The Umbrella Policy,” the first article in the series. You can find it here.