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How much Sum Insured (SI) do you need for NRI Life Insurance

TeamAckoNov 2, 2023

Life Insurance is an important tool you can use to provide financial protection to your loved ones. As an NRI, it is important to carefully consider the Sum Insured (SI) when purchasing a Life Insurance Policy. The amount of SI you choose will determine the level of financial protection your beneficiaries will receive in the event of your passing. In this article, we will explore how to determine the appropriate sum insured for NRI life insurance policies.

Life insurance for Nri



What are the Different NRI Life Insurance Policies?

NRI Life Insurance Policies come in a variety of forms, such as Term Life Insurance, Whole Life Insurance and Unit-Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs). Each policy provides different levels of coverage and protection for the insured individual and their family.

Term Life Insurance

One type of NRI Life Insurance policy is Term Life Insurance. This type of policy provides coverage for a certain period, usually ranging from 10 to 30 years.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole Life Insurance is a type of NRI Life Insurance policy that provides coverage for the entire life of the insured.

Unit-Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs)

Unit-Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) are a type of NRI Life Insurance policy that offer both insurance coverage and investment opportunities. With ULIPs, a portion of your premium payments are invested in various funds, giving you the potential for growth.

How to choose Sum Insured (SI) for NRI Life Insurance? 

When choosing a Sum Insured for NRI Life Insurance, it is important to consider your financial goals, responsibilities and the type of policy you are interested in. Factors such as age, health condition and amount of cover desired also play a role in determining the right Sum Insured for your Life Insurance Policy.

Age, health status, and lifestyle of the NRI

For selecting the ideal Sum Insured (SI) for NRI Life Insurance, it's important to consider the unique circumstances of the individual in question. As with many things in life, age is a key factor. Younger NRIs with robust health can choose a higher SI while enjoying lower premiums.

However, the picture isn't always so straightforward. For NRIs with pre-existing medical conditions, a higher SI might be necessary to safeguard against potential medical costs. Similarly, a person's lifestyle choices – be it smoking or high-risk activities – can affect the SI they opt for.

The size of your family

If you have a larger family with dependents, opt for a higher SI so that your family can maintain their current lifestyle and meet expenses in case of your death. If you have a smaller family with no major financial obligations, you may select a lower SI that covers only essential expenses.

It's crucial to assess your family's financial needs and expenses, such as medical bills, household expenses, education costs, and other liabilities, before deciding on the SI. As NRIs often have families in India, it's common for expats to choose an SI that provides cover for their families' needs in India, such as higher education costs, marriage expenses, and health care expenses.

Debts and financial obligations

If you were to pass away, your debts would still exist and your loved ones could be left with a significant financial burden. Therefore, it's essential to consider these obligations and make an informed decision about the appropriate SI for your NRI Life Insurance policy.

When buying NRI Life Insurance, selecting an appropriate Sum Insured (SI) can be a challenging task, as it requires balancing your family's financial needs with your budget. In this context, there are methods for calculating the required SI for NRI Life Insurance that help in making an informed decision.

Human Life Value approach

The Human Life Value approach is a popular method for calculating the required Sum Insured for NRI Life Insurance. This approach considers factors such as age, size of the insured’s family, their lifestyle, income and future expenses to determine the value of an individual's life. By using this approach, you can ensure that your loved ones are financially protected in the event of your untimely death, and that they have enough money to cover their future expenses and maintain their quality of life.


NRI C, aged 35, is the sole breadwinner of a family of three and has a net annual income of ₹30 lakhs. Assuming NRI C works until they are 65 years old, their Human Life Value is estimated at ₹9 crores (30 lakhs x 30 years x 10 multiplier). Therefore, the recommended Sum Insured for their Life Insurance policy would be at least ₹9 crores.

Income Replacement approach

The Income Replacement approach is a common method used to calculate the required Sum Assured for NRI Life Insurance policies. This approach takes into consideration the policyholder's annual income and multiplies it by a factor of anywhere between 10 and 20, depending on the insurance provider and the policy terms. The resulting amount is the Sum Assured that the policy should provide upon the policyholder's death, to help their family maintain the same standard of living and meet their financial needs.


NRI A, aged 40, has a family of four and a net annual income of ₹50 lakhs. Assuming a ratio of 10:1 of the Sum Insured to annual income, NRI A's recommended Sum Insured could be ₹5 crores.

Needs-based approach

The Needs-Based approach is another method used to calculate the required Sum Assured for NRI Life Insurance policies. This approach considers the policyholder's financial obligations and future needs, such as paying off any outstanding debts or mortgages, providing for children's education and covering other foreseeable expenses. Insurance providers may also factor in inflation and other variables into the calculation.


NRI B, aged 50, has a mortgage of ₹2 crores, children's education expenses of ₹50 lakhs, outstanding loans of ₹10 lakhs, and a retirement fund shortfall of ₹1 crore. Based on the needs-based approach, the total Sum Insured required for NRI B could be at least ₹3.6 crores.

Expense Analysis approach

This approach calculates the total expenses that the policyholder's family may incur in the event of the policyholder's passing away, such as funeral costs, outstanding debts and future expenses. The required Sum Assured is the amount that will cover these expenses, ensuring that the policyholder's family is not financially burdened.

Standard Value approach

The Standard value approach takes into account the insured's income, inflation, and expected income growth over time to arrive at the Sum Insured needed. This method can vary by insurance provider and policy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers to the most asked common questions regarding how much sum insured (SI) do you need for NRI Life Insurance


Can an NRI purchase Life Insurance from any insurance provider, or are there specific providers who cater to NRIs?

Yes, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) can purchase Life Insurance policies from any insurance provider in India that offers coverage to NRIs. However, specific insurance providers may cater to NRIs and offer more tailored policies or features, such as online applications or premium payments in foreign currency. NRIs need to research and compare insurance providers to find the best policy and coverage that suits their individual needs and circumstances.

Are premiums for NRI Life Insurance policies higher compared to policies for residents of India?

The premiums for NRI Life Insurance policies typically match those of residents. If an NRI lives in a country with higher risks, such as natural disasters or political instability, the premiums may increase to reflect the level of risk. When determining the Sum Insured for your NRI Life Insurance policy, it is essential to consider these factors.

Are there any additional documentation requirements for NRIs when applying for Life Insurance policies?

The documentation requirements for NRIs when applying for Life Insurance policies are like those for Indian citizens. However, insurance providers may require additional documents such as proof of NRI status, proof of residence and employment abroad, and copies of relevant visa and passport pages. In addition, NRIs may need to undergo additional medical tests or provide additional information on their health history and lifestyle.

Can NRIs purchase joint Life Insurance policies with their spouse or family members?

Yes, NRIs can purchase joint Life Insurance policies with their spouse or other family members who are also NRIs or Indian residents.


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