Q We are a couple in our late 20s, just starting a family. We're considering life insurance, but wonder whether that means we're showing a lack of faith in God. Is life insurance okay; and if so, should it cover me only, or my wife too? She has no formal job.

A While you won't find insurance in sacred Scripture, per se, you will find an abundance of teaching that encourages us to make effective plans to meet the needs of our family. For example, 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “If anyone does not provide for his own relatives and especially for members of his immediate family, he has denied the faith; he is worse than an unbeliever.”

In biblical times, society was based on an agrarian economy, with land being passed on from generation to generation. This acted as the equivalent of an insurance policy. When the economy changed to an industrial and information base, another form of safeguard became necessary. Insurance has filled this need, and is an appropriate tool for fulfilling 1 Timothy 5:8.

You ask whether to get policies for both spouses, or just yourself. In order to provide the greatest possible opportunity for a single parent to stay home fulltime to raise the children, it would be wise to purchase policies for both spouses. Otherwise, in the event of the sudden death of the homemaker, the wage earner would need to continue working full time. While you'll want to visit with an insurance agent or financial planner to determine what type of insurance is best for you, most young families choose term insurance because of its relatively low cost.

Another key question is how much insurance you need. No one answer fits every situation. Take into account your ongoing expenses and future major expenditures such as debt repayment, college tuition or the purchase of a new car. By comparing these needs to your existing resources, you can better determine the amount of insurance that is right for you.

Remember there are scores of companies that sell life insurance. While price is certainly important, consider the financial strength of the company you are dealing with. Look for a rating of A or better from A.M. Best, a company that evaluates the financial strength of insurance companies.

As with any purchase, comparison shopping results in great savings. It would be a good idea to obtain a number of quotes before making a decision. There are also a number of consumer organizations you can contact for additional helpful information, including price quotes.

God love you!

Phil Lenahan is executive director of Catholic Answers.

Reach Family Matters at familymatters@ncregister.com