When you reach your 40s, it's more likely that you'll be more secure and in control of your personal finances. 

This should extend to your insurance coverage too. Here are some of the insurance essentials you should consider taking out in your fifth decade. 

Life insurance

We know we harp on about it but, if you have a partner or dependents, you should strongly consider taking out life insurance

Unfortunately, if you’re in your 40s, it could cost twice as much as an equivalent policy for someone in their 20s. It may not be as cheap, but it’s still worth having.  

[Read more: Why "free" travel insurance could be worthless to you]

The next decision concerns whether you want to take out a joint or two single-person policies. A joint policy would be cheaper but of course, you’d only get one payout.

The question is how much you can afford. Paying more for two policies would mean that ultimately, you’d get two payouts, leaving your loved ones with better financial protection.   

Even if you already have life insurance, it’s a good idea to review it to reflect your current salary (aim to have a policy which is five-ten times your annual salary), number of dependents and current medical conditions.     

Then there’s the question of what type of policy you take out, depending on your circumstances. 

Make sure you shop around – why not make a start at a life insurance comparison centre?

Critical illness cover

You're probably at an age where you're working and your family relies on your income. So, if you fall ill to the point where you can't work anymore, it helps to have protection in place to cover you and your loved ones while you're unable to work.

The price you pay for your critical illness cover depends on what illnesses you want to be protected against. Of course, a policy that covers fewer illnesses is cheaper, but you should have a look at your family's medical history before you sign anything.  

With both life and critcal illness cover, it's important that you check that they're not covered by your employer. Over-insurance is an easy trap to fall into.  

Home insurance

Chances are that you have a mortgage by now and you’ve probably got home insurance.

As you know, home insurance is made up of buildings and contents cover. You probably had to take buildings insurance when you bought your mortgage.

Unlike life insurance, the area where you might struggle is under-insuring your possessions.

Make sure you comb through your house and tally up all your valuables accurately. Then after each Christmas or major present haul, do the same again and update your insurer.    

A note on buildings insurance. Some mortgage providers won’t allow you to take out a policy without having buildings insurance in place first.

Just be aware that they might try and give you their policy. Don’t take it. You can get a much cheaper quote elsewhere.    

Car insurance

Research from price comparison site Moneysupermarket suggests that driver aged over 40 could actually get fully comp car insurance cheaper than third-party insurance, which motorists sometimes plump for to save cash.

Apparently, as younger drivers ask for third-party insurance insurers become suspicious of any motorists who opt for this type of insurance over fully-comp.   

As you’re considered to be a safer driver, your insurance will include useful extras, which might not be offered up to younger motorists.

[Read more: The top 5 things you need to check before you take out insurance]

Travel insurance

Much like other policies, this one comes down to your family situation. Family travel insurance is great for you if you’ve got a couple of younger sprogs as insurers sometimes cover children for free. Be warned that you might be paying multiple excesses for claims though.  

As well as excess, you may be paying more at this point if you've developed a medical condition or two. There are insurers out there who offer decent quotes on people with pre-existing conditions (at least compared to the competition).   

Conversely, if you've decided that you want to do something wild on your next trip, make sure that the activity that you're doing is covered on your policy.

Again, some insurers include things like scuba diving or zip-wiring in their activities but check that small print carefully. If in doubt, just ask.

Those with packaged current accounts might also want to take a look any travel insurance which is part of their deal for what's included.