Do You Need Life Insurance If You Don’t Have Kids?

I recently saw a poll asking people if they thought life insurance was necessary if you don’t have children.  The majority of the respondents said no.  This is understandable given that we tend to think of life insurance as a means to provide for our minor children if we die while they are still financially dependent on us.  Of course there are lots of other purposes for life insurance as an estate planning tool or a means to keep a family owned business intact, but especially when we’re looking at basic term life insurance, providing for children is the number one reason people purchase coverage.

But I think this is a situation where it’s important to consider your own specific situation rather than just the generic advice that is given to people in your demographic (people with children, people without children, single parents, etc.).  Before you dismiss the idea of a term life insurance policy simply because you don’t have any children, consider the other possible uses for the policy.

For starters, term life insurance for a healthy person is a very inexpensive purchase, especially when compared with the other types of insurance that we can buy (disability, health, auto, etc.).  And the younger and healthier you are when you buy it, the less expensive it is.  So although you might not have children yet, if you’re planning to have them a few years down the road you might want to get a term life insurance policy in place sooner rather than later.  You can opt for a 30 year term in order to cover your potential child’s entire childhood, even if that child isn’t born for several more years.

Another thing to consider is that a term life insurance policy can be used to provide for a surviving spouse or partner, even if that person has their own source of income.  If you’re in a long-term relationship where you both work and contribute financially to the household, what would the sudden loss of your income mean for your partner?  Would he or she have to sell your shared home because his or her income alone would no longer be enough to cover the mortgage?  The surviving partner might indeed decide to sell and relocate or downsize, but it’s nice to be able to do that on one’s own terms rather than being forced to sell quickly because there isn’t enough money to cover the current living expenses.

In addition to covering expenses until the surviving partner is able to downsize his or her life to match his or her solo income, a small life insurance policy might allow the surviving partner to take some time off work to grieve and come to terms with the loss without having to worry about paying the bills right away.

If you don’t have children, your need for basic life insurance is going to be considerably less than it would be if you did have children.  But a small term policy might be the perfect way to provide a cushion for an adult who relies on you emotionally and/or financially, even if that person is technically capable of supporting him or herself entirely.  Life insurance is about peace of mind and creating the sort of life you would like for those who are left behind.  With no life insurance proceeds, a surviving spouse might have to struggle to make ends meet, sell the house, or work extra hours during an emotionally wrenching time in order to pay the bills.  A small life insurance policy could be the thing that makes the financial aspect of the whole situation easier to bear.

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