Can you buy life insurance for your parents?

You can buy life insurance for your parents if you depend on them financially and you have their consent and participation in the application process.

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By

Tory CrowleyAssociate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance AgentTory Crowley is an associate life insurance and annuities editor and a licensed insurance agent at Policygenius. Previously, she worked directly with clients at Policygenius, advising nearly 3,000 of them on life insurance options. She has also worked at the Daily News and various nonprofit organizations.&Katherine MurbachEditor & Licensed Life Insurance AgentKatherine Murbach is a life insurance and annuities editor, licensed life insurance agent, and former sales associate at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Edited by

Antonio Ruiz-CamachoAntonio Ruiz-CamachoAssociate Content DirectorAntonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.
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Reviewed by

Maria FilindrasMaria FilindrasFinancial AdvisorMaria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

Updated|5 min read

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You can purchase life insurance for your parents. But for you to be able to buy a life policy on them, they’ll need to be on board with the decision and agree to participate in the application process.

The type of life insurance that’s best for your parents will depend on their personal situation and financial needs. No matter the type of policy you purchase, you’ll need to demonstrate to the insurance company that you’ll be financially impacted by your parent’s death if you’d like to pay for the policy for them.

Key Takeaways

  • You can get life insurance for your parents with their participation in the application process.

  • Term life insurance is one of the most affordable types of life insurance for parents.

  • Final expense life insurance can help if you’d be responsible for any end-of-life expenses for your parents, like a funeral.

  • You’ll need to demonstrate your finances are related if you want to own or pay for a parent’s life insurance policy.

What do you need to buy life insurance for your parents?

In order to buy life insurance for your parents you’ll need to provide the insurance company some personal and financial information about both you and your parents. You’ll also need your parents to consent and demonstrate legal competence when buying the policy. 

  • Insurable interest. This means you need to prove you’ll be negatively financially impacted if the parent you’re buying life insurance for passes away.

  • Consent from your parents. No one can get a life insurance policy on someone else without their permission. The parent you’re buying life insurance for will need to participate in the application process and demonstrate to the insurance agent that they understand and want the policy.

  • Legal competence. Your parent has to be able to sign the documents of their own accord, and may not use a Power of Attorney.

  • Personal information. Both you and your parent will need to provide some personal information including your names, birth dates, addresses, and Social Security numbers. Your parent will also have to provide information about their finances, lifestyle and medical history.

You’ll still have the option to pay for the policy if you list your parent as the owner of their life insurance policy — called the policyholder They can list you as the payor, which means you’ll be responsible for covering the policy’s premiums

Only the policyholder is able to cancel the policy and change the beneficiaries, not the payor. When working as a life insurance agent, I’d usually recommend that the insured person own their own policy so they’re able to make changes if necessary, but you can technically own your parent’s policy, too. You’d just need to fill out additional paperwork.

What type of life insurance should your parents have?

The most affordable type of coverage is a term life insurance policy, but if your parent has serious health conditions, a final expense policy that can help cover end-of-life expenses and is easier to get approved for may be a better fit. 

The right life insurance policy for your parents will depend on your family’s needs and what type of insurance your parents will be eligible for. Consider how your family would be financially impacted if your parents died. You’ll want to make sure you have resources to cover any costs that come up — a life insurance death benefit can help.

  • Term life insurance is the best choice if your parent’s death would lead to a substantial financial loss, loss of household support (like childcare), or if you would have to take on their debts. The policy lasts for a set number of years, called a term. At the end of the term, your parent will have the option to convert the policy to a whole life policy if they still need coverage. 

  • Final expense insurance is a type of whole life insurance designed to cover end-of-life expenses, like funeral costs. It can be a good fit if your parents have medical conditions that might disqualify them from getting approved for a standard life insurance policy, like term life. Coverage amounts are low and premiums are high compared to term life policies, but the policies last for the rest of your parent’s life, and they don’t have medical requirements for approval. 

→ Learn more about buying life insurance for seniors

Ready to shop for life insurance?

How much does life insurance for your parents cost?

If your father is 50 years old, doesn’t smoke, and only has one or two mild health conditions, you could get him a 20-year term life insurance policy with a $500,000 payout for about $102 per month. If your mother is the same age, also doesn’t smoke, and is in similar health, you could find her a policy for the same duration and with the same payout for less than $80 per month. 

Buying life insurance for your parents will depend on a variety of factors, including their age and health status. If your parents are relatively healthy with only a few minor health conditions, they should be eligible for a term life insurance policy at an affordable rate. Term life policies typically offer coverage up to age 75 or 80, depending on the insurer.

Average term life insurance rates for parents

Age

Gender

10-year term 

20-year term 

30-year term

50

Female

$51.80

$78.29

$129.12

Male

$63.97

$102.50

$174.15

60

Female

$107.24

$194.16

N/A

Male

$144.34

$268.04

N/A

70

Female

$303.01

$764.19

N/A

Male

$456.78

$948.52

N/A

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Methodology: Average monthly rates are for male and female non-smokers with a Preferred health rating obtaining a 10-year, 20-year, or 30-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Brighthouse Financial, Corebridge Financial, Foresters Financial, Legal & General America, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Rates may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 01/01/2024.

Average final expense insurance rates for parents

If your parents have serious health conditions, they may not be able to qualify for term life insurance. In that case, a final expense whole life policy may be a good fit for them. Final expense policies offer a simplified — and sometimes guaranteed — application process and last for life as long as premiums are paid, regardless of health status.

If your mother is 60 years old, she could get a $25,000 final expense policy for about $77 per month. If your father is the same age, he could get a similar policy for about $105 per month.

Age

Gender

$5,000 coverage amount

$15,000 coverage amount

$25,000 coverage amount

50

Female

$13.75

$34.86

$55.96

Male

$16.94

$44.42

$71.89

60

Female

$18.04

$47.70

$77.36

Male

$23.55

$64.04

$104.60

70

Female

$28.22

$78.26

$128.29

Male

$38.91

$110.31

$181.72

80

Female

$60.82

$146.05

$241.28

Male

$71.47

$207.99

$344.52

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Methodology: Monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers obtaining a simplified issue final expense whole life policy through Mutual of Omaha. Rates may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 01/01/2024.

What are the best life insurance companies for your parents?

The best life insurance for your parents will come down to a variety of factors, mostly based on their age and health profile. When you and your parent meet with a licensed sales agent, try to be as forthcoming as possible with them about your financial needs and your parent’s health. This way, they can help make sure you get the best possible coverage to meet your family’s needs.

Methodology

Why you can trust our picks

Our recommendations are based on internal and external expert analysis, as well as our Policygenius Life Insurance Price Index, which uses real-time data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. When reviewing a life insurance company, our editorial team uses a proprietary scoring rubric with five factors — price, policy details, financial strength, transparency, and customer experience — to assign an unbiased rating between one and five stars. These ratings are also taken into consideration as part of our company recommendations. We don’t get paid for our reviews.

Our reviews and recommendations can help you find a reliable insurer for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you depends on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can support you during the application process to ensure you get the right coverage for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

Read more about our reviews methodology

Foresters Financial

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.3

AM Best rating 

AM Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-medical-exam option

Why we chose itchevron icon

For people under age 55 and in relatively decent health, Foresters Financial's Your Term policy is a solid choice for a term life policy. You can get it without a medical exam and coverage can be offered within 24 hours.

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Accelerated death benefit rider includes coverage for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses

  • Includes several no-cost riders that aren’t available through other insurers, including Family Health Benefit Rider and Charity Benefit Provision

  • No-medical-exam option available for people up to age 55

Cons

  • Not available in New York or Maine

  • People with complicated health histories will likely find their best rates elsewhere

Best term life insurance for younger parents: Foresters Financial

Foresters Financial can offer affordable rates and a convenient application process for people under age 55. It doesn’t require a medical exam to apply and offers living benefits — policy add-ons that allow you to access part of the policy’s death benefit while you’re alive due to serious illness — like accelerated death benefit and critical illness rider at no extra cost. 

award icon

2024 Policygenius award winner

Pacific Life

Pacific Life logo

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.8

AM Best rating 

AM Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

All 50 states

No-medical-exam option

Why we chose itchevron icon

Pacific Life offers some of the lowest rates for term life insurance across age brackets. It also has the most competitive rates for many health conditions and builds.

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Extremely affordable across age brackets

  • Affordable guaranteed universal life insurance option for people who need lifetime coverage

  • Favorable underwriting for many health conditions

Cons

  • Traditional term life not available in NY

  • There are better carriers for active duty military, people who have a history of alcohol abuse, and people who have been through bankruptcy

Best term life insurance for older parents: Pacific Life

Pacific Life is a great option for people in their 60s and 70s. Pacific Life offers relatively affordable rates across many health classifications and flexible guidelines for a number of health conditions, such as diabetes. The insurer also offers coverage amounts as low as $50,000, in case your parents only need a small amount of coverage as they age.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha logo

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.5

AM Best rating 

AM Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-medical-exam option

Why we chose itchevron icon

Mutual of Omaha is a reputable company that offers a variety of life insurance products — including a no-medical-exam option — so that you can select the type of life insurance that best suits your needs.

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • No-medical-exam options for older applicants

  • Strong financial and customer ratings

Cons

  • Policies are more expensive than average

  • Slow turnaround time

Best final expense life insurance for parents: Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha consistently offers some of the cheapest rates for final expense policies. This insurer offers both simplified issue and guaranteed issue final expense policies. There’s no medical exam required to apply for either policy, and the guaranteed issue policy offers near-certain approval, as long as your parent is of sound mind.

Comparing the best life insurance for parents

Company

Policygenius rating

AM Best rating

Best for

Foresters Financial

4.3/5

A

No exam for people under 55, living benefits

Pacific Life

4.8/5

A+

People over 60, people over 70

Mutual of Omaha

4.5/5

A+

Final expense insurance

How much life insurance should your parents get?

Your parents should get enough life insurance to cover the cost of their funeral, medical bills, any debt they have, and any other expenses you would be left to pay when they pass away. 

You also want to find a policy that has a monthly payment that you can afford. Working with a licensed agent is the best way to balance your family’s financial needs with your budget as the payor of your parent’s life insurance policy.

At Policygenius, our experts are licensed in all 50 states and can walk you through the entire life insurance buying process while offering transparent, unbiased advice.

What does life insurance for your parents cover?

People usually get life insurance coverage for a parent to cover any financial costs they’ll be responsible for when their parent dies. These could include:

  • Funeral expenses

  • Medical bills

  • Debt, including a mortgage

  • Cost of childcare or any domestic help, if parents help in this way

  • Cost of preparing their home for sale

How can you buy life insurance for your parents?

Getting life insurance for your parents is similar to getting a life insurance policy for yourself.

  1. Determine how much life insurance coverage your parent needs. This should be enough to cover their funeral, medical bills, and any debt they have. You can also insure any income they’re expected to earn, especially if you share a household. 

  2. Find out which type of policy fits their needs. If they need a large amount of coverage for a fixed period of time, a term life policy will be better. If they need a small amount of coverage for the rest of their lives, a final expense policy will likely be a better fit. Depending on your parent’s needs, you may also want to consider getting a policy that offers a critical illness rider or accidental death benefit. 

  3. Decide who will own and pay for the policy. Usually, the policyholder is the same person who’s insured under the policy, but if you and your parent agree, you can own or pay for their policy. You may need to fill out extra paperwork with the insurer. Just remember only the owner will have the ability to make changes to the policy, like canceling it or updating the beneficiaries. 

  4. Prove insurable interest. The insurance company needs to verify that you’ll be financially impacted if your parent dies. The insurer won’t let you own a policy for your parent unless you can establish insurable interest. 

  5. Answer health questions or arrange a medical exam. Your parent will need to connect with an insurance agent to fill out their application as well as provide information on their health profile and finances. You may be present for this conversation. 

  6. Have your parent sign their final policy documents. Once your parent’s life insurance application is reviewed by the insurance company and it makes a formal offer, if you wish to accept the insurance policy, both you and your parent will need to sign the documents to officially make the policy active.

When can you buy life insurance for your parents?

You can buy life insurance for your parents if they’re no older than 85 — and you need to be at least 18 years old. Aside from that, there are no other special restrictions for buying life insurance for a parent as long as you have their consent.

Tips for discussing the benefits of getting life insurance with your parents 

Getting life insurance on a parent can help your family financially, but it’s important to make sure that both you and your parent are on the same page about their life insurance coverage. 

  • Get your parent’s consent. You can’t buy a policy without them — you’d be committing insurance fraud — since they need to answer application questions, participate in a medical exam, and sign off on the policy. 

  • Let your parent know what to expect. They’ll need to apply with a licensed agent, take a medical exam or complete a medical interview, and sign the final policy documents. 

  • Try to help your parent understand why it’s worth it to you. Your parent may be hesitant about letting you pay for their life insurance policy. It may be helpful for them to understand costs associated with their passing, and how a policy can help you handle affairs when that time comes. 

If you or your parents have questions about the life insurance application process, our Policygenius experts are licensed in 50 states and can provide transparent, unbiased advice based on your personal situation.

→ Learn more about buying life insurance

Other life insurance family needs

Authors

Tory Crowley is an associate life insurance and annuities editor and a licensed insurance agent at Policygenius. Previously, she worked directly with clients at Policygenius, advising nearly 3,000 of them on life insurance options. She has also worked at the Daily News and various nonprofit organizations.

Katherine Murbach is a life insurance and annuities editor, licensed life insurance agent, and former sales associate at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Editor

Antonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

Expert reviewer

Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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