Best family life insurance for February 2023

A family life insurance plan provides you and your loved ones with financial security. Here’s how to choose the right coverage for your whole family.

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By

Katherine MurbachKatherine MurbachEditor & Licensed Life Insurance ExpertKatherine Murbach is an editor and a licensed life insurance expert 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.&Tory CrowleyTory CrowleyAssociate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance ExpertTory Crowley is an associate editor and a licensed insurance expert 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.

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.

Updated|7 min read

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Purchasing a life insurance policy for yourself is almost always a good idea; it can ensure that your family members won’t suffer financially in the event of your death. But to be fully prepared for a death in the family, insuring just yourself might not be enough. 

If you’re married, have children, or depend on your parents for money, you may need to consider their life insurance coverage needs as well. Here’s how to find the best life insurance for your whole family.

Key takeaways

  • Spouses can choose between purchasing two separate life insurance policies or one shared policy.

  • Most children don’t need life insurance coverage.

  • Family life insurance is sometimes advertised as one product, but coverage for your family usually requires multiple policies or add-ons, also called riders.

  • The most convenient and affordable coverage option for most families is an individual term life policy for each adult, in addition to a child rider for the children.

What is family life insurance?

Family life insurance refers to the different policies that provide financial protection for the whole family — whether that includes a spouse, a domestic partner, one child, or multiple children

Usually, this means one policy for every family member, but there are ways to cover more than one family member under the same policy. A licensed agent can help you determine which type of policy is best for you and your family. 

What are the best types of family life insurance policies?

When buying life insurance with your spouse, you have the option to buy two individual life insurance policies or one joint policy. Most couples should buy separate policies, which provide better and more affordable protection for your dependents.

The other option is a joint life insurance policy, which is best for families if one spouse doesn’t qualify for an individual policy or the life insurance payout is meant to cover estate or inheritance taxes. 

There are various types of life insurance policies you can consider to protect your family. These mainly include term and whole.

Term life insurance is the best fit for most young families because it’s simple, cheaper than permanent life insurance, and lasts only for as long as you need it.

Whole, on the other hand, is a type of permanent coverage that doesn’t expire, has a cash value component that can be used for investing, and is usually five to 15 times more expensive than term. 

Whole life insurance is usually best suited for high-net-worth individuals and people with long-term financial obligations.

Other options to cover your family may include purchasing a whole life policy for your children or a spousal rider for your partner — a spousal rider is an add-on that ensures that if your spouse dies you’ll receive the death benefit

However these options can be more expensive or offer less coverage than you need. These policies also don’t provide ongoing coverage for the surviving spouse after the primary insured person dies.

49% of the sandwich generation don't have life insurance

A recent Policygenius survey found that 49% of the sandwich generation doesn't have life insurance to help financially support their loved ones after they die. If that's your case, a term life insurance policy is an easy and affordable way to provide your family with a financial safety net in your absence.

Read more about term life insurance

Joint life insurance for couples

A joint life insurance policy may seem simpler because you can share one life insurance policy with your partner. However, most joint options are costly permanent life insurance policies and are best reserved for specific circumstances.

There are two types of joint policies: 

  • First-to-die: Pays the death benefit after the first spouse dies, and is an option if one spouse can’t qualify for affordable individual coverage. 

  • Second-to-die: Also called survivorship life insurance, it pays the death benefit after the second spouse dies. Second-to-die is most useful for inheritance planning.

Combining your coverage in one joint policy means that if one spouse is less healthy than the other, you’ll pay more for the joint policy than you would as individuals. In the event of a divorce, joint policies can also complicate proceedings.

Speak with an independent insurance agent to find out which life insurance options are best for your family. 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.

Separate life insurance policies for couples

The most cost effective way to cover your whole family typically involves purchasing one or more individual term life insurance policies — one for each parent — with the addition of a child rider. 

A child rider is an optional policy add-on that pays a small death benefit if any of your children dies while your policy is active. This rider gives your children the option to convert the coverage to a policy of their own when they’re adults.

If you opt to purchase individual life insurance policies for you and your spouse, each person will need to go through the application process separately. Your premiums might differ from the premiums your spouse receives, depending on your respective health histories.

You can work with an insurance agent to navigate the application process together. You can also take the medical exam at the same time if it’s required.

Best family life insurance companies of February 2023

Methodology: best family life insurance in 2022

We don't get paid for our company reviews and use an extensive rubric of criteria covering policy details, price, financial confidence, third-party ratings, and customer experience to assign unbiased ratings out of five stars. Any recommendations we make are based on internal and external expert opinions and data from our Policygenius Price Index, which uses real-time rate data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends.

Our ratings and reviews can help point you to an insurer you can rely on for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you is dependent on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can work with you through the application process so you’re getting coverage from the best insurer for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

→ Read more about our reviews methodology here

Best overall family life insurance

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2023 Policygenius award winner

AIG

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

4.6

AM Best rating 

A.M. 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 ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

30+ year terms

All 50 states

Why we chose it

With competitive pricing and a range of flexible term periods for its Select-a-Term product, AIG is a solid option for many life insurance shoppers.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive pricing for all ages

  • Favorable underwriting for people with heart conditions and diabetes

  • Good for current and recently pregnant people, including people with gestational diabetes

Cons

  • Not the best for people with mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression

  • No no-medical-exam term option

AIG is highly competitive when it comes to price. It also offers an affordable and customizable child rider. You can add anywhere between $500 and $25,000 of coverage in addition to your policy to cover any children, making sure your whole family is covered. Your child can even convert the rider into a permanent policy of their own up until their 25th birthday.

AIG is also a good option if you’re applying while pregnant. It will consider your application at any stage of pregnancy as long as there are no complications, while other insurance companies might postpone applications during the second or third trimester until after delivery.

Cheapest family life insurance

Protective

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 

A.M. 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 ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

30+ year terms

Why we chose it

Protective has some of the most affordable and comprehensive life insurance options available.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive rates for all ages and health classifications

  • Good for people with mental health conditions, kidney conditions, and some cancers, including prostate cancer

  • Term lengths up to 40 years

Cons

  • Not available in New York

  • Not great for people who have had bankruptcy, marijuana users, or visa holders

  • No no-medical-exam policy options

Protective Life has affordable premiums regardless of your health, which is one of the main factors that determine how much you’ll pay for life insurance.

In addition, the company’s child rider option allows you to select between $1,000 and $25,000 of coverage, and you can add or drop the rider after your policy is in force if you need to. 

Best joint life insurance for families

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2023 Policygenius award winner

Prudential

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 starEmpty gray star

4.1

AM Best rating 

A.M. 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-med-exam option

All 50 states

Why we chose it

With nearly four million policyholders and 150 years to its name, Prudential offers competitive coverage options for seniors, as well as people with some of the most common medical conditions, including asthma, depression, and fibromyalgia.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Good for people over 60

  • More flexible income requirements than some other insurers

  • Considers applicants with a variety of immigration statuses (visas and green cards)

Cons

  • Younger applicants will likely find better prices elsewhere

  • No-med option can end up requiring a medical exam most of the time

Prudential is a reputable company that offers a second-to-die policy option with a no-lapse guarantee. You can get approved with this policy even if one of the two people applying may not qualify for an individual policy.

Prudential’s survivorship policy also offers lower rates than other similar products on the market.

Best family term life insurance

AIG

Why we chose it

Consistent with our top overall pick, AIG is a great option for term life for families due to their child rider availability and favorable application guidelines for pregnancy.

The company  also has a faster turnaround time on average than other insurers, which can lead to a more seamless application process. 

Best family whole life insurance

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2023 Policygenius award winner

MassMutual

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

4.9

AM Best rating 

A.M. 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

Why we chose it

MassMutual’s whole life insurance plan provides a lifetime coverage option that builds cash value with the potential to earn dividends.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Strong financial stability ratings

  • Higher potential for dividends for whole life policyholders than many competitors

  • Good customer experience ratings

Cons

  • High term life premiums

  • Term life not available through Policygenius

MassMutual offers a variety of permanent life insurance products that pay higher dividends to cash value policyholders than many competitors. This insurer also offers child whole life policies, which are more expensive than child riders but can serve as another way to provide financial protection for your child.

The company has high customer experience ratings as well as high third-party financial stability ratings.

Summary of the best life insurance for families

Company

Policygenius rating

Best for

Types of policies

Protective

4.9/5

Affordability

Term life, whole life, universal

AIG

4.6/5

Families, term life insurance

Term life, guaranteed issue whole life, universal

MassMutual

3.8/5

Whole life insurance

Term life, whole life, universal

Prudential

3.4/5

Joint life insurance

Permanent life, survivorship

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Who needs to get family life insurance?

Family life insurance is a good idea for most families because if anyone in a family unit dies, the others will be negatively financially impacted.

Any parent earning an income should have life insurance to protect it, but secondary earners and homemakers should also be insured to protect any loss of revenue, funeral expenses, and the loss of domestic contributions like cooking, cleaning, and childcare. 

There are options for life insurance policies for children, but most life insurance agents would recommend a child rider to insure the life of a minor child. The primary use of this rider would be to pay for funeral expenses. 

If your child is disabled, it may be worth considering a whole life policy, as this will ensure coverage for them for the rest of their lives.

Speaking with a licensed agent can help you determine which types of policies will best meet your family’s insurance needs.

Aging parents living in your household

If you have aging parents living in your household, it may make sense to get a policy for them as well, especially if they contribute to your household through domestic responsibilities or child care.

This can also be helpful if you share expenses with them, like paying rent, or will be responsible for their funeral arrangements. 

Typically, your parents will need to get their own insurance policy, but you can be the policy owner and payor if you would be the one managing the policy.

How much does a family life insurance plan cost?

If you wanted life insurance coverage for a family with two relatively healthy parents and one or more children, the total monthly cost could be as low as $77 per month (under $1,000 per year).

Sample family life insurance premiums: Two parents and children

Family member     

Coverage                               

Monthly premium

35-year-old female

20-year, $1,000,000 term life insurance

$42.60         

35-year-old male  

20-year, $500,000 term life insurance  

$30.15        

One or more children      

$10,000 child rider                    

$4.58          

Total monthly premiums

$77.33

Sample family life insurance premiums: One parent and children

Family member

Coverage

Monthly premium

35-year-old male

20-year, $500,000 term life insurance

$30.15

One or more children

$10,000 child rider

$4.58

Total monthly premiums

$34.73

Sample family life insurance premiums: One parent and one child

Family member

Coverage

Monthly premium

35-year-old female

20-year, $500,000 term life insurance

$25.43

One child

$10,000 child rider

$4.58

Total monthly premiums

$30.01

Methodology: Average monthly estimated rates are calculated for 35-year-old male and female non-smokers in a Preferred health class, obtaining a 20-year, $1,000,000 term policy with a $10,000 child rider and a 20-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy with a $10,000 child rider. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies from 10 carriers that offer policies through the Policygenius marketplace. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 02/01/2023.

Family life insurance solutions with riders

Child rider

A child rider is one of the most common riders, or add-ons, you can include on your policy. This gives your child or children a small amount of coverage and the price gets included in your individual premiums.

One child rider typically covers all eligible children in a family. If you have another child when you already have your life insurance policy, you can typically add them by contacting the insurance company. 

Spousal rider

There’s an other-insured rider which is commonly used for spouses, sometimes called a spousal rider. This rider provides coverage for the spouse in addition to the original insured.

This add-on is becoming less common because it usually makes sense for both spouses to have their own policy. If the first spouse were to pass away, the rider wouldn’t be in effect anymore, and the second spouse would likely still need their own coverage. 

Tips for buying family life insurance

  1. Consider your insurance needs Many financial advisors recommend ten to 15 times earned annual income as a benchmark for your coverage. Below are a few examples of questions you can ask yourself to figure out how much life insurance you might need.

    • Who depends on my income?

    • Do I have any debt that needs to be paid?

    • How much would my family need to cover anticipated expenses, like rent or a mortgage or my children’s college tuition?

  2. Compare quotes from reputable companies If you have children, you may want to proceed with a company that has a child rider option. At Policygenius, we work with more than 10 different carriers with high financial ratings, and have non-commissioned agents who can help point you in the right direction. 

  3. Follow the application process Once you apply, you’ll need to wait for the insurance company to review your application and offer your official rates. This process is called underwriting. Standard underwriting — during which insurers evaluate your risk profile based on several factors — can take four to six weeks on average, but many people are eligible for accelerated underwriting, sometimes even getting instant approval.

  4. Get an offer and pay your policy At the end of the application process, you’ll get your final policy offer and can decide to purchase your policy. Once you make the first premium payment, your policy becomes active or in force.

More family life insurance options

Frequently asked questions

Is there one insurance policy that covers a whole family?

It’s generally recommended that each adult in a family has their own policy, and children are covered with a rider — an add-on to your policy that offers supplemental coverage for family members. Joint or whole life policies are often expensive and don’t always provide adequate coverage.

Do I need life insurance for every member of my family?

Any adult that contributes to your household should have life insurance, including a non-working spouse or your own parents. Children rarely need their own life insurance.

Should my spouse that doesn’t work still get life insurance coverage?

Yes. A spouse who doesn’t earn an income usually still contributes to the functioning of the household through domestic tasks and childcare. When they die, it will cost money to complete the work they contributed. An insurance policy will also cover their funeral expenses.

Can I get life insurance for a domestic partner or do we need to be married?

Domestic partners are eligible to apply for life insurance the same way married couples are. The relationship can be confirmed through a legal domestic partnership or more informally through demonstrated insurable interest, like sharing expenses, a home, and/or children.

How much does life insurance cost per month for a family of 4?

It will depend on your health and how much coverage you need, but life insurance for a family of four can cost under $80 per month, or under $1,000 for the year.

Can I get life insurance on a family member?

You can get life insurance on your family members. If they’re children, you can purchase a whole life policy or a child rider. If they’re an adult, like your spouse or your parents, they’ll need to sign off on their own policy.

Authors

Katherine Murbach is an editor and a licensed life insurance expert 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.

Tory Crowley is an associate editor and a licensed insurance expert 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.

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.

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