Life insurance and pregnancy

You can buy life insurance while pregnant, but pregnancy complications or weight gain may impact your rates after your first trimester.

Big life events—like getting married, starting a new job, or having a baby—are a great time to reevaluate your finances. Most people automatically think about health insurance or setting up a college savings account when they have a new baby, but buying life insurance should be top of mind too.

Life insurance is an important part of financial planning as you expand your family. You’ll secure the best premiums by applying in your first trimester or sooner. Here’s what you need to know about applying for life insurance when pregnant. 

Key takeaways

  • To secure the best premiums, apply for life insurance before you become pregnant or within your first trimester

  • If you are further along in your pregnancy or have health complications due to your pregnancy, it’s best to apply 4-8 weeks postpartum

  • We don’t recommend naming your child as a beneficiary or buying life insurance for children

  • Including certain riders on your policy can provide additional financial protection for your children or spouse

Can pregnant women get life insurance?

Pregnant women can get life insurance coverage, with some caveats. Insurance companies evaluate pregnant applicants on a case-by-case basis. Generally, you’ll be able to get the same quotes as you would prior to your pregnancy if you:

  • Are in your first trimester

  • Haven’t experienced any pregnancy-related complications

  • Don’t have pre-existing conditions that could cause complications

  • Have no history of complications from a previous childbirth

If you apply for a policy in your second or third trimester, your application may be postponed until after you give birth. However, there are many life insurance companies that offer coverage during any stage of pregnancy as long as you have no history of complications.

A postponed application doesn’t mean you won’t be approved in the future, but it does mean you’ll go through childbirth without coverage. If you find yourself in that situation, you may be able to receive financial protection through temporary life insurance.

Why does pregnancy affect life insurance rates?

Insurance companies base your life insurance premiums on your estimated lifespan and health risks. Your age, sex, weight, hobbies, and medical history are all considered when you apply for life insurance. Two factors that can significantly affect life insurance quotes during pregnancy are weight gain and complications.

Weight gain

Most insurance companies use your pre-pregnancy weight when setting your premiums, but some will use your current weight. Other companies may only check that you're gaining weight at "normal" levels and increase your premiums if you've gained more than that. 

If you apply post-birth, it’s helpful to have a record of your pre-pregnancy weight. To provide the most accurate premiums, many insurers don’t evaluate you using your post-pregnancy weight until six months after you have given birth and will use your pre-pregnancy weight instead. 

Complications

You’ll receive higher quotes or an application postponement if the underwriter finds any evidence of complications or a high-risk pregnancy. These may include:

  • Complications in a previous pregnancy

  • Gestational diabetes from current or previous pregnancy

  • Elevated cholesterol 

  • Postpartum depression

  • Pre-eclampsia

  • Pregnancy at age 45 or older 

  • Multiple pregnancy with triplets or more

Each life insurance company approaches pregnancy differently. Some might disregard pregnancy-related cholesterol increases based on your pre-pregnancy levels. Others consider pregnancy over age 35 high risk. Shop around to find the best life insurance company for your situation.

Do I need to tell my life insurance company I’m pregnant?

If you’re applying for a new life insurance policy, you need to tell the underwriter if you’re pregnant. The insurance company won’t give you a pregnancy test during your medical exam, but your underwriting process also includes a phone interview. 

If you don’t answer honestly your beneficiaries’ claim could be denied when you die. Lying on your application qualifies as life insurance fraud. Even if the claim isn’t denied, the death benefit your loved ones receive could be reduced to make up for the premiums you should have been paying for your specific situation.

If you become pregnant when you already have an active policy, you don’t need to let your provider know.

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When to apply for life insurance if you’re pregnant

It’s always better to apply for life insurance sooner rather than later. The life insurance application process usually takes around five to six weeks, and could take longer if there are unexpected delays. 

Applying earlier usually earns you the lowest premiums, but you can apply for life insurance anytime before, during, or after your pregnancy.

Before pregnancy

If you’re planning on starting a family, the best time to apply for life insurance is before you get pregnant. Life insurance rates increase by 4.5-9% each year you age. If you know you want to start a family in the not-so-distant future, you can lock in affordable premiums now that last for decades. 

Not only does this ensure you get the lowest possible premiums, it also guarantees your family is covered if you die from complications from childbirth (though the chances are extremely low, the U.S. has the highest maternal death rates in the developed world).

During pregnancy

If you apply for life insurance further into your pregnancy, you may have a more complex underwriting experience. The closer you are to childbirth, the more likely it is for your application to be postponed or your premiums increased.

If you do end up with higher premiums due to pregnancy complications, most life insurance companies allow you to retake your medical exam again a year or two after your policy is issued. If your new exam results qualify for a lower price, your premiums will be adjusted. (If they don’t, your premiums won’t go up.)

After pregnancy

If your application is postponed during your pregnancy or if you’d like to wait to apply, the four to eight weeks after you give birth are the next best time to apply.

By this point, your weight will likely be lower than it was during your pregnancy and any health complications from pregnancy, including elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, should be resolved.

However, postpartum depression and gestational diabetes can elevate your premiums for five years after you experience them. An independent insurance agent can help you find a provider that is more flexible with these diagnoses.

Should you name your baby as a life insurance beneficiary?

Naming a minor as your life insurance beneficiary is technically possible, but we strongly advise against doing so.

For a minor child to receive the death benefit, a court must place the funds in a trust under the care of a court-appointed guardian. The guardian then holds onto the money until your child reaches the age of majority (18 in most states). This process could tie up the funds for years and incur unnecessary legal fees.

The best way to ensure your insurance proceeds benefit your child is to name your partner or a legal guardian as your beneficiary so that they can access the funds immediately. You can also create a trust or a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) account. Both are managed by a custodian until a child comes of age.

A lawyer or financial planner can help you make an estate plan that guarantees protection for your child.

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Life insurance riders to consider if you’re pregnant

Life insurance riders are optional additions to your life insurance policy. There are many life insurance riders to consider, but some may be especially useful if you’re buying life insurance in anticipation of a new baby.

  • Child insurance rider: These pay a small death benefit that can be put toward funeral costs or taking time off work to grieve a loss. One rider covers all your current and future children and costs as little as $50 per year for $10,000 of coverage.

  • Disability income rider: If you become injured and can’t work, a disability rider will provide a small payout to cover your expenses. You’ll get better coverage with a separate long-term disability policy, but a rider can add some support at a lower cost.

  • Spousal rider: You’ll get more coverage if you and your spouse buy separate policies, but a spousal rider is an inexpensive option if your partner is unable to qualify for or can’t afford an individual life insurance policy.

Whether you’re thinking about expanding your family, are already pregnant, or are a new parent, life insurance should be at the top of your financial checklist. Because the price of life insurance increases as you age and pregnancy causes health fluctuations, the sooner you buy a policy, the better.

Each insurance company treats pregnancy differently, so comparing quotes and working with an independent insurance broker like Policygenius is the best way to secure the right financial protection for you and your growing family. 

Life insurance and pregnancy FAQ:

Can I get life insurance if I’m pregnant?

You can get life insurance anytime before, during, or after your pregnancy. Your pregnancy is least likely to impact your premiums during your first trimester.

How does pregnancy affect life insurance?

You may receive higher quotes or have your application postponed due to weight gain or pregnancy-related health complications like postpartum depression or gestational diabetes.

Should I buy life insurance for my future child?

Life insurance for children is usually expensive and unnecessary. A child rider is a more affordable option, but having a life insurance policy of your own is the best financial protection for your child.