Life insurance and pregnancy

You can buy life insurance while pregnant, but your rates can be higher or your application can be delayed because of pregnancy complications.

Rebecca Shoenthal author photoAmanda Shih author photo

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Rebecca Shoenthal

Rebecca Shoenthal

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius. Her insights about life insurance and finance have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, The Balance, HerMoney, SBLI, and John Hancock.

&Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius, where she covered life insurance and disability insurance. Her expertise has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

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Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, she was a regional consultant at Fidelity Investments for nine years.

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Life insurance is an important part of financial planning as you expand your family. You can get a life insurance policy while you’re pregnant if you’re not experiencing any complications, but you’re more likely to get the best rates by applying before your second trimester or four to eight weeks postpartum. 

Can you get life insurance while you’re pregnant?

You won’t be denied life insurance because of a pregnancy, but some insurance companies will postpone your application to try to get the most accurate understanding of your health. Your application is less likely to be impacted by your pregnancy if you:

  • 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

A postponement doesn’t mean your application won’t be approved, but it does mean you’ll go through childbirth without coverage. To ensure you’re covered in the interim, consider a short term life insurance policy.

How 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 a policy. Two pregnancy factors that can significantly affect life insurance quotes are weight gain and complications like gestational diabetes or postpartum depression.

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 expected. 

If you apply postpartum, it’s helpful to have a record of your pre-pregnancy weight. To provide the most accurate rates, many insurers will use your pre-pregnancy weight until six months after you have given birth. 

Complications

You’ll receive higher rates 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 

  • Multiple pregnancy with triplets or more

  • Postpartum depression

  • Pre-eclampsia

  • Pregnancy at age 45 or older 

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 you need to tell your life insurance company that you’re pregnant?

Intentionally hiding your pregnancy from the insurance company qualifies as life insurance fraud. Your insurer will eventually find out, and your policy could be canceled and your beneficiaries’ claim could be denied after you die. If the claim isn’t denied, the death benefit can be reduced.

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 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% to 9% each year you age. If you know you want to start a family, you can lock in affordable premiums now that last for decades. 

Not only does this ensure you get the lowest possible premiums, but it also guarantees your family is covered if anything goes wrong during childbirth.

During pregnancy

If you apply for life insurance during 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 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, four to eight weeks after you give birth are the next best time to apply for life insurance.

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 up to five years even if you’re no longer experiencing symptoms. 

Life insurance riders to consider if you’re pregnant

Life insurance riders are optional features for your life insurance policy. Some riders can 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 in a worst-case scenario. 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.

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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 it. The life insurance company can’t legally pay the death benefit to a minor, so the money can get tied up in court for months.

The best way to ensure your insurance proceeds benefit your child is to name your partner or a trust as your beneficiary so that they can access the funds immediately.

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. 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. 

Frequently asked questions

Can I get life insurance if I’m pregnant?

You can get life insurance anytime before, during, or after your pregnancy. Your application may be postponed if you have experienced or are experiencing any complications.

How does pregnancy affect life insurance?

You can receive higher rates or have your application postponed due to weight gain or pregnancy-related health complications like postpartum depression or gestational diabetes, even five years postpartum.

What is the best time to apply for life insurance if you’re planning to get pregnant?

You’re more likely to get lower rates if you buy life insurance before getting pregnant. To reduce the risk of complications impacting your policy, four to eight weeks postpartum is the next best time to apply.