Pro tip: Buy life insurance before you have kids


Adam Cecil

Adam Cecil

Former Staff Writer

Adam Cecil is a former staff writer for Policygenius, a digital insurance brokerage trying to make sense of insurance for consumers. He is a podcast producer, writer, and video maker based in Brooklyn, NY.

Published May 18, 2016 | 3 min read

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Updated July 10, 2019: Here’s something we’ve noticed: Lots of parents don't have life insurance. A recent Policygenius survey revealed 63.5% of parents don't have private life insurance.

Having a kid is a trigger for a lot of financial changes in your life, and re-assessing your life insurance needs is an important thing to do after your child is born.

But what if I told you that you’re losing money by waiting until after your kid is born to buy life insurance?

Life insurance go up as you age

It’s a simple fact of life that you will never be younger than you are right now. Being younger typically means being healthier, in a general sense, which pretty much always leads to cheaper life insurance policies. You can get a sense of how life insurance rates increase by age here.

For a healthy male in his twenties, life insurance can be as cheap as $20 per month. Even just waiting a few years — until he’s past thirty, for instance — can add up to $10 per month. That’s an extra $120 per year for the entire term of your life insurance policy. If you choose a twenty year term, that can add up to $2,400; it can add up to $3,600 for a thirty year term. Even if you jump the gun and buy a life insurance policy years before your first child is born, you’re still saving money in the long run.

Other important premium factors

While that’s all and well for men, buying life insurance before you have a kid is even more important for women. There’s a little-talked about "baby bump" in life insurance prices for women, primarily linked to weight. Getting pregnant means gaining weight — part of it is the tiny human being living inside of you, and part of it is your body responding to hormones and preparing itself to take care of this kid. Most women end up keeping at least some of this weight after their pregnancy, too.

Weight is one of the biggest factors that goes into how insurance companies estimate your mortality risk, which means it has a huge effect on your monthly premium. And don’t think that just because you’re pregnant, the life insurance company will be understanding — they take your weight at face value, baby or no baby. (Genius tip: Many life insurance companies will let you take a new medical exam after a year of having a policy and if you can demonstrate sustained weight loss, they may lower your premiums.)

Pregnant women are also at risk for developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, all of which would increase the amount they pay for life insurance.

OK, so by this point it should be obvious that buying life insurance before your first kid is born is pretty important. But when, exactly, should you buy that life insurance? Many couples buy life insurance when they get married — one, because they want their spouse to get a benefit even if they don’t have kids, two, because they know they’re eventually going to have kids. But not every couple who has kids gets married, and not every married couple has kids. So here’s an easier rule of thumb: the minute that you and your partner decide that you want to actively try to have kids, buy life insurance. And if your first child is a little bit more… surprising… buy life insurance ASAP.

Need a primer on policies? We've got a good starter of what life insurance is here?