Do You Need Life Insurance for Your Children?


The whole topic of life insurance for your children is a highly emotional one. As the father of two children, I’m not entirely comfortable discussing it myself. But it’s an important issue, and one we should all deal with in a serious way.

Fortunately, these days at least, children are highly unlikely to die. Advances in medical science and improvements in safety procedures across the board have dramatically reduced both infant and childhood mortality. Still, we need to be prepared should the worst happen.

What are reasons you should want life insurance for your children?

Burial and medical expenses

At a minimum, it’s an excellent idea to have a sufficient amount of life insurance on your children to be able to cover both burial costs and medical expenses. This can generally be handled with a policy with a face value of $25,000 to $50,000. But you may also want to consider getting significantly more, if you can afford it.

One reason for having higher coverage is the fact that medical expenses in a terminal situation could easily be higher for a child than it would be for an adult, and certainly than what it would be for an elderly person. When it comes to a child, the healthcare community will likely perform more extensive procedures and treatments in an attempt to save the child’s life. This could lead to significantly higher medical costs, particularly if it involves any treatments that are deemed experimental and therefore uncovered by insurance.

To provide an income supplement when working may be difficult

The loss of a child is probably the most devastating event a person can face. It is possible that either you or your spouse – or both of you – could be so distraught that you will be unable to work on a consistent basis. This could lead to a loss of income that would create financial distress on the family.

Still another possibility is the potential loss of income completely. A parent can face a time of enormous stress that could lead to the complete termination of employment. This can be a voluntary action by the parent, or even an eventual firing by the employer. Whatever the reason, there will be a need for additional income, and life insurance can fill that financial void.

To cover emotional mistakes

Even if you are able to continue making a living in the aftermath of your loss, there is a significant likelihood that major mistakes will be made along the way. When you are under emotional distress, you could make significant financial mistakes. An adequate amount of life insurance can provide backup should such a situation arise.

Some examples could include making major investment mistakes, going on a spending spree, taking an exotic vacation (the kind you normally wouldn’t) or even purchasing a car that is beyond your means. Each of these efforts would be an attempt to fill an emotional void through some form of consumption. However it plays out, it could leave you financially impaired after the fact.

To afford major changes in your life

The death of anyone close to you – especially a child – could cause you to make major changes in your life. Some of the possibilities include:

  • Making a major geographic move, to another part of the country or even to another part of the world.
  • Quitting your job to find an entirely different career.
  • Getting a divorce.
  • Taking on a very expensive hobby.
  • Going on a really serious spending spree.

This is just a short list of potential changes that you can make in your life as a result of the loss of a child. While none of these may seem likely from the sober vantage point of today, there’s no way to know how the emotional impact of the loss of a child will affect your decision making capability.

You may also decide to make some very constructive – yet still expensive – changes in your life as a result of the death. Sometimes the loss of a loved one can trigger you to pursue dreams from an earlier time in your life, perhaps as a way of reaffirming your own life in the midst of tragedy.

Whether the changes are positive or negative, an adequate life insurance policy will help you to deal with whatever the fallout of the loss will be. Having life insurance for a child isn’t simply about covering expenses related to the child. It can be mostly about having extra funds to help you to deal with the biggest loss of your life.