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Can I Buy Life Insurance on My Mother?

Researcher & Writer
December 05, 2019

Yes, the short answer is you can buy life insurance on your mother or father in some circumstances. If you want to purchase a life insurance policy on the life of a parent, they'll have to know you're doing so. You'll need your mother's or father's written consent.

Why Do People Buy Life Insurance on their Parents?

Typically, when we’re asked the question “can I get life insurance for my parents?” or "I want to get life insurance for my mother or father" it’s usually because the person calling in is worried about what would happen if their senior parent were to pass away without life insurance coverage. 

For example:

  • Who would pay their burial or cremation expenses?
  • How would her/his heirs survive “financially” after she/he was gone?

After all, if there isn’t any life insurance in place the question then becomes, "Is there a plan in place to make sure everyone would be taken care of in the event of your parent’s death?" The good news is, you can buy life insurance on someone else, you just need to know how.

If your parent will take out the life insurance policy on themselves, you can simply help them start the process.

But if your mother prefers that you buy the policy for her, you'll have to prove that you have an insurable interest in her. In other words, you must have a financial stake in your mother living a long, healthy life. If you'd be responsible for paying for her funeral, or you rely on her to watch your kids while you're at work, for example, you have a financial (insurable) interest in her life.

In situations like these, the uninsured parent might not have a life insurance policy because:

  • They have some type of pre-existing condition preventing them from being able to find coverage or find affordable coverage.
  • They don’t feel that they need to have any life insurance.
  • Or they may simply not believe that life insurance is important.
  • They may not have the financial ability to pay premiums.

This is why it can be difficult to get life insurance coverage for a senior parent when they don’t want to be involved in the process of getting insured.

After all, depending on the types of life insurance being applied for, getting approved for a life insurance policy may be considered too much work for these individuals who aren’t all that interested in getting insured in the first place!

The Real Question Behind “Can I buy life insurance for my parents?”

We’ve found that most of the time when we’re asked, “Can I buy life insurance for my parents?” the person is asking the question because their parents just won’t seem to get a life insurance policy on their own.

It may be due to reasons such as:

  • They don't think they need the death benefit
  • He or she doesn’t like doctors and doesn't want to take a medical exam
  • They don’t trust insurance companies
  • Your parents are uncomfortable talking about how they will one day die or the need to choose a beneficiary
  • They don’t believe they can afford any life insurance premiums

And the truth is, people will make up a million different reasons to avoid buying life insurance. But that doesn’t change the fact that one day, everyone, including your parents, will die.

How can I buy life insurance on my parents?

Let’s just assume that your mother/father is okay with you getting life insurance on her/him. They're okay with it, but they're not going to go out of their way to make it easy for you or the insurance company.

In cases like these, there are a few different insurance companies that will offer complete term life insurance coverage up to $500,000 that would go in force within 24 hours after a brief phone interview and no medical exam.

In our experiences, we’ve found that if you can:

  • Eliminate the need for a complete medical exam,
  • Allow everything to be completed over the phone in just a few minutes, and
  • Get rid of the long approval process, even the most stubborn applicant can be persuaded to get insured

If your parents need only a small amount of coverage—$50,000 or less—you'll have more options for skipping a medical exam and a drawn-out application process. Final expense insurance, also known as burial insurance, could provide enough coverage and very little hassle. Many insurers create products like specifically designed for seniors.

You may also be able to buy an inexpensive term policy for your parents for a death benefit that's larger that $50,000 if your parents want to leave money to leave money for their spouse or children. If your mother is under 65 years old, for example, you could help her get a policy from Haven Life, which offers a completely online application process.

What if my parents aren’t willing to pay the premiums themselves?

This happens all the time when buying life insurance for parents.

Getting life insurance on parents might be hindered by the fact that they don’t have the funds or do not agree to pay for the life policy. Which is why a family member will often decide that they would like to pay for the life insurance for their loved one, so that there will be insurance in place when the time comes to pay fir final expenses, such as medical bills, estate taxes, income for a spouse, and funeral expenses.

Note:  Insurance companies get a little sensitive about this one.  After all, insurance carriers don’t really want to find themselves allowing someone to insure another individual without the insured having knowledge of the fact.  For this reason, some carriers (but not all) may require the initial payment to be made by the insured, and then switched to another individual after the first premium is collected.

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