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The Single Mom’s Guide To Life Insurance

HerMoney Staff  |  June 28, 2021

Have you been thinking about getting life insurance? For single moms, it’s a must-have to protect your family

As a single mom, the last thing you want is one more bill to pay… but you also know that keeping your family safe is an important priority. Enter life insurance — yes, it may be an additional expense, but it can provide you with much-needed peace of mind. Also, good news for moms — rates are typically lower for women than men, since, on average, women live longer than men.

If you’re unsure where to get started, the general rule of thumb is to choose a policy that fits your current financial situation. Things will absolutely change in the future, but you can always upgrade to a more comprehensive coverage package. The important thing is that you get covered for your immediate needs. 

If you’re shopping for your first policy, we know you’ve got more questions — here’s a look at our guide for single moms. 

Budgeting for Life Insurance

Even if you can’t afford the most comprehensive policy, some life insurance is better than no life insurance. If you’re trying to find an insurance provider that meets your family’s needs, Canadian life insurance company, PolicyMe, recommends starting with checking out the top life insurance providers to  find an affordable rate. Online reviews can help you compare the competing rates of different brokers. By checking out the ratings, you can identify an insurance company that’s reliable, trustworthy, and budget-friendly. Take your time doing your research — ask friends, and Google your heart out. The best way to find affordable, reputable options is by doing your research. 

How Much Coverage Should You Purchase?

Choosing the right insurance policy can be complicated. You don’t want to choose one that’s too limited, but you also don’t want to find yourself paying for coverage that you don’t need. To determine which policy is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

What expenses do I want to be covered? Who will look after your children if you pass away? Will that caregiver need significant financial assistance to support your child? Consider speaking to the person directly about what that might look like. You also need to think about long-term costs, like sending your kids to college. It’s hard to create a comprehensive list of all the expenses associated with caring for a child. There are groceries, recreational/extracurricular activities, and money for their hobbies and interests. Creating an outline of your recurring costs helps you choose a policy that will meet your family’s needs.

How long do I want the coverage to last? It’s important to pay attention to the length of time that your life insurance policy lasts. There may come a point where you don’t need life insurance anymore because of accumulated savings, or because you secure a new job that offers an excellent insurance policy via your work. But on the other hand, you don’t want a policy that ends too soon and leaves you uncovered.  You can choose between permanent (whole) or term life insurance. Whole life insurance offers coverage for the duration of your life, but will be more expensive. Meanwhile, term insurance has a designated endpoint, for example, the policy could terminate when your child becomes an adult. 

What debts do I have? Things like your mortgage, outstanding loans, and other debts could be passed on to your family members. This takes a cut out of any money or assets that you may be planning to leave your child. When choosing an insurance policy, factor in the costs that take away some of their money.

What is my annual income? Start by determining how much you make in a year. Then, you can choose a policy that covers as much of that amount as you can afford. Remember that your child may need this income for several years. 

Designate Beneficiaries

Your first idea might be to list your child as your beneficiary, but what if they’re under 18 years old? In that case, they may be too young to file a claim for the death benefit (the age will vary depending on the state you live in). Naming a trustee will help you avoid this issue. You might choose to name a parent, a sibling, or a good friend. Additionally, you can designate how long you want this person to be the trustee. For example, you might specify that you want your child to become the beneficiary once they’re 21.

As time goes on, you may need to update your beneficiaries. This is necessary if they pass away, or when your child turns 18. Try to remember to update your trustees, as needed, to prevent any issues with filing claims.

Medical Exams

Depending on the policy you choose, you may need to undergo a medical exam in order to get approved for coverage. You can expect a physical exam, blood tests, urine tests, and an examination of your medical records to get approved. These tests will inform the insurance company of any pre-existing health conditions that you may have, which would raise the cost of your life insurance. 

For example, those who smoke can expect to pay significantly more for the same insurance policy as a non-smoker—sometimes more than double. Certain providers will not approve clients with pre-existing conditions such as cancer or diabetes.

Other insurance policies will only ask general questions about your health. They won’t decline you based on the presence of pre-existing conditions. However, it will be assumed that you’re a high-risk client.

If you’re in good health, a more thorough examination could be beneficial to you; it allows you to lock in a lower rate. This is also why it’s advantageous to purchase life insurance earlier in life—rates cannot increase for conditions you develop after selecting your policy. 

Protecting Your Family 

When your child relies on you, you may worry about what will happen to them if something unexpected happens to you. Knowing that your child will be looked after financially when you pass can alleviate a lot of uncertainty. 

You work hard to look after your child. They rely on you for food, school supplies, and housing. If something were to happen to you, you want to ensure that their needs will be met when you’re gone. Life insurance is an affordable way for moms to make sure that their children are taken care of. 


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