Life Insurance

I Don’t Have Kids– Do I NEED Life Insurance?

Written by Hank Coleman

Do you need life insurance if you don’t have kids, or can you skip on buying a policy altogether? The answer like most things with your finances is – it depends!

The short answer is that most people without children can skip buying a life insurance policy. Or, if their spouse depends on their income, they may only need a small policy. It all revolves around who depends on your income to survive. And, would they have a financial hardship if they no longer had your income if you died prematurely.

Most financial experts recommend people purchase ten times their annual income worth of life insurance coverage. Purchasing ten times your income of life insurance will typically allow your spouse to continue living off of interest while saving the life insurance payout principle. You may not need this much coverage if you don’t have much debt or your spouse has his or her own career.

Additionally, term life insurance is a great type of life insurance policy if you need insurance and don’t have any children. Term life insurance fees and premium payments are very cheap. And, most people typically grow out of the need for life insurance coverage as they pay off a mortgage, send children to college, and retire. With proper planning, there is very little need for an expensive whole life insurance policy.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different. And, you should check with a financial planner, estate attorney, and other financial professionals to understand what is right for you and your family’s needs. You can also search for inexpensive term life insurance policies online or through an insurance broker.

Life Insurance Is About Income Replacement

The most important rule of thumb about life insurance is that you should purchase a policy to replace someone’s income. That’s the only reason you should buy a life insurance policy 99.9% of the time. So, if there is no one in your family depending on your income to survive who would miss it if you died prematurely, then you typically don’t need life insurance.

So, if you are single with no children, you most likely do not need a life insurance policy. If no one is dependent on your income to live off of after you are gone, then you don’t need life insurance.

Of course, there are rare and very limited circumstances when your financial planner and insurance broker may recommend a life insurance policy. And these are typically individuals with significant amounts of wealth and complex estate plans. The average American should only consider purchasing a term life insurance policy to replace their income should they die prematurely.

No Kids May Mean Less Insurance Coverage

There are several factors to consider when you determine the amount of life insurance coverage to purchase. You should consider: how much debt you have, the balance of your home mortgage, student loan balances, future college expense for your children, income replacement, burial expenses if not in your emergency fund, charitable giving, and any other final wishes.

If you have sizable savings and other assets that your estate’s executor can liquidate, then you might not need much life insurance coverage at this stage of your life. Also, if you don’t have any children or a loved one who depends on your source of income, then you probably don’t need life insurance coverage.

You may find that your spouse doesn’t need much protection from life insurance if he or she has a career and steady income. Having a spouse the works can help ease your family’s burden for additional life insurance coverage. But you may want to consider having some amount of life insurance coverage if you have credit card debt, student loans, a mortgage, or car note. Having life insurance to pay off these debts can help your estate’s executor from having to liquidate assets to pay for them.

One Universal Truth – Your Kids Don’t Need Insurance

Unless your children are child actors, you typically don’t need to buy them life insurance. There are better uses for your hard-earned cash. You children typically do not earn an income that the family depends on. If that’s the case with your family, then you do not need life insurance coverage for your minor children.

Many people recommend purchasing a life insurance policy for your kids while they are young to help them if they become uninsurable as they get older because of a chronic illness or disease. Children’s policies are often automatically transferred to adult policies as they become adults. But, that sentiment is a load of baloney.

These youth life insurance policies are often too small to make a real difference even as your child gets older and starts a family of their own. And, it goes back to the number one rule of life insurance – it’s all about income replacement. And, most children don’t have income that someone else depends on to live.

And, forget about life insurance as an investment. Don’t purchase life insurance to help you pay for funeral or burial costs. That’s why you have an emergency fund.

If you want to have an investment, there are much better and cheaper options than life insurance. You should consider investing in a good, growth stock mutual fund or an index fund that mirrors the stock market’s returns.

Everyone’s situation is different. There may be times when you would want to purchase life insurance even though you don’t have any children or a spouse. You might find a time in your life when buying a whole life insurance policy may make sense. But, typically, those instances are few and far between.

The average American typically does not need life insurance if no one depends on your income to survive. If no one misses your paycheck in the event of your untimely death, then you probably don’t need life insurance.

You can say the same for a whole life policy. You have much cheaper and better options for investing and saving money than purchasing a whole life insurance policy. In most cases, your family will benefit better with a term life insurance policy.

What about you? Have you purchased life insurance even though you don’t have children? What was the rationale?

About the author

Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the publisher or the popular personal finance blog, Money Q&A. He’s also a freelance journalist specializing in retirement planning, investing, and personal finance. You can also find him on Twitter @MoneyQandA.


  • I agree with your take on retirees have no children with no debt really there’s no need for life insurance. Lately I’ve been told that life insurance can be use like a saving acct where in case of emergency or medical needs and nursing home care you can withdraw from your policy . I’ve have never heard of this before , is this some sort of a scam? Thank you

  • I don’t agree with everything you say. Every adult needs some life insurance if only for final expenses. As for using your emergency fund, that is fine if you have sufficient funds and/or you don’t have to use a chunk of that fund for some emergency just prior. I agree that your insurance needs change during different stages of life, but using term exclusively has complications of its own. When it runs out, the next policy will be more expensive no matter what. Sometimes your health will change in the interim and you are now uninsurable. And typically you always need some insurance in place. If this were not true, they would not be able to sell all those over-priced guaranteed issues policies to old people on TV.

    I beg to differ about working spouses. I work and have for over 30 years. When my husband died I would not have been able to do all the repairs and maintenance on my house if I did not have his insurance. I fervently wish we had bought more so that things would be easier for me. Since neither of my parents left me any insurance I made sure I was heavily insured so that if I died first my husband would not have to worry about money. I was the office manager for an insurance company for over 30 years and I have handed many widows a death claim check. Not one of them said they did not need all this money. I have had women break down and cry because what they had was woefully inadequate.

Leave a Comment