Life insurance is a form of investment for an event that no one hopes will happen—the death of someone in the family. According to a study conducted by the insurance industry groups Life Happens and LIMRA, about 20% of parents and grandparents have taken out life insurance policies for kids.
There are several key reasons you may choose to purchase life insurance for your children, including the chance to receive a death benefit to cover the cost of the funeral and burial and to lock in insurability through your child's adult years, which is a benefit if your child develops serious medical issues or enters a profession that renders them uninsurable. It can also help provide savings for college or the down payment on a house if not used for a death benefit. While the savings may be small and you might do better with other investment vehicles, like a 529 plan or an IRA, as an added benefit to a death benefit, it’s not bad.
To help you get started, we reviewed more than 15 providers of life insurance for children and narrowed down our list to the top six companies based on various criteria, including cost, financial stability, flexibility, and more.
The 6 Best Life Insurance for Children of 2021
Best Overall: Mutual of Omaha
A quick look around their website and you'll see firsthand that Mutual of Omaha is a leader in the children’s life insurance business. This company not only makes it easy to navigate the buying process, but they also offer immediate quotes, nationwide coverage, guaranteed coverage for life, and among the cheapest top-quality plans on the market.
Among the lowest cost (about $2.50 per month for $5,000 of coverage for an infant)
Easy application process
Guaranteed coverage for life
No term life insurance is available
In business since 1909 and with an AM Best rating of A+, Mutual of Omaha’s children’s life insurance policy is our best overall. We like this plan because it is very user-friendly and oriented to the needs of the policyholder and the insured.
They have clearly thought through all the issues a parent or grandparent might have to consider when purchasing life insurance for their child or grandchild. Not only are there several windows for adding coverage with no medical questions asked based on future life events (marriage, purchase of a home, and so forth), there is also a 90-day window following the death of the policy owner (parent or grandparent) for it to be re-established by a new owner before the policy lapses.
Starting as low as about $2.50 per month for $5,000 of coverage for an infant, Mutual of Omaha children’s life insurance policy is one of the lowest cost policies and it can be maintained throughout the insured’s entire life. The application process can be completed online and only asks three questions before an immediate quote is provided or you can work through an agent.
Read our full Mutual of Omaha review.
Best for Whole Life Coverage: Gerber Life Insurance
As anyone who has had a baby within the past 50 years can attest, Gerber is one of the most trusted names in life insurance for children. Their product offers many competitive features that make it stand out versus their competition, including coverage benefits that double when your child turns 18 at no extra cost.
The coverage benefit doubles at age 18 with no additional cost
Easy application with an immediate quote
Guaranteed coverage for life
High cost (more than $3.25 per month for $5,000 coverage for an infant)
Gender-based rates in some states
Only rated A from AM Best, a strong rating, but among the weakest for children’s life insurance
Gerber is best for children’s whole life coverage because it is a name you can trust and offers the most competitive whole life insurer of any provider. When you initiate the policy coverage at $50,000, it automatically doubles to $100,000 of coverage when the child turns 18. Gerber is the only company that does this.
Gerber developed its children’s life insurance policy in 1967 and is now on to the third and fourth generation of satisfied customers. It offers the "Grow-Up" policy for children ages two weeks to 14 years old and the "Gerber Life Young Adult" policy is for children aged 15 to 17. They make it easy to complete an application online and initiate a policy for either option, both of which will guarantee your loved one's insurability, all while earning a modest cash benefit.
When the insured individual reaches 21 years of age they can either take the cash value of the policy or continue payments and coverage. And there are several times as an adult that the insured policyholder can add value to their plan.
Read our full Gerber Life Insurance review.
Best for Term Coverage: State Farm
State Farm is best for term life insurance for children thanks to the company's Family Life Insurance plan that's linked to the parent’s term or whole life policy for only $50 per year—for all the children in the family this is one of the most affordable options available.
The most cost-effective death benefit-only life insurance policies
Valid until age 25 and can be converted without proof of insurability
Covers unborn children as they are born
Maximum coverage is only $20,000
Not available for grandparents to purchase
Must go through an agent
The State Farm term life insurance rider is the best alternative to the whole life-dominated children’s life insurance market. Most whole life policies cost two to eight times what an equivalent term policy costs. The State Farm Family Life Insurance plan is great for the family who wants only death benefit coverage for their children and chooses to fund other life events like college, marriage, or housing purchase through other savings vehicles that offer greater returns on the investment, such as a 529 plan or an IRA.
Founded in 1922, State Farm is a top-ranked insurance company. With an AM Best rating of A++, they are one of the most financially solid insurance providers in the business.
The State Farm children’s term life insurance rider costs only $50 per year for all the children in the family, even children born to the family after the rider is added. It is effective until each child reaches the age of 25 and can be converted to either an ongoing term or whole life option without the need to prove insurability. As a rider, this means that parents need to have their own policy. Customers can't buy the children's term policy rider as a standalone insurance policy.
Read our full State Farm Life Insurance review.
Best for Versatility: Foresters Financial
Foresters Financial BrightChildren Whole Life offers many different options including many riders, so it’s our top choice for versatility. As a membership-based insurer, some of the profits are shared with members in the form of various benefits, such as financial and legal counseling and community outreach programs members can sponsor and lead.
High coverage option
Early payout for certain terminal illnesses
Flexible timing for transfer of ownership
Several favorable riders
Membership-driven, not shareholder-driven
Must work through an agent to get a policy
No online application or quote process
An AM Best A rating
Foresters Financial offers the most innovative and versatile life insurance for children of any we looked at with flexible transfers of ownership. In business since 1874, Foresters Financial started with a mission to provide affordable insurance to working families and has continued with that mission through to today.
Not only can you get coverage as high as $75,000, the highest of any children’s life insurance providers, but the cost is nearly as low as anything you’ll find. We particularly like some of the riders which allow payouts prior to death to help with the end of life expenses for certain eligible terminal illnesses, as well as extra coverage for death while on public transport or for accidents.
All new Foresters Financial policies must be written through a representative—no online application or immediate quotes are available. With an AM Best A rating, Forester Financial is strong, but not as strong as other competitors.
Best for Affordability: Thrivent
At a cost of about $12 per month for $25,000 in coverage, fixed through the age of 70, Thrivent is best for affordability among whole life children’s insurance programs available in the marketplace and. In addition, with an A++ rating from AM Best, this non-profit is a strong choice for your child’s or grandchild’s life insurance policy.
Term policies are also available
At conversion, can purchase up to $1 million without proof of insurability
Only open to Christians
Must work through an agent
Thrivent's overall low cost combined with financial strength and many member benefits make it the most affordable children’s life insurance policy available, with a monthly price of about $12 for $25,000 in coverage.
Thrivent started in business in 1902 offering insurance for only a particular branch of the Lutheran Church. Eventually, in 1960, all Lutherans could purchase insurance. Only in 2014 did Thrivent open its policies to all Christians.
Thrivent offers many standard life insurance benefits, including a fixed payment and a guaranteed cash benefit option that can be converted as the insured ages. But its non-profit status offers many additional programs including numerous financial planning tools and community outreach programs.
Thrivent is unavailable to a significant portion of the U.S. population who are not Christians and does not provide an online application or instant quotes.
Best for College Students: Globe Life Insurance
Globe Life Insurance is the best for college students because they are the only children’s life insurer that allows new policies to be written for young adults ages 18 to 24 and does not require their consent. With an A+ AM Best rating, they are also among the strongest providers financially.
Can write new policies for young adults ages 18 to 24
Strong financial rating
Easy-to-use online application and online quote process
No medical questions, immediate coverage
Only offers coverage up to $30,000
For parents and grandparents who thought they waited too long to decide to get life insurance coverage for their children and grandchildren and found that no one would write a policy for a child older than 17, Globe Life Insurance is the best option for their affordable older children's policies. Their focus on the 18- to 24-year-old age group makes them stand out in writing policies that mimic children’s life insurance for what is effectively an adult.
In business since 1900, Globe Life Insurance has built a strong reputation for good insurance products and great financial strength.
Globe makes purchasing life insurance incredibly easy with their online user-friendly site that provides instantaneous quotes and easy completion of an application. And pricing is very competitive, starting at $2.17 per month for $5,000 in coverage for a young child and $3.62 per month for $5,000 in coverage for a young adult.
Read our full Globe Life Insurance review.
What Is Life Insurance?
Life insurance, in the form of a policy issued by an insurance company, promises to pay a specified amount to a designated beneficiary upon the death of the insured. This policy is paid for usually monthly or annually based on a predetermined rate, or schedule, and is called an insurance premium.
There are generally two kinds of life insurance: term and whole life. Term has a fixed premium and lasts for a certain number of years. If the insured doesn’t die and the term expires, the premiums paid are not refundable. Whole life generally adds cash value that you can benefit from during your lifetime and lasts as long as the premium is paid. A portion of the whole life premium is set aside and over time, accrues a cash value that can be claimed by the beneficiary under certain circumstances even if there is no death.
Life Insurance generally exists to provide funds to pay for the funeral and burial, bereavement time away from work, travel, and other costs incidental to the death of the insured as well as to fill the void in income provided by the deceased, as in a parent who provides financially for their family.
Should I Buy Life Insurance for My Children?
As a financial investment, children’s life insurance is not always a necessary choice because child mortality rates are so low and the whole life policies offered usually have a poor rate of return. If peace of mind is important to you, and the cost of funeral and burial may be hard to afford, then the most cost-efficient option—a simple term rider for $10,000 to $30,000 attached to the parent’s life insurance policy—should suffice for this instance and at rates of around $50 per year for all children in the family (as available with State Farm), this solution is hard to beat.
Children’s life insurance is easy to get, with few questions asked and no requirement for a physical. For children with health problems, who may be uninsurable as adults, or who enter professions that are uninsurable, children’s life insurance is incredibly important because after the policy is written there will never be a requirement to provide proof of insurability again.
What Does Life Insurance for Children Cost?
Generally, children’s life insurance is inexpensive. Here is a run-down of the typical costs:
- Term: This is the least expensive insurance and typically only offers coverage of $10,000 to $20,000 per child. Term insurance is not a policy written in the name of a child, but is a rider to a parent’s life insurance policy that covers all children, even children born after the policy is initiated. For instance, the cost of a rider with State Farm is around $50 per year, regardless of the number of children in the family.
- Whole Life: By comparison to a term-life insurance rider, whole life is more expensive, but compared to whole life insurance for an adult who initiates a policy at say, age 35 or 40, the cost is incredibly low. Whole life children’s policies generally offer coverages of $5,000 to $50,000 with some policies capping out lower and some higher. For a newborn in most states the cost for this range is about $30 to $200 per year, with the companies here as low as $2.17 per month.
Normally these policies require very little information beyond name, date of birth, sometimes gender, and the resident state. Usually, there are no questions about medical conditions and no physical or medical examinations required.
How We Chose the Best Life Insurance for Children
While many aspects of the whole life policies and the term riders are the same across insurers, there are differences that will draw you to one or a few insurers in particular versus others. We looked at about fifteen insurers and focused the criteria that matter most when shopping around for children's life insurance, including the financial strength of the company, the cost of the plans offered, and the ease of applying for and initiating the policy.
After these common points, we called out aspects that were unique, such as:
- The age for all insurers except one was two weeks to 17 years, but Globe Life Insurance is the only insurer that will write new policies for children ages 18 to 24.
- All coverages are for a fixed amount that you select for the life of the policy, except Gerber Life who doubles the coverage automatically at no additional cost when the insured arrives at age 18.
- Thrivent offers very low rates and is one of the most financially sound insurers, but will only write policies for Christians.
From there, we picked the six final best life insurance companies for children included here to help you in your selection process.
NCSF. “The Gift of Life Insurance.” Accessed December 13, 2020.