As parents, there are many important decisions to make to ensure that our children (and significant others) are cared for no matter what. Buying life insurance is often a key part of that financial strategy, helping to cover things like lost income, shared debt, the family mortgage, or even pay for future educational expenses. The right life insurance policy can offer affordable protection—and peace of mind—for decades to come.
Finding the right policy can be tricky, though. To help, we have combed through the top insurance carriers in the U.S. to find the best life insurance for parents. We considered a variety of important factors such as price, availability, ease of purchase, consumer ratings, accessibility, and product options.
The 7 Best Life Insurance for Parents of 2021
Best Overall: State Farm
Boasting high consumer approval and third-party ratings, State Farm offers a variety of affordable life insurance options for various ages and needs, earning this carrier our top pick for best overall life insurance for parents.
Number-one rated insurer by J.D. Power
Comprehensive child riders
Same-day coverage available
Not licensed in Massachusetts
Policies must be purchased through an agent
Our top pick for best life insurance for parents is State Farm, a carrier that coincidentally earned the top spot in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. State Farm also boasts an impressively low complaint index with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), further demonstrating consumer satisfaction with the company.
Besides the third-party accolades, we chose State Farm as the overall best carrier mainly due to the flexibility of coverage and the options available. This carrier offers term, whole, and universal life policies to applicants through age 80 with coverage as low as $15,000. No matter your family dynamic or what sort of life insurance protection you need to provide, State Farm has a reliable and affordable policy to help you do just that.
Term life insurance can help you protect your children for a defined period of time with temporary coverage that lasts a certain number of years. State Farm’s Select Term policies start at $100,000 in coverage with terms ranging from 10 to 30 years in length. If you want to get coverage as fast as possible, though, State Farm’s Instant Answer Term policy can get you a policy for up to $50,000 with same-day approval. All term life policies are convertible to permanent coverage, as well, regardless of your health at the time of conversion.
If you decide that permanent coverage makes more sense for your family, consider either a whole or universal life policy. State Farm whole life policies are available from $50,000. They can be paid with a single lump-sum premium, with premiums paid through age 100, or a limited pay option (premiums paid for 10, 15, or 20 years).
State Farm offers a few beneficial add-ons to choose from, as well, including a flexible care benefit rider and a disability waiver of premium rider. You also have the option of covering your children under your life insurance policy with a child term rider. This offers up to $20,000 in coverage for each qualifying dependent through age 25. This coverage is convertible, meaning that your child can convert it into their own permanent policy through age 25, without needing a medical exam.
Policies through State Farm must be purchased through an agent, which can be a bit inconvenient (and slower). However, coverage is relatively affordable: a 35-year-old woman in good health can expect to pay around $33 per month for a 30-year term policy worth $500,000.
View our full State Farm review here.
Best for Whole Life Policies: Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha comes in as our top pick for whole life policies for parents, with new coverage offered up to age 85 and claims that are almost always paid out within 24 hours.
Term, whole, and universal life offered
Policies offered up to age 85
Top-five ranked company
Claims paid within 24 hours
Online quotes for term and whole life
Coverage limits can be low and depend on application method
Graded benefit on whole coverage
Whole life only available to certain issue ages
Web tools aren’t precise
If you’re a parent looking for a whole life policy for yourself, your spouse, and even your children, Mutual of Omaha is our top pick. This highly rated carrier (ranked fifth in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study) offers whole life coverage up to $40,000 for parents and up to $50,000 for children, with term and universal policy options, as well.
With Mutual of Omaha, you can purchase a whole life policy through an agent for $2,000 to $40,000 in protection ($2,000 to $25,000 if shopping online) with issue ages from 45 to 85 (50 to 75 in New York). While these aren’t the highest limits around, it might be enough to provide the lifelong protection you and your family need, as you and your children get older. A surprising 85% of approved whole life claims are paid out within 24 hours, too, though there is a two-year graded death benefit on whole life policies if you were to die from natural causes.
If you want more coverage during certain periods of life—until your children turn 18 or before the mortgage is paid off, for instance—you can also consider buying a term policy. Mutual of Omaha term coverage is available in 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-year options for issue ages 18 through 80. Death benefits start at $100,000.
If you’re looking to buy a whole life insurance policy for your child, either separately or at the same time that you buy your own policy, Mutual of Omaha can get the job done. This carrier offers child whole life policies through age 17 for between $5,000 and $50,000 in coverage. You can also get dependent child coverage through a child rider on your own policy, which provides between $5,000 and $10,000 in protection. This coverage lasts up to age 23 and is convertible without evidence of insurability.
Other optional riders include a disability waiver of premium and accidental death benefit rider. The child rider can be added to a parent’s policy up to their twentieth birthday, as well.
Mutual of Omaha offers express/simplified underwriting on certain policies, though limits may apply. They have a few online tools you can use to calculate your coverage and premiums, but they’re not precise—instead of getting an exact price or even a range, you’ll be given more of an estimate for your chosen coverage.
View our full Mutual of Omaha review here.
Best for Term Policies: Bestow
If you’re looking for fast and affordable term life coverage, you don’t need to look further than Bestow, our winner of best for term policies. This carrier makes it quick and easy for busy parents to buy life insurance, offering coverage that can be purchased 100% online without the need for a medical exam.
Application process is entirely online
No medical exam required
Up to $1 million in coverage
Get insured in as little as five minutes
Only 10- and 20-year policies offered
Term coverage only
Not available in New York
With an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best and a rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 from Trustpilot, Bestow is our top choice for parents looking for temporary life insurance. Though options are limited—policies are only available in 10- and 20-year terms—the company offers between $50,000 and $1 million in coverage through an entirely online process.
With Bestow, busy parents can get a quote in mere seconds and be on their way to policy approval in about five minutes. There is no need to speak with an agent or even shop during business hours, though Bestow does offer live chat if you have questions. No medical exam is required for policies issued through Bestow, either; once approved, you don’t have to worry about coordinating a medical exam around carpool and soccer practice.
Bestow policies are available to applicants between the ages of 21 and 55 who are in good health. Currently, coverage is not available in New York. There are currently no riders offered on Bestow’s term policies, but coverage is quite affordable: a 33-year-old healthy woman can get a 20-year term policy worth $500,000 for about $22 per month.
Best Affordable Option: Transamerica
For budget-conscious parents, we picked Transamerica as the most affordable life insurance option, offering up to $10 million in coverage at a lower average cost than most competitors.
Many term options to choose from
Up to $10 million in term insurance
Issue ages 18 to 80
Online tools to help determine and price coverage
Offered in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Policies must be purchased through an agent
Financial stability rating recently downgraded
Cost is an important factor in any decision once you become a parent, and that includes life insurance. That’s why we chose Transamerica as our best option for the most affordable life insurance coverage, offering competitively priced policies to applicants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Parents can purchase term, whole, or universal life insurance through Transamerica, with coverage ranging from $25,000 to $10 million and beyond (whole life coverage is limited to $2 million). If you’re not sure which policy is right for you, the online Plan Explorer tool is a great resource, and online quotes are also available. While you will need to work with an agent to personalize and purchase your policy, you may not need to worry about a medical exam in some cases.
Term life is Transamerica’s most affordable product, offering 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-year term policies for applicants between 18 and 80 years of age. For example, we found that a healthy 33-year-old woman could buy $450,000 in coverage for a 30-year term for only $13 per month.
There are many riders to choose from, too, including an accidental death rider, chronic illness accelerated death rider, disability waiver of premium, accelerated death benefit, and a child rider.
It’s important to note that even though Transamerica ranked number 18 on the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study, the carrier recently had its financial strength rating downgraded. They currently hold an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best, down from a previous A+ (Superior).
View our full Transamerica review here.
Best for Young Parents: Northwestern Mutual
As a young parent, it’s hard to imagine your family’s financial needs in the years and decades to come. That’s why Northwestern Mutual is our choice for the best life insurance for young parents, offering a range of coverage options—and even blended policies—for added peace of mind.
Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
All policies can receive dividends
Many plan and rider options
Blended term and whole life coverage available
Only offered through agents
Online info is limited
Too many options can get confusing
Many applicants subject to medical exam
Since 1857, Northwestern Mutual has developed a reputation as a strong financial services provider. This carrier, which offers life insurance coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, holds some of the strongest ratings around while also providing an array of products for parents to choose from.
Through Northwestern Mutual, you can purchase term, whole, or universal life insurance coverage. The carrier offers an online calculator to help you determine how much coverage you need, but policies will need to be shopped and purchased through agents. Online info is also a bit scarce, and most applicants will need to submit to a paramedical exam in order to buy coverage.
We choose Northwestern Mutual as the best carrier for this category because there are so many policy options to choose from when buying coverage. Term policies are available in 10- and 20-year terms, renewable for 10 years, renewable through age 80, or with payment through ages 65 or 90 (and then no more premiums due). Available riders include waiver of premium, accelerated care benefit, and an additional purchase benefit.
Perhaps most helpful is the CompLife policy. This allows parents to blend term and whole life coverage, giving you extra protection for specific seasons of life—such as term coverage while your children are young or until your home mortgage is paid off—as well as permanent protection for the rest of your life.
Though you can use Northwestern Mutual’s online calculator, you’ll be unable to get a specific quote. Instead, you’ll be given a rough price estimate. We found that a healthy, 33-year-old woman can buy $450,000 in 30-year term coverage for “around $1 a day.”
Northwestern Mutual currently holds an A++ rating from AM Best (the highest possible) and ranks fourth in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. As a mutual company, this carrier offers dividends on all policy types (not just permanent coverage) and expects to distribute $6.2 billion in dividends to policyholders in 2021.
View our full Northwestern Mutual review here.
Best for Older Parents: AIG
Whether you decided to have children later in life or waited to buy life insurance until your kids were out of diapers, AIG is our preferred choice for older parents looking to buy life insurance. With 18 different terms to choose from and issue ages up to 80, you’re likely to find the policy that fits your needs.
Term and universal life issued through age 80
Many term policies to choose from
Wide variety of riders
Convertible child rider available through age 25
Term, whole, and universal life coverage offered
Online quotes not available
Poor consumer complaint index
Whole coverage limited to $25,000
Need to purchase through an agent
When buying life insurance as an older parent, you may encounter certain roadblocks. If you exceed the issue age on specific policies, you won’t be able to purchase them. You may also find that certain coverage types aren’t as affordable as they were in your younger years, or that some policies can’t protect your loved ones as long as you need.
AIG is the best choice we found for buying life insurance as an older parent, offering a wide variety of policy and rider options for applicants of almost any age. Both term and permanent policies are available to those up to age 80, with up to $10 million in coverage available.
There are a number of policies offered by AIG, with 18 terms ranging from 10 to 30 years in length and many other whole, universal, accidental death, and Quality of Life plans to choose from. Guaranteed acceptance plans are offered to those ages 50 through 80 with whole life coverage ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.
Available riders include a child term rider (up to age 25 and convertible), child rider death benefit (between $500 to $25,000), waiver of premium, disability income rider, terminal illness rider, select income rider, and accidental death rider. The child term rider can be added to or dropped from your policy after issue, too.
Online quotes through AIG are not available. Though the carrier holds an A financial strength rating from AM Best and an eleventh-place ranking in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study, the company holds a poor consumer complaint index through the NAIC.
View our full AIG review here.
Best for Child Term Riders: Nationwide
If you plan to add dependent coverage to your life insurance policy, Nationwide is our top choice. This carrier offers some of the highest coverage options around with up to $25,000 in protection per child.
Child rider up to $25,000 in coverage
Wellness credits for healthy lifestyle
Many riders to choose from
Available in all 50 states
Online quotes are limited
Policies only available through agents
Nationwide provides various insurance products to consumers across the country. This top-rated carrier—ranked number three in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study—operates in all 50 states and currently offers a variety of life insurance coverage. These include term, whole, universal, and variable life policies.
Nationwide gets our nod for child rider coverage because they offer a term rider option that provides a higher amount of protection than most other carriers. The child term rider through Nationwide gives parents up to $25,000 in coverage for each of their qualifying children (though you can get as low as $5,000 per child) up to age 22. This rider is available on all Nationwide life insurance policy types, as well.
As far as the parent’s policy goes, Nationwide offers term coverage in 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-year options. These policies can be converted into permanent coverage for the first 10 to 20 years (depending on the policy) or through age 65, whichever comes first.
There are many riders—besides the child term—to choose from with Nationwide. They have a disability rider, accelerated death benefit rider, waiver of premium disability rider, and even long-term care coverage option, depending on your needs and concerns. When buying your policy, this carrier also offers “wellness credits” toward your underwriting category (which can save you money on premiums), depending on certain healthy lifestyle habits.
What Is Life Insurance?
Life insurance is a protective financial product intended to provide monetary support to your loved ones if you were to pass away. A life insurance policy’s lump-sum benefit can help your children and spouse cover expenses like the mortgage on the family home, tuition costs, shared debt that you leave behind, or even just replace your lost income.
Life insurance can be temporary and last a specific number of years (term coverage) or be permanent and last the rest of your life.
Who Needs To Get Life Insurance?
In short, life insurance should be purchased by anyone who is relied upon for support, financial or otherwise. If your death would result in financial hardship—either due to lost income, lost services (like childcare), the burden of shared debt, etc.—you should consider buying life insurance coverage to protect those you care about. Parents most often fall into this must-buy category.
Life insurance isn’t for everyone, though. If you have significant savings, no debt, no dependents (including children, a spouse, aging parents, or other loved ones), you may not need to buy a policy.
Should I Buy Universal Life Insurance?
Universal life insurance is a policy intended to last most, if not the rest, of your life, and it accumulates cash value over time. This cash value can act as an investment as well as a source of liquidity if needed later in life.
Depending on the type of universal life insurance you buy, though (guaranteed, indexed, or variable), it might be a risky venture. These types of policies also involve annual fees on the invested funds, as well, which can eat into your growth.
For most investors, putting funds in a mutual fund (or other investment) outside of a life insurance policy is the wiser move. However, if you are looking for an investment vehicle that offers you a hands-off way to both grow your assets and protect your loved ones, it might be a fit.
Can I Buy Life Insurance for My Parents?
Yes, you can buy life insurance for your parents, or any other consenting adult. This policy can be used to cover things like final expenses, medical bills, or even estate taxes after they pass.
In order to purchase a life insurance policy on your parent(s), you’ll need their consent as well as the ability to prove your own insurable interest (meaning you would be financially impacted by their death). You can expect that the cost of this policy—like any other life insurance product—will depend on the level and type of coverage, as well as your parents' age and health. A medical exam might also be required, depending on the policy you choose.
What Does Life Insurance for Parents Cost?
The cost of life insurance varies according to a few factors, such as your age, the amount of coverage you buy, and the type of policy you choose. Your premiums can also be affected by your health, family medical history, and even your location.
The earlier it’s purchased, the more affordable life insurance coverage can be for parents. Based on our research, we have found that young parents in their early 30s can buy $500,000 in life insurance for around $13 per month, for a 30-year term policy. Buying permanent coverage—such as whole or universal life—can be significantly more expensive, however.
How We Chose the Best Life Insurance for Parents
In order to choose the best life insurance for parents, we compared the policies and services offered by more than 20 different carriers. This included looking at the things that matter most to parents, such as price and policy options.
We considered factors such as availability, consumer reviews, industry ratings, and customer service. We also compared how easy (and quick) it was to shop for, quote out, and purchase a policy through each carrier. It was important to choose companies that offered parents different options of life insurance types for a reasonable cost.