If you’re pregnant — or thinking of having children — one of your many considerations may be how you can protect your future family financially in the event that something happens to you. A good life insurance policy can help, but it is a little more complex than just signing on the dotted line and forgetting about it until needed.
It pays to learn more about life insurance for pregnancy: What does it entail? How does it impact you? What are the payouts? Learning more about it allows you and your partner to make a sound decision based on an understanding of the role that life insurance plays in your financial strategy, as well as for your own peace of mind.
Can you get life insurance while pregnant?
The short answer is yes, you can get life insurance while pregnant. You will want to disclose your pregnancy to the healthcare professional who does your medical exam — honesty is truly the best policy here. The medical exam will include a blood or urine test, but won’t include a pregnancy test, so if it’s not obvious, let the examiner know.
Why? If you don’t disclose your pregnancy and die during childbirth or during the policy’s contestability period, which is usually two years, your partner’s claim on the policy could be denied. Even past that period, any untruths on your application constitute fraud, and could result in denied claims or major hassles for those involved.
When to apply for life insurance if you’re pregnant
The best time to apply for life insurance is during the first trimester of your pregnancy. You are less likely to be experiencing pregnancy-related complications during this period, and your weight gain — which is a factor in determining your rates — will be minimal.
If you are experiencing any complications from your pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia, your insurance representative may caution you to hold your application until after you give birth, to allow your body to return to its normal state. Some insurers take complications from previous pregnancies into account, or your age when pregnant. If that’s the case, you may be better served by tabling your application and revisiting it six to 12 months after your child is born.
How pregnancy impacts life insurance rates
According to at least one major writer of life insurance policies, as long as the changes to your body are within normal parameters for a pregnant woman, your premium rates shouldn’t be impacted. Weight gain and other bodily changes are expected with pregnancy, and as long as you have no pre-existing conditions or history of difficult pregnancies, your rates should remain similar to what they’d be if you were not pregnant.
But every insurer has their own rules for writing policies for pregnant women, and you should ask your agent what the ramifications might be for you if you apply while pregnant. In general, your best bet with any insurer will be to apply as soon as you find out you are pregnant — or, better still, while you’re just planning your family for the future.
Choosing a beneficiary when you are pregnant
In the nine states that have community property laws (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin), you will need to name your spouse as the beneficiary of any life insurance policy. Even if you don’t live in a community property state, this may be your best option.
You can name your child (or children) as your beneficiaries, but naming minor children as your heirs can lead to legal complications. A better way to ensure that your child benefits from your life insurance policy if both you and your partner are gone is to designate a trusted legal guardian to oversee the payout from your policy and care for your children until they reach legal age, which is 18 in most states.
You can also set up a trust for your child or an account that is called a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act account, which allows a minor to receive gifts without the assistance of a guardian — but this option is rarely used. Your lawyer can go over the pros and cons of these types of accounts with you.
Other things to consider for your insurance coverage while pregnant
One aspect of life insurance that may interest you if you’re pregnant is the ability to add riders, or endorsements, to your policy to customize the terms of your coverage. Every company offers its own slate of riders, but in general, there are a few that are useful to those expecting children.
Although it’s not pleasant to think about, a child rider pays out a small death benefit that would cover costs of burial if your child were to die at birth or soon after. The U.S. has a fairly high rate of child mortality for a developed country. The child rider takes away one source of worry if you are mourning a devastating loss, by underwriting the costs of the funeral and burial.
A disability income rider protects you if you are disabled and unable to work, but still need an income to care for your child or children, while a spousal rider or a separate policy for your spouse or partner will also offer additional protection in the case of the disability or death of either of you.
Frequently asked questions
Should I name my children as my beneficiaries?
If they are over 18, there is no reason not to name them. If they are under 18, we suggest you consult a lawyer to determine the best way to protect your children and ensure that they will be well cared for if you die. You may be better suited by choosing a guardian for your children — someone you trust implicitly — and naming them as the beneficiary.
How do I get the lowest life insurance rates if I’m pregnant?
It’s a good idea to shop around and ask for several quotes whenever you shop for life insurance. Start with our list of the Best Life Insurance Companies of 2020 to find the companies that offer the most robust policies at the lowest price points.
Is term or permanent life insurance for pregnancy the best choice for me?
That depends on your life insurance goals, but for many people, term is a great choice. You can tailor a policy to last just as long as you anticipate having dependents at home. It’s also much cheaper than permanent forms of life insurance.