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Best Life Insurance for Parents UK 2024 – Complete guide

Most of the UK’s top financial experts, including Martin Lewis strongly recommend that parents should have life insurance. The best and cheapest way to financially protect your children is to make sure that you have life cover should the worst happen.

Our life insurance experts are also parents and so we also have the same priorities as you, to make sure that our children are safe and fully protected. The last thing that any parent wants to think about is what would happen to my children if I died, but sadly this is a reality and nobody can predict their future.

In this article, we explain how life insurance for parents works and provide the answers to your most common questions. As a parent, you’ll naturally want to provide the best opportunities for your children and make sure that they’ve got everything they need, especially if we’re not there to support them ourselves.

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60-Second Summary – Life insurance for Parents guide UK 2024

When we become a parent, we naturally take on a responsibility to provide for and protect our children for as long as they need us. Life insurance provides some financial security to our children if we die and at least provides some security for their future if they lose a parent.

Sadly, more than 46,000 children loses a parent in the UK every year and Martin Lewis himself lost his mother at just 11 years of age. This is certainly the reason why he strongly recommends that any parent with dependent children takes out life insurance.

  • Life insurance premiums for parents starts from as little as £5 per month or 16p per day and the average premium is around £38 per month for £152,000 of cover.
  • Family life insurance or level term life insurance is specifically designed to protect your children and can run up to as long as your 90th birthday.
  • Parents with pre-existing medical conditions can usually have life insurance and premiums are often cheaper than you think, but it is usually best to get proper advice from a medical life insurance specialist.
  • Life insurance for parents can be as flexible as you need it to be and can take in to account many different scenarios, such as young parents, older parents, single parents or separations, and parents with medical problems (e.g. diabetes, high BMI, mental health problems, cancer, heart conditions and more).

Family life insurance, also known as Level Term Life Insurance is the best life insurance product for parents. This policy is specifically for parents who want to provide financial protection for their children up to a certain age.

A family life insurance policy pays out a level lump sum to your family if you die that can be used to provide them with some financial security. Naturally if a parent dies, then the household will lose the income provided by that parent or the care that give to look after children.

You may also want to consider mortgage life insurance, also known as decreasing term life insurance based on your situation. These policies are designed to assist with paying off a mortgage in the event of your death. This can be especially helpful if the mortgage payments are too costly for your family to manage on their own.

Other types of life insurance for parents:

  • Family Income Benefit for parents is a slightly less common type of life insurance that can be more affordable if full family life insurance is too expensive. This cover provides an income to your family for the remainder of the policy if you die, rather than a level lump sum.
  • Critical illness insurance for parents is actually a type of life insurance that pays out a lump sum to your family if you become seriously or critically ill. Most of these policies are taken out for a smaller sum than the amount of life insurance to provide some financial security if you can’t work due to an illness, such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, MS, and other life-changing conditions.
  • Whole of life insurance for parents provides a lump sum ‘when you die’ rather than ‘if you die during the term of the policy’. This is a more specialist type of cover that is for things like inheritance tax planning, and premiums are much higher than traditional life insurance because it’s ‘guaranteed’ to pay out.
  • Income protection insurance for parents provides an income for you and your family if you’re unable to work due to sickness or an accident. This isn’t necessarily life insurance but it is part of the life insurance products for parents and families.

Note: The best life insurance for parents can include several different options and the best cover for you will depend on your financial circumstances, your attitude to risk, and your budget.

Having children means that you naturally take on certain financial responsibilities that you might need to protect, if you become ill, injured, or if you die. As parents, we don’t want to think about what would happen to our kids if we’re not able to provide for them, but sadly this can happen.

Your circumstances and financial situation might be different, so you might not need the same cover as another family or parent. Here are just a few insurance policies to consider and why you might need to look at them for your children.

Type of insurance policyPros (what the cover does and why you might need it)Cons (why it might not be suitable or appropriate)
Life InsuranceLife insurance pays out a lump sum (usually tax free) if you or your partner dies to support your family financially. It is designed to pay out and help to replace either lost income from the main breadwinner, or to support your family if a carer in the house has passed away and the main breadwinner can no longer work.If you or your family has sufficient savings in place to provide for your children if you die, then you might not need life insurance. You might also have other policies in place or enough cover from your employer (only if absolutely appropriate) which means that your family would not suffer financially if you passed away.
Health InsuranceHealth insurance can provide medical care and treatments much faster than the NHS, which means that you could be able to care for your children again faster, or return to work to provide an income for the household. Your children can also be included on the policy and therefore will receive private medical treatment if they become ill or injured.The NHS provides medical treatment to UK residents and can be a perfectly good solution for many households and families. Health insurance also does not cover chronic medical conditions or pre-existing medical conditions and premiums can be more expensive than some families can afford.
Critical Illness InsuranceCritical illness insurance pays out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart attack, stroke or MS. This can provide financial support for you and your family while you recover from your illness and until you are able to work again to provide your household with an income.Critical illness insurance can be more expensive than some households can afford and therefore unaffordable for many people. It can also be difficult to get for people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, MS, high BMI, and mental health problems.
Income Protection InsuranceIncome protection insurance pays out a monthly income to replace your salary if you’re ill or injured and can’t work (usually for up to 24 months). Claims are usually paid out monthly and are tax free. They can be used for mortgage repayments, rent, bills, cost of living etc.Your employer might offer a very good sick pay scheme that pays your salary for up to 6 months (for example), if you’re not able to work. Income protection insurance isn’t always available for people with pre-existing medical conditions and it might not be suitable, for example for business owners with staff.

Naturally, if you have children that are financially dependent on you then they will need to be protected if you die. Any parent would dread the thought of their child losing them, or if they became too ill to provide for them.

You might not need life insurance if you have other financial provisions for your children if you die, such as family support, investments, death in service cover or property. There’s no rule that says parents need to have life insurance but it is highly advisable to have if your children are financially dependent on you.

Unfortunately, the reality is that we can’t predict what’s going to happen to is in the future and statistically 1 in 20 children loses a parent before they are 18.

If you’re no longer able to provide for your children financially or you can’t look after them, then they will need some financial protection. Life insurance for parents provides some security in the event of losing a parent, but we understand that this is never enough to come anywhere the actual loss of a parent.

Money can at least help your children to continue with the lifestyle that they are used to and not to have any financial worries, as well as the emotional trauma caused by losing a parent.

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A little known fact is that Martin Lewis tragically lost his own mother in a horse riding accident at only 11 years of age, which is why he is so vocal about parents taking out life insurance. You may have seen an interview with Martin Lewis on ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby, where he talks very frankly about why parents need life insurance.

In Mr Lewis’s own words “we need to get over ourselves and deal with it”, he also clearly says in his interview that “life insurance is something that all parents need to think about”.

Martin Lewis is also patron of a children’s charity called ‘Grief Encounter’ which provides vital support for children who have tragically lost a parent. This is a top children’s charity that helps children dealing with grief and supports them through the grieving process.

Martin Lewis: ‘Death of my mum was the end of my childhood’

You may also have seen this extremely emotional interview on BBC Radio 5 Live which was recorded in March 2018, where Martin Lewis talks about how his mothers death changed his life. As parents, we all dread thinking about and talking about our children losing us, and what would happen to them if we died.

Life insurance premiums for parents work the same as anyone else and they are calculated based on your age, health and the amount of cover you need, among other things. Ultimately, your life insurance premiums increase as you get older and more cover costs more money naturally.

You can buy parents life insurance from as little as £5 per month and it is by far the most cost-effective way to protect your children. It’s obviously difficult to put a price on the cost of protecting your children, but life insurance can give you some peace of mind that that will be protected financially if you die.

Below are several examples of how much life insurance for parents can cost for different ages and situations.

How much does Parents Life Insurance for £150K cost for non-smokers?

Age(s) of applicantsSmoker Status (Y/N)Single Life Cover Premium (£)Joint Life Cover Premium (£)

How much does Parents Life Insurance for £150K cost for smokers?

Age(s) of applicants  Smoker Status (Y/N)Single Life Cover Premium (£)Joint Life Cover Premium (£)

The examples shown in the chart above were generated by our team of life insurance experts using our live systems and are accurate at 26/02/24. These examples are for single and joint life insurance for parents and assume that there are no other health issues or high-risk factors (e.g. occupation or sports). All of the examples above are quotes for £150,000 worth of life cover with a policy term of 25 years.

The average cost of life insurance for parents is £49.90 for a joint life policy, based on our examples and the average amount of cover which is around £150,000. If you think about your own budget and how much cover you think that you might need if you or your partner dies.

The reason why we’ve used £150,000 for the amount of cover in the various examples shown above, is because that is about the average amount of cover that most parents or families choose.

An average family could use a £150,000 life insurance payout if one or both parents died, to pay for things like:

Note: It’s still quite difficult to show how much an average life insurance premium is for parents because of how different people’s circumstances are. You should make sure that your premiums are affordable and that the cover is suitable to protect your children sufficiently if you or your partner dies.

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Parents should ideally buy life insurance before or soon after their child is born to make sure that they’re properly protected. Most parents will naturally consider things like life insurance plans as part of having a new child.

Ideally, parents should really think about taking life insurance for at least up to the age where their child is no longer financially dependent, or even up to their retirement age and beyond.

Milestones to think about for parents life insurance:

Every parents financial situation is different and so is their attitude to risk, and so it’s important to think about your own situation and how you feel about it. Another critical point to think about is your budget and affordability, so thinking about how much you’re prepared to pay. Some life insurance companies will work better in specific situations, so you should consider all your life insurance options carefully.

Often people ask whether it is possible to take out life insurance on my parents, which can protect them if their parent dies. This is generally something that people with parents who are in their care would request.

If you care for your parent or if you are responsible for looking after them, usually due to a mental illness such as dementia or Parkinson’s, then you might look for cover as their carer or if you have Power of Attorney for them.

You can only apply for life insurance for another person (including parents) if you have legal power to do so, such as being their legal guardian or having legal right to act on their behalf. This is usually where someone is not considered to be of sound mind or capable of making financial decisions such as these.

It can be a complicated process to take out life insurance on your parents and generally there are only very specific circumstances where this is allowed.

It now seems very old fashioned that Mums stay at home and look after children, while the Dad is the main breadwinner in the household. This traditional family dynamic has changed significantly and it’s now very different in how the household income is split and who looks after children.

It’s still important to think about parents life insurance for anyone either not earning or on lower income who looks after the children. Regardless of whether you provide an income to the household or not, if a carer dies then the care that they give to the children would be lost and the main breadwinner would not be able to work in the same way usually.

If you think about how much your household would be impacted financially and emotionally if you died, then think about what you would want your children to have. Any parent wants the best for their kids and providing some financial security is a small but vital part of the care that we give to them.

It’s not uncommon for parents to have a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes, high BMI, mental health problems, cancer, MS or heart conditions. It’s often far easier and cheaper than many people think to get life insurance with a pre-existing medical condition.

Parents with pre-existing medical conditions might think that cover isn’t available for them or that it’s unaffordable. You should ideally get proper advice from a medical life insurance specialist to save time and money on your cover.

An expert can also explain what you can expect from the application process, so that there are no unpleasant surprises.

Common Pre-existing Conditions Life Insurance for Parents:

Note: Parents with pre-existing medical conditions should ideally get proper advice from a medical life insurance specialist. You can save a lot of time and money by speaking to an expert and avoiding non-specialists or price comparison websites, which aren’t usually the best options for this type of cover.

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Parents who smoke will naturally pay higher premiums for life insurance simply because of the health risks connected with smoking. The cost of life insurance for smokers can be as much as double the amount that a non-smoker would pay for the same amount of cover.

You are classed as a smoker for life insurance if you have used any nicotine products in the past 12 months, including:

Smoking is known to cause a number of health risks which can be serious or life-threatening, such as:

Life insurance pays out if you die and will also pay out if you die from smoking related medical condition. This is the main reason why life insurance premiums for smokers are higher than non-smokers.

As you can see from the examples in the tables above, smokers life insurance premiums tend to increase more as you get older. Some of the examples show that premiums can be almost 3 times higher for smokers for people in their 50’s which is due to the increased health risks in older life.

Single parents life insurance can be extremely important as it provides some financial security if you’re no longer around to care for or provide for your children. There are lots of different potential scenarios for single parents life insurance to protect the different family dynamics that can happen, such as:

  • Single parents with an ex-partner who has access to the children
  • Single parents with no other parent or carer
  • Widows
  • Single parents with limited access to the children

In most cases, the parents would still have some financial responsibility to provide for the children, even if it’s just maintenance payments. You might also have an agreement in place with an ex-partner which includes some financial arrangements.

It’s generally slightly more complicated, but there are usually still some financial implications to consider. You might also be a sole carer for your children and so your kids might be even more reliant on you or your income.

Note: Single parents can also use a Trust or a Will to make sure that any life insurance pay out goes to their children and not to an ex-partner or an ex-partner’s family. We often speak to single parents that have very specific wishes for their life insurance pay out which can be written into Trust for free or via a legal Will.

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Is it worth paying for life insurance?

Yes, if you’ve got children or financial dependents then you should have life insurance to protect them if you die. Martin Lewis and the Financial Conduct Authority recommend that you take out life insurance to protect your family and your home. Generally, life insurance premiums start from as little as £5 per month and will be cheaper for younger adults.

Common myths about life insurance:

  • Life insurance won’t pay out (pays out 98% of claims)
  • People with medical conditions can’t have life insurance
  • Life insurance is expensive
  • Savings can be just as effective as life insurance
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What is the average cost of life insurance per month?

Based on recent research carried out, the average cost of life insurance is approximately £38 per month and the average level of cover is £152,000. Life insurance premiums also vary dramatically from one insurance provider to another and you can reduce your monthly premiums by shopping around.

Fundamentally, life insurance premiums vary depending on your age, health and the amount of cover that you need, starting from as little as £5 per month. You can also get life insurance to protect your family and your home against financial loss if you die.

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Average cost of life insurance - iam|INSURED

What does life insurance cover you for?

Life insurance is a monthly renewable ‘term insurance’ contract that pays out a cash lump sum or regular payments on death to your family or beneficiaries. Policies are most commonly used for family protection or mortgage protection for your loved ones if you die and your household income reduces, plus the additional issues of losing a parent or carer.

Traditional life insurance will not exclude any pre-existing medical conditions and will cover suicide after 12 or 24 months. You can also use life insurance for business protection purposes as well as tax-efficient business life insurance for directors or key people.

What are the disadvantages of life insurance?

The biggest and most common problem that consumers have with life insurance is the cost and the monthly premiums. This is the top reason for policy cancellations and why more people don’t take out life insurance to protect their family.

Another key disadvantage with life insurance is that it holds no investment value, nor can you cash it in. Life insurance works like any other traditional general insurance policy (e.g. car insurance, house insurance, pet insurance etc.), you pay a monthly premium and it will pay out in the event of a claim. Some people decide to use savings instead of taking out life insurance but you need to make sure that you have sufficient savings to cover the costs of death for your family.

Why do I need life insurance?

The fact is that nobody actually ‘needs’ life insurance, but it is strongly recommended that families and couples have cover to protect their loved ones in the event of death. Martin Lewis recommends life insurance and says “this is something that every parent, partner, or person with any other type of dependent needs to consider”.

Life insurance financially protects your loved ones if you die and pays out a cash lump sum to repay your mortgage, pay for school fees, replace lost income, and pay for regular outgoings. Mortgage life insurance is not linked to your mortgage debt so you can use it to pay off some or all of your mortgage.

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