Do newlyweds need life insurance?

My wife and I recently revisited a conversation that we have every once in a while about life insurance. We probably wouldn’t be considered newlyweds since we have been married almost four years, but are still living a newlywed lifestyle. We are still renting an apartment (we will be buying later this year), don’t have kids, and are enjoying the benefits of having few responsibilities while it lasts! 😉

As our financial situation changes we revisit the discussion about life insurance. When we got married, we had a big load of debt, but I also had a decent amount of insurance coverage from my employer so we decided against it. Now, after paying off most of our debt, we only have a student loan remaining, but we don’t have the free life insurance from my employer either.

Why we are waiting to purchase life insurance

After these changes I thought it was worth discussing the insurance question again. After discussing it, we decided that we will get life insurance after we had our first child or if other major life changes come up. Generally, I think it is a good idea for newlyweds to have life insurance, but in our case we decided against it for these reasons…

  • My wife is working and is getting paid a salary that she can support herself with
  • We have no debt other than a student loan
  • We don’t have any kids (or pets) that we need to support
  • I have earned enough Social Security credits that my wife would get a decent sized monthly check if I died
  • We have enough savings built up that funeral expenses would be covered

I know that term insurance is cheap at my age, but I also don’t like paying for things that we don’t need. So, like I mentioned I think we are going to continue to hold off until we have a child. What about you, did you have life insurance as a newlywed? Should you have?

Ready to Quit Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck?

Just click to join 225,000+ others and take our FREE email course to better manage your money, pay off debt, and save! And get FREE access to our money-saving workshop ($29 value)!

Related Articles:

  1. Matt Pritchard

    This post was helpful for me. I’m looking to get married in a few months and have been considering what to do about life insurance. I think we’ll hold off on it for a bit, but much sooner than later I’d like to get life insurance. Any recommendations on packages suitable for newlyweds?

    Matt Pritchard
    Out of Debt Christian

  2. Tristan

    Bob, given your situation at the moment, I wouldn’t get life insurance either. However, when you buy your first home later this year, I’d reconsider. You probably wouldn’t want to leave Linda with a big mortgage bill. Just my 2 cents.

    Now that I think about it, I should probably up my insurance through my employer. I don’t think my coverage would quite pay off my full mortgage note if I passed away. Guess I better go practice what I preach! 🙂

  3. Kacie

    For me, life insurance is too cheap and too important to skip. I have a policy on myself, since I’m a SAHM and my husband would have plenty of expenses to cover in my absence. We also have enough insurance on my husband where I wouldn’t have to worry about earning a large income to support myself — I could even work part time if needed.

    One thing to consider is if your health changes between now and when you get your policies, you might find that coverage is more expensive, or you could be denied outright.

    Hopefully, these are policies that we’ll never have to file a claim on!

  4. LRG

    We got policies after the birth of our son.

    My only suggestion, if or when you start ‘trying’ to start a family, go ahead and get the policy then. This is one of those things where you think in the worse case scenario. And the “worst” thing that could happen would be for you be killed in a car accident or something and then right after that for your wife to find out she is so many weeks pregnant, and you decided to wait until after the child was born to get life insurance.

  5. Pochax

    i would probably get it, even in your situation. it’s hard to predict the financial burden and emotional burden you or your wife would experience when one of you passes away. i think because it is relatively inexpensive (perhaps giving up 3-4 lattes a month will get you $250k 20-yr level term assuming you are young and in good health), you can really be rest assured that a spouse will have one less thing to worry about. and of course, if you do have kids, you will definitely need to get it…and who knows if a health problem will come up between now and getting those kids that will jack up the premium for one of you? get it cheap while you can, in my opinion! =)

  6. [email protected]

    Couple of questions:

    If she tragically lost you, do you think she might want to take a leave of absence? A small life insurance policy would allow her to grieve and recover.

    If your final expenses were to overwhelm your medical insurance and the funeral were to cost the national average of $6,000 to $8,000, could she cover that?

    You’re young and healthy. Get convertible term life insurance now, because if you contract an illness, the rates will go sky high. Just irritable bowel syndrome or skin cancer can make the rates ridiculous.

    Life insurance is for more than paying off a mortgage and helping with the kids. I carry $2 million on me. 20 year level term for only $83/month. My wife and kids will never have to worry about anything.

    • bob

      Pochax, Ron and everyone else – you bring up good points – we are in a good position where the funeral costs would be covered… The leave of absence, I guess could be covered if she wanted it, anyway, thanks everyone for your input, I will bring it all back to the discussion table with the lady!

  7. Beth E.

    Bob, I used to think exactly as you do. As your friend, I implore you to buy at least a little life insurance. I was so healthy, I didn’t need a doctor for 9 yrs. Then I was suddenly diagnosed with Type I (juvenile)diabetes (even though I was 34 at the time) and became very expensive to insure and it was hard to find someone to insure me. So many things affect your insurability and the cost – even little things like cholesterol level. Get it while you’re healthy and young and it’s cheap! I would be willing to bet you wouldn’t spend more than about $20 a month – maybe less. Then they can’t take it away from you if circumstances change later. Plus, I’m sure you know Dave Ramsey considers term life insurance a must for overall financial well-being. At least shop for some – you may be shocked how little you will pay for a huge amount of insurance.

  8. We took the same logic you did. We both purchased large term life insurance policies once we bought our first house and started trying to have kids. We had no debt and were locked in to very little expenses.

    I would say that I wouldn’t recommend relying on life insurance from your employer under any circumstances. In most instances the coverage is not portable and you risk not being able to obtain coverage in the future.

  9. Travis @ CMM

    I’ve had life insurance since I had a checking account. My first checking account gave the option of $25,000 worth of life insurance and my parents took it. I continue to have that policy along with additional insurance on me and my wife through work. Should anything happen to either of us, the financial strain won’t be as hard. It would be hard enough losing your spouse, can you imagine having to deal with financial stress on top of that.

  10. Life Critical Illness

    If you don’t have a mortgage and your personal debt is low or non-existent then their really isn’t any point as such. One thing to consider though is that you both have dreams about what you want to do. If either one of you died now the other wouldn’t be able to continue those dreams. My wife and I had life insurance (and critical illness insurance) before we got a house just because we would hate to have thought of the surviving parnter having to start all over again both emotionally and financially.

  11. Chandler

    Life insurance is based on 2 things, your age and your health. A term policy for you and your wife would probably cost less than you pay for your monthly internet connection.

    If you all are planning on children, home ownership, retirement, etc, life insurance should be part of that planning. Insurance of all kinds is for the what if’s in life, and life insurance is no different. My mom struggled after my dad passed away and they were GREAT savers, she had a massive heart attack and wasn’t able to return to work and my dad passed away unexpectedly the next year at the ages of 52 and 54. My sister was 12 and I was 22.

    After working in the insurance industry, I could give you 100’s of stories and my best advice would be to just get it.

    • bob

      Did I mention that my hobbies are shark-diving and base-jumping? 😉 But seriously, thanks for the input – I am beginning to see this from a different angle… While, I still feel comfortable that we don’t NEED it, from your stories I can see how it would be one of those things that would be a cause for doubting yourself if the need ever came up.

      At my old employer, every couple months or so everyone in the office would pitch in and buy lottery tickets together for the $100 million jackpot – even though I am not a gambler, I put in a couple bucks, just because if on the 1-in-a-billion chance that they did win, I would be pretty frustrated with myself for not spending the $3 on tickets when I was the only one in my office who had to come to work on monday… I am starting to see the whole life insurance thing from that angle…

  12. Grandma K

    In my state you must be married 10 years to be able to collect any Social Security at the age of 65. My late husband passed away 13 years ago and we were married 9 years and can never collect on his SSI.

  13. Carolyn

    I recommend that you have at least a little life insurance. I’m a fairly young widow (widowed at age 41)and I am thankful that we had a modest life insurance policy. I don’t have any children either and won’t be able to draw on my husband’s social security survivor benefits until I reach at least age 60. We had the same thought process as you since I was working and still am, and I make a decent salary. So we didn’t purchase a huge amount of life insurance, but we did get enough to help me pay some out of pocket medical expenses that were not 100% covered by insurance, burial expenses, and for me to put some away in an annuity for later. Going from one salary to two is an adjustment and having a little in savings is helpful. I canceled my term life insurance since I don’t have any dependents and now have enough savings to cover my debts when I die. If you think you have enough saved up for the funeral expenses and uncovered medical costs, etc., then you should be ok. For the minimal cost, the modest life policy was a blessing for me though. I know some widows who have had to leave their homes because they couldn’t pay the mortgage or property taxes. I would say at least get enough to cover the balance on the house if possible.

  14. Chandler

    Not to run this into the ground or anything, but think of it like a person not “needing” health insurance because they aren’t sick. Or not needing auto insurance because I’m a good driver.

    And people think they lead conservative lives and don’t realize the risk that is out there everyday. Over the weekend I witnessed a bad car wreck, someone got rear ended at freeway speeds because someone else wasn’t paying attention. I’d be willing to bet that if the guy that got rear ended was hurt, he would wish he had bought every insurance policy available the day before. That’s where insurance gets us, you don’t get anything tangible for your purchase, you have to buy it when you don’t need it, and when you do need it (your sick, hurt or dieing), you can’t get it.

    • bob

      Chandler, I agree but life insurance is a bit different than health or car insurance. I mean with health or car, it is impossible to predict how much the expenses will be, I mean something terrible could happen and you could need to pay $150,000 in bills or even more. But with life insurance, it is a bit easier to predict how much you will need – right? This is what I meant by not needing it. From my calculations, all the expenses would be covered and my wife would be able to continue at the same standard of living. Anyway, bottom line – you and everyone else have helped me see it in a new light – I have a post going up today about it…

  15. Chandler

    That is right and wrong. Medical insurance and the companies that provide it have been cutting back coverage to save money as the cost of receiving health care is going up at alarming rates. A lot of people don’t realize that there can be many limits on what a persons medical will pay whether it’s a 90% plan, or if the plan has a lifetime benefit maximum, it might pay for hospital stay, but not the medicine, etc. And because we don’t (or at least I don’t) have any idea how I will go, you can’t assume you’ll die without medical bills.

    Furthermore, your health and wellness are not guaranteed. Another poster above mentioned finding out he had diabetes that jacked up his rates. If you see needing it later, there is no reason to wait. Someone your age can probably get 500k of insurance for 25/month. The insurance will be locked in and no one can take that away from you.

    Someone else had mentioned cancer policies and I wanted to comment on those and Accidental Death and Dismemberment policies. They suck. They are inexpensive life insurance policies with tons of loop holes. You have to die certain ways for them to do anything for your family. They draw people in with slogans like ‘no medical exam required’, ‘everyone qualifies’. My mom had taken out a couple of them offered by her bank and we went through them one day only to find out that she had to die from being abducted by aliens for the policy to pay out. Ok maybe it wasn’t that silly, but close. For example, my dad died of cancer, but on the death certificate, it says he died of a pneumonia – there is the loophole.

  16. sandy

    I found your blog in search engine. Nice blog and here I found a great information for me.