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Buying Life Insurance for Parents

Amy Danise

You may be wondering if you can buy life insurance for parents, especially if they’ve never bought a policy or had one that ended.

You can buy life insurance for parents but you’ll need a couple important things:

  • You’ll need their consent. You can’t buy life insurance on someone without them knowing. They need to sign the application.
  • You’ll need “insurable interest” in your parents. Insurable interest means you’d suffer financially if a parent died. If you’re an independent adult who earns your own money, this could be hard to establish.

Reasons to buy life insurance on a parent include:

  • To pay for a funeral.
  • To pay final medical bills.
  • Because you would inherit a debt; for example, if you co-signed a loan with them.
  • Because you would inherit a very large estate that would be subject to federal or state estate taxes.

Questions to ask when buying life insurance for parents

Does your parent need life insurance? The point of life insurance is to help someone financially after the death of someone else. If no one would suffer financially if a parent died, they likely don’t need life insurance.

Who will own the policy? The policy owner controls the policy, such as naming the life insurance beneficiary.

Do you have insurable interest in the parent? If you don’t, you may not be able to own a policy on them. However, a parent may be able to buy a policy on themselves and name you as the beneficiary.

Can you buy life insurance on a parent without their consent? No, the person being insured needs to know about the life insurance, consent to it and sign the application.

What type of life insurance is best for parents? There are many types of life insurance to choose from, depending on how long you want the insurance to last, how much you want to pay, and whether you want a policy that builds cash value.

If your parents are getting older and less healthy, and your main goal is to buy life insurance for funeral expenses, consider guaranteed issue life insurance and final expense insurance.