you need life insurance – and now you don’t need a medical exam

And now a word from a sponsor…

At the start of the new year, I always try to get all sorts of things in order. I make a budget for the year, analyze my spending last year, feel quiet anguish about upcoming tax payments, and take a fresh look at things like insurance policies to make sure they’re still the best choices for my needs. If you’re doing stuff like that too – and if you’re not, I recommend it – it’s a good time to think about life insurance.

If your spouse, kids, or others depend on your income for their well-being, you probably need life insurance. Life insurance payouts can be used to help pay the mortgage, debts, daycare, future college tuition and the many other day-to-day expenses families have. (The payout is also usually tax-free and can be split among multiple beneficiaries.)

And even if you have some life insurance through work, work policies often aren’t enough to provide the full coverage your dependents will really need. Typically they provide only one to two times your annual salary – so if you make, say, $70,000, your beneficiary would receive $70,000 – $140,000 … which can go quickly if you’ve got a spouse and kids to provide for. (Experts usually suggest getting coverage that equals five to 10 times your salary.) Life insurance through work isn’t always portable either, which means you could lose your coverage if you switch jobs.

So I want to tell you about Bestow. Bestow offers a 100% digital (as in, no physical exam needed) way to buy term life insurance. As you might imagine, not requiring a medical exam greatly expands access to life insurance – which was exactly Bestow’s intent. Their mission is to create a world where everyone has access to financial protection … which means making life insurance so fast and painless that you can apply for it on your lunch break. (And they’re succeeding: 86% of their applicants are first-timers.) I love this about them!

With their model, what used to take weeks can now be done entirely online in as little as five minutes. Bestow’s digital life insurance experience never requires a doctor’s visit, phone screening, or medical exam. You find out instantly if you’re approved and, if so, can start coverage immediately.

And it’s affordable; a healthy 35-year-old woman can purchase a 20-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy entirely online for as little as $23/month.

Visit their site today to get a quote. A few minutes now could mean serious protection for your family later.

This post is sponsored by Bestow. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

{ 85 comments… read them below }

  1. I'm just here for the cats*

    Does anyone have any recommendations for talking with their older parents about life insurance? I think my mom has some from work, but not sure what it covers. I would like to offer to pay for the life insurance for her but I don’t know how to approach the subject.
    She’s not in the best health, and I’e moved in with her a few years ago to help with expenses and day to day stuff. She works full time and is in her early 60s.

    1. saf*

      Think about why you think she needs it. My parents no longer carry life insurance. They don’t need to leave money to cover expenses for anyone any more. We don’t have life insurance on me – I am underemployed enough that my husband would not need to replace my income were I to die. Not everybody needs it.

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        I’m thinking more for the cost of a funeral, Pay off any debts, etc. Not that I want to get a chunk of money.

        1. nona*

          Life insurance for older people (especially those not in good health) is likely to be expensive. You could price it out, but it might be better to just save what you would pay in premiums to cover those costs.

        2. Malarkey01*

          On the debt angle, are these joint debts (like you co-signed a loan for moms car)? This is very basic and you need to check with your individual states estate laws, but when you die your estate pays off the debts but no one else is responsible if your estate is insufficient (this can change if there’s a spouse and doesn’t apply to co-signers). So for example her home and car may be sold and that go towards debt instead of someone inheriting them but if that, along with any other assets, doesn’t cover the debt then its the end of the line for creditors. Also, remember to call the credit cards if she passes- in many situations the balance is written off in cases of death.

          Mom would be better off in that case using the insurance premiums to pay debt and prepay burial expenses.

    2. Malarkey01*

      The first thing to ask is why does she need life insurance? Typically you get it because if you died when in your mid years your spouse or kids would be in financial trouble without your income. Once your older and no longer have dependents, your income loss doesn’t affect anyone and she no longer has expenses after she passes.

      Is their a specific expense you are concerned about? Some people worry about burial expense but you’d want to look into the cost of just prepaying that against the costs of life insurance for someone in their 60s.

    3. Elenna*

      I agree with the other responses – like I said below, you only need life insurance if your death would be leaving someone in financial trouble. It sounds like that’s probably not your mother’s situation, unless maybe she’s the main financial support for your father? There’s probably a good chance she doesn’t need insurance at all, especially because it would be quite expensive and hard to find for a 60-year-old in poor health.

      Also, re: “not sure what it covers” – life insurance, unlike health insurance, usually only covers one thing, it’s the amount of money you get upon death. Unless you meant that you don’t know what the amount is?

      Anyways, if you do decide she needs insurance, maybe just explain why directly? E.g. “Mom, I’ve been thinking about what we would do if, God forbid, something happened to you. You’re paying for a lot of Dad’s expenses right now (for example), I think we should look into life insurance for you.” But you know her better than us, hopefully you know what she would respond to.

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        Dad’s not in the picture. I just know that I wouldn’t be able to pay for a funeral by myself. And I wouldn’t want to be burdened with health bills. my name is on the car loan as well as hers so paying rent and car payment would be nearly impossible for me. I make an ok amount but don’t have anything in savings. Neither does she. We both live pretty much paycheck to paycheck, but have enough.

        1. doreen*

          If she has life insurance through work, it may be enough to cover the funeral and debt so your first step is to find out how much that policy pays out.

        2. PollyQ*

          You wouldn’t be responsible for any of her health bills, and it wouldn’t be billed against any life insurance payout, since that’s your money, not hers. If her estate couldn’t cover it, then the health insurance companies/medical providers would just eat the cost.

          So what you need to check is how much money you’d need to cover the funeral and expenses going forward, like the car & rent, and then see what the payout on her company life insurance is. It’s often pretty easy and affordable to simply up the amount of a company plan. However, very often that can only be done during the annual “open” period, so you may need to wait until her company has one again, which will likely be the end of 2021.

      2. soon to be former fed really*

        I don’t agree that life insurance is only for those dependent on the insured’s income. It can also be used to leave an inheritance when there is not much to leave otherwise. For minorities like myself, even relatively high earners, there is often little net worth (for many reasons too deep to go into here). As such, the wealth gap is real and life insurance can help bridge this gap. People with young children may need higher amounts of insurance, but insurance can be useful at any age, particularly if employer-provided which is usually far less expensive than individual policies.

        1. Software Engineer*

          It can get expensive at a higher age, because the point of insurance is to pool risk for things that are low risk but catastrophic. We all get to an age where death is no longer unlikely, and it’s not very cheap to insure against something that is inevitable in the end.

          When you get to the point whee life insurance gets expensive or impossible it’s better to simply save the money. When you’re young the insurance is cheap because it’s less likely you’ll die soon, so it’s more likely to be worth it

    4. The Happy Graduate*

      Keep in mind a lot of life insurance companies will actually not provide coverage once a person passes a certain age. I believe with mine it ends after 65 or something like that.

    5. Hummer on the Hill*

      I’m 68 and married. My spouse and I have both prepaid for our burial expenses. No dependents, no need for life insurance. My daughters are in better financial shape than I was when I was their ages. They’ll get what’s left in my retirement funds, and hopefully enjoy a nice cruise. YMMV, but if you’re my age, you may not need life insurance and it’s a peeve of mine that it’s marketed to my age group.

    6. Ann Perkins*

      Go at it from a general housekeeping perspective – let her know you’d like to make sure you’re not missing anything as you help care for her. Do you know where all her bank and investment accounts are? Any insurance policies? Any debt? Does she have a will and/or trust? Etc. There are free checklists online that can help you with this. From there you can then make sure you have all the specifiics lined up. This will also help you get a general feel for how much she has in assets to see if the estate will likely be able to cover burial expenses. I wouldn’t recommend life insurance at her age and if she’s in poor health… it’s unlikely a company will issue it and if so it’d be expensive. If you think you might end up paying burial expenses, start setting aside money for it.

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        no will, no investments. She doesn’t own any property. We rent and have a car that the loan is in both our names. I think its about half paid off (i don’t know off the top of my head but I do have the info).
        We are what you could consider working poor. If she died unexpectedly I could still pay for our rent but I wouldn’t be able to pay for a funeral. We don’t have family that would be able to help either.
        Mostly I just want to make sure that her debts (mostly loans from when she went back to school several years ago) and that I could have a funeral.

        1. Not A Manager*

          You might want to research whether you would have any responsibility for her debts if she were to pass with truly no estate. You’re on the car loan, so yes on that, but if you’re not involved in her student debt you probably don’t have any personal responsibility for it. (This is not legal advice – you should get legal advice.)

          As others have said, to the extent that you feel you could afford to make payments for terms life insurance, you might want to just set that money aside now to pay for any final expenses other than her debt.

        2. Scout Finch*

          Aside from the car loan you have jointly, her debts would not be your responsibility (at least in my state of TN).

          Research prepaid plans. My husband and I pre-paid for ours over like a 2 year period.

          When my mom passed (like yours, had no real property, working as a waitress into her 70’s, had $132 to her name only because she had not bought cigarettes yet), she wanted to be cremated. Liked the biblical “ashes to ashes” quote. I contacted a local crematory directly before her passing. They were great. There was no need for a funeral – all her family had passed, as well as her friends. I paid $800 (from my annual longevity bonus) for the cremation in December. My sister and I spread the ashes (the following April) at a small, private “woodsy” outdoor park where she would watch us swim in the pond when we were kids. It was surprisingly spiritual and satisfying.

          The important part is to talk about it & come up with some kind of plan, whatever she wants. Good luck.

        3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          If either you or your mom have access to an EAP through work, they may be able to help you figure out some of the financial stuff, like who is responsible for which loans and who is not. If the school loans are just in her name, it’s likely they would be written off upon death if she doesn’t leave an “estate” worth going after.

          My grandfather died suddenly in his 70s with quite a bit of credit card debt. He and my grandmother lived in an apartment and were living off of pensions, veteran’s disability benefits, and social security. They had no assets except for a couple of cars with car loans and the assorted possessions in their apartment. None of that counted as an “estate” for loan-payoff purposes and we were able to get the credit card debt discharged without paying it off or having to sell personal possessions. (It doesn’t matter if a dead person has bad credit due to not paying their debts after they die! No one should be loaning money to a dead person anyway.)

          This may vary by state but generally you’d only be expected to sell off valuable things rather than everyday things to satisfy a loan. If he’d had a collection of expensive artwork or vintage cars that would have presumably been different, but all of his art was by family members and we had trouble even finding a charity that wanted the furniture for free. The credit card companies tried a lot of manipulative bullshit about “don’t you want to clear your father’s good name” with my mother, and she simply pointed out that she would not have loaned him the money, that was the credit card company’s poor decision, and she was not interested in paying off his debts while not legally obligated to do so.

          You would probably be better off putting the money that a life insurance policy would cost toward a prepaid funeral/burial instead. I don’t know how those work in terms of installment plans, but it would not surprise me if you could make monthly or quarterly payments towards one. Depending on her wishes and various other aspects of her life, it may also not be particularly expensive. Because my grandfather was a veteran, he was able to be buried in a veteran’s cemetery and I don’t think we had to pay for it (or at least not a significant amount). He didn’t want a ceremony so we didn’t have one. When grandma died, we had her ceremony at the church she’d attended for decades. While I’m sure that cost some money (and we could afford it), generally a church that you’ve been a part of for a long time will work with your financial situation since you’re part of their community. If you don’t have access to those things or they don’t work well for your situation, it’s still likely better to put the money toward a funeral directly rather than toward insurance that would pay for a funeral. One less company to argue with while you’re grieving (life insurance may not pay out depending on the cause of death, a prepaid funeral would be paid for regardless).

          1. Pam*

            At least one of my local funeral homes/mortuaries has a prepaid dorect cremation plan- prices under $30 month, depending on how you set up the payments. It’s a nation-wide (US) plan, so even if you die somewhere else, you are covered.

      1. Virginia Mae from Bestow*

        Uh-oh, that doesn’t sound quite right – you should be able to access our website through both Firefox and Chrome. It appears to be working fine now. Please try again when you have a moment!

        1. Alex*

          It also didn’t work past the monthly payment screen for me, I received the error “Error 1020 Ray ID: 61094535591923c7 • 2021-01-12 19:26:38 UTC – Access denied”.

  2. Elenna*

    Re: “Experts usually suggest getting coverage that equals five to 10 times your salary.” I assume this is specifically referring to the scenario of having a spouse and kids to provide for? Because there are lots of situations where you need no life insurance, or very little life insurance.

    The main question to consider is, if you die, will anyone suddenly find themselves needing money? If so, get enough life insurance to cover that money. If not, don’t. Some examples:

    – A single person, or a couple where both people work, with no dependents usually won’t need any life insurance, because nobody will have money issues if they die. Depending on the situation, they may need a little bit of life insurance to help their family cover one-time expenses like funeral costs.

    – The sole breadwinner of a family should ideally get a lot of life insurance – as Allison said, usually several times what their salary is, because life insurance only gives a one-time payout and their children will presumably need money for multiple years.

    – In a family where both parents are working, it depends on whether one parent’s salary could support themselves and the children alone. If one parent’s salary is not enough, the other parent should think about getting some life insurance, but likely not as much as the above example. If both parents are making enough money to be okay if one of them can no longer work, they might consider joint insurance that only pays if both of them die.

    – It’s also worth considering if there are any non-family members who will need money. E.g. if you are the co-owner of a small business, will there be a financial cost if you die?

    (Source/disclaimer, most of this comes from the book “The Wealthy Barber”)

    1. AspiringGardener*

      I think this is overly simplistic.

      Before we had kids, if my husband had passed I wouldn’t have been able to keep our home on my salary alone. Life insurance guarded against that, as well as leaving a “buffer” if I needed to take an extended leave from work or cover expensive medical costs for end of life care.

      Now with kids, even if one parent could support the basic monthly costs there are many extras that they likely couldn’t – like saving for college. Not to mention extra babysitters/support around the house, cooking, cleaning and meals that another spouse typically helps with.

      1. Elenna*

        Yes, these are simplified examples (it’s an online comment, I was trying to keep them to a few sentences each). It’s better for people to specifically think through “what will my loved ones need” rather than just taking a more general answer and assuming it applies to themselves – I just added the examples to give an idea of the thought process.

        Thanks for suggesting other things that should be taken into account! This thought exercise should absolutely include bigger costs like mortgages or college as well as month-to-month costs. And you’re right that I hadn’t mentioned end-of-life care as a possible one-time cost that should be taken into account.

    2. Texan In Exile*

      Also think about what you might need in the future. You might not have anyone depending on you now, but what about later? You might not be able to get it when you actually need it. Get it now.

      And for small business with co-owners, there used to be Key Man insurance.

  3. Mocha Jane*

    I always wonder about life insurance and disability insurance. I totally get it if you have a family or dependents but if not, what’s the use case? I also don’t know how disabilities affect this. I used their quote tool and it didn’t ask, but I know for disability insurance they generally exclude any disability caused by a disease you already have (which renders it useless to me because that’s the most likely reason I’d become unable to work).

    1. Asenath*

      I have a tiny life insurance policy that was a benefit from a job – I don’t need more because I have no dependents and no debts that my estate couldn’t cover. I also pre-paid my funeral costs years ago to make things easier for my next of kin. I did have disability insurance when I was younger – for the same reason, sort of, that is, if I had become disabled, I had no spouse or adult dependents to call on, and my parents weren’t in a position to help. I no longer think it’s necessary to have disability insurance, since I’m entering my retirement years so I’m not earning. That may or may not have been a wise decision – there are plenty of disabilities which require expensive care and support in order to have the best possible life. But that was my choice. I admit the increasing cost as I aged was also a factor.

      1. Editor*

        Some older prepaid funerals do not cover full costs or designated “optional” costs. If your prepaid funeral was arranged more than five years ago, maybe check to see that you will still receive complete — or at least adequate — coverage. For instance, read the fine print. I don’t know exactly how these things work, but if it says it will allow $x for a coffin, but the cheapest coffin is now $x+750, the coverage is not adequate. Or, if it said “basic coffin,” and you viewed a perfectly acceptable basic model, does the current “basic coffin” meet the same standards of appearance and construction as those you saw when you signed up? Because costs can change, check your agreement to make sure inflation or market changes won’t create shortfalls.

        And make sure the policy is properly in place if it is old, because a funeral home near me discovered — after it changed hands — that a lot of people were expecting funerals but the money had never actually been handed over to the escrow company. It was a mess.

    2. Oxford Comma*

      I have a life insurance policy because I wanted to be sure that there would be money to bury me, pay off debts, etc.

    3. nona*

      I get Disability insurance in part because I do live by myself and have no other support. It’s there in the event that I do become unable to work, and therefore need an income to supplement or replace my reduced capacity. Sometimes provides will switch insurance providers and the new provider will guarantee coverage of employees without a medical exam – that might be a way to get coverage while having a pre-existing condition. I’ve only seen that guarantee for that initial switch to the provider. If you waited until a later open enrollment it might not be an option. YMMV, depending on the plan and workplace, but its something to consider.

      I don’t have any additional life insurance (beyond the 50k or so that my company pays for) because I don’t have dependents or expenses that other people depend on.

    4. Lady Heather*

      Where I live life and disability insurance can replace part of the down payment of a house. The bank wants you to put 25% down so that, if they ever need to foreclose on the house, they have a 25% breathing room against market fluctuations, house in disrepair, etc. However, you can also put 10% down and get a 15% life and disability policy, and then if you die or become disabled, the bank gets that 15% so that they still have the 25% breathing room. I think the policy is tied to your mortgage so that the payment immediately goes to the principal, or something.

  4. Anon for this one*

    Does anyone know where someone who is overweight, diabetic, and over 50 and with a ton of health issues including mental health issues can get life insurance?

    I checked Bestow’s website and instead of a medical visit they pull your medical records.

    1. Mocha Jane*

      Do they just not let you buy life insurance or is it prohibitively expensive? I have an autoimmune disease that often excludes me from stuff and my solution has honestly been just don’t buy this and save as much money as possible into a safety net

      1. Anon for this one*

        So far I have been denied. I checked a couple that had the guaranteed coverage and it was not worth the money.

      1. Virginia Mae from Bestow*

        We aren’t able to offer coverage to everyone, but we’re working hard to expand. Our vision is a world where no family struggles financially after the death of a loved one. Please give us a call at 833-300-0603 and our customer care team would be happy to speak with you further!

        1. Valkyrie Ice Queen*

          I’m incredibly healthy with all my health markers good, but I got denied on BMI – which is a meaningless marker. Super disappointing (especially if they’re also denying based on age).

          1. Not A Girl Boss*

            That is annoying. I’m a powerlifter so my BMI is in no way a reflection of my risk category. With my life insurance company I was able to overcome the BMI obstacle by having my doctor provide a statement that my body fat is in a healthy range.

        2. Anon for this one*

          Thank you Virginia Mae. If others got denied based on BMI and age, I am sure I would too.

      2. AnonyMeh*

        Well that sucks.

        BMI does not preclude one from having normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol, and no outlying health issues.

        A friend of a friend who has been a triathlete since his 20s had a stroke playing tennis when he was 49.

        1. Not A Manager*

          That’s a bit unfair, though. The reason businesses use actuaries and statistics is so that they can determine overall risks. I don’t think you can invalidate statistical evidence just with anecdotes.

          1. Rhonwyyn*

            I’m shocked you would respond with a comment that reinforces fatmisia and diet culture, AAM. It’s common knowledge by now that fat does not equal unhealthy, nor does fatness preclude fitness. BMI is absolutely meaningless for categorizing individuals, and its use causes direct harm to people of size, people of color, and children. Please do some research before supporting the draconian idea that fat people will die young and aren’t worth insuring.

              1. Rhonwyyn*

                Argh! I apologize. I saw red, which made me read “Not A Manager” as Ask A Manager.” I’m glad it wasn’t you, because it seemed out of character. (I still vehemently disagree with NAM’s assertions.)

    2. Adultiest Adult*

      Unfortunately the answer is that you probably can’t, or at least, not that’s affordable. Too many people still end up in the bucket where they need to “self-insure” which basically just means save their money. If you don’t qualify for life insurance, you might want to have a session with a financial planner instead to look at your finances and determine what’s feasible for you.

  5. JazzCat*

    By the way I tried the quote. Just based on my age, 59, it was a no. And I still have college age kids so I actually have a need.

    1. Yellow Rose*

      I played around with their age setting, and it looks like 55 is their top end, for around $60.00/month.

    2. Virginia Mae from Bestow*

      At this time, those between the ages of 21 and 55 may apply for coverage with Bestow. We’re working hard to expand our coverage and hope to be able to serve you in the future!

      1. old curmudgeon*

        So if someone applies at age 54 and meets all the other requirements for coverage, does their policy get cancelled on their 55th birthday? Or are they grandfathered in so that their coverage will continue as long as they pay the premiums?

        1. Ann Perkins*

          Typically with term policies it’s either for a certain length of time – 10, 20, 30 years – OR it’s until a certain age, like age 70 or 80. Some types of policies have level premiums that don’t go up over time, some of them have premiums that rise as you get older. It sounds like this one can be issued up to age 55 but wouldn’t be cancelled after that.

        2. Virginia Mae from Bestow*

          Hi there! 55 is currently the maximum age that can apply with Bestow, but your policy will continue for the term length you selected as long as you continue to pay your premiums. So for example, if someone purchases a 10 year policy at age 54, the coverage will continue through age 64. We have licensed agents available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have at 833-300-0603 any time M-F from 8am-6pm CT!

  6. The Happy Graduate*

    Another thing to consider with life insurance is what options their coverage can provide. In my country, government workers can buy life insurance through this company that allows you to receive your payments before you actually die if you have a terminal diagnosis. So I’m in my mid-20s and not married but I still have this insurance because a) it’s cheap and b) if I were given a diagnosis with only a few months to live, I can choose to get the payout now and spend that money on enjoying the last of my time with my family on trips, getting my affairs in order, etc. without having to worry about a penny.

    I doubt this company has it, I haven’t seen this option too often, but I would seriously consider looking into those that do provide it if you were seriously considering life insurance.

  7. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    The older you get, it’s more difficult , and more expensive to buy.

    For obvious reasons. I’m nearly 70. I’m more likely to, as my father used to say “check out” than I was when I was 30.

    Conversely, as some said – you don’t need it, necessarily. If you’re retired, and have made adequate financial investments and planning, then your “insurance” is your 401K/IRA/investment portfolio/money in the bank/spousal SSA benefit.

    When someone dies, his/her “significant other” no longer has to provide food, clothing, shelter, and medical care for the deceased. And when you’re 70 you shouldn’t be carrying a mortgage, or much of one, and if you have a mortgage you’re compelled to carry insurance (usually).

    NOW – why do some people NOT carry insurance? One, some people think it’s a scam or a hoax. Two, some people have (I am not making this up) religious objections to it, thinking it’s a form of gambling.

    IF YOU ARE IN YOUR 20s – 30s – 40s – 50s – even 60s – and people are depending on you and your income – BY ALL MEANS GET INSURANCE. When you’re 30, it’s cheap. And if you’re the primary wage-earner – you are leaving your family unprotected if you don’t have insurance.

    I was the sole breadwinner in my working life – but – when we got to the point where I could afford retirement (early 60s) I let my 20-year $250K run out. Our retirement funds were/are in great shape. If I go first, my wife has enough. If she goes first, likewise.

    “But what about my grandchildren?” – well, you should be living for YOURSELVES first.

    1. old curmudgeon*

      Exactly my feelings about it.

      My spouse and I are both in our 60s. Our house is paid off and we never put more on a credit card than we can pay off in the same month. Our offspring are in their late 30s, both well-compensated professionals who have paid off their student loans, and who are doing far better in general than we were at their ages.

      So what the heck do we need to plan for with life insurance?

      My spouse and I both work in state government, which covers the cost of life insurance equivalent to one year’s wages, but it drops to a flat figure in the mid-five-figures at age 65. That flat figure continues when a state employee retires on a state pension. So Spouse and I both have plenty of life insurance for our stage of life; whenever one of us kicks the bucket, the other will be able to pay for funeral costs plus add a bit to the 401(k).

      Now, the thing that literally EVERYONE should be doing regularly (and that most do not do) is to update your estate planning.

      How many respondents here have a will?

      If you have a will, was it reviewed and updated at any point within the past decade? Does your will reflect the fact that your kid got divorced from that low-life and ensure that low-life won’t get any of your assets? Does it include the grandkids who arrived after it was last executed? Is it designed to shelter as much of your estate as possible from taxes? If you are a creative, does your estate planning include what will happen to your portfolio of creations (writing, art, music, etc.) and who is responsible for it?

      I think those are far more vital annual questions to review, and I suspect there are far more people without wills than there are without life insurance. So, sure, check into life insurance, especially if you’ve got small kids, but don’t neglect updating your will at least once per decade, too.

    2. Me*


      We still carry it as it’s offered fairly cheaply through our employers.

      We have no mortgage/debt and our retirement accounts are just fine. The kids have no student loans as they finish college (one is finishing undergrad this spring, the other is in fully covered grad school).

      And yet, we still carry it. Why? Force of habit, no need to change things each year as we select our insurance options each year. I’m guessing we will dump coverage once we leave the workforce for good.

    3. Dutch person*

      The Netherlands has approx 12.000 persons (out of 17 million) who are conscientous objectors to insurance because God promised them they’d be taken care of and commercial insurance would be like not trusting God.

      So instead of paying health insurance, they pay a health tax. Part of that is like a penalty and part of that goes to a government savings account that they can draw upon for medical expenses. (If your income is low enough to otherwise qualify, you are not eligible for a health reimbursement on your taxes, as that one is for insured people.)
      Instead of paying for mandatory social and employee insurance – unemployment insurance, disability insurance, getting paid while sick insurance, old age insurance, if-you-die-with-dependents insurance – they pay extra taxes equal to those insurances, but don’t get any of the benefits. Though they can get old age allowance (not old age insurance.. because.. insurance. But old age allowance is the same amount as old age insurance. Don’t ask me for the difference, I have no idea.)
      Instead of having mandatory car insurance (‘oops, I totaled someone’s car and now someone needs to pay for that’ insurance is mandatory) they pay a penalty to a foundation that reimburses people whose cars (or lives) have been totalled by said conscientous objectors – but that’s not insurance, as that foundation then will go after the conscientous objector to get reimbursed.

      You also don’t get to take advantage of a health insurance provider having negotiated with the hospital, but have to pay the higher passer-by rates.

      You can conscientously object to all or none of those. Why anyone would do it beats me. But around twelve thousand people – 0.07 per cent – of our country does.

      (In addition to all those taxes, the church you likely attend will likely have regular collections that you’re expected to contribute to – for other members’ car crashes and health issues.)

  8. Mattieflap*

    I would just like to endorse the absolute necessity of life insurance. I am a divorced mother of two who was coparenting with my ex-husband until he died without warning this past fall. While we were still married we had purchased life insurance. After we divorced, he continued to pay the premiums. Thank Deity that he did because now my children have enough money to attend whatever school they choose at whatever level. And if they choose something else, they’ve got a nest egg.

    It is a HUGE relief to know that they are provided for in a way that I simply would not have been capable of on my own.

    No one expected this. There wasn’t time to plan for it. I am beyond grateful that we took time years ago to make those plans.

    Get the insurance.

    1. Me*

      Sorry for the loss of your ex, and I’m glad that he kept paying. That is truly a relief I’m sure!

  9. Stevie Budd*

    Well this is helpful because I’ve been hounding my husband to go for an insurance exam for 2 years.

  10. Magc17*

    The one thing that people are leaving out is if someone who is married needs residential care because they are too infirm (physically or cognitively) to be cared for at home. That is not paid for by Medicare, only Medicaid, which means you have to spend most of your own money before Medicaid kicks in. Depending on the state and the couple’s assets, this can leave the surviving spouse without a whole lot of money.

    1. My name is not Sue*

      That’s why you get long term insurance. I have a plan where I can spend down to $80k

  11. anon for this*

    They will not grant life insurance with a chronic mental health illness. My third denial in the past year and a half. 39, middle upper class, otherwise healthy, anxiety, depression, ADHD – currently working as a consultant so no employer group life insurance available. 2 kids and a partner.

    1. Virginia Mae from Bestow*

      We aren’t able to offer coverage to everyone, but we’re working hard to expand. Our vision is a world where no family struggles financially after the death of a loved one. Please give us a call at 833-300-0603 and our customer care team would be happy to speak with you further!

      1. Sylvan*

        About one in five Americans lives with a mental illness. I know it’s not your personal decision, but your company’s ruling out a lot of potential customers.

    2. anon for mental health*

      Yeah, my life insurance coverage through work specifically won’t pay out if the death is related to mental illness. Given that I have a bipolar diagnosis, I’m willing to bet that if I die due to any kind of accident that might be my fault (as opposed to getting a falling piano dropped on me while walking down the sidewalk) they’ll assert that I was clearly having a manic or depressive episode and not pay out a dime. This is why I don’t bother to buy insurance beyond the free minimum. If I’m killed in an accident is clearly not my fault to the point that life insurance would pay out, my heirs probably have someone they could sue instead.

  12. Hesitant*

    Does anyone use this life insurance service? I’m considering it, but I see a lot of ads for companies like this on tv ads and online. I am worried if they’ll still be around for 10-20 years.

    1. Virginia Mae from Bestow*

      Hi there! Bestow’s customers are covered by two of the most trusted names in the industry (North American Company for Life and Health Insurance® and Munich Re), both of which are rated A+(Superior) by A.M. Best. Bestow is an independent agent that handles the underwriting and application process to make the application experience simple and convenient! We encourage you to check out our unpaid reviews on Trustpilot:

    1. Lady Heather*

      For insurance purposes, BMI can make sense, I think. BMI is a metric for measuring something about a population (not an individual, for which it’s awful and misused) – a population with most people having a BMI above 30 will have a higher incidence of heart disease than a population with most people having a BMI below 30. Insurance is all about aggregating risks, that’s why men may pay more for some premium than women and red cars allegedly cost more to insure.

      (In addition to weight being not too useful to say anything about an individual’s health, I also think height and weight are a terrible way to calculate BMI. As an amputee I feel strongly an inventory of body parts is also required for an accurate assessment.)

  13. Texan In Exile*

    Also think about what you might need in the future. You might not have anyone depending on you now, but what about later? You might not be able to get it when you actually need it. Get it now.

    And for small business with co-owners, there used to be Key Man insurance.

    1. Arvolin*

      Alternately, it might be more expensive when you need it. Check whether it’s a fixed premium (in which you save money if you sign up early) or it the premiums go up (in which case starting before you need it is at least much less of a savings).

  14. Kate*

    For people considering life insurance and pregnancy, make sure you read the fine print. I’m a sole breadwinner who got a policy when I got pregnant to make sure spouse and kiddo were covered–and FLIPPED when I read that some policies do not cover you if you die in childbirth!!!! Fortunately, mine did/does.

    1. Virginia Mae from Bestow*

      Hi Kate! We definitely understand that concern and would like to confirm that childbirth is not on the list of exclusions for policies sold by Bestow.

  15. JustaClarifier*

    Thank you so, so much for posting this. My husband and I both had chronic Lyme disease and have been unable for YEARS to get ANY life insurance. Ironically, health insurance says Lyme disease is not a big deal and not worth treating, while life insurance won’t touch it. (What does that tell you.) I’m going to try to give this a shot.

  16. EKH*

    My husband died unexpectedly a couple of months ago, and I am so thankful he always encouraged us to take out the max life insurance we could on ourselves and for each other. It will be a huge help for me and our son.

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