Best Life Insurance for Children: What Policy Should You Buy for Your Kids & Which Companies Are Best?

There are several reasons to buy life insurance for your children, including protecting their future insurability and locking in a low rate.

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Last Updated: 9/21/2022
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Buying life insurance for your kids may not always seem straightforward. MoneyGeek analyzed various policies, including whole life policies, term life riders and real policy quotes, to help you purchase the best life insurance policy for your kids at a price that fits your budget.

If you are shopping for life insurance for kids, most available options are whole life policies with permanent coverage. Sometimes, you can also buy universal life or term coverage.

If you buy whole life insurance for children, you can lock in a low rate, get lifetime coverage, protect your child’s future insurability and build cash value. However, keep in mind that whole life insurance for children tends to have low coverage amounts, high fees and a low rate of return on its cash value. Other investment options are usually a better financial solution, like 529 savings plans or custodial accounts.

Best Overall for Children: Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

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Up to $50,000 in whole life insurance for kids

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Cheap children’s rates

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Fast and easy application

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No riders available

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MoneyGeek Score: 90.8
J.D. Power (out of 1,000): 783.4
AM Best Rating: A+

MoneyGeek's Take: Mutual of Omaha’s easy application, cheap rates and superior customer service make it our top choice for the best life insurance for children.

At Mutual of Omaha, you can purchase between $5,000 and $50,000 in permanent whole life insurance for children aged 14 days to 17 years old. Parents can buy policies online or over the phone with an experienced agent.

The policy is based on a simplified underwriting process, with just three health questions on the application. There is no medical exam, and as long as your child or grandchild falls into the qualifying age group and the application is complete, the policy will be approved and issued. Like adult whole life insurance, the life insurance policy for children builds cash value over time. With Mutual of Omaha’s excellent service reputation, getting immediate coverage in place without a waiting period is easy and fast.

Policies Offered:

  • Children’s whole life

Best Low-Cost Options: Globe Life

Globe Life

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No waiting period

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Rates start at just $2.17 per month

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Accident benefits rider can be added

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Only $30k available

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MoneyGeek Score: 95
J.D. Power (out of 1,000): 810.4
AM Best Rating: A

MoneyGeek's Take: With the cheapest rates for children’s whole life insurance, Globe Life offers a simple application with fast approvals and no waiting period.

Globe Life offers a whole life insurance policy for kids with coverage amounts between $5,000 and $30,000, sold in increments of $5,000. Coverage can be quoted in minutes, and the application is easy to complete. There are a few health questions to answer, but no medical exam is required for approval. You can get approved and purchase whole life insurance for kids online or over the phone, with the option to include a rider for accidental death, which increases the death benefit by up to $20,000 for less than $1 per month more.

As an added perk, the first month of coverage is only $1 at Globe Life, with the full premium due monthly after that. Once rates are locked in, they will never increase, and the policy will build cash value as your child grows. This cash value can be accessed in the future for financial needs like college or a first home purchase.

Policies Offered:

  • Whole life

Best for Product Options & Other Membership Benefits: Foresters

Foresters Financial

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Several valuable riders included on all policies for free

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Up to $75,000 in coverage

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Lucrative membership benefits once a child reaches age 16

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Average rates

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS
  • MoneyGeek Score: N/A
  • J.D. Power (out of 1,000): N/A
  • AM Best Rating: A

MoneyGeek's Take: Foresters Financial has the highest amount of coverage, best product options and membership benefit incentives, making it one of our top choices for the best life insurance for kids.

When buying life insurance for children, you don't always have many options and benefits included. Not with Foresters Financial.

Foresters offers up to $75,000 in whole life insurance for children, with four valuable riders you can include at no extra cost: guaranteed insurability, terminal illness death benefit, common carrier accidental death and family health benefit. BrightFuture children’s whole life also comes with membership benefits the child can access starting at age 16. These include orphan benefits and scholarships for kids who lose one or more parents, local branch membership, online legal document preparation services, community grant opportunities and member discounts for family-focused activities and shopping.

You can sign over ownership of the policy to your child or grandchild when you’re ready, and they can make coverage adjustments at that time if needed. With Foresters Financial whole life insurance for kids, you get a lot without paying high costs compared to other carriers with fewer benefits and policy options.

Policies Offered:

  • Children's whole life

Best for High School & College Students: Globe Life

Globe Life

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No waiting period

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No medical exam

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$1 for first coverage month

cons

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Low coverage amounts

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MoneyGeek Score: 95
J.D. Power (out of 1,000): 810.4
AM Best Rating: A

MoneyGeek's Take: Globe Life offers up to $30,000 in children's whole life and $50,000 in adult whole life with no medical exam, making it easy to get coverage for high school and college students.

Though most college students don’t feel like adults just yet, if they are over 18, they are. Whether your child is a high school or college student, Globe Life offers permanent whole life coverage with no medical exam. Students under age 18 can get approved for up to $30,000 of whole life coverage; those over 18 can be approved for up to $50,000.

Students over age 18 can also purchase up to $100,000 in term life insurance, which renews every five years at your current rate. No matter which policy and coverage amount you choose, the first month costs just $1. There is no waiting period, which means if the insured passes away days after the policy takes effect, the beneficiary receives the full death benefit (except in the event of death by suicide, which is excluded for the first two years on all life insurance policies).

At Globe Life, you can sign up in minutes over the phone or online, locking in coverage for your high school or college students that never decreases.

Policies Offered:

  • Children's whole life

Best Term Life Rider for Kids: State Farm

State Farm

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One rider covers all children

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Five times rider amount convertible at ages 18 or 25

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More cost-effective than children’s whole life

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Only available until insured turns 65

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MoneyGeek Score: 97.4
J.D. Power (out of 1,000): 820.5
AM Best Rating: A++

MoneyGeek's Take: A children’s term rider can be added to most State Farm life insurance policies, with all children covered for one premium. We chose State Farm as the best pick for this affordable rider as an alternative to a separate life insurance policy for children.

One of the most affordable ways to get life insurance for children is to add a rider to a parent’s or grandparent’s life insurance policy. State Farm offers a children’s term rider with up to $20,000 to cover each child. There is no cap on the number of children covered, and the rate is the same no matter how many children you have.

Once the rider is in force, all children over 15 days old are automatically covered, regardless of health. The term rider coverage automatically ends when each child turns 25. The term rider coverage amount can be converted to a policy with up to five times that amount in permanent life insurance when a child reaches age 18 or 25.

For instance, if you have a $20,000 children’s term rider on your State Farm life insurance policy, you can convert up to $100,000 in whole life insurance per child at these milestone birthdays regardless of health. This is a great way to give your child permanent life insurance.

Policies Offered:

  • Term
  • Universal life
  • Whole life

Life Insurance for Kids Comparison Summary

Compare our top picks for best life insurance for children in the table below.

  • Company
    AM Best Rating
    J.D. Power Score
    Age Options for Kids' Policies
    Coverage Options for Kids
  • Mutual of Omaha

    Best Overall for
    Children

    A+

    783.4

    14 days–17
    years

    $5,000–$50,000

  • Globe Life

    Best Low Cost
    Options

    A

    810.4

    Newborn–17
    years

    $5,000–$30,000

  • Foresters Financial

    Best for Product Options
    & Other Membership Benefits

    A

    N/A

    Up to age 18

    $5,000–$75,000

  • Globe Life

    Best for High School
    & College Students

    A

    810.4

    Newborn–17
    years

    $5,000–$30,000

  • State Farm

    Best Term Life
    Rider for Kids

    A++

    820.5

    Up to age 18

    $5,000–$20,000

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How Does a Life Insurance Policy for Your Child Work?

A life insurance policy for children is most often a whole life policy, a form of permanent life insurance meant to last their lifetime. Premiums, cash value and the death benefit are guaranteed. This cash value will grow for the life of the policy and may be accessed in the future.

Whole life insurance differs from term life insurance, which offers level premiums and death benefits for a certain number of years, and does not build cash value. While whole life insurance is more expensive, buying it for a child can be a cost-effective approach to life insurance compared to waiting until they are old enough to buy their own term life insurance policy.

How Does the Whole Life Cash Account Work?

One benefit you have with whole life vs. term is the cash value account built into the whole life policy. Once the cost of insurance and fees are paid, the rest of the premium goes into a cash value savings account.

Over time, the account grows with a modest interest rate (varies by company and product) and can eventually be used in several ways. You can use the cash value to pay policy premiums, take out a loan, supplement retirement income or withdraw it. The cash value can be used for any reason, but taking funds from the account will lower the death benefit owed to your beneficiary if the amount is not paid back before your death.

What Is a Guaranteed Option to Add Coverage?

Depending on the life insurance product and carrier, a guaranteed insurability option rider may be a free add-on or purchased separately.

This guaranteed option allows you to buy more life insurance at specific events or ages without requiring a medical exam or health questions. For instance, milestone birthdays — like your 21st — and events — like getting married or having a baby — will trigger the guaranteed option. You can buy up to a certain amount defined by your specific policy without proving insurability.

Should Parents Consider a Rider on Their Term Life Policy?

Adding a children’s term rider to a parent’s term or permanent life insurance policy is usually a more cost-effective approach than buying a separate whole life insurance policy for children.

Though rider details and cost vary by carrier, most children’s term riders cover all children born and adopted into the family for one fee. At a certain age, the child or parent can convert the rider coverage amount into a permanent life insurance policy for each child. If you want to cover your children but don’t want to pay for a separate life insurance policy for kids, consider adding a children’s term rider to your new or existing policy.

How Can You Buy Life Insurance for Your Child?

Buying life insurance for kids is usually a straightforward process. When looking to buy a life insurance policy for children, you may have questions about what information is needed or what health factors are considered. These common questions are answered below.

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    What Information Is Needed?

    For most children's life insurance policies, only a few pieces of information are needed. The child’s full name, date of birth and social security number are usually all that’s necessary.

    Some life insurance policies for kids ask a few health questions, which may include:

    • Has your child been diagnosed or treated for a chronic medical condition in their life?
    • Has your child been diagnosed or treated for a heart/circulatory system disease, developmental disorder or congenital disability?

    If there are health questions and you can answer “no” to them, there should be no problem getting approved. If not, a guaranteed whole life insurance policy without health questions may be the best option.

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    Does Your Child Have to Approve?

    No, your child does not have to approve the life insurance policy because they are a minor. If a grandparent is purchasing life insurance for their grandchild, one or both parents will usually have to sign a consent form agreeing to the purchase and provide access to their medical records, if needed.

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    Is There a Waiting Period?

    No, generally, there is no waiting period on a life insurance policy for children. This means if they die after the policy becomes effective, the beneficiary receives the full death benefit. All life insurance policies include a suicide clause. If the insured dies by suicide in the first two years of the policy, the beneficiary will not receive the death benefit.

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    Is There an Age Limit?

    Yes, most children’s life insurance policies can start at 14 or 15 days old, with coverage available for purchase until the child reaches their 18th birthday. With a whole life policy, the coverage is guaranteed for life unless you discontinue payment or cancel the policy.

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    Is the Child’s Health a Factor?

    Health is a factor with simplified issue whole life insurance for children, but not with guaranteed issue whole life insurance for kids. Neither policy requires a medical exam, but a simplified issue whole life application asks two to three health questions about the child to determine eligibility. There are no health questions for a guaranteed issue whole life policy, and usually, none for a children’s term rider added to a parent’s or grandparent's policy.

How Much Does Life Insurance for Your Child Cost?

A child's life insurance costs are mainly based on age and coverage amount. Though gender can be a factor, rates are usually very similar. The table below shows real sample whole life insurance for children quotes for various coverage amounts and ages.

Average Cost of a Whole Life Policy for a Child

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  • Age Range
    Monthly Premium for $10,000 Coverage
    Monthly Premium for $20,000 Coverage
    Monthly Premium for $50,000 Coverage
  • 0–4
    $5.52
    $11.01
    $24.33
  • 5–9
    $6.59
    $13.87
    $29.33
  • 10–14
    $7.21
    $14.78
    $31.67
  • 15–17
    $9.11
    $18.66
    $38.02

Which Companies Offer the Cheapest Life Insurance for Kids?

According to the sample quotes we received, Globe Life has the cheapest whole life insurance for kids, and Transamerica has the most expensive.

*Though Gerber's rates are among the most expensive, coverage doubles when the child reaches age 18 at no additional cost with Gerber’s Grow-Up Plan. Rates are based on a plan with $20,000 of whole life coverage.

Cheapest Life Insurance by Company for $20,000 Coverage

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  • Company
    Monthly Premium for 0–4-Year-Olds
    Monthly Premium for 5–9-Year-Olds
    Monthly Premium for 10–14-Year-Olds
  • 1.
    Mutual of Omaha
    $8.34
    $9.98
    $11.89
  • 2.
    Gerber*
    $13.97
    $15.33
    $18.68
  • 3.
    Globe Life
    $8.22
    $9.78
    $11.33
  • 4.
    Protective
    $12.11
    $14.23
    $16.77
  • 5.
    Forester Financial
    $8.45
    $10.76
    $12.84
  • 6.
    Transamerica
    $14.88
    $14.97
    $22.33

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When Does It Make Sense to Buy Life Insurance for Your Kids?

No parent or grandparent wants to think about the death of their child or grandchild. Unfortunately, it is a reality for some.

Children’s life insurance can pay for medical bills and funeral expenses incurred if the child were to get sick or injured and pass away. Generally, it only makes sense to buy life insurance for kids if they are at higher risk of a genetic or hereditary condition that could prevent them from getting life insurance when they are older.

Most children's life insurance policies ask few health questions or have none at all, and few require a medical exam. If you are concerned about your child’s future insurability, it may make sense to buy coverage when they’re younger and presumed to be the healthiest.

However, if your family is in generally good health, you don’t have a history of uninsurable health issues and you can afford to pay for medical expenses and a funeral should the unimaginable happen, it probably doesn’t make sense to buy life insurance for your kids.

Pros & Cons of Buying Life Insurance for Children

If you’re considering purchasing a life insurance policy for children, weigh the pros and cons to decide if it’s the best choice for your situation.

Pros

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    Funeral Funds

    Though chances of a child's death are low, they aren’t impossible. A whole life insurance policy for children can pay for funeral expenses and other costs. However, a children’s term rider on a parent’s or grandparent’s policy can do the same and often is much cheaper than a separate life insurance policy for children.

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    Guaranteed Insurability

    Many children’s life insurance policies offer a guaranteed insurability rider at no cost. Even if you have to pay for it, it usually costs pennies a day. This option locks in your child’s insurability for at least the amount of coverage in the policy, and often a multiple of that amount. If your child increases their coverage, there are no health questions or medical exams for the additional coverage amount.

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    Locked-In Rates for Life

    When you buy whole life insurance, rates are guaranteed to never increase, and the death benefit will never decrease for the life of the policy, as long as premiums are paid. Life insurance rates are the cheapest for children, especially newborns, so locking in the low rate now will ensure your child will pay the most affordable rates for permanent coverage over their lifetime.

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    Cash Value

    After the cost of insurance and fees are paid, the rest of the premium goes toward the cash value. Over time, the cash value grows tax-deferred and can be accessed for any reason through a loan or withdrawal. Building cash value is sometimes used to pay for college instead of taking out student loans with potentially high interest. However, you should speak with a financial advisor to discuss the implications of this strategy, as it could cause the policy to lapse if you take out more than the premiums paid in, or it may make you subject to income taxes.

Cons

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    Low Coverage Amounts

    Most children’s life insurance policies are capped at $50,000, though some offer up to $75,000 in coverage, like Foresters. Most children will need to buy more life insurance when they’re adults, especially if they plan to get married and have children of their own.

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    Lifetime Commitment

    Children’s life insurance is a lifetime commitment of payments unless you buy a limited-pay whole life policy. The cash value can be used to pay future premiums, but this will lower the amount your child has available later in life. Plus, the money spent on life insurance decreases the amount available to support your child throughout their young life.

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    Better Investment Solutions Elsewhere

    Though children’s whole life builds cash value, it has a low rate of return compared to other investments, like a 529 college savings plan. You will almost always get a much better rate of return investing the money directly than funding a whole life insurance policy for kids, which comes with fees and interest rates set by the provider.

Alternative Investments & Scenarios

Life insurance for children is usually only a wise investment if their future insurability is a risk because of family health history. Otherwise, children’s life insurance is usually not the best investment. With high fees and limited cash value growth, investing money for your child’s future in a standalone account will come with better returns much sooner than the slow growth that comes with whole life insurance for kids. Here are a few alternatives to consider instead:

1

529 College Savings Plan

These plans can only be used for education expenses, but the biggest advantage is that funds can be withdrawn tax-free.

2

Custodial Account

A parent or grandparent can create a custodial account to invest savings for a child. When the child turns 18 or 21, the account can be transferred to them. Funds can be withdrawn as long as they benefit the minor.

3

IRA

A child with income can open an IRA savings account to begin saving for retirement.

FAQs About Life Insurance for Kids

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about life insurance for kids.

Methodology

We go the extra mile so that you can feel confident about the information in our life insurance content from MoneyGeek. Buying life insurance for your children can be an emotional process. Our life insurance ranking for kids is informed by real whole life quotes for kids ages 0–18 that we have gathered across top-rated life insurance companies (information that many other companies don’t bother to gather). We incorporate a significant number of data points from insurance industry research companies such as J.D. Power and Associates, and qualitative policy details that impact the product's value to shoppers. Visit our complete methodology page for more information.

About the Author


expert-profile

Mandy Sleight is a professional freelance writer and licensed insurance agent. She has her property, casualty, life, and health licenses and has been working in the industry since 2005. Mandy has worked for well-known insurance companies like State Farm and Nationwide Insurance, and most recently as the Operations Coordinator for a start-up employee benefits company.

Mandy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Baltimore and her Master in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She uses her vast knowledge of the insurance industry and personal finance combined with her writing background to create easy-to-understand and engaging content to help readers make smarter choices with their budget and finances.