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Yes, you can buy a life insurance policy on an ex-spouse if certain conditions are met. Buying life insurance on a former spouse offers financial protection for you and any shared dependents, especially if the former spouse pays alimony and child support. A policy can also cover debts, future education expenses and more at a reasonable monthly cost in many situations.

This article explores the legal considerations involved, outlines the benefits of buying life insurance on an ex-spouse and provides guidance on evaluating and selecting the best affordable insurance company for this unique situation.

Benefits and Reasons for Buying Life Insurance on an Ex-Spouse

There are several compelling reasons why individuals choose to buy life insurance on their ex-spouse, ensuring financial protection for both themselves and their dependents.

Child Support and Alimony: Life insurance can secure child support and alimony payments in the event of the ex-spouse's passing. This financial safety net ensures that dependents continue to receive the necessary support they were entitled to during the ex-spouse's lifetime.

Financial Protection for Children: By purchasing a life insurance policy on an ex-spouse, parents can safeguard their children's financial future. The death benefit can help cover childcare expenses, education costs and other essential needs.

Protecting Business Interests: In situations where former spouses have shared business interests, life insurance can provide a financial solution. It can ensure that the surviving ex-spouse has the necessary funds to maintain or buy out the deceased ex-spouse's share, preventing potential conflicts or disruptions.

Covering Outstanding Debts: Life insurance can help cover any outstanding debts that the ex-spouse may leave behind. This can protect the surviving ex-spouse from bearing the burden of these financial obligations alone.

Estate Planning Considerations: Buying life insurance on an ex-spouse can also be a part of comprehensive estate planning. It can help preserve assets, facilitate the equitable distribution of inheritance and minimize potential tax liabilities.

Legal Considerations: Simplified Explanations

There are several important legal aspects to acknowledge when buying a life insurance policy on an ex-spouse.

Consent of the Ex-Spouse

To purchase a life insurance policy on an ex-spouse, you typically need their consent. Without consent, it would be challenging, if not impossible, to proceed with the application. Consent ensures that the ex-spouse is aware of and agrees to the policy being taken out on their life.

Obtaining consent can be approached in different ways, depending on the nature of your relationship with your ex-spouse. If you have an amicable relationship and open communication, discussing the idea of life insurance with them directly may be the most appropriate and respectful approach. Explain your reasons for considering this step and address any concerns they may have. It's vital to foster mutual understanding and cooperation throughout the process.

Although you cannot force your ex-spouse to consent to a life insurance policy, there are legal means to include it as a requirement in certain circumstances. If you have financial obligations tied to your ex-spouse — such as child support or alimony — you may be able to stipulate in the divorce agreement that they must maintain a life insurance policy naming you or your children as beneficiaries. This helps to protect those financial interests in case of their death.

In some cases, especially if communication is difficult or involves legal constraints, seeking legal advice or involving mediators may be necessary to facilitate the consent process. Professional guidance can help navigate any complexities and ensure that both parties' rights and interests are protected.

Insurable Interest Explanation

Insurable interest is a fundamental principle in life insurance. It refers to the financial or emotional interest that the policyholder has in the life of the insured person. It serves as a basis for the validity of the insurance contract, ensuring that the policyholder would suffer a direct financial loss or hardship in the event of the insured person's death.

In the context of purchasing life insurance on an ex-spouse, establishing insurable interest is crucial. It helps demonstrate that the policyholder has a legitimate reason to insure their ex-spouse's life and would experience financial repercussions if the insured were to pass away.

How Much Will the Policy Cost?

Determining the exact cost of a life insurance policy for your ex-spouse can be challenging, as it depends on several factors that are unique to their situation. Insurance companies consider various aspects when calculating premiums, including the insured individual's age, health, lifestyle, occupation and the desired coverage amount and duration.

30-Year-Old Spouse:

  • Coverage Amount: $500,000–1,000,000
  • Term Length: 20–30 years
  • Estimated Monthly Premium Range: $25–50

40-Year-Old Spouse:

  • Coverage Amount: $500,000–1,000,000
  • Term Length: 15–25 years
  • Estimated Monthly Premium Range: $35–75

50-Year-Old Spouse:

  • Coverage Amount: $500,000–1,000,000
  • Term Length: 10–20 years
  • Estimated Monthly Premium Range: $75–150

Sample Term Life Quotes for Ex-Spouse Coverage

For most circumstances, term life insurance will be an appropriate policy type choice. Here are real quotes from the nation’s best insurers for 10- and 20-year coverage for healthy nonsmokers.

10-Year Term Life Insurance Quotes
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20-Year Term Life Insurance Quotes
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For more detailed cost information, see our cheapest life insurance providers.

Evaluating the Best Insurance Company

When considering the purchase of a life insurance policy on an ex-spouse, it's essential to choose a reputable insurance company that meets specific criteria.

Researching Reputable Insurance Companies: Conduct thorough research to identify insurance companies with a strong reputation and solid financial standing.

Financial Stability and Ratings: Evaluate the financial stability of insurance companies by examining their ratings from independent rating agencies. A financially secure company ensures the timely payment of claims.

Policy Options and Coverage: Assess the policy options and coverage provided by insurance companies. Look for policies that align with your specific needs, including coverage amount, term length and any additional riders or benefits.

Premiums and Affordability: Compare premiums from different insurance companies to find a policy that's within your budget. Consider factors such as age, health and lifestyle when determining premium costs.

Customer Service and Claims Process: Investigate the customer service reputation of insurance companies, including their responsiveness, support and claims process. A company with a customer-centric approach can provide peace of mind during challenging times.

Reading Reviews and Seeking Recommendations: Read reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources — such as friends, family or financial advisors — to gain insights into other customers' experiences with different insurance companies.

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No-exam life insurance can be a good option when obtaining consent for a medical exam is challenging. This type of policy expedites the approval process by eliminating the need for medical examination, providing a convenient solution for insuring an ex-spouse while still offering the necessary financial protection. See our guide on the best no-exam life insurance.

How to Buy a Life Insurance Policy on an Ex-Spouse

Once you have considered the legal aspects and benefits and evaluated insurance companies, you can proceed with the process of buying a life insurance policy on your ex-spouse.


Gather Necessary Information

1) Personal Details of the Ex-Spouse

Begin by collecting accurate personal information about your ex-spouse, including their full name, date of birth and contact details. This information will be required during the application process.

2) Determining Coverage Needs

Assess your specific coverage needs based on factors such as outstanding financial obligations, child support, alimony requirements and potential future expenses for your children. This will help determine the appropriate coverage amount.

3) Identifying Beneficiaries

Determine who will be the beneficiaries of the life insurance policy. It could be your children, yourself or other dependents who would experience financial hardship in the event of your ex-spouse's death.


Contact Insurance Companies

Reach out to the insurance companies you have shortlisted based on your research. Contact their representatives or use their online platforms to inquire about life insurance policies on ex-spouses. Discuss your specific needs and gather information regarding their offerings.


Obtain Quotes and Compare Policies

Request quotes from multiple insurance companies based on the coverage amount and duration you require. Compare the quotes, taking into account factors such as premium costs, policy features, riders and any exclusions. This will help you identify the most suitable policy for your needs.


Complete the Application Process

Once you have selected an insurance company and a policy that meets your requirements, initiate the application process. Provide all the necessary information about your ex-spouse, including their personal details and medical history. Be transparent and truthful during the application to ensure the policy remains valid.


Underwriting and Medical Examinations

The insurance company will assess the risk associated with insuring your ex-spouse through a process called underwriting. Depending on the coverage amount and the ex-spouse's age, it may require medical examinations or access to medical records. Cooperate with these requirements to facilitate the underwriting process.


Finalize the Policy

After the underwriting process is complete, the insurance company will issue the policy. Carefully review the terms and conditions, including the coverage amount, premium, policy duration and any riders or additional features. If everything is in order, sign the policy documents and pay the initial premium to activate the coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Mark Fitzpatrick

Mark Fitzpatrick headshot

Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content director at MoneyGeek with over five years of experience analyzing the insurance market, conducting original research and creating content that can be personalized for every buyer. He has been quoted on insurance topics in several publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Mark earned a master’s degree in Economics and International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his economics and insurance knowledge to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.