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Grandparents considering a lasting financial gift for their grandchildren might explore purchasing life insurance. In this arrangement, the grandchild is the insured, and the grandparent or another designated person is the beneficiary.

Various reasons might lead a grandparent to get life insurance for their grandchildren, ranging from securing a financial safety net for the family to creating an investment tool for the child's future expenses, including education. These policies also offer the grandchild potential financial security and a head start on financial planning. However, it's important to note that parental consent is typically necessary to purchase a policy on a minor.

Understanding the pros, cons, available plans and other factors can help grandparents navigate this financial tool and determine whether purchasing a policy for their grandchildren aligns with their goals and circumstances.

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Life Insurance for Grandchildren: How It Works

Life insurance for grandchildren is a financial instrument that offers more than just coverage; it can be a strategic financial tool for grandparents.

These policies can serve your family in a few different ways:

  • Safety net for the family: The policy serves as a financial buffer for the family, particularly the grandparents or parents. In certain circumstances, such as the grandchild's premature passing, the policy ensures the family has the necessary funds to manage expenses without additional financial stress.

  • Long-term investment for the grandchild: Beyond immediate coverage, life insurance for grandchildren can function as a long-term investment. Some policies, like whole life insurance, increase cash value over time. This accumulated value can become a significant financial resource for the grandchild's future needs, such as educational expenses or startup capital for a business venture.

  • Financial security for the grandchild: The grandchild can access the policy's cash value later in life for various financial needs, giving them a head start on financial planning and security.

With these types of policies, the grandparent purchases a plan for the grandchild, who is the insured. The beneficiary can either be the grandparent or another designated person.

The Three Parties in an Insurance Contract

Before purchasing a life insurance policy for your grandchild, it's important to understand the different roles within the contract. An insurance contract typically involves three key parties with distinct roles and responsibilities:

  • The Insured: The insured is the individual whose life the policy covers. In this context, the grandchild is the insured. The policy aims to provide coverage for their life, with the benefits distributed upon their passing.

  • The Policy Owner: The policy owner is the individual or entity responsible for maintaining the policy. They pay the premiums and make critical decisions regarding the plan. In this scenario, the grandparent assumes the role of the policy owner, ensuring the policy remains active by timely payment of premiums.

  • The Beneficiary: The beneficiary is the designated individual or entity set to receive the death benefit upon the insured's passing. The beneficiary could be a parent, a grandparent or even a trust, depending on the goals of the policy. The death benefit provides financial support, helping to cover costs associated with the insured's passing or serving other financial needs.

What Is Insurable Interest?

Insurable interest refers to an aspect of insurance contracts stating that the person buying the insurance policy has a legitimate interest in preserving the insured's life. It ensures the purchaser isn't using the insurance contract for speculative or illegal purposes.

Regarding life insurance for grandchildren, insurable interest exists when the policy owner (the grandparent) is likely to suffer loss if the insured grandchild were to pass away. The grandparent might suffer emotionally or financially due to their grandchild's passing.

The concept of insurable interest in life insurance for grandchildren extends beyond the potential loss. Grandparents typically have a vested interest in the well-being of their grandchildren and, in many cases, wish to ensure their grandchildren's financial future. This policy could cover potential future expenses, such as educational costs, or provide a financial cushion for the grandchild's adult life.

Pros of Getting Life Insurance for Grandchildren

Getting life insurance for grandchildren can be a strategic move with several potential benefits for both grandparents and their grandchildren.

  • Financial Security: One of the main advantages of life insurance is the financial security it provides. If a grandchild were to pass away unexpectedly, the policy would pay out a death benefit. This money could help cover funeral costs, medical bills or other associated expenses, alleviating financial stress during a difficult time.

  • Investment Tool: Some life insurance policies, particularly whole life policies, have a cash value component. This benefit means that over time, a portion of your premiums builds up into a cash value. You can borrow against this or withdraw this cash value providing a potential source of funds for future expenses like college tuition or a down payment on a house.

  • Guaranteed Insurability: Life insurance policies purchased for grandchildren often have a guaranteed insurability rider. This rider guarantees that the grandchild will be able to obtain life insurance coverage in the future, regardless of any health conditions they may develop.

The benefits of a life insurance policy could protect your family's future in several different ways.

Cons of Getting Life Insurance for Grandchildren

While purchasing life insurance for grandchildren can have advantages, weighing these against the potential downsides is essential. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Cost: Life insurance policies, particularly whole life policies, can be quite costly. The premiums for these policies, which you must pay regularly, can be high. Over time, these costs can accumulate, potentially straining your financial resources. This cost can be especially significant if you manage your expenses on a retirement income.

  • Unnecessary Coverage: Life insurance primarily provides financial support to dependents in the event of the policyholder's death. However, most grandchildren are not financial providers, so the coverage may not be necessary for the grandparent. It's important to evaluate whether the premiums' cost outweighs the policy's potential benefits.

  • Better Investment Options: While life insurance can be a form of investment, other options may offer better returns. For instance, a 529 college savings plan can help you save for future educational expenses. These plans often offer tax advantages and could provide a higher return on investment for this specific purpose. It may be worth exploring these alternatives before deciding on a life insurance policy.

The choice to purchase life insurance for your grandchildren will depend on how much these downsides may apply to you.

Types of Life Insurance for Grandchildren

There are several types of life insurance policies to choose from. Each one has its own features and benefits. The right option depends on your needs, circumstances and goals.

If you're looking for a policy for your grandchildren, you may want to start with the most common types of life insurance policies grandparents purchase for their grandkids.

  • Term Life Insurance: This is a policy that offers coverage for a specific period or "term." This period could be 10, 20 or even 30 years. If the grandchild, the insured in this case, outlives the term, the policy expires without any remaining value. It's like renting a safety net for a certain period. If you don't use the death benefit, it goes away at the end of the term. This type of insurance is typically more affordable than whole life insurance but offers no financial benefit if the policy ends unused. Depending on the insurance company, term life insurance may not be available if the child is a minor.

  • Whole Life Insurance: This provides coverage for the insured's whole life. As long as you pay your premiums, the policy remains in effect. Whole life insurance policies also have a cash value component. Cash value means a portion of your premiums builds up into a cash value over time. This cash value can be accessed in the future, providing a potential source of funds for college tuition, a house down payment or even retirement.

Choosing the best policy for you will depend on the benefits you value most for your family.

What If Your Grandchild Is a Minor?

The most common type of life insurance policy for minors is whole life insurance. Since this policy offers lifetime coverage and a cash value component that grows over time, it's like buying them a safety net and a savings account. Insurance companies usually require parental consent if you purchase life insurance for a minor.

Once your grandchild reaches adulthood, depending on the policy terms, you may be able to transfer the policy to them. A transfer means they take over paying the premiums and become the policy owner. This transfer can be a valuable financial gift, providing them with both life insurance coverage and a potential source of savings.

How Much Life Insurance Should You Buy?

Deciding on how much life insurance to buy for your grandchild involves carefully considering your circumstances. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Purpose of the Policy: The primary reason for buying the policy can significantly influence the coverage amount. For instance, if the policy is more of a financial safety net, you might opt for a higher coverage amount.

  • Financial Situation: Your current financial situation is another critical factor. While providing a substantial policy for your grandchild is beneficial, it's equally important to ensure that the premium payments fit comfortably within your budget.

  • Grandchild's Future Needs: Consider your grandchild's potential future needs if you aim to build up the cash value component of a life insurance policy. These needs could include education costs, a first car, a home down payment or even starting a business. The policy should be substantial enough to support these potential needs.

  • Possible Coverage Limitations: Some insurers may have restrictions on the coverage amount, policy type or other features for policies issued on minors. For example, there might be a maximum coverage amount that you can purchase for a child, or certain riders or benefits may not be available.

How to Get Life Insurance for Grandchildren

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the journey of purchasing life insurance for your grandchildren:



Start by familiarizing yourself with the different types of life insurance policies available for grandchildren. Typically, whole life insurance policies are available for minors, providing both death benefits and a cash value component. Term life insurance may also be an option in some cases. Understand the features, benefits and potential drawbacks of each type. This process could involve online research or reaching out to insurance agents.


Compare Quotes and Insurance Companies

The next step is to shop around. Get quotes from different insurance companies and compare them. Look at the coverage each policy offers, the cost of premiums and the insurance company's reputation. This practice will help you find the best policy at the most affordable price.



After deciding on the type of policy and the coverage amount, the next step is to apply. The application process may involve providing information about the grandchild's health and medical history. Be prepared to answer these questions honestly and accurately. Any discrepancies, such as incorrect, incomplete or misleading information, can lead to complications down the line, such as cancellation of the policy or denial of a claim.

Certain health conditions or illnesses in the child may lead to denial of the policy altogether. For example, if the child has a chronic illness or a condition that the insurer considers high-risk, it may affect their eligibility or the policy's terms.


Review and Purchase

Once the application is approved, you'll receive a policy proposal. Review this document carefully. Ensure it aligns with your expectations and that you understand all the terms and conditions.

At any point in the process, you may consult an insurance professional or financial advisor who can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and goals. Once everything is in order, you can proceed with the purchase. The policy only comes into effect once you pay the first premium.

Frequently Asked Questions About Life Insurance for Grandchildren

Below are some common questions that you may find helpful as you decide whether getting life insurance for grandchildren is the right option for you.

About Melissa Wylie

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Melissa Wylie is a Content and SEO Manager at MoneyGeek. Melissa has worked in the financial content space since 2018 and has spent much of that time focused on all things small business.

Prior to joining MoneyGeek, Melissa held SEO positions at Bankrate and LendingTree. Melissa’s work has also appeared on LendingTree-owned websites ValuePenguin and MagnifyMoney.

Melissa began her career at American City Business Journals in 2015 as a reporter for the company’s women-focused publication Bizwomen. Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of North Texas. Melissa relies on her foundation in journalism to craft content that simplifies complex financial topics to help everyone feel confident when making decisions with their money.

Melissa's other work can be read on LendingTree and Bizwomen.