Some companies sell it. Others hate it. Is it ever smart to buy life insurance on your children's lives?

It's a tricky subject. In a Bankrate article, the chairman of Allianz (NYSE: AZ) Life said that he believes selling life insurance for kids is contemptible. But many other companies offer it.

The other day, on our Insurance discussion board, Community member SlayTheDragon shared a scary account of how his 17-year-old daughter barely survived a car accident. It shook him up enough to wonder, given his family's tight finances, if he should get some insurance on his kids' lives to cover funeral expenses, should it ever come to that.

My take has long been to say no, few people need insurance on their children. Life insurance is meant to protect an income stream that can disappear due to a death. That's why parents should consider carrying it -- because others are depending on their income.

Many good points were made on the board:

  • Kook79 noted that parents might face steep medical bills, too. He also noted that children don't have high mortality rates or any financial issues that need to be resolved upon death. I can't argue with that -- the odds of needing this insurance are extremely low. We should all make sure we're protected against more likely calamities before tackling this grim one.
  • EmbraceableEwe noted: "The true problem is that you have insufficient funds, period -- i.e. for any 'emergency' which comes up." Exactamundo. We all need to have emergency funds available. Learn more about them in our Savings Center.
  • Esbita, who sells insurance, pointed out that riders can be added to parents' policies, providing for children.

There were many good points made, so I encourage you to check out the whole discussion.

My bottom line remains that it's probably best to bypass this insurance. Instead, though, you might take the money you'd have paid in premiums for it and park that in your emergency fund. That's a good way to help your child no matter what happens.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Try any of our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.