I'm a Stay-at-Home Parent. Do I Need Life Insurance?

A mom carrying her baby while her daughter walks next to her through the produce section of a grocery store.

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The quick answer? You might.

Key points

  • Some parents opt to stay home with their kids rather than work.
  • It can still pay to get life insurance if that's your situation.

You'll often hear that it's important to put a life insurance policy in place if there are people in your life who rely on you for financial support. For example, if you're the sole breadwinner in a household of five people, your family would likely struggle financially in the event of your passing -- hence the need for life insurance.

But what if you don't work? That's a route many parents take, especially when their kids are young.

These days, the cost of childcare is downright astronomical. And reliable care can also be difficult to find. As such, many parents make the decision to take some time out of the workforce and stay home with their children, especially when they're too young to attend school.

If that's your situation, you might assume you don't need life insurance. After all, if you don't earn an income, you wouldn't be leaving your family in the lurch if you were to pass away suddenly, right?

But actually, in some cases, it could be worthwhile to get life insurance even if you don't bring in a penny of income. Here's why.

When your family incurs expenses in your absence

Being a stay-at-home parent often means not just caring for young children, but also maintaining a household. Your daily tasks could run the gamut from cleaning to grocery shopping to cooking.

If you pass away, someone else will need to take over those duties. And if your kids aren't old enough to stay home alone, your family will need to bear the cost of childcare so your surviving partner can work. And that's precisely why it could pay to get yourself a life insurance policy.

Imagine your spouse works full-time while you care for two young kids and take care of your home. If you were to pass away, it might cost your spouse $20,000 a year to pay for full-day care so they can continue to hold down their job. And it might cost your spouse another $3,000 a year to pay for house cleaning services if their schedule doesn't provide time for that. Plus, if your surviving spouse can't cook or doesn't have time to do so, they might end up spending an extra $100 a week on takeout food or meal delivery kits. That's a cost that could strain your household budget.

As such, you shouldn't assume you don't need life insurance just because you don't work. You may not need as generous a policy as someone who does work, but it can still be worth it to put coverage in place to account for the costs your family might incur in your absence.

A different way to think about life insurance

Rather than base your decision to apply for life insurance on whether you earn money and how much you earn, ask yourself this: If I were to pass away, would my loved ones get hurt financially? If the answer is yes, then it pays to apply for a policy and give the most important people in your life the protection they need and deserve.

Our picks for best life insurance companies

Life insurance is essential if you have people depending on you. We’ve combed through the options and developed a best-in-class list for life insurance coverage. This guide will help you find the best life insurance companies and the right type of policy for your needs. Read our free review today.

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