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Do Single People Need Life Insurance?

life insurance single people

When most people think of life insurance, they typically picture a married couple with children. However, life insurance is not just for those with dependents. Single individuals can benefit from having life insurance, too.

In this article, we’ll explore why life insurance may be a good idea for single people, what types of life insurance are available, how much coverage you may need, and tips for purchasing life insurance.

Why Single People May Need Life Insurance

Despite not having any current dependents, there are still many reasons why a single person might want to consider purchasing a life insurance policy for him or herself. Among those reasons may include outstanding debts, such as mortgages, car loans, or student loans, which could become the responsibility of their family members upon their unexpected passing.

Additionally, funeral expenses can be costly and can burden loved ones. If an individual has a significant estate, their beneficiaries may also have to pay estate taxes. Life insurance can help alleviate these financial concerns and provide security for loved ones.

So before we move on to other topics regarding purchasing a life insurance policy as a single person, let’s first list the Top 10 Reasons we hear from our single clients as to why they want to purchase a life insurance policy for themselves.

#1. Life insurance does have benefits for the “living insured.”

Most of the best life insurance companies offer additional living benefits, sometimes at no extra cost. Various living benefits (i.e., you can use them while alive) are available.

Disability income rider.

A disability income rider is an add-on on life insurance policies, allowing the policyholder to receive a monthly payment if permanently disabled.

Terminal Illness Rider

One often included living benefit rider is the terminal illness rider, AKA accelerated death benefit rider.
This living benefit allows an insured to access the death benefit while living if they meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the policy.

Critical Illness Rider.

A critical care rider would allow a living insured to collect a portion of their life insurance policy to pay for unexpected medical expenses that could arise due to a medical emergency in which one is expected to survive.

Examples of such emergencies may include suffering from a heart attack or a stroke, being diagnosed with cancer, or suffering from some serious injury.

A Chronic illness rider.

If you are diagnosed with a qualifying chronic illness, the chronic illness rider allows you to have access to a portion of your death benefit.

Generally, the requirement outlined in the policy to qualify for this living benefit is the insured is unable to perform two out of six daily living activities (ADLs). ADLs include eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, walking, and continence.

#2. Financial Strategies.

Owning a life insurance policy (particularly a whole life insurance policy) can allow an insured to utilize various financial strategies that can significantly benefit the insured while alive. Unfortunately, many of these “strategies” go beyond the scope of this article.

However, if you are interested in learning more about how a whole life insurance policy could be used as a financial “tool,” we would suggest that you read our article: Infinite Banking: Top 10 Pros and Cons, which goes into great detail about how some individuals choose to use some whole life insurance policies as a way grow and manage wealth.

#3. Just because you’re “Single” now doesn’t mean you’ll always be single.

If and when you ever decide to purchase a life insurance policy, it’s essential to understand that it will be something you will need to qualify for. This means that just because you “can” qualify for a life insurance policy now while you are single, there is no guarantee that you will qualify for coverage later on.

#4. Are you sure you don’t have any dependents?

It’s not all that uncommon for young single people to fail to realize that their death could potentially affect a lot of people around them financially. This is because, in many situations, the debt that they “own” frequently doesn’t only belong to them. Often, single people will have financial obligations to others around them.

Obligations such as:

  • Credit card debt,
  • Auto loans,
  • Mortgages, and
  • And privately held student loan debt.

#5. Not everyone is born into wealth.

In many families, adult children will find that their parents may become dependent upon them as they grow older. So, while you may not have any dependent children, you may need to financially support someone else in your family, whether a parent or a sibling. In situations like these, were you to pass away prematurely without a life insurance policy in place, it could be that this family member who is or will ultimately become dependent upon you will now be left on their own at a very vulnerable time in their life.

#6. Diagnosed early.

There are a variety of pre-existing medical conditions that, on their own, maybe insurable; however, when one or two of these “different” conditions coexist within the same applicant, that person will now be ineligible for coverage.

For this reason, if you have already been diagnosed with a pre-existing medical condition like:

You may want to purchase a life insurance policy in advance while still eligible for coverage before adding additional health issues into the “mix.” Conditions such as:

#7. Genetic Disposition.

Along these same lines, if you know that your family has a predisposition for certain genetic disorders (such as breast cancer), that could make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to be able to purchase a life insurance policy later on in life, you may want to seriously consider purchasing a life insurance policy now while you still can.

#8. Insurance policies as collateral.

Because insurance can be seen as an asset, it can also be used as collateral for business loans or business partners’ buy-sell agreement policies. So, while you may not need to purchase a life insurance policy to protect a spouse or a child, you might need or want one to be able to leverage it for a loan or a partnership.

#9. Legacy building.

With this one, let’s assume you never marry or have a child (which isn’t necessarily bad). For some, however, it does leave one feeling like maybe they didn’t leave their “mark” on this world. In cases like these, some single individuals may choose to purchase a life insurance policy and make the beneficiary of their policy their:

  • Alma mater,
  • Charity,
  • Church

This way, they can know that they were able to make a difference in some way in their passing.

#10. Funeral Expenses.

OK, so let’s assume that the last nine reasons we have laid out on why a single person might want to purchase a life insurance policy haven’t convinced you that you need coverage. But it is important to remember that.

“Dying may be free, but being cremated or buried isn’t!”

Unless your estate has around $10,000 in liquid assets to pay for your funeral, your friends and family may be stuck with the bill, so even a tiny final expense or burial insurance policy may be ideal.

Types of Life Insurance for Single Individuals

There are two main types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance, and term and whole life insurance.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance covers a specified period, such as 10, 20, or 30 years. If you were to pass away during the term, your beneficiaries would receive the death benefit. This type of insurance is often more affordable than permanent life insurance and can be a good option for single individuals who have specific financial obligations they want to protect.

Whole life insurance

On the other hand, whole life insurance covers your entire life and typically has a cash value component. There are different types of permanent life insurance, including real life, universal life, and variable life insurance. Permanent life insurance can be more expensive than term life insurance. Still, it can also provide additional benefits, such as the ability to borrow against the cash value or use it to pay premiums in the future.

Now, we’ll be the first to acknowledge that these definitions are rudimentary (at best), but that’s because this article’s goal isn’t to delve into the intricacies of each insurance type. Instead, this article aims to clarify why specific single individuals may want to contemplate acquiring life insurance for themselves.

How much life insurance should single people have

The amount of life insurance that single individuals should have depends on their financial situation. Consider outstanding debts, funeral expenses, and potential future financial responsibilities to determine the appropriate coverage amount.

Additionally, reflect on the standard of living you would like to provide for your loved ones in case of an unexpected passing. As a rule of thumb, having enough coverage to replace five to ten years of your income is advisable.

For younger applicants, it may also be a good idea to use “price” as a guide because even though someone might not think they need an enormous amount of insurance, if the price between a $100,000 and a $250,000 life insurance policy is too significant, most would agree to be “over-insured” is much better than being UNDER INSURED.

Insurance calculators such as this can also be a good guide in determining how much life insurance one might need.


Adjust the sliders to fit your criteria. View your results below.

What’s your current age:
Expected college expenses for kids:
Burial costs:
Annual net income during retirement:
Number of years in retirement:
Money in investment accounts:
Annual investment contribution:


Based on your inputs, we recommend a life insurance policy with an approximate value of:

Your total cost for
years of retirement at
per year is:

Assuming you retire at age
, you have
investing years left. Using a
annual rate of return for your investments, you're expected to earn a total of

Tips for purchasing life insurance for single individuals

Here are some suggestions for single individuals purchasing life insurance:

  1. Compare policies: It’s important to shop around and compare policies from different insurers. Look at the coverage amount, premium cost, and additional riders or options that may be available.
  2. Consider your health and lifestyle: Your age, health, and lifestyle can impact your life insurance premiums. Be prepared to answer questions about these factors when applying for coverage.
  3. Determine the appropriate coverage amount: Calculate the coverage amount based on your financial situation, outstanding debts, and future financial obligations.
  4. Choose the correct type of coverage: There are two primary types of life insurance: term and permanent. Consider your situation when choosing the right kind of coverage.
  5. Consider additional riders: To provide extra protection, you may want to add disability income riders or accelerated death benefits to your policy.

By following these tips, you can find the right life insurance policy to meet your individual needs and help protect your loved ones financially. 

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to purchase a life insurance policy as a single individual is yours to make. However, it’s essential not to be misled by the misconception that single individuals without dependents don’t require life insurance. As this article has demonstrated, life insurance can significantly benefit individuals without dependents.

Suppose you want to learn more about how a life insurance policy can benefit you or its associated costs. In that case, we encourage you to contact us for further information.

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