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Can I Get Life Insurance While Pregnant?

Having life insurance in place while you’re pregnant financially protects your family and loved ones should something happen during or following your pregnancy. In most cases, you can still take out a life insurance policy while pregnant, but it's best to do it sooner.

Key takeaways:

Having life insurance in place is especially important when you have young children, so it’s not uncommon for mothers-to-be to seek coverage before their baby is born. If you’ve waited until you’re pregnant to get a life insurance policy, it’s not too late. In most situations, you can still get life insurance coverage when you’re pregnant and add coverage for your newborn child.

When to apply for life insurance if you’re pregnant

The best rates for life insurance while pregnant will be in the first trimester, especially if you have complications later in the pregnancy. Your rates may be higher the longer you wait or if you’ve had past pregnancy complications. Rates also may be higher than they would be if you waited until after the baby is born. However, any time you put off getting life insurance, you’re taking a risk. Additionally, with all the new responsibilities of caring for your baby, it’s easy to let applying for life insurance slip through the cracks.

How pregnancy affects your life insurance rates

Your rates may or may not be higher if you apply for a policy during your first trimester. The longer you wait, the more your pregnancy may impact your rates.

Insurance companies use several factors to determine life insurance rates, including gender (women generally live longer than men, so their rates are slightly lower), age, and health risks. If you have a history of pregnancy complications, the insurance company may keep that in mind.

Weight is another issue the life insurance company will consider, as obesity can lead to increased health problems. Most companies will base your life insurance rate on your pre-pregnancy weight, but some may look at your current pregnancy weight, which can increase your premium. They may also consider whether you’ve gained more weight than expected. If you wait to apply within six months post-partum, most companies will use your pre-pregnancy weight as their basis.

Complications are another factor that impacts pregnancy life insurance premiums. Underwriters will consider factors such as gestational diabetes, increased cholesterol, pre-eclampsia, and pre-existing health issues. If you have been pregnant before, they’ll look into things like past pregnancy complications, as well as if you have a history of postpartum depression. Finally, the risk increases if you carry more than one baby.

How to buy life insurance while pregnant

If you are pregnant and want to buy life insurance, the earlier you apply, the better. When determining how much life insurance you need, you should look at the financial burdens your death would have on your family. With parenthood, this may be more than just a matter of lost income. Whether you earn income or are a full-time parent, your family will likely face added expenses in the case of your death. For example, they may need additional help with childcare and other household chores that you usually take care of.

You also should consider carrying enough insurance to cover your end-of-life expenses, pay off outstanding debt, and cover your children’s education, healthcare, and other costs.

Like any life insurance policy, you should review your budget and goals.

Term life insurance is less expensive than permanent life, but it must be renewed at the end of a predetermined number of years, or “term.” You may sometimes need extra life coverage when children are young, but not as much once they are grown. Your insurance provider can help you estimate the amount of insurance you need and which term length - typically 10, 20, or 30 years - is right for you.

On the other hand, permanent life insurance costs quite a bit more but lasts your life as long as you pay the premiums. Permanent life also builds cash value you can take out or borrow against to help cover later expenses – like your child’s college tuition.

Some people choose to take out a permanent life insurance policy and add a term life policy that will be in place while their children are still at home, canceling the term coverage as they grow up and move out of the home.

Finally, it’s essential to choose a life insurance provider with a good reputation and a solid financial rate to ensure your policy will be paid. You can check a life insurance company's solvency through AM Best or Moody's.

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How to customize your life insurance if you are pregnant

Life insurance riders are additional benefits that you can add to your policy for an additional fee. Some riders to consider include:

  • Child riders provide a small amount of coverage if something happens to your child. These riders often do not go into effect until a few days or weeks following your child's birth.
  • Disability income riders protect you if you are to become permanently disabled and no longer able to work. Adding these waivers would help provide the financial assistance necessary for raising a child. A rider’s benefit will not be as good as the coverage from a separate disability insurance policy, but it will provide you with some protection, and it generally costs quite a bit less.
  • Caretaker riders provide financial assistance to a child's caretaker if their parent/legal guardian dies.
  • Accidental death riders provide extra coverage in case you die in an accident.

Different insurance companies offer different life insurance riders at different rates. Be sure to discuss available riders with your insurance provider when taking out a life insurance policy for pregnancy.

How will pregnancy affect a medical examination?

Life insurance companies usually require a medical exam before your application is approved. For most policies, a medical representative will come to you and do basic procedures like checking vitals, drawing blood, taking a urine sample, and asking questions about your lifestyle, health, and family’s medical history. A more in-depth medical exam may be required if you have certain health issues or the policy amount exceeds a specific limit.

Be sure to inform the examiner that you are pregnant and answer all questions honestly. Lying during your examination is considered insurance fraud, and life insurance companies may not have to pay a death benefit on your policy.

If you are beyond your first trimester or if you have had complications, this could impact your medical exam or rates, but only sometimes. Your weight gain could also affect your rates, but it varies by insurance company. It’s best to ask the insurance provider how pregnancy could impact your exam and rates.

Keep in mind that if you are turned down because of pregnancy complications, you may still be eligible for life insurance through your employer’s group insurance program. You can reapply for private insurance when you are past your pregnancy.

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