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Applying for life insurance when you’re pregnant

If you’re expecting, you may need life insurance. Here’s what you need to know if you’re applying for coverage while pregnant.

First of all, congratulations. You’re about to undertake a magical voyage, a rewarding new journey filled with unimaginable joy and unforgettable experiences. This truly is a special time.

Yep, getting life insurance is amazing. (And yes, having a kid will be great, too.)

We’re kidding, of course, but seriously: If you’re expecting, you need life insurance, now more than ever. Not only do you need to think of your partner if the worst should happen, but you will soon have a child (or children) to think of. And that’s on top of your mortgage or any other financial obligations you already share with your partner. You have a crucial role in the long-term financial security of your child, and while it’s never fun to think about, it’s of paramount importance that you prepare your family for the worst, no matter how unlikely it might seem.

But you knew that already. That’s why you’re here. So allow us to help you prepare you. For the purchasing life insurance part, at least. Here are a few things to know if you’re thinking about applying for life insurance while pregnant.

Being pregnant (probably) won’t affect your premiums

We get it. When you’re pregnant, you don’t always feel like your true self. And you’re concerned that your insurer may adjust your price because of the changes to your body. Well, good news: Your pregnancy won’t be held against you when you get the all-important life insurance medical exam. Insurers make some adjustments for normal weight gained during pregnancy, along with some expected differences in lab results. And like anyone else, pregnant women may be eligible for higher rate classes, depending on their health.

That said, pregnancy can lead to health complications, like high blood pressure or gestational diabetes, and those conditions could impact your life insurance premiums even after delivery. Which brings us to the next thing you should know.

It helps to apply sooner rather than later

Again: In many cases, pregnancy won’t affect life insurance premiums. But if you develop complications later in the pregnancy, it could make it more expensive to get life insurance coverage. History of complications, like gestational diabetes, may impact your premiums even later, when you’re not pregnant. And that’s why if you’re thinking about getting coverage, it’s best to apply as early in your term as possible. Doing so may result in more affordable premiums. And it will absolutely result in more peace of mind (something you’ll especially appreciate as a parent-to-be.)

Which reminds us, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to applying for life insurance. Being pregnant is not something you should be worried about hiding in your application or during your medical exam (it can’t hurt to let your phlebotomist/person administering your exam know you’re expecting). Honest responses will lead to a better application experience. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always reach out. Haven Life’s customer success team is available via email, live chat and phone (1-855-744-2836).

Planning to be a stay-at-home parent? You should still consider coverage

Some moms- (or dads)-to-be think they can skip life insurance coverage because they’re staying at home, and therefore don’t have an income. But realistically, a surviving parent will need to make adjustments to ensure adequate care for their child or children — hiring a caretaker or paying for day care, for example, or taking time off from work. That means valuing the contributions from everyone, not just the breadwinner. 

Most experts recommend you get life insurance covering 5 to 10 times your individual, annual income or equal to that of your working spouse. But in taking a closer look at some of the gender disparities in pay and coverage, this life insurance rule of thumb doesn’t always stack up. So you should do whatever works best for your personal financial situation. Remember, it’s better to have some life insurance coverage in place than none.

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How to choose a beneficiary

This can be the hardest thing for new parents: Choosing someone to take care of your children in the unfortunate event that both you and your partner should die. When naming a life insurance beneficiary, of course, the first person who comes to mind is your partner. However, it’s important to also consider naming an alternate beneficiary who would be in charge of taking care of your child if anything happened to you and your spouse. Often, this is the child’s grandparent or aunt or uncle. (Note: If you list a minor as a beneficiary — primary or alternate — you need to add a custodian who will manage the funds until the beneficiary is of legal age.)

Generally speaking, you’ll want to choose someone you trust deeply, as he or she will be responsible for managing the payout until your beneficiary is of age. (A custodian cannot use the money for themselves, but will still be responsible for managing it.) You should also be sure to notify this person before adding him or her to your life insurance policy, for (we think) obvious reasons.

Select the right life insurance coverage amount and term length

Having a child will forever change the way you think of time — your life will be divided into B.C. (before children) and A.D. (after the deluge). The years will go fast and the days will often go slow. The hour when you once went out will become the hour when you go to bed.

If you’re reading this, your child’s arrival presumably could coincide with the beginning of your term life insurance policy. Choosing an appropriate coverage amount and term length for your life insurance policy is a critical part of getting insured, and there’s no single one-size-fits-all right answer for what to get. Term life insurance policies are usually available in increments of 10, 15, 20 or 30 years, and the right term for you will depend on a range of factors.

Spoiler alert: Having children is a long-term expense, so you may want to consider something on the longer end of the spectrum. This will help provide a safety net for costs ranging from teething rings to college tuition, and the expenses in between. Of course, there is a range of other factors to consider, including your age, your income, any debts you already have and what you can afford. The good news is that you can use an online life insurance calculator to help determine what’s right based on a variety of personal factors.

Pregnancy is a busy, exhausting, exciting time, and there are cribs to build, maternity care appointments to schedule, and so many more things to do. But don’t let buying life insurance while pregnant fall through the cracks. Think of it this way: Taking the time to get covered now will provide peace of mind down the road — and proactively check one thing of that soon-to-be-expanding to-do list. You’ll never be completely ready for the wonderful new world ahead of you, but this is something you can do to ensure you’ll be more prepared for whatever life brings you. Well, this and putting together that crib.

Life insurance needs aren't one-size-fits-all.

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The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. Haven Life Insurance Agency does not provide tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Tom Anderson

About Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson is an award-winning financial journalist whose work has appeared in CNBC.comKiplinger’s Personal FinanceMoneyMonocle and Wired. He was a 2008-09 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University.

Read more by Tom Anderson

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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