Kids are out of the house, can we drop our life insurance?

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  • Now that the kids are out of the house, can we drop our life insurance?

Jill Overmyer

If you have children at home, you probably already know how important it is to have life insurance to provide for their well-being if you suddenly die. But what about once the kids are grown and out on their own?

Some empty nesters may think life insurance no longer is needed once the kids move out, but here are a few reasons from the Insurance Information Institute to think twice before cancelling your policy:

  • You still have others who rely on you. This may include your parents in a nursing home or adult children who are disabled or otherwise incapable of earning a living on their own.
  • You have financial obligations. Some empty nesters have lived in the same home for years and no longer have a mortgage. Many do, though. A life insurance policy would ensure that your financial responsibilities, such as a mortgage or other payments, don't overwhelm the surviving spouse.
  • One spouse may outlive the other by 20 years or more. If your spouse dies before you're old enough to receive full Social Security benefits, the survivor benefits you do receive will be reduced. Life insurance can bridge that gap.
  • You want to leave something for survivors. Some empty nesters continue to carry life insurance policies because they want to money for their children or charities after they die. A life insurance policy also can help offset the portion of money that goes to estate taxes, leaving more money for your spouse, children and grandchildren.
  • You want to cover expenses associated with an early death. In many cases, empty nesters who die much earlier than expected don't have money set aside for funeral and burial costs or final medical expenses. A life insurance policy can cover these costs.

If you're already retired or are afraid your age may disqualify you from life insurance benefits, policy options remain available. According to the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), one of the fastest-growing segments for life insurance in the United States is policies for those over age 60.

Final expense insurance is a form of life insurance for older Americans or those who have health problems. Most applicants qualify, but the policy amounts are much smaller than those for a typical life insurance policy (a maximum of $50,000 to$75,000, compared with $1 million or more under traditional coverage).