I am running into problem. As I try to get life insurance for my 3 year old, Agents keep trying to sell ME insurance first. they say in NYS the state law requires me to have 4 times the insurance my child has. Is this true? If so what is the thinking behind this law? Is this true for all states? What about Maine? I also have a house in Maine. Maybe I should just buy there. Thoughts?

  1. 1185 POINTS
    Scott W Johnson
    Manager, Marindependent Insurance Services LLC, California
    As a general rule, Parents should have life insurance before their children do.

    The general rule of life insurance is that it is for replacement of income in the event of someone passing away.

    Some insurance companies may choose not to write insurance on kids of parents of themselves that do not have life insurance.
    Answered on April 28, 2017
  2. 21750 POINTS
    Jim Winkler
    CEO/Owner, Winkler Financial Group, Houston, Texas
    That is a great question! I have to start by saying that I am neither a Lawyer, nor a resident of New York, so I cannot say with certainty what the law there states, but I can help you figure this out. Let's start by agreeing that having life insurance for yourself protects your child as well as yourself. Let's also agree that perhaps that means there's more expense there than you'd like to bear.
    So here are a couple of suggestions you might want to look at.
    1.) Are you covered by a group policy at work? If so, will proof of that coverage work for the agent you are attempting to purchase your child's insurance from? Or, can you/have you added the child to your work policy? Not the best option if you were to leave work, but coverage nonetheless.
    2.) Knowing that most companies are going to want to sell you a policy first, perhaps you look at securing a term policy for yourself - one that will not break your budget, but satisfy the requirements needed to be able to purchase the policy for your child. If you look at an ROP (Return of Premium) term policy, you might even be able to structure it in a way that helps you out with permanent coverage as well. Either way, a term policy will be a short term, less expensive way to cover the both of you.
    3.) You might look at getting a policy for yourself, and adding your child on a rider (a clause added to the contract that provides additional benefits) to insure them as well for a period of time. That way you provide protection for your child, and provide coverage for them as well.
    4.) You could take a few moments and look at your State's Department of Insurance website, and see what exactly the minimums/requirements are (good luck with that, maybe the coffee hadn't kicked in yet, but I found New York's fairly unhelpful). Then work between them.
    I would look for an independent agent, and run your needs by them. I would be very open about your desire to seek a second opinion if the agent cannot come up with a viable solution for you. I promise you there is one. Thank you for asking your question, and for looking into providing for your child in a responsible and loving way. You rock! Good luck, and don't hesitate to contact me if you need any help.
    Answered on April 29, 2017
  3. 63333 POINTS
    Peggy Mace
    Most of the U.S.
    Some companies require the breadwinner to have life insurance before their stay-at-home spouse can get life insurance. So these type of rules can extend beyond buying life insurance on children.

    I certainly don't know the rationale used when setting this requirement, but I do know that many rules are set to reduce insurance fraud. Buying a large policy on a child, when the adult has no need for life insurance, could be a warning sign for money laundering, or in domestic disputes, even endanger the child.

    As with all rules, they tend to hamper law abiding and responsible citizens as yourself, just to keep a few bad characters from carrying out their evil deeds. But after 9-11, you do find that life insurance rules have tightened up, and not a lot any of us can do about it.
    Answered on August 2, 2017
  4. 375 POINTS
    Matthew Schmidt
    Diabetes Life Insurance Solutions, USA
    Insurance companies all have their own set of guidelines, when it comes to underwriting. In addition to Health guidelines, there are "financial" guidelines.

    Some carriers may be able to make an exception, if you can provide a valid, and detailed explanation as to why there is no insurance on yourself.
    Answered on November 21, 2017
  5. 11783 POINTS
    Larry GilmorePRO
    Agent Owner, Gilmore Insurance Services, Marysville, Washington State
    While each state may have different rules in regard to this situation, most insurance companies will be reluctant to issue a child's policy of any large size if the parents don't have coverage themselves.

    The exception would be something like a child actor where an economic loss could occur. Unfortunately in the past some people have found their children to be disposable and insurance simply adjusts the rules. So it will depend on what company you seek insurance from, but outside of being uninsurable yourself, a company would expect you to have insurance on yourself.
    Answered on December 30, 2017
  6. 216 POINTS
    Walker Bolin
    Insurance agent, Bolin Insurance, Natick MA
    I don't know all of the New York rules and don't practice there but they are basically the strictest state with life insurance regulations and this would not surprise me if they had a rule like that, which your local agents would know about. Normally you could purchase a child-only policy, although your own will most likely be more important and you can add the child as a rider.
    Answered on December 11, 2019
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