If you’re in your late teens or 20s, chances are life insurance is yet to cross your mind. But if you have children, or simply a partner relying on you to help pay the bills and the mortgage, taking out life cover as a young adult could be something you need to consider, and here’s why.
We tend to live life to the full between the ages of 18 and 30, but it’s often a time we find ourselves making some big life decisions, too. Whether it’s choosing a career path, meeting a long-term partner or buying your first home, the decisions we make can have lasting implications.
You might even be starting a family; while the average age of first-time parents is increasing in the UK, many of us are still deciding to have children before reaching our milestone 30th birthday. Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in 2016, nearly 15% of mothers were aged between 20 and 24, while more than a quarter were between 25 and 30. This equates to more than four in every 10 mums being in this decade of their lives - yet 60% of women with dependent children have no life cover in place.
If you have dependents, it’s never too early to think about how they will be taken care of. Life insurance is one of the cheapest ways to protect your family’s finances should the unthinkable happen; tragically, every year in the UK, many children experience the loss of a parent.
Martin Lewis, the UK’s money saving expert and consumer champion, recently spoke candidly about the loss of his mum in a car accident, just three days before his 12th birthday. Describing it as the end of his childhood, the patron of charity Grief Encounter now wants to help the estimated one in 29 children who lose a parent get the vital support they need. The Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that in 2015, 41,000 children experienced the death of a parent by the time they were 17 - the equivalent of 112 newly-bereaved children every day.
The grief of losing a parent can be compounded by the impact of a sudden reduction in household income, which, in turn, can lead to the loss of the family home. In an interview on ITV’s This Morning, Martin advised that life insurance is something that parents ‘do need to think about’ - even if a partner, such as an at-home parent, doesn’t earn an income. Life insurance, which can include critical illness cover depending on the policy you take out, pays out a tax-free lump sum to the remaining parent or carer, giving them the financial support they need to take an extended break from work or pay for childcare.
Even if you don’t have children, life insurance is still a wise option if you have a partner with whom you share mortgage repayments or rent and general living costs. The good news is that taking out life cover in your 20s can be considerably cheaper than if you wait, as the earlier you buy, the lower the cost tends to be. This is because life insurance premiums are calculated on factors including your risk of getting one of a list of health conditions that more commonly crop up after the age of 30 - for example, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Several other factors are also taken into account when calculating the cost of life cover, with different insurance companies weighting factors differently. It’s therefore worth shopping around and comparing life insurance quotes online before you decide on the best policy for you. You can also read our article busting the myths about life insurance - you might be surprised at what you learn!
Thinking and talking about your death is never easy, but planning for it now could really help the people you love to manage if you’re no longer there. It just takes a few grown-up conversations, then you can get back to living life to the full!