Affordable life insurance for moms

single mom life insurance

Here’s the thing with life insurance for moms:

You know you’re supposed to have it, but you probably don’t because you think it is not affordable. Guilt and stress ensue. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Mama, you’re not alone …

A recent survey found that 69% of single-parent households with kids at home are without life insurance, compared with 45% of married-parent families.

Why do moms need life insurance?

Single or not, as a mom you need life insurance. As a mom, you probably think you don’t have time or money for life insurance. Think again!

A lot of single moms see life insurance as an expense, while important, they just can’t afford.

Or, they assume they can’t afford a plan.

I understand why this is — single moms are often poorer than married moms, so there is a sense that there is less to invest in insurance. But something else is going on.

When you feel like you don’t have enough money, it is hard to remember how critically important you are to your kids.

I don’t care how broke you are, single or married, you need life insurance.

Chances are, your kids are financially dependent on you. If something were to happen, even if once Social Security kicks in, your kids would still need more financial support.

Here are my top four picks for where to find the best life insurance plan, Haven Life, Ethos, and Policygenius. They are easy to use, online so you don't have to leave the comfort of your house, and most importantly I trust them to give you the best rates out there.

Life insurance you can afford as a single mom

I just went through Haven Life’s, life insurance calculator that did a great job of summing up my financial and family situation.

As a general rule, you want to buy enough to pay off debt and support your dependents until they are through college.

One good measure is to multiply your current income by 10 (so if you earn $80,000 per year, you would need to buy $800,000 worth of life insurance).

Sure, having some life insurance is better than having none at all, but if you do a little math, you can figure out how much insurance your kids will need.

How much debt do you have? How much do you make every year? Add these two numbers together. Boom! You have your life insurance number.

Your plan should pay off your debts and replace your income for several years. It’s as easy as that.

Haven Life life insurance calculator >>

Get a life insurance quote

The whole process takes less than 20 minutes.

Luckily, there are plenty of quick and easy ways you can get about a hundred different insurance quotes in a matter of minutes.

Bestow life insurance

Bestow stands out from other life insurance companies in several ways that make it especially appealing to single moms:

Very low premium options

Examples for a healthy 30-year-old non-smoker:

  • $3 / month, 2 years, $50,000, 2-year policy
  • $12 / months, 2 years, $250,000
  • $14/ month, 20 years, $250,000
  • $34 / month, 20 years, $1 million

Apply for Bestow now >>

Short-term life insurance options

Maybe you are going through a divorce or breakup, between jobs, or otherwise in a life transition. Signing up for a 30-year anything is too much. Bestow offers terms starting at 2 years. You can't find that many places.  (Read: Bestow life insurance review)

No medical exam ever

I couldn't believe this when I heard it. But it's true: Fill out the online life insurance application within about 5 minutes, and if you are approved, you will never have to take a medical exam, lab report, doctor's visit ever. 

Perfect if you're a busy mom, woman or human.

Legit life insurance company

Bestow policies are issued by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, which is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best that was founded in 1886.

Apply for Bestow life insurance now>>

Haven Life

For as low as $19 per month, you can get up to $1 million in coverage — plus sleep easier knowing you are taking care of your family.

Haven Life, is backed and wholly owned by MassMutual — a top-rated life insurer, which gets a Better Business Bureau A+ Rating. (Read: Haven Life review)

They offer great online tools like a calculator and quote page, friendly support and highly competitive rates.

Buy term, ladies!

Term life insurance means you pay a flat rate you pay each month or each year for a fixed term — usually 10, 20 or 30 years.

Don’t mess around with whole life insurance — a type of savings/investment policy that is complicated and not typically a very good deal.

Get a quote from Haven Life >>


Of course, you’re looking for a life insurance company you can trust.

As a mother, you understand the importance of family.

Ethos life insurance really takes a personal approach to life insurance and aims to treat their applicants like the humans they are — not just another number.

They take the time to actually look at their customers and understand their needs and what works for them, and promises to really deliver what you need — and take the pressure of upselling off the table. (Read: Ethos life insurance review)

Per their website:

“Our #1 priority is you and your family. We put you above our profits.”

Ethos does deliver on its promise to make life insurance transparent and as simple as possible, and wade through the confusing jargon and legal papers.

Get a life insurance quote from Ethos >>


Nationwide is more than just another big company selling insurance and financial products. They are in the business of problem-solving, and they do it with personalized and friendly service.

You can access online tools, learn about the different types of life insurance, get answers to questions, or receive an online quote in under a minute. But what I really like about Nationwide is that you can talk to a specialist who will answer your questions.  Since life insurance is about protecting your family, you want to feel confident, but you may not know all the answers. Nationwide's specialists make sure you get the right coverage.

I partner with Nationwide because they are a trusted brand that has been around for over 90 years, and they are owned by its policyholders (which I love).

Get a quote from Nationwide in less than a minute>>


If you want to shop around and get additional quotes, check out Policygenius. Policygenius has changed the way people buy life insurance.

Policygenius lets you get quotes from multiple of insurance carriers at once, and compare them side-by-side. They work with most of the top carriers on the market.

One of the advantages of Policygenius is how easy it to compare policies. After you enter your information, Policygenius cranks out a list of quotes in a dynamic format that allows you to adjust your needs, rates and compare policies head-to-head.

Get a quote from Policygenius >>

Do stay at home moms need life insurance?

What about if you’re a stay-at-home mom? Do you still need life insurance if you don’t have a paycheck?


How do you calculate your insurance needs if you’re a stay-at-home mom?

Take a few minutes and write down the answer to this question:

How much would it cost to replace everything you do?

Should you pass, your kids would need childcare, someone would need to run them to sports and music lessons, you need someone to clean the house, and much more.

Add up those expenses for one year, multiply times 10, and buy that sum of term life insurance.

Buy now

Yes, you will get a price break if you quit smoking or get your weight down to a healthy number.

But you also pay more with each birthday (the older you are, the more likely you are to bite the big one, after all!).

Plus (have you been listening to me here, ladies?!), you need coverage now.

So just buy it. This is as much for your peace of mind now as it is for your kids later.

Don’t let your policy lapse

If you do, your coverage will be canceled and you have to start the whole application process over — and prices are likely to jump.

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, noted blogger, and bestselling author. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour,, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.  Find out Emma's top Single Mom Resources here.


  1. Karen on February 16, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    I like this article a lot. Thank you, Emma, for bringing awareness to this issue.

    Don’t do term insurance if you can afford not too. I am a life insurance agent with New York Life Insurance. We are the oldest, biggest, and richest life insurance agency in the country. Term insurance is fine for a single parent SO LONG AS the parent converts to cash value life insurance within the first few years. Term insurance is temporary insurance. As Emma said, its only meant to last for 10-30 years. But after that, it becomes exorbitantly high! For young single parents, this is a problem.

    Cash value life insurance is better. (1) Over time you own the policy – just like after you finish paying your mortgage you own your home. (2) You can borrow from the policy. So if you get in a financial bind or you need to pay expenses for your child, like education, extra-curricular, etc., you can get a loan on your policy and just repay it later.

    Another great idea is to get a policy on your kids. Definitely NOT because we believe they will go before us – no parent wants that. But because kid policies have a long time to accrue cash value. So by time they turn 18, 25, or 30, they already have a policy that can be given to them with huge cash value.

    I’m a single mom to a 6-year old. When I got mine and my child’s policies, I felt a huge sense of relief because I knew I had provided for my baby and if I go early she’ll be taken care of. Please, just do it. Get the policy. Many whole life policies are extremely affordable – some as low as $40 or $50/month – but it all depends on the parent’s health.

    Hope this helps.

    • Karen on February 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      Sorry for my misspellings – I left my glasses at home today!!!

  2. Tom on May 13, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Good article. However Haven Life is not the best avenue to go. They represent ONE company. Depending on ONES health profile who knows what rates Haven Life will offer, or if they can even offer coverage.

    Smart people work with agencies who represent multiple companies. Bad advice being given from author to just “work” with Haven Life.

    • Frank Pistachio on May 10, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      Tom –

      At least be like Karen and admit that you’re an agent.

  3. Calli on December 19, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I am a single mom with a disability. We live mostly on my SSDI check and live simply. No one will sell me life insurance worth more than $50,000. It’s not that some of us are “stupid” it’s that $650.00 a month income only goes so far…

    • Emma on December 22, 2015 at 9:06 am

      That really is a challenge. Have you heard of other disabled moms who have found a way through this?

  4. Emma on September 11, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Great advice !

  5. DarthW on September 10, 2014 at 8:19 am

    OR be like the single mom who is dating an acquaintance of mine, and recently told (not asked) him to put her on HIS life insurance policy “to take care of us if something happens to you.” They’ve been DATING maybe a couple years, and this guy has his own grown kids to think about. Mind you the single mom owns nothing, lives at home with her own mama at 44 years old (with her drug-addled 20 year old ex-con son) because she can’t pay her own bills from her low paying jobs where she barely stays for a few months.

    Forget the man’s kids, in favor of her own, not to mention the man has no legal commitment to her. She’s a single mom, by gosh, her kids needs come before his kids needs, as usual.

    OH, and later she told him she wants to marry him, “So I can quit my job to stay home and take care of you.” – referring to the boyfriend. She doesn’t have young kids, and he’s been divorced for years and taken care of himself. Hmmmm. Sounds more like she wants to sit on her ass at home (a home at the beach she also wants him to pay for.) while he works to keep her in the style he’s providing, because gawd knows she doesn’t pay her own bills.

    Impress me single moms. Pay for your own life insurance, and other bills.

    • Catherine on July 24, 2016 at 7:54 am

      This is pretty vitriolic Darth. I dont doubt there are some free loaders out there but that is certainly not the majority. I work very hard at a professional full time job am a single mum and I pay my own life insurance. Think it’s always prudent not to generalise especially when you are on a site dedicated to the group you are stereotyping !

  6. Kelly on September 9, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Absolutely! I have life insurance, and I keep an updated will with trusts set up. I also have all the ‘legals’ in place for my children’s care and support as their father isn’t in the picture at all. Huge load off my shoulders knowing they’ll be good (at least financially!)

    • Emma on September 9, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Yes, removing the guilt/stress is a great reason to buy life insurance!!

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