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Should I get life insurance in my 20s?

Actually, you’re at the perfect age to think about life insurance. Here’s why.

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Your 20s are the perfect age to learn about life insurance. There are advantages to buying it at a young age, one of them being cost. You certainly don’t have to buy it if you’re not ready, but it never hurts to arm yourself with more options.

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Is it worth buying life insurance in my 20s?

In general, if you have people depending on your income — for example, parents, children or a spouse—— a life insurance policy can protect them financially if you die unexpectedly. While the odds of passing away in your 20s aren’t high, it’s still a possibility. And while the odds are relatively low, the rates you’ll score now will be a lot lower than if you applied for coverage in your 30s or 40s.

Odds of dying in your 20s

AgeWithin the next yearWithin the next 5 yearsWithin the next 10 yearsWithin the next 20 yearsWithin the next 30 years
200.07%0.41%0.90%2.20%4.67%
210.08%0.44%0.94%2.30%4.99%
220.08%0.45%0.98%2.41%5.34%
230.09%0.47%1.01%2.52%5.73%
240.09%0.48%1.04%2.64%6.15%
250.09%0.49%1.07%2.78%6.60%
260.10%0.51%1.11%2.94%7.10%
270.10%0.52%1.15%3.12%7.64%
280.10%0.54%1.20%3.32%8.23%
290.11%0.56%1.25%3.55%8.86%

*Based on the combined male and female percentages of our odds of dying data.

5 reasons to buy life insurance in your 20s

Here are five reasons why you might want to purchase a policy while you’re young:

1. The rates are cheap

The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper your rates will be — which is why it’s best to apply for life insurance as soon as you identify a need for it. As you age, your life expectancy is shorter and you’re more likely to develop health conditions, so insurers hike up your rates. But if you apply for coverage in your 20s, you can lock in a low premium for years – or even the rest of your life if you opt for a whole life policy.

2. You’re married

Many people tie the knot in their 20s. If you’re married —or planning to get married — you might want to take out a life insurance policy to replace your income and protect your spouse financially. If you die prematurely, your policy would kick in to pay for things like the mortgage or rent, credit card bills or car loans. It may also help your spouse maintain the lifestyle they’re accustomed to.

3. You’re having a baby

If you’re a parent, it’s a good idea to buy coverage that can help take care of your children if you were to die prematurely. Most young parents buy a policy that carries their kids through college, when they enter the workforce and start earning their own money. You can either name an adult beneficiary to manage the money according to your wishes, or work with an attorney to set up a life insurance trust. The trust outlines when and how the funds should be distributed to your kids.

4. You’re in debt

Let’s say you have student loans, like many twenty-somethings do. If you die before paying off a private loan, your beneficiaries will be responsible for those repayments. To prevent that from happening, consider buying a life insurance policy. If you die, your beneficiaries can use the proceeds to settle any outstanding debts. They can also use the money to cover your funeral costs and final expenses.

5. You want to start investing

If you buy permanent life insurance at an early age, your premiums could grow into a sizeable cash asset as the years go by. Once you’ve built up enough cash value — which usually takes 10 to 15 years — you can start taking out loans against your policy. Or, you can surrender the cash value and funnel that money into other investments.

While life insurance can be a handy investment vehicle, it’s a good idea to compare your options. Depending on your risk tolerance, you may be able to grow your money faster in other investments.

How much does life insurance cost in your 20s?

You might be surprised by how inexpensive life insurance can be. If you’re in good health, it’s possible to get a 20-year term life policy with a $250,000 death benefit for around $15 a month.

Average monthly premiums of a $250,000 20-year term life policy for individuals in excellent health

Age
Average monthly premiums for a male
Average monthly premiums for a female
20
$18.00
$14.52
21
$17.89
$14.49
22
$17.81
$14.49
23
$17.68
$14.49
24
$17.57
$14.47
25
$17.48
$14.56
26
$17.56
$14.66
27
$17.65
$14.82
28
$17.73
$14.94
29
$17.78
$14.57

* Based on the rates of 12 providers provided to us by Quotacy

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What type of life insurance should I buy?

Term life insurance is the simplest and cheapest policy, and offers protection for a set period of time. For instance, a 30-year policy can cover you well into your working years, when you might need a death benefit most. By the time it expires, you’ll probably have fewer financial obligations – and won’t need as much insurance. At that time, you can renew your policy or take out another life insurance policy.

If you want lifelong coverage, or you want to supplement your retirement savings, you could opt for a permanent policy — like whole life.

Pros and cons of buying life insurance in your 20s

Pros

  • Lock in low premiums. Keep a premium based on your current health before you get older and potentially develop health conditions.
  • Relatively inexpensive. A term life policy can be budget-friendly depending on which coverage amounts you choose.
  • Cash-value growth. If you purchase a whole life policy, you give your cash value more time to grow.

Cons

  • A lower percentage of use. At this age, you may not have many people depending on your income, so life insurance can feel like an extraneous expense compared to getting life insurance at an older age.
  • Low return on investment. Instead of paying an insurance premium, you could potentially get a higher return by investing your money elsewhere.

Compare life insurance for people in their 20s

Name Product Issue Ages Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Medical Exam Required
Bestow
21 - 54 years old
$50,000
$1,000,000
No
Affordable 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies with instant quotes and no medical exams.
LadderLife™ Life Insurance
20 - 60 years old
$100,000
$8,000,000
No
Term life insurance with no policy fees and the freedom to cancel anytime. Simple application process that can get you approved for coverage instantly.
Policygenius
18 - 85 years old
$10,000
$10,000,000+
Depends on provider and policy
Compare affordable quotes from 12+ A-rated life insurance companies side-by-side.
Sproutt
18 - 100 years old
$50,000
$3,000,000
No
This life insurance broker combines technology and the human touch to match you with a policy tailored to your needs.
Fabric
25 - 60 years old
$100,000
$5,000,000
No
Get affordable term life insurance with accelerated underwriting or no-exam coverage up to $1,000,000. Available in all states except CA, NY and MT.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

If you’re a 20-something, it’s not too early to think about life insurance. In fact, it’s a perfect time to start your research.

You may be able to lock in a great premium at your age. If you do, you can pay the same rate for decades, or even for life. You’ll be covered by a death benefit well into your working years and perhaps after you’ve retired.

Want to learn more? Check out our comprehensive guide to life insurance, where you can research your options and compare providers.

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