Millennials—the generation of adults born between 1981 and 1996—are already a strong force throughout much of the world. They are driving trends and changing the culture, and at the same time striving for work-life balance and a happier existence. Their concerns are different than those that came before them, leading many millennials to delay the traditional life experiences that often defined their parents and grandparents.
These changes may make it all the more important for millennials to consider life insurance. However, much of the advice and myths around this financial product may lead young adults wondering if a policy is right for them.
Who life insurance is really for
Life insurance is often viewed as a product for “old people”, and it makes a lot of sense why. Many people’s first experience with life insurance is when an older relative passes away. They may receive all or part of an insurance benefit after a grandparent, parent, uncle or aunt dies.
Though many are lucky enough to receive a life insurance payout when the policy owner is very old and has lived a full life, that doesn’t mean that the policy was taken out in retirement. It’s far more likely that your grandfather, parents or aunt bought cover when they were much younger.
A lot of life insurance policies are designed with younger adults in mind. When you’re young, you are more likely to have large financial obligations. The benefit from a life insurance policy is generally meant to replace your lost income, should the worst happen and you’re no longer there to provide for your family.
Looking beyond life’s “big three” milestones
A life insurance policy is one way to help protect your and your loved one’s financial future. If you were to die unexpectedly, the benefit could be used for just about anything your family might need or want.
Life insurance has traditionally been marketed to people as they reach the “big three” life milestones: marriage, buying a home and starting a family. But as millennials buck trends by delaying or skipping these steps, they might not see themselves as the ideal insurance customer.
This may not be the case. Though young adults are typically delaying marriage and children, there may still be a need for them to have a policy. A de facto partner may rely on your salary to help pay the rent or mortgage, the same as if you were married. You might have other relatives (such has grandparents, parents or cousins) who also rely on you financially. A life insurance benefit could allow your family—whoever this may be—to pay any large debts you leave behind, such as a student loan or car payment.
Of course, many millennials are getting married, having kids and buying homes—though this may be later in life than their parents. For them, life insurance could be a way to care for a growing family after they’re gone. The money could go towards a mortgage, helping loved ones keep the family home. It could also pay school or university fees, giving your children the future you planned for them.
And no matter what your family looks like, a life insurance benefit could help cover hefty funeral bills, which could be as much as $15,000 or more. Also, many policies will pay the benefit amount if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness. That way, the money could be used for medical care or to allow your spouse to take time off work. You might even decide to take a dream holiday, so you and your family can create cherished memories while you’re still with them.
Millennials could pay less than older adults
Since life insurance is geared toward younger people, millennials may find it easier and cheaper to get covered than their parents.
Age is one factor that life insurers use to help determine how much someone will pay for a policy. These regular payments, known as premiums, are generally lower the younger you are. This is because young adults are typically healthier than older people, so insurers may assume less risk when covering them.
This may be even truer for millennials. Recent studies indicate that millennials are more concerned with health and wellness, and are more likely than other generations to make these changes a priority. They also are more likely to have never smoked, another factor that can impact someone’s life insurance premiums.
This general good health could also help many millennials when it comes to policy exclusions. These are conditions placed on many insurance policies that help determine when a benefit will or will not be paid. The younger you are, the less likely you are to have the types of pre-existing conditions that life insurers look out for. This might include things like heart disease or high blood pressure.
By taking out a life insurance policy while they’re young and healthy, millennials could get a better deal than if they wait. Their policy may be less likely to have health-related exclusions. They could also pay less in premiums as time goes on by getting covered earlier in life.
Is life insurance right for me?
We’ve gone into why it may be easy for millennials to get life insurance, but that doesn’t answer the question of whether it’s worth it for them or not. For some, life insurance may seem like an unnecessary expense. Why pay for something that you may never need?
In this way, millennials aren’t much different than older generations. Thinking about your own death isn’t something many of us like to do, and getting a life insurance policy often brings up these types of uncomfortable thoughts. It may even feel like tempting fate to imagine a future where you’re not there to care for the ones you love.
But unfortunately, the unexpected does happen. In fact, the leading cause of death for men and women aged 20-34 is accidental injury, something that cannot be predicted. The peace of mind that life insurance may provide could outweigh the financial cost of having a policy. Yes, you hope you’ll never need it, but it might be nice to know that it’s there—just in case.
Ready to get covered?
As millennials continue to get older, many will continue to weigh their options when it comes to helping protect their financial future. Life insurance is one tool to help do this, creating a safety net against the unexpected. Though their lifestyle and concerns are different than the generations that came before them, millennials’ need for life insurance may not be all that different.