11 Reasons it Makes Sense to Buy Life Insurance in Your 30s

Buying life insurance in your 30s is often one of the best ways to financially prepare for your and your loved ones’ futures.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Life insurance is often seen as a financial investment that becomes necessary only when you’re older and have health problems. But it could be detrimental to think of it that way. Not getting life insurance when you’re young could prove to be a big money mistake that affects your entire financial roadmap.

Your 30s may be filled with major life occurrences, such as starting a family, owning a home, and earning more income than you did in your 20s. Life insurance helps provide financial protection as you move forward in life. It’s designed to help keep you and your family financially safe, which is why it can be one of the best money moves to make in your 30s.

11 reasons to have life insurance in your 30s

Cheaper premiums

Did you know life insurance premiums are often more affordable when you’re younger? This is because insurance companies usually see less risk in young, healthy individuals. On the other hand, older individuals with health problems could present a bigger risk for insurance companies, which is why their premiums are often higher. Some insurance companies may not even opt to insure you if you’re older than a certain age or have severe health issues.

The best life insurance companies offer free and quick online quotes for life insurance coverage.

Peace of mind

Insurance, whether home, life, or auto, can offer an abundance of benefits, including peace of mind. Life insurance shields loved ones from the unfortunate possibility of figuring out how to financially cope if you were to die. It’s not something anyone wants to think about, but it’s better to prepare now instead of possibly being caught in a vulnerable financial crisis later.

The common misconception for many people in their 30s is that they’re nowhere near the point in their lives where they think they need life insurance. For most people, that’s a logical conclusion. If you’re healthy, there’s rarely much to worry about. But if you want to be sure everything will be squared away financially in case the unexpected were to happen, life insurance can give you the peace of mind you need.

Replace lost income

Life insurance exists to help loved ones financially in the unlikely event of your death. Insurance can’t mend what was taken away emotionally, but it can ease the financial burden and let your loved ones focus on taking the time they need to grieve. A common financial consequence of the primary breadwinner dying is suddenly losing their consistent income.

If your loved ones are dependent on your income for everyday expenses, losing it could dramatically change their lives. If you know how life insurance works, you know you get to choose how much coverage you want from the available options. It’s often a good idea to select enough coverage to replace your lost income for the foreseeable future. A good rule of thumb is to replace 10 years of your salary, though it’s often better to calculate exactly what you need depending on your financial situation.

Cover your unsecured debt payments

Do you know what happens to debt when you die? In most cases, it doesn’t go away. This might present an immense issue for your loved ones if you were to die with unsecured debt payments. These payments may include credit card debt, student loans, and other unsecured debts.

If you have co-signers on loans or joint account holders on credit cards, those individuals would have to pay back those specific sources of debt after you die. Certain state laws may also require your spouse to pay back specific types of debt. If your situation doesn’t have certain exceptions like co-signers, joint account holders, or other exceptions, your estate is responsible for paying your debts.

Life insurance death benefits are typically exempt from being seized by lenders after you die, but it would likely still make sense to use some of the payout to cover outstanding debts. This can help your loved ones avoid further consequences from lingering debt.

Cover your rent or mortgage

Is life insurance a good investment? To answer this question, think about all the expenses your loved ones would need to cover without your income. One of the biggest expenses is likely your rent or mortgage payment. As a monthly payment, this is something that needs to be covered immediately and on a consistent basis.

It’s could be an excellent idea to have enough coverage in your life insurance plan to make sure the rent or mortgage payments are taken care of for many years. This could decrease the likelihood that your family would have to change their living arrangements, including moving elsewhere.

Cost of day-to-day dependent care

Everyday expenses don't suddenly take a break when something major disrupts your life. Your family will still need to buy groceries and pay for clothes if you die. It may all seem a bit mundane when dealing with the death of a loved one, but it’s still part of daily life.

To help calculate how much life insurance coverage you think you’d need, consider what kinds of purchases you and your dependents make every day. How much are you spending on groceries each week? What kinds of purchases do you make around certain times of the year, like getting back-to-school supplies or buying gifts for birthdays and holidays?

Understanding your day-to-day expenses will help you find an overall coverage amount that suits your needs. Each situation is different, so it’s worth the time to figure out exactly what you think would be the right fit for your family.

Support for elderly parents

The dependents you care for in your life may not be limited to your spouse and children. You may not be caring for your parents in your 30s, but it’s not out of the question to end up supporting them in some way as you get older. Once you’re in your 40s or 50s, your parents could be in their 60s, 70s, or older.

Of course, health issues are more common the older you get, and not everyone gets to retirement with a nice nest egg saved away. If you’re supporting your parents and you die, it’s up to your family to continue that support. Life insurance could provide the funds to help where needed, including aiding an ailing parent.

Pay for end-of-life expenses

The National Funeral Directors Association found the median cost of a funeral to be more than $7,500 in 2019. This includes a viewing and burial. If you include a vault as well, the price jumps to over $9,000. This is a huge expense, especially in the context of your loved ones figuring out how they’re going to handle any finances moving forward.

It may be hard to think about what comes after your death, but to prepare financially, it’s something you have to do. As you’re shopping for life insurance, you’ll want to consider end-of-life expenses when calculating how much coverage you need.

Help with child care

Child care is one of the biggest overall expenses for many households nationwide. According to a report by Child Care Aware, child care expenses are higher than other average annual household expenses, including college tuition, transportation, food, and health care. In most cases, child care is also more expensive than housing.

If you already have children, you’re likely well aware of the costs involved with child care. If you’re looking to start a family in the near future, it’s essential you know how big of an expense child care is. In either case, life insurance could be used by your family to cover these essential costs if your income is lost.

Help with college tuition

Child care may end up costing more than college tuition in some cases, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about how much college tuition costs. The National Center for Education Statistics found the average annual cost of tuition, fees, room, and board at all four-year institutions to be $27,357. For public four-year institutions it’s $20,050, but private four-year institutions are $43,139.

Your children may not be near the age to start attending college anytime soon, but they will be in the future. If a college education is something you want them to have, now is the time to plan for the finances involved. Consider including costs of college into your life insurance calculations when planning how much coverage you need.

Limited coverage options if you wait

Life insurance policies become more limited as you age. This is because your health tends to decline as you get older, which poses a higher risk for insurance companies. So if you wait to get life insurance, you’ll likely end up paying a higher price for premiums later on.

You’ll also have fewer options to obtain a life insurance policy the older you get. Many companies won’t insure you past a certain age, so it can be a good idea to see what’s available when you can. Finding the right policy in your 30s will likely be a lot easier than finding it in your 60s.

The bottom line

Because you’re already likely making major life decisions that impact your financial situation, your 30s are the perfect time to consider your finances and how to best prepare for the future. Getting in early on a suitable life insurance policy can offer enormous benefits for the rest of your life. You’ll have the peace of mind that your policy may help ensure your loved ones’ financial security, and the cost of coverage might be lower than if you were to wait until later.

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.