Life insurance for mums

10 min Read Published: 18 Sep 2023

Life insurance for mumsLosing a parent can be a devastating event for anyone at any age but is particularly affecting for children who are still of dependent age. In this article we explain life insurance for mums and provide you with the reasons why mums need life insurance, how it works and what it costs.

As well as sharing the most comprehensive and cost-effective life insurance solutions for mums, we also review free life cover for parents offered by companies like Aviva and work out if it is really worth it. You can skip ahead to "How to find the best & cheapest life insurance for mums" and find out how to get up to £100 cashback when buying life insurance.

Why do mums need life insurance?

Mums need life insurance because they play a very important role in raising children. Life insurance provides financial protection for families, giving them either a lump sum of money or an income to live on or a combination of both. How much life insurance you need depends on what sort of safety net your family requires, financially.

Most households need to consider a few things:

  • Childcare
  • Cost of living
  • Mortgage/rent
  • Funeral costs
  • Future costs such as further education

Also, depending on who is appointed as the guardian for your children in your will, you may want to consider the loss of income they would suffer if they had to give up or reduce their work to raise your children. If this is a partner, you'll probably understand the financial support needed a little better than if it is a family member or friend.

Think about what changes the people around you would have to make if you were no longer in the picture. It can be tough but once you've thought it through, you can buy the amount of life insurance you need to create that safety net and not have to think about it again unless something changes.

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How much life insurance do mums need?

There are no hard and fast rules to how much life insurance you should buy to cover the event of your death as a mother and it depends on your circumstances. However, in 2021, the Child Poverty Action Group found that;

The total cost of raising a child to the age of 18 now stands at £160,692 for a couple and £193,801 for a lone parent.

How does life insurance for mums work?

Life insurance for mums is fairly straightforward but you do have a few different options to choose from depending on what kind of support your family will need.

Some mums would prefer that their life insurance provided a lump sum of money to pay off debts, mortgages and any other immediate bills like funeral costs. Others would prefer that a regular income was paid to cover the cost to provide for their children's living needs. However, most people need a combination of these two things.

There are four types of family term life insurance that you should consider - you may need one or more of them and you can usually buy multiple policies within one plan to reduce the overall cost of them.

Types of life insurance for mums

Type of life insurance How it works
Level term life assurance
  • it will pay your family a tax-free lump sum of money, you choose the amount it pays if you die any time between the start and the end of the policy
Increasing term life insurance
  • it will pay your family a tax-free lump sum of money, you choose the amount but the amount will increase in line with inflation and payout what is insured if you die any time between the start and the end of the policy
Family income benefit insurance
  • pays a tax-free, annual amount of money that you choose from the point that a claim is made until the policy ends - you choose the annual amount needed and it is usually paid each quarter
Decreasing term life insurance
  • pays the remaining balance of a repayment mortgage where the amount of life cover reduces in line with what is outstanding so that if you die before you pay the mortgage off, there will be enough money to cover the balance of the mortgage that remains

How long do mums need life insurance?

In addition to working out which type of life insurance cover to buy, you will need to work out how long your life insurance should cover you. In order to work out how long a life insurance policy should run for (called the policy 'term'), work out how many more years your children might be reliant on you. As a starting point work out how long it is until your children turn 18, but if they intend to go on to further education then work out how long until they are perhaps closer to 23 years old. This is a good base assumption for your required policy term. There are no hard and fast rules, just a sensible approach is needed. The longer a policy term the more expensive it will be.

30 years can be a good term of cover as it allows time from when your first child is born until the youngest has grown up giving you peace of mind throughout your parenting life.

The best and easiest way to work out what insurance you need, that fits your budget and circumstances, is to arrange a chat with a life insurance expert*, whose services we've personally vetted. Their advice is free, with no obligation, but if you do decide to take out a policy you can receive up to £100 cashback.

Below we give some examples of how mums in different situations might use the different types of policies listed above as well as things they should consider.

Life insurance for working mums

If a working mum dies, there is an immediate loss of her income to the household as a family breadwinner and the simplest solution to this is to buy a family income benefit policy that will provide a regular income for as long as needed. If needed, a level term assurance policy will provide a lump sum of money that can be put away for the future as well.

Life insurance for stay-at-home mums

Stay-at-home mums or indeed any stay at home parents are usually not working due to childcare choices that they have made so childcare is usually the immediate problem that needs to be solved if they were to pass away. The cost of childcare can vary hugely depending on what part of the country you live in as well as the age of your children.

Alternatively, your partner may adjust work commitments to provide the childcare themselves - this is often what families end up doing because of the emotional needs of children who have lost their mother. When considering life insurance for stay at home parents, think about how much money you would need to replace your partner's lost income too. Again both needs could be met via a family income benefit policy to provide a regular income to cover the extra costs or a level term assurance which pays out a lump sum lump sum if your family would prefer this.

Life insurance for single mums

Single mums are often much more acutely aware of their children's reliance on them. Many have strong family and friend support circles but expecting someone else to step in and care for your children if you're no longer around, is a big ask - especially when you consider the financial burden.

Single parent life insurance for mums can be put in a trust so that you can give certain people, access to the money that the life insurance will pay out. You can nominate your children as the beneficiaries which creates a legal obligation for the trustees to only use the money for their benefit.

If your children would be cared for by their other parent in this event then you should decide whether you would want to appoint them as a trustee to give them access to the money too - you choose.

Do remember that if you haven't put a will in place then you won't have nominated the guardian for your children and sometimes, this can mean that the state will be left to decide who is fit to do this. Most people wouldn't want this to be the case.

Can I get life insurance while pregnant?

Yes, there is no reason why you can't get life insurance while you are pregnant.

You do have to complete a life insurance application form that will ask you about your medical health so be prepared for this. Women can experience pregnancy-related conditions such as gestational diabetes or hypertension which may affect your application. At worst, your application might be postponed until after you've given birth to rule out any risks but some life insurance companies might accept your application before this.

You should speak with a specialist life insurance adviser* if you will need to disclose health conditions - they will steer you away from the insurance companies that are more likely to postpone your application.

Is a life insurance payout tax-free?

Yes, as long as you fill out a trust form so that the money is paid into a trust if you die, the money won't be liable for inheritance tax. This is simple to do and most life insurance companies will provide you with the forms to arrange this.

How much does life insurance for mums cost?

The tables below provide some indicative costs based upon age and whether you smoke.

Monthly cost of life insurance - £300,000 lump sum or £30,000 annual income - Non smoker

Age £300,000 of level term life insurance over 25 years £30,000 of annual family income benefit over 25 years
20 £5.86 £8.34
30 £9.69 £13.37
40 £19.66 £24.85

Monthly cost of life insurance - £300,000 lump sum or £30,000 annual income - Smoker

Age £300,000 of level term life insurance over 25 years £30,000 of annual family income benefit over 25 years
20 £8.60 £12.95
30 £16.89 £22.55
40 £43.03 £53.18

Free life insurance for mums

There are some free parent life insurance policies that you can apply for that will usually cover you for just one year. We've broken down the way that they work in the below table.

Free parent life insurance options and how they work

Aviva free parent life cover

Post Office free parent life cover

(Currently unavailable)


  • £15,000 per policy
  • One policy per parent, per child
  • Child must be under the age of 4
  • No payment details needed
  • Expires after 12 months
  • Excluded anyone who has had a diagnosis of or treatment for cancer within the last 12 months


  • £15,000 per policy
  • One policy per parent, per child
  • Child must be under the age of 4
  • No payment details needed
  • Expires after 12 months
  • Excluded anyone who has had a diagnosis of or treatment for cancer within the last 12 months
  • Provided by Royal London Mutual

Is free parent life cover worth it?

It is a bit of a gimmick that helps people to look at life insurance with the enticement of 'Free life cover for parents'. The reality is that it is a very small amount of cover in comparison to what most parents need.

If you were to die and your child who is less than 4 years old received £15,000, it would be helpful but it wouldn't come close to meeting the needs of most families. In some ways, it might even give you a false sense of security and there is always the chance that when it expires, you won't replace it with a full life insurance policy that would continue until your children have grown up.

If you have full life insurance in place that matches what you need and simply wish to boost it using free life insurance then there is no harm.

New mums can feel a sense of urgency to get things like life insurance but you should take the time to assess what you need and buy more appropriate life insurance and gain more long term peace of mind. You may be surprised by how little it costs.

How to find the best & cheapest life insurance for mums

Life insurance for mums is marketed on several online forums, comparison sites and there are a few companies that specialise in this area too. However many websites and companies that claim to specialise in life insurance for mothers don't provide very specific and tailored solutions that add value without stretching your budget. The life insurance calculators can be limited and unable to capture all of the aspects of what you wish to protect and don't offer ways to prioritise your concerns.

Affordable life insurance is key because it is cheapest to buy life insurance the younger you are and your monthly premium becomes fixed for the whole term so it is wise to only buy what is affordable so you don't find yourself struggling to pay for it and eventually cancelling or changing it as it will be more expensive as you get older. Even if you are applying for life insurance with a partner, you should consider single policies over joint cover as it doubles the amount that you're covered for overall and costs roughly the same as a joint life insurance policy.

The best way to buy your life insurance is to speak with a life insurance expert* - they deal with all the companies in the market and are trained to build tailored solutions through conversations presenting you with comparative quotes to consider. They'll stick to your budget and won't charge you for the service as they're usually paid by the life insurance companies.

As a Money to the Masses reader, you'll also receive up to £100 cashback when you buy your life insurance this way.

Additional insurances for mums to think about

Illness can be an equally challenging event in your life and stop you from being able to do the things that you normally do. While terminal illness cover is usually included within your life insurance, serious illnesses that are not terminal won't be covered. Serious illness can mean that those around you have to stop working and look after you. For these reasons, as well as life insurance, you should consider the following.

If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses and do not wish to qualify for the cashback referred to in the article - LifeSearch