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What is Dependent Life Insurance?

Many people are aware that they can get a life insurance policy on themselves, and that their loved ones will receive a payout when they file a claim. Fewer people, however, know that people can purchase coverage for other people as well. If a person wants to get coverage for their spouse or children, as an example, there are options available. The death of anyone in a family cannot only be devastating emotionally but can also wreak havoc on people financially. Coverage options will vary from one insurance company to the next, and one plan to the next, so knowing the options that are available will help people shop for plans and compare insurance providers.

The tools here on this website offer people the opportunity to explore the different options and companies to find not only the best life insurance plans to consider, but also to find the best prices for life insurance available. One of the options that is available to life insurance policyholders is dependent life insurance.


What Is Dependent Life Insurance?

Dependent life insurance can be added to an existing life insurance policy and provides coverage for a person’s spouse or child. Each company offers different types of dependent life insurance plans, but in most cases, insurance carriers will limit the amount of coverage. This means that dependent life insurance that is added on to an existing policy will pay out lower amounts than an individual policy for the same person. Keep in mind that coverage can be added for dependents to individual life insurance policies as well as group life insurance plans. It is also possible to get voluntary dependent life insurance as coverage obtained with an employer.


How Does Voluntary Dependent Life Insurance Work?

Voluntary Dependent Life Insurance is sometimes also called dependent group life insurance. Available as an add-on to benefits plans that employers and organizations offer, this type of plan can cover children, spouses, or other dependents that are eligible. Each life insurance plan has rules laid out for policyholders, which should be read over before getting a policy. If a dependent that is covered passes away, beneficiaries listed will receive the dependent life insurance plans face value as the death benefit. In most cases, the employee is automatically designated as the beneficiary of these types of policies.

Purchasing dependent life insurance can only happen during the open enrollment or after specific qualifying events. These events include things like being hired to a new company and getting married. This is similar to how health insurance works. Keep in mind that dependent life insurance might not begin as soon as the policy is purchased. In many cases, a policy purchased during open enrollment will not go into effect until January 1.

In some cases, people need to provide evidence of insurability for their dependents. This requirement is dependent on not only when you opt-in for dependent life insurance coverage, but also on the amount of coverage you decide to purchase. In most cases, this involves completing forms and answering medical and health questions about your family. Insurance providers use this information to evaluate the risk, and claims can be denied for people who lie on these forms. Make sure to be truthful whenever answering basic health and medical questions or getting life insurance medical exams.

Another thing to consider is the cost of dependent life insurance coverage, and which options are available to you. Each dependent life insurance policy will specify a maximum amount of coverage per dependent that is eligible. In most cases, there are higher limits for spouses than there are for children. Options could be limited by the amount of group life insurance coverage you purchased for yourself, however. In many cases, the maximum coverage allowed for dependent life insurance is limited to between 50% and 100% of your own insurance coverage.

People can choose to purchase coverage for any specific number of children or their spouse. A person is not required to get coverage for all family members, and in many cases, do not. Some plans do not allow people to specify a single child to be covered, something to keep in mind.

Since life insurance policies are not always convertible after leaving an employer, it is important to note that child life insurance policies typically cannot be converted. Even if a person’s basic life insurance policy transfers over, child life insurance policies typically will not. When it comes to dependent life insurance plans for spouses, however, the policies usually come with an option that allows people to convert the plan if the policyholder retires, quits, or is terminated from their position, or a person divorces their spouse.


Who Qualifies As A Dependent For Life Insurance?

A person must qualify as a dependent to qualify for dependent life insurance. Group life insurance plans can vary as far as eligibility is concerned, but most plans do allow people to add dependent life insurance for both children and spouses who meet specific requirements. Many supplemental life insurance policies only consider children to be dependents until they reach the age of 26, similar to health insurance. Some plans do allow people to purchase life insurance for other adult dependents, though this is less common overall.

To be considered a spouse, you must be recognized as a husband or wife according to state law. It is possible to include a spouse that is common-law if your jurisdiction legally recognized the marriage. Domestic partners may not be considered spouses, and in this case, would not be eligible for dependent life insurance unless your plan allows for the coverage of other adult dependents, which is touched on later in the article.

Dependent life insurance can also cover children, including biological children, stepchildren, adopted children, or children that a person has legal guardianship of. In most cases, children can only be considered as dependents until they reach the age of 26. Some situations allow this age to be extended, such as children who have special needs or full-time students. Documentation proving these things will be needed, however.

Some policies do allow other adult dependents to be included, such as elderly parents, domestic partners, and others. Look at the terms in your benefits plan to confirm whether or not other adult dependents can be included.


Military Dependent Life Insurance

For people who are on active duty in the military, or qualify for Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, also called SGLI, they may have the option to get coverage for dependents through the Family Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, also called FSGLI. This type of insurance plan is essentially term life insurance and exists for dependents of members of the military. To get this type of insurance plan, you must meet one of the following qualifications.

  • Be an active servicemember
  • Be a member of the National Guard
  • Be a member of the Ready Reserve of a uniformed service

Dependent life insurance for military members is limited to a person’s spouse, as well as children who are under the age of 18. Exceptions are made for full-time students, and permanently and totally disabled children. In order to qualify, the military member must already have full-time SGLI.

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