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Most adults need life insurance, but how it works and how much it costs for every person varies. The cost varies because insurers weigh various factors to determine the likelihood of each applicant dying at any given age, including your gender. 

There are multiple factors related to your biological gender that impact how much you pay for life insurance. Pregnancy, menopause, and postpartum depression are a few of the considerations life insurance companies make when determining how much your coverage will cost.

Why should women get life insurance?

Women and men need life insurance to protect the financial health of their families. Whether you are the primary breadwinner or a stay-at-home parent, your contributions to the household are indispensable and will need to be replaced if you die unexpectedly.

Stay-at-home parents often assume they don’t need coverage, but the value of their work is over six figures. An study found that stay-at-home moms perform work that would be valued at $126,725 a year in the workplace. 

A robust policy can cover household chores, the mortgage and even funeral expenses. 

How much life insurance costs for women

Women pay less than men for life insurance because data shows that women tend to live longer than men. Life insurance companies determine how much you pay for coverage by your likelihood of dying at any given age — so if your biological gender shows you will live longer, you will end up paying less. 

As you’ll see in the graphs below, coverage gets more expensive as you age. Additionally, smokers pay exponentially more than non-smokers. 

How much life insurance costs for healthy, non-smokers

Age$500,000$1 million

How much life insurance costs for smokers

Age$500,000$1 million

Getting a policy early on — when you’re starting to plan for your future — will save you money in the long run. 

Factors that impact life insurance rates for women

  • Pregnancy: Many life insurance applications submitted during the third trimester are rejected. Side effects from pregnancy can also cause an application rejection or higher premiums. Women who are planning to get pregnant should buy life insurance as soon as possible and in the first trimester at the latest.
  • Breast or ovarian cancer: Any history of cancer can cause an application rejection or raise your premiums. According to the CDC, breast cancer is most commonly found after the age of 50. To ensure coverage, apply for coverage earlier.
  • A mental health diagnosis: If the symptoms of postpartum depression last longer than a few weeks, insurers may charge you more .
  • Hormonal disorders: Certain disorders, such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), may not increase your premiums, but the side effects can. 
  • Being a transgender woman: Transgender applicants will not face higher rates, but hormonal treatments or pending surgery will increase rates. Any medication or surgery will impact a life insurance application.

How much life insurance do women need?

Most people need at least 10 to 15 times their income, but how much life insurance you actually need depends on your individual circumstances. For example, if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you’ll want to note all the work around the home that you do and how much it would cost to replace that labor. Or if you’re planning to support your children through college, that should be accounted for as well. 

Speaking to an independent agent can help you get the best idea of how much coverage you should get.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.“What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?” Accessed February 2023.

PRB. “Around the Globe, Women Outlive Men.” Accessed February 2023.