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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. 

“Statistics show women live longer than a man does. Because of this, insurance carriers will offer lower rates to a female. The less of a risk you are to the insurance company, the cheaper premiums will be,” says Matt Schmidt, life insurance agent and founder of Diabetes Life Solutions.

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.


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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.

Who should consider buying life insurance?

All women should consider buying life insurance, especially those who fulfill both breadwinner and caregiver roles.

  • Single mom: If you are a single mom, life insurance is essential to ensure that your children are financially protected if something happens to you. Life insurance can cover childcare, education, and basic living expenses if you’re no longer around. 
  • Working women: If you are a working woman who financially contributes to your family, life insurance is an important consideration. Life insurance ensures that your loved ones can maintain their lifestyle if something happens to you.
  • Stay-at-home moms: Stay-at-home moms may not earn a traditional income, but their work is still valuable to their families. If something happens to a stay-at-home mom, life insurance can cover the costs of childcare and household management expenses.
  • Single Women: Even if you are not married or have children, life insurance can still be a valuable investment. It can cover your final expenses and any outstanding debts you may have.
  • Business Owners: If you own a business, life insurance can help ensure that your business can continue to operate if something happens to you. A life insurance policy can be used to buy out a partner’s share of the business or to provide financial support to the business if the owner passes away.

It’s essential to consult with a financial advisor or insurance agent to determine the appropriate coverage amount and type of policy for your specific needs.

Frequently asked questions

Do women need life insurance? 

Women need life insurance just as much as men do. Whether unmarried, married, single or a stay-at-home mom, you probably need life insurance. At the very least, a life insurance policy will help cover expenses such as funeral and burial services, and outstanding debts.

Is life insurance cheaper for women? 

In most cases, life insurance is cheaper for women because women have a high life expectancy rate than men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Insurance premiums are based on several other factors, such as age, health status, occupation, lifestyle, and your policy’s coverage amount. The cost of life insurance for women may vary depending on these factors.

When should women invest in life insurance?

The best time a woman should invest in life insurance is as soon as possible. Purchasing a policy at a young age and in good health typically results in lower premiums. Life insurance may not be a priority if you are single with no dependents. However, you should consider getting life insurance if you have a family or planning to start one soon.


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.

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