5 reasons to get life insurance if you're single

By Melissa Neiman Posted : 10/12/2011

single women drivingDespite what many bachelors and bachelorettes believe, being "unattached" doesn’t necessarily mean you should go without life insurance. Even if you're single, loved ones will likely feel the financial impact if you die without leaving behind a life insurance policy.

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"Just because you're single doesn't mean that somebody else or some other institution won't [financially] suffer if you are not around," says Jack Dewald, past chairman of the LIFE Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that helps educate consumers about life insurance.

It's important to plan the financial legacy you'll leave behind, says Richard Kappers, director of marketing for Cigna's life insurance products.

"Most folks don't want to even consider their own death," Kappers says. "And so many people don't even want to take the time to understand that their untimely demise, should that occur, can have unintended consequences and place a needless financial burden on others."

Here are five situations where life insurance makes sense even if you have not tied the knot.  

1. You have a dependent

Sure, you're single. But that doesn't mean that you want to leave your loved ones without financial resources.

"If you are single, be sure to ask yourself: Do I need insurance? Would somebody I care about suffer financially if I wasn't around to help them?" asks Dewald.

Kappers says life insurance "helps provide family income protection" for a spouse, child, parent or grandparent.

"Securing a sufficient level of protection can help to ensure that the beneficiaries you designate -- particularly dependents -- can continue to carry on without you with some level of financial support," Kappers says.

To determine how much life insurance you need, use a life insurance needs calculator like the one found on the LIFE Foundation website. Or, speak with your life insurance agent.

Dewald also suggests you update policies after major life events, such as a divorce or the birth of a child.

2. You have a co-signer on a mortgage or other loan

Life insurance is a must if you are single and have a co-signer on a home loan, car loan or other financial obligation.

"There are too many people who have too much personal debt, and you don't want to leave others with that emotional and financial burden," says Dewald.

Purchasing the right amount of insurance coverage can help those who are left behind manage debts that they otherwise might have to handle on their own, he says.

3. You have a family history of disease

Get the most life insurance at the best possible price by purchasing a policy when you are young.

"Many people don't realize that the best time to purchase life insurance is when you're young and healthy -- even if you're not married and don't have dependents," says Kappers.

Buying a policy earlier in life is especially important if you know that a certain disorder or disease, such as cancer, runs in your family. If you are diagnosed with a disease or chronic condition, your rates will climb or, in some cases, render you uninsurable.

"Protect your insurability while you're young," advises Dewald.

4. To cover funeral expenses

Fail to plan ahead for your funeral and loved ones may be faced with both an emotional burden and a financial one. The average funeral costs around $6,500, according to Kappers. Life insurance benefits can cover these expenses.  

"In today's world, a 'funeral' can mean many things -- from a traditional burial to cremation to a life celebration event," he says.

The right amount of life insurance provides money to cover those expenses, he says.

5. You own a family business

If you've struggled for years to build a family business, you know how difficult it can be to maintain success over the long haul.  

"A family business can be both a personal joy as well as an ongoing financial responsibility," Kappers says.

Having a policy in place ensures that your family business can continue on well after your death.

Proactive financial planning -- including the purchase of a life insurance policy -- "can help to protect the people left behind to carry on the family business," says Kappers.

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