Skip to main content

How to talk to your parents about life insurance

Written By | Feb 5, 2017

ATLANTA, February 5, 2017 – The passing of a parent is difficult under any circumstance. It is even harder when you realize your parent didn’t have life insurance, as the survivors are left scrambling to put together thousands of dollars for a funeral.

There is absolutely no reason to be surprised or in more shock than you already are when a parent passes away. A better alternative: talk to your parents now about life insurance and why it is important.

Here are a few tips on how to approach the subject:

How to Talk To Your Parents About Leaving You Behind

One of the best ways to start this conversation is to set aside time to review your parents’ life insurance policy or policies with them making sure they understand which type of coverage or coverages they have and which type of policy may be best for them.

Don’t allow them to actually choose the time to talk because they will brush it off.

You must be firm with them and go over the necessary information within 2 to 3 days of bringing this topic up to them. That’s because most people don’t like to think about their own death. The more time they have to think about it, the less they want to talk about it.

So set the time and place of your meeting and stick to it.

The Tone To Have During this Discussion

While it is important to be straightforward and businesslike, it is also important to be positive. Use the “Great Job” attitude when addressing life insurance issues.

No one wants to feel as if he or she has made a mistake or that what was done was not enough. Be sure to reassure your parents that you aren’t judging them for what they have or haven’t done.

Let them know you just want to make sure you understand what will happen upon their passing.

Saying things like “Thanks for going over this with me” will go a long way toward easing this sometimes difficult discussion because you are showing thanks and gratitude for what your parents have done.

Things to cover during the talk:

  1. Why you wanted the discussion:
    Help your parents understand that they didn’t buy the life insurance for themselves. They purchased it for you and other family members they are leaving behind.
  2. The Amount of Coverage:
    Find out exactly how much coverage they currently have. Is it enough to cover their debts or final expenses when they die? This is one of the most important things to know because if they don’t have enough coverage, you could end up out of pocket for the difference. The average burial cost today is normally around $10,000.
  3. The Type of Coverage:
    The type of coverage they have is important, and you need to know exactly how it works. If you are unsure how the policy works, the best thing to do is contact the insurance company directly, not the agent. The reason for this is because your parents might not be in contact with the same agent that sold them the policy. You need to get the information straight from the insurance carrier. Once you know the type of product it is, and how it works, you can reach out to a local agent for more details if necessary. Ask the insurance company key questions, such as:

    1. Is this a Whole Life or Term Life Policy? If it’s a term policy, when will the term end?
    2. Is there a waiting period for coverage? Have they reached the waiting period (If there is one)?
    3. What is the death benefit of the policy?
    4. Does the death benefit decline in value for any reason?
    5. Are you even the beneficiary of the policy? I know this sounds odd, but, your parents could be leaving the funds provided by the policy to someone else. Find out now so there won’t be any disappointment later.

Why Start This Conversation Immediately?

If you wake up one morning to find out that one or both of your parents have passed, you will feel lost and sad, perhaps overwhelmingly so. Along with those feelings, you will still have the burden that comes with covering the cost of a parent or parents’ funeral and final expenses.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is not be prepared.

Having this one conversation with your parents can stop this difficult life passage from becoming even worse, leaving you and your siblings not only bereft but potentially in debt as well.

Are you having a hard time talking to your parents about life insurance? What are their objections? Let me know in the comment section below.


JC Matthews

JC Matthews is the Co-Founder & CEO of Simply Insurance. He is a Licensed Life and Health Insurance Agent with over 9 years of experience in the industry. He is an Entrepreneur, Insurance Educator, Field Underwriter and nascent writer. JC is on a Journey to get 1 Million Families insured.