Life insurance for single parents

Being a parent is the most important job there is, and if you're a single parent, it's an even bigger responsibility. It's a terrible thought, but if you passed away unexpectedly, how would you secure your family's financial future? In this article, we'll explain more about life insurance for single mums and dads.

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What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a type of policy that provides financial support to the policyholder's dependents if they pass away (or are diagnosed with a terminal illness) within the term of the policy.

Select a life insurance policy and ensure your monthly premium is paid on time. Then, if you pass away, your nominated beneficiary will receive a lump sum of money, which they can spend as they choose.

Life insurance policies typically include terminal illness cover, which pays out if you are diagnosed with a condition with a life expectancy of 12 months or less.

People buy life insurance for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Cover long-term financial commitments like a repayment mortgage
  • Provide a financial safety net for their family if they were no longer around
  • Get valuable peace of mind knowing they'll lighten the load for their family at what's sure to be a stressful time

If you're looking for a deeper dive, please read this guide, which explains what life insurance is and how it works.

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Why is life insurance for single parents essential?

  • Around 27,000 parents die in the UK every year, leaving behind dependent children - Source

As a single parent, you're in charge of raising children. Even if your children's other parent provides support, you know that most of the responsibility lies with you. Your children depend on you being around.

What would happen if you tragically passed away? Hopefully, someone close to you would look after your children, but how would they cope financially? A lump sum from your life insurance policy could provide valuable financial security if the worst was to happen.

You could:

  • Ensure your children do not have to worry about debts such as your mortgage
  • Support whoever would look after your children (such as your ex-partner) and their everyday living expenses
  • Give your children a head start in life

The loss of a parent is a devastating time in a child's life. However, buying life insurance now can at least mean they won't have to worry about money if you were suddenly no longer around.

  • Only 27% of first-time parents are covered by a life policy - Source
Mum and two children smiling

Types of life insurance for single parents

There are many different types of life insurance policies, each with its own pros and cons for single parents. Let's talk about some of the most popular ones.

To find out more, check out this article on life insurance types from MyTribe.

Level term life insurance

Term life insurance means the policy lasts for a specified period of time (often 20-25 years). You take out life cover, pay your life insurance premiums, and if you pass away during the term of the policy, your insurance provider will pay out a lump sum to your loved ones.

Level term is the simplest type of term life insurance policy. You select a term length and amount of coverage when you first take out your cover. Your premiums and the cover amount then stay the same throughout the length of your term.

As a single parent, you can use level term as a financial provision for your family if you pass away. You can also set the term to end when your children may not need your income, such as when they're old enough to start working.

However, because the payout remains the same amount throughout the term, its real value decreases due to inflation.

Decreasing term insurance

Decreasing term life insurance is similar to level term. The difference is that the cover amount decreases as the term elapses.

Parents may find decreasing term insurance useful to pay a repayment mortgage. As you pay off your mortgage and your outstanding balance goes down, you won't need as much life insurance cover.

Decreasing term is also usually the most affordable life insurance policy.

The disadvantage is if you're only using your life insurance policy to cover mortgage costs, you won't have anything left to leave for your children.

Whole of life insurance

Whole of life insurance, as the name suggests, covers you for your entire life. Instead of a set term, it lasts forever, guaranteeing your loved ones a payout when you pass away, whenever that may be.

This type of policy is ideal for a single parent who wants to ensure their children receive some money to help them after they've gone.

The disadvantage is that whole of life insurance is typically more expensive than other types of policy.

Critical illness cover

Normally an add-on to life insurance, critical illness cover pays out if you are diagnosed with a serious illness during the term of your policy, provided your condition is on a list of critical illnesses from your insurer.

Common severe illnesses such as heart attack, stroke and cancer are typically covered by critical illness cover.

As a single parent, this type of cover could be crucial to support your family unit as you recover, particularly if you are unable to work.

Family income benefit

Family income benefit is similar to term life insurance. The difference is that instead of a lump sum, it pays your cover amount as a monthly payment to your loved ones until the end of the term.

This can be a good option for single parents who want to replace lost income with regular payments.

Mum and baby at sunset on the beach

5 best life insurance policies for mums

Now, let's look at five of the most popular single parents' life insurance policies. Every insurer is slightly different. You can use our guide to find the cover that best suits your needs.


Aviva currently offers free parent life cover for a year, up to a cover amount of £15,000. After the 12 months finish, we recommend you sign up for a longer term.

Each parent can apply for one policy per child. If the insured parent passes away during the 12-month policy term, Aviva will pay out £15,000 to the surviving parent. Parents can take advantage of this offer until the child's 4th birthday.

Key benefits

  • It's a free service
  • Family peace of mind
  • Even if you already have life insurance with Aviva, you can still take advantage of this offer


  • £15,000 is a relatively small amount of cover, perhaps not enough for your financial dependents
  • If you want to carry on your cover after 12 months, you'll have to pay
  • This offer only applies until your child is four years old


Aviva has a 4.4/5 rating on Trustpilot from more than 27,000 reviews.

Not all of these reviews are for life insurance. However, with such an impressive score, we can reasonably believe that Aviva customers are impressed with their services.

The Exeter

The Exeter specialises in insuring single parents who may be denied life insurance elsewhere.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition (e.g. diabetes or you're overweight), other insurers might refuse your life insurance application. The Exeter, on the other hand, will welcome you with open arms.

Key benefits

  • Available cover ranges from £20,000 to £3,000,000
  • Terminal illness cover as standard
  • Flexible - You're free to alter your policy terms at any time


  • Only level and decreasing term life insurance available
  • No critical illness add-on offered
  • While you're more likely to be accepted for life insurance, your premiums may be high


The Exeter has a 4.4/5 rating from 651 reviews on Trustpilot.

Again, this score covers all of The Exeter's services, not just life insurance. However, we can see that customers rate their willingness to insure people who have had applications turned down elsewhere.

Legal & General

Legal & General is the UK's best-selling life insurance provider. It's also Moneyfacts' life insurance provider of the year for 2022 (for the third year in a row).

With monthly premiums as low as £5, Legal & General aim to make life insurance accessible to everyone. Single parents will be interested to know that no insurer covers more families than Legal & General.

Key benefits

  • Terminal illness cover as standard. Critical illness cover optional
  • Special offers for new customers
  • Get a quote in around 2 minutes
  • Prices start at less than 20p per day


  • Some exclusions in operation for the first 12 months of the policy


Legal & General's life insurance has a 4.5/5 rating on Trustpilot.

Customers appreciate their cost-effective insurance products and straightforward application process. However, some customers say that it takes a long time to get through to the Legal & General helpline on the phone.


From only £5 per month, you can get life insurance policies from Zurich.

Zurich's critical illness cover list contains 40 conditions; peace of mind for the single mum or dad who wants to look after their family's running costs. Zurich also provides mental health support as part of its life insurance package.

Key benefits

  • You can get cover for your children as well as yourself
  • In 2020, Zurich paid life insurance claims more than 98% of the time


  • Critical illness cover is only available with a life insurance policy, not as a standalone product


Zurich Insurance has a 3.9/5 rating on Trustpilot. However, this is for all its insurance products, not just life cover.

Zurich's life insurance service has an expert rating of 5/5 from Defaqto.


Simplicity is the watchword at LV. That's great news for busy single parents on the go.

As part of its life insurance package, LV offers access to online doctor services, a legal advice line and many other member benefits for no extra charge.

Key benefits

  • Cover starts from £5 per month
  • Special offers for new customers
  • Access to medical professionals and legal advice for policyholders


  • LV may contact your doctor for a medical report as part of your application
  • You're not always able to make changes to your LV policy as a result of life events


LV's Trustpilot score is good, sitting at 4.6/5 from more than 60,000 reviews. Again, this is for the full range of its insurance products. However, we can see from the reviews that customers love LV's affordability and customer experience.

Want to know more? Read our guide to the best life insurance in 2023 overall.

Disclaimer: This information is general and what is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances. Please speak with a financial adviser or do your own research before making a decision.

Founder and Editor

As the founder and editor of myTribe Insurance, the role of Chris Steele is to ensure that the information we provide is of the highest quality and value to those who read it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to inform your insurance provider if you have more children?

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There's no legal requirement to inform your insurance company if you have another child. However, we recommend you do. Your insurance provider will make plans to safeguard your youngest child if the worst happened.

What if my child is still very young when I pass away?

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Single parents with young families will be reassured to know that you can nominate someone dependable as a beneficiary in a trust for your life insurance policy. This nominee would look after your children's finances if you were to tragically pass away while your children are still young.

How much does life insurance cost?

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The cost of life policies can vary depending on several factors, including your age, whether you smoke and your medical history. If you choose a high amount of coverage or an expensive type of policy (such as whole of life), your premiums will also be higher.

We recommend you shop around and get a wide range of life insurance quotes.