The 6 Biggest Life Insurance Myths

Life insurance may not be as expensive as you think. Learn the truth behind coverage cost and other myths.
Georgia Rose
By Georgia Rose 
Edited by Lisa Green

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Shopping for life insurance can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the facts. You may have heard that it’s too expensive or only healthy people can qualify for coverage, but the truth may surprise you.

We break down six common life insurance myths so you can better understand your options and get coverage that’s right for you.

Myth 1: Insurers won’t pay out if you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine

The payout from a life insurance policy is not affected by whether the policyholder received or did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Plus, applicants are not denied coverage solely based on the fact that they received the vaccine. In fact, vaccines often lead to lower mortality rates because they reduce the risk of dying from diseases.

Concerns over whether life insurance covers deaths from COVID-19 are also largely unfounded. In most cases, life insurance policies cover infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.

Myth 2: Life insurance is expensive

One of the biggest myths about life insurance is that it comes with a hefty price tag. Over half of Americans think term life insurance costs three times as much as it does, according to the 2022 Insurance Barometer Study from marketing and research firm LIMRA and life insurance-focused nonprofit Life Happens.

In reality, the average cost of life insurance can be relatively low, especially for younger generations. That’s because the younger and healthier you are, the higher your life expectancy.

Use online calculators to find out how much life insurance you need. Once you know the type of policy and coverage amount you want, be sure to compare life insurance quotes from multiple companies to get the best price. If you’re unsure of where to start, speak with a fee-only financial advisor to better understand your options.

Myth 3: You don’t need life insurance if you’re young and healthy

Although your mortality may not be top of mind when you’re young, getting coverage early can help you lock in low rates. This can be useful because the price of a policy can go up as you age.

Your future insurability is another factor to consider. If you develop a health condition before you buy coverage, your access to affordable life insurance may be restricted. Features like guaranteed insurability riders will allow you to purchase more coverage in the future without a medical exam.

Myth 4: If you have health issues, you can’t get it

Although insurers typically use your health to calculate rates and coverage amounts, it doesn't mean you can’t get life insurance with a pre-existing condition. In fact, some policies are built specifically for people with certain health conditions like diabetes.

You can skip the medical exam with simplified issue life insurance. These types of policies require only a short health questionnaire. If you don’t want your medical history to be a factor, consider guaranteed issue life insurance. Acceptance is guaranteed regardless of your health — as long as you’re within the eligible age range.

Myth 5: If you’re single and have no dependents, you don’t need it

Life insurance isn’t just for breadwinners. For example, if a parent, sibling or friend co-signed on your mortgage, life insurance can help them pay it off if you die.

You can also use life insurance as an inheritance for someone who doesn't rely on you financially, like a niece or nephew. Similarly, if you support a charity or nonprofit, you can assign some or all of the life insurance death benefit to the organization.

Life insurance can also offer a financial safety net to small-business owners. For example, your partners can use the payout to buy out your share in the company.

Myth 6: Life insurance through your employer is sufficient

Group life insurance through an employer is typically one or two times your salary, which may not be enough to support your loved ones.

Another factor to consider is portability. Free policies through work are often tied to employment, so if you leave your job, you may lose your coverage. Buying individual life insurance means you’re covered regardless of where you work.

When speaking with a licensed agent or financial advisor, ask them to walk you through each type of life insurance. One type of life insurance isn’t necessarily better than another; it’s about what’s right for you.

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