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Life insurance for an ex-spouse (ex-husband or ex-wife)

Getting Life Insurance on an Ex Spouse

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, and making decisions about finances and insurance can certainly add to the stress. On one hand, it could provide financial security for both the policyholder and their loved ones in the event of the ex-spouse’s death. On the other hand, it raises questions about consent, privacy, and the potential for manipulation.

And while it may seem like a logical step to protect yourself and your children’s financial future when all emotion is removed from the equation, it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and consider the legal and personal implications before making any decisions.

It is also recommended to consult with a life insurance professional when doing so because purchasing a life insurance policy on an ex-spouse is only ½ the equation of the battle.

And making sure that you always remain the beneficiary of that policy and that the premiums of the policy continue to be paid is something that you’ll continually want to be sure of.

So let’s now touch base with just a few of the things you’re going to want to keep in mind when considering purchasing a life insurance policy on an ex-husband or ex-wife.

Legal Considerations of Life Insurance on an Ex-Spouse


When considering purchasing a life insurance policy on a former spouse, there are several legal considerations to take into account. Firstly, the policy would typically require the consent of the insured party, as they would need to participate in the application process and undergo a medical examination.

Now in situations where a life insurance policy is court-mandated, this isn’t an issue because it is in the insured best interest to meet the judge’s requirements.  However, in situations where insurance isn’t a requirement of a divorce, obtaining an ex’s consent or permission can become quite more difficult.

In cases like these, where the insured is willing but not overly excited about purchasing a life insurance policy on him or herself for the benefit of his or her ex, we’ll often recommend that a simplified issue life insurance policy be considered. That is because it won’t require the insured to take a medical exam, which will likely make the whole process easier for our “somewhat compliant” applicant.

Insurable Interest:

Insurable interest refers to the financial or sentimental stake that an individual has in the continued life of an insured person. In order to purchase a life insurance policy, the policyholder must have an insurable interest in the life of the insured person.

This means that if the insured person were to pass away, the policyholder would suffer a financial loss, such as lost income or support.

In situations where an ex-spouse is required to make alimony or child support payments, it will be easy to demonstrate that there is an insurable interest.

However, if this is not the case, and neither ex-spouse has any financial ties to one another, proving one has an insurable interest on the may prove difficult, which would prevent one from being able to purchase a life insurance policy on the other.

Policy ownership:

Determining the owner of a life insurance policy can be a complex process that depends on the specific circumstances and the type of policy in question.

In situations like these it also becomes increasing important in most situations, if a policy is purchased by an individual, the policyholder and owner tend to be the same person.  In this case, the policyholder would have the right to make decisions about the policy, such as changing the beneficiary or canceling the policy.

Or in other words, you could go through all the work to get your ex to purchase a life insurance policy on themselves, only to find out later when they die that they didn’t continue to make payments on their policy.  Or even worse they choose to make the new love of their life the beneficiary of the policy you thought was in place to protect you!

This is why, if you are thinking about having your ex purchase a life insurance policy on him or herself, you will want to be the OWNER of that policy which would prevent him or her canceling or changing anything about the policy without your permission.

Financial Considerations:

When considering purchasing a life insurance policy on a former spouse, there are several financial considerations to take into account. One important factor is the cost of the policy. Life insurance can be expensive, especially if the insured person is older or has pre-existing health conditions. Additionally, the cost of the policy will depend on the coverage amount and the length of the term.

In situations like these, one may need to balance out the death benefit amount vs the length of the time that the policy is in place.  Having an honest discussion with your life insurance agent discussion what you hope to achieve by purchasing your life insurance policy can make all the difference in the world.

We state this because, if the policy you both agree on today is something that will become a financial stretch for each of you to continue years later, the option to terminate this policy and purchase a new one, later on, may not be an option.

This is why we always try to stress the importance of choosing a life insurance policy both parties are comfortable paying for, so that party that is at risk will continue to have coverage in place for as long as he or she needs it.

What if my EX says they can’t qualify for a traditional life insurance policy?

If your former spouse says they cannot qualify for a traditional life insurance policy, it may be due to health or lifestyle factors that make them high-risk applicant. And while this statement may be true, it could be because they didn’t reach out to the “right” life insurance company.

For example:

Many of the larger insurance companies that focus on home, auto, and life insurance, tend to be a bit more strict in their underwriting guidelines which may mean that your ex is telling the truth when they say they can’t qualify for a traditional life insurance policy.

But what they’re missing, perhaps because they don’t know or maybe because they aren’t all that invested in the process, is that if they were to speak with a different insurance company they would be eligible for coverage.  This is why you yourself should always seek a second opinion in cases like these.

That said, however, there will be situations where an ex-spouse may not be able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy no matter what they do.

In cases like these, the only real option on has is to seek out a small guaranteed issue life insurance policy that won’t have any medical requirements but will only provide coverage to $25,000.

Or purchase an accidental death policy which will only provide a death benefit to you in the event that your ex-spouse dies from an accident.

As you can see, purchasing a life insurance policy on an ex-spouse is possible, but it can get a bit tricky at times.  Particularly if the divorce wasn’t an amicable one.

Usually the best case scenario in these situations will be that a judge is mandating it, both parties are in agreement, and getting the coverage in place will allow the divorce to be finalized.  In cases like these, it’s amazing how accommodating most parties will be.

When that’s not the case, you’ll often run into a whole list of objections.

Objections To Life Insurance on An Ex-Spouse:

Privacy concerns: They may feel uncomfortable with the idea of someone else purchasing a policy on their life and having access to personal information, such as their health history.

Lack of trust: Your former spouse may see your interest in purchasing a life insurance policy as a lack of trust in their ability to provide for your family or children in the event of their death.

Financial concerns: The cost of a life insurance policy may be a concern for your former spouse, especially if they are already struggling financially.

Legal concerns: Your former spouse may be concerned that a life insurance policy purchased on them without their consent may have legal implications, such as being considered an asset in a divorce settlement.

Emotional concerns: Your former spouse may not be comfortable with the idea of you “planning for their death” and find it distressing

In situations like these, we have found that it’s important to approach the topic with empathy and understanding of your former spouse’s concerns and to try your best to keep everything as friendly as possible. If it is handled the right way,  purchasing a life insurance policy should only have to be done once, and if you choose to work with us here at JBM, we’ll do everything humanly possible to make it as quick and painless at possible.