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Can You Take Out a Life Insurance Policy on Anyone?

Life Insurance
Can You Take Out a Life Insurance Policy on Anyone?Can You Take Out a Life Insurance Policy on Anyone?

Key Takeaways

  • Life insurance can be used to protect yourself if someone else dies, not just to benefit loved ones after your own death.
  • You can purchase life insurance policies on people who have an impact on you and your loved ones.
  • Insurable interest is important - you need to show a loss if the insured person dies, such as the loss of income or increased financial responsibilities.
  • Life insurance can be taken out on family members or non-family members if you can prove a legitimate financial loss resulting from their death.
  • When buying life insurance on someone else, their health history and participation are required. Consulting a financial representative can help explore your options.

Why Might Someone Take Out Life Insurance on Another Person?

When it comes to life insurance, there are countless reasons why someone might take out a policy on another person. Here are some of the key motivations:

Financial Protection

  • Income Replacement: If the insured individual is a key breadwinner, life insurance can replace lost income, helping the family maintain their lifestyle.
  • Education and Future Planning: The payout can fund children's education or contribute to retirement savings, safeguarding long-term plans.

Debt Management

  • Mortgage and Shared Debts: Life insurance can be used to settle shared obligations, ensuring one person isn’t left with financial setbacks.
  • Business Continuity: For business partners, life insurance on each other helps sustain the business by allowing the surviving partner to manage buyout costs.

Estate Planning

  • Inheritance Taxes: Life insurance can provide funds to cover estate taxes or inheritance taxes, avoiding the need to sell valuable family assets.
  • Equitable Inheritance: For those with multiple heirs, a life insurance policy can help provide equal value to those not receiving physical assets like property.

Child or Dependent Care

  • Special Needs Support: If the insured person cares for a dependent with special needs, life insurance ensures continued support and care for that individual.
  • Guardianship Provisions: In the event of a guardian’s death, life insurance can offer financial resources to support the upbringing of minors.

Final Expenses

  • Funeral Costs: Life insurance can cover funeral expenses, relieving the family from financial stress during a time of grief.
  • Medical Bills or Debts: Any outstanding medical bills or personal debts left by the insured can be settled with the policy proceeds.

Philanthropic Goals

  • Charitable Giving: Some individuals use life insurance to leave a legacy by naming a charity as the beneficiary, reflecting their lifelong values.

Life insurance policies taken out on someone else serve as a proactive measure to manage financial risk and provide security for all parties involved. Whether it’s for personal or the stability of a business, these policies act as a financial cushion, planning, and caring for one’s responsibilities and loved ones.

Who Can You Take Out Life Insurance On?


The most straightforward situation is using life insurance to help protect yourself. Life insurance providers offer policies for individuals who want to financially help protect their loved ones in the event of their death. As the insured and policy owner, you have full control over the policy and can name beneficiaries who would receive the death benefit payout.

Family Members

When it comes to insuring family members, such as a spouse, children, or other dependents, there is generally a strong presumption of insurable interest.1 These relationships are widely recognized as having a legitimate stake in each other's lives, both financially and legally.

Business Partners and Key Employees

Life insurance for business owners, partners, and key employees can safeguard against financial losses from their death, covering lost income, debts, or replacement costs. Ensuring insurable interest, buy-sell agreement, and obtaining consent is vital, and consulting with an insurance advisor can help secure proper coverage.

Other Individuals

Taking out a life insurance policy on someone, not a family member or business partner may be more challenging and require strict adherence to insurable interest requirements. Insurance companies will need to assess the nature and extent of your financial or emotional connection to the individual. When taking out a life insurance policy, it is important to obtain consent from the individual being insured before making the purchase.

What Types of Life Insurance Policies Can You Take Out on Someone?

When taking out a life insurance policy on someone, it's important to understand the different types of policies available. The most common types include term life insurance, whole life insurance, and universal life insurance.

  • Term life insurance offers coverage for a set time (10-30 years) with a death benefit if the insured dies within term coverage, making it an affordable option that doesn't accumulate cash value.
  • Whole life insurance is a lifelong coverage with a growing cash value, featuring guaranteed premiums and death benefits as a stable long-term investment.
  • Universal life insurance offers adjustable premiums and death benefits, along with an investable cash value component for potential growth, though it may carry higher fees and risks.

You can insure another's life with a legitimate interest in their well-being; consult an advisor to meet legal requirements and ensure the policy aligns with life insurance's goal of offering financial protection and peace of mind.

Considerations in Beneficiary Designation on Another's Life Insurance

Choosing the right beneficiary for a life insurance policy is crucial, as it affects who gets the payout upon the policyholder's death, influencing financial futures and fulfilling the holder's wishes. Here are some considerations to think about: 

  • Understand the Policyholder's Intentions: Ensure clear communication about the policy's purpose and any specific wishes.
  • Tax Implications: Be aware of how a payout may affect your taxes and consult with a professional if necessary.
  • Financial Impact: Consider how the payout will affect your financial situation and plan accordingly.
  • Estate Planning: Understand how the life insurance payout fits into the broader context of the policyholder's estate planning.
  • Updates and Changes: Stay informed about any changes to the policy, including updates to the beneficiary designation or policy terms.
  • Legal Aspects: Be aware of any legal obligations or implications, especially if minors are involved or if there are specific instructions in a will.

Understanding your role as a life insurance beneficiary is key to managing financial benefits wisely and honoring the policyholder's legacy.

Ethical Considerations for Buying a Policy on Someone Else

When considering taking out a life insurance policy on someone else, whether it's a family member, friend, or business partner, ethical considerations play a crucial role.

  • Insurable Interest: Ensure you have a genuine financial interest in the person you're considering insuring. Without this, it could lead to moral hazards and conflicts of interest.
  • Informed Consent: Respect the autonomy and privacy of the individual by obtaining their informed consent before proceeding with any insurance arrangement. Communication and transparency are essential in navigating ethical complexities.
  • Relationships and Trust: Consider the potential impact on relationships and trust. Taking out a policy without the insured's knowledge or against their wishes can strain or damage relationships irreparably. Open and honest communication is key.
  • Values Alignment: Ensure the insurance arrangement aligns with your values and ethical principles. Taking out insurance solely for financial gain without considering the well-being of the insured raises significant ethical concerns.
  • Empathy and Responsibility: Approach the decision with empathy, integrity, and a deep sense of ethical responsibility. Consider the broader implications of the insurance arrangement beyond financial gain.

Common Risks and Pitfalls

When taking out a life insurance policy on someone else, it's essential to understand the common risks and pitfalls involved.

  • Lack of Consent: Legally, you cannot take out a life insurance policy on someone without their knowledge and explicit consent. Ignoring this can lead to legal issues and potentially invalidate the policy.
  • Insurable Interest Disputes: Ensuring you have a valid insurable interest in the person you're seeking to insure is important. Without it, the policy might be deemed void, leading to denied claims when needed most.
  • Premium Affordability: It's important to consider whether you can afford the premiums over the long term. Defaulting on premium payments can lead to policy lapses and loss of coverage, defeating the purpose of having insurance in the first place.
  • Accurate Health Information for Underwriting Process: Failing to accurately disclose the insured's health information can result in denied claims. Ensure all health conditions and details are provided to avoid issues during underwriting, where insurers assess risk.
  • Read the Fine Print: Details matter. Understanding the specifics of the policy ensures it meets your expectations and avoids surprises during critical times.

Navigating these risks and pitfalls requires careful consideration and consultation with a reputable financial planner to ensure you make informed and responsible decisions regarding life insurance coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you buy life insurance for someone who is dying?

Life insurance typically requires the insured individual to undergo a medical examination and provide health information during the application process. However, some insurers offer guaranteed issue life insurance, which doesn't require a life insurance medical exam but often comes with higher premiums and lower coverage limits.

It's important to explore all available options and consult with a knowledgeable insurance agent to find the best solution for your specific situation when considering coverage for someone who is terminally ill.

How to find out if someone has taken life insurance out on me?

If you suspect someone has taken out a life insurance policy or lost track of a life insurance policy on you, there are steps you can take to find out.


Insuring the life of a third party is a complex and sensitive matter that requires careful consideration of legal and ethical factors. By understanding the concept of insurable interest, consent requirements, and relevant regulations, you can make informed decisions about protecting your loved ones and business interests through life insurance.

Consult with experienced insurance professionals and legal advisors to ensure compliance and avoid potential pitfalls. Start today to help protect what matters most by exploring your options responsibly.


  1. "Insurable Interest." HUB International. https://www.hubinternational.com/insurance-glossary/i/insurable-interest/

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Information provided is general and educational in nature, and all products or services discussed may not be provided by Western & Southern Financial Group or its member companies (“the Company”). The information is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal or tax advice. The Company does not provide legal or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. The Company makes no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use. The Company disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information. Consult an attorney or tax advisor regarding your specific legal or tax situation.