Life insurance is for adults, right? For people with debts, assets, dependents, and mortgages?
As it turns out, kids can qualify for life insurance policies too. And depending on your family’s financial circumstances and long-term goals, it might be in your best financial interest.
As one of the oldest and best-known life insurance companies specializing in kid-friendly term life and whole life insurance coverage, Gerber Life Insurance is a natural fit for your short list, whether you need insurance for your child or yourself. But it’s not the only option out there, even for infants and children, so review its options and features carefully before buying.
What Is Gerber Life Insurance?
Gerber Life Insurance is one of several well-known life insurance companies specializing in life insurance policies for kids while offering adult-friendly insurance as well.
How Gerber Life Insurance Stacks Up
As you research your life insurance options, you’ll likely encounter one of Gerber Life’s top competitors: Globe Life Insurance. And the products they offer are where the similarities stop.
|Gerber Life Insurance||Globe Life Insurance|
|Kid Policy Types||Whole life||Whole life|
|Adult Policy Types||Whole and term life||Whole and term life|
|Max Kids Coverage||Up to $50,000, doubling at 18||Up to $30,000|
|College Savings Insurance||Up to $150,000||None|
|Max Adult Coverage||Up to $300,000||Up to $100,000|
|Per-Month Premium||Starts around $4||Starts around $2|
|Term Lengths||10 to 30 years||One to 30 years|
|Whole Life Expiration||None||None|
Gerber Life Insurance Plans & Pricing
Gerber Life Insurance offers three whole life insurance policies for kids and whole and term life insurance coverage options for adults. Compared to many other insurance companies, these policies have relatively low coverage limits and thus lower premiums.
Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan
The Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan is a whole life insurance policy for children under age 15. You can purchase coverage under the Grow-Up plan as soon as a child is born — typically, the purchaser is a parent, grandparent, close family member, or legal guardian.
Grow-Up Plan coverage amounts — also known as death benefits — range from $5,000 to $50,000. Monthly premiums start around $4 per month for $5,000 in coverage. Your exact monthly premium depends on where you live and how much coverage you purchase.
You must pay premiums on time and in full to keep the policy in effect. Otherwise, it could expire worthless and leave your kid with nothing. As long as you keep paying premiums, the policy remains active indefinitely. And premiums remain level for the life of the policy, no matter how long it remains in effect.
Grow-Up Plan policies accrue cash value over time. That value builds slowly at first but eventually turns into a sizable nest egg.
You remain the policyholder until the insured child turns 21. At that point, they become the policy owner. They can choose to maintain coverage by continuing to pay premiums or redeem the policy for its accrued cash value.
Gerber Life Young Adult Plan
This whole life plan is designed for children ages 15 through 17. You — the responsible adult in their lives — remain the policyholder until they turn 21.
Coverage amounts start at $5,000 and range up to $50,000. Premiums are generally higher than the Grow-Up Plan’s and depend on how much coverage you buy, where you live, and your child’s overall health.
As a whole life policy, your child’s Young Adult Plan accumulates cash value and remains effective as long as you continue to pay premiums. When your child turns 21, they can keep paying premiums or cash out the policy, meaning they can ask Gerber Life to cancel their policy and pay them its accumulated cash value.
Gerber Life Insurance College Plan
Gerber sells the Gerber Life College Plan as an alternative to 529 college savings plans and other tax-advantaged education funds. But unlike those accounts, your child can use the policy’s cash value for anything, not just education-related expenses.
The Gerber Life Insurance College Plan is a special term life insurance plan that provides between $10,000 and $150,000 of coverage. The term is based on when you expect your child to need the funds for college, but 10 years is common. You — the responsible adult — are the policyholder.
Unlike most term life policies, the Gerber Life Insurance College Plan is guaranteed to pay out at the end of the term. The expiration payout is equal to the coverage amount.
If you stop paying premiums before the policy expires, you get some or all of the expiration payout. How much depends on when you stop paying, but if you’re past the policy’s midpoint, you’ll receive the full payout. And if you die during the policy term, your child gets the full payout as a death benefit.
Adult Life Insurance Options
Gerber’s wheelhouse is life insurance for kids, but it issues standard adult life insurance policies as well. These tend to have lower death benefits and starting coverage amounts than competitors’ policies, so they’re most appropriate as supplements to existing or employer-sponsored life policies or for specific goals like covering the cost of a funeral and burial.
You have several options for adult life insurance.
- Term Life Insurance. Gerber underwrites term life insurance policies with death benefits between $100,000 and $300,000 for most applicants, though coverage amounts up to $1 million may be available for some applicants. Terms range from 10 to 30 years. Premiums start at around $15.50 per month for 20-year, $100,000 policies for young adults in excellent health.
- Whole Life Insurance. Gerber offers adult whole life insurance policies with coverage amounts between $50,000 and $300,000 for most applicants. Coverage amounts up to $1 million may be available. Gerber doesn’t disclose premiums on its website, but expect to pay five to 10 times more than term life for the same amount of coverage.
- Guaranteed-Issue Life Insurance. Also known as final expenses insurance, this special type of whole life coverage for policyholders between ages 50 and 80 provides enough coverage for funeral costs and final expenses. Death benefits range from $5,000 to $25,000. You don’t need to take a medical exam or answer health questions to qualify.
- Accident Protection Insurance. You can get up to $250,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage. Premiums start at around $5 per month for $50,000 in coverage.
Key Features of Gerber Life Insurance
Gerber Life Insurance policies have some other important features worth noting. Some features aren’t unique to Gerber, but they add value if you or your kid can take advantage.
Cash Value Loans on Gerber Whole Life Insurance
You can borrow against your Gerber whole life policy’s cash value at 8% annual interest. That reduces your policy’s death benefit by the amount of your loan balance. You can restore the death benefit by paying back the loan.
Child Plan Covers Doubles at Age 18
The Gerber Grow-Up and Young Adult plans double their coverage amount when the child turns 18 without increasing the premium. So if you start your kid with a $50,000 policy, they’d have $100,000 in coverage when they turn 18. And as long as they keep paying premiums, that coverage amount continues forever.
Children Have the Option to Purchase Additional Coverage
Children with Gerber Life policies have the right to purchase additional coverage once they’re adults, regardless of their health status or occupation. They must pay premiums based on their age and health, though, meaning the additional coverage is likely to be more expensive than their initial coverage.
Child Policies Offer Guaranteed Coverage for Life
As whole life policies, Gerber’s Grow-Up and Young Adult plans offer guaranteed coverage for life. Coverage only goes away if you or your adult child stop paying premiums.
Automatic Payment Discount
If you set up automatic payments, Gerber cuts your monthly premium by 8% to 10%, depending on your policy type. That drops your premiums by around $1 for every $10 you pay.
Advantages of Gerber Life Insurance
Gerber Life offers three permanent life insurance policies for kids and their parents and solid value for adult policyholders as well. The primary advantages include:
- Very Low Guaranteed Premiums on Grow-Up Plans. Gerber Life’s Grow-Up Plans have very low premiums because children’s risk of death is lower than adults’. And because premiums are guaranteed for life, it pays to buy now rather than wait.
- Flexible Coverage Options for Kids. Gerber offers three life insurance policies for kids under age 21. The Grow-Up Plan is ideal for very young children. The Young Adult Plan makes sense for teenagers. And the College Plan works for kids of any age whose parents want help putting them through college.
- Automatic Payment Discount. Set up automatic premium payments for any Gerber policy to qualify for a discount of up to 10%. That’s a significant cut that gives you more breathing room to meet future financial obligations.
- Child Coverage Doubles at Age 18. Gerber child policies double their coverage at age 18 without raising premiums. Like a 401(k) match or unexpected inheritance, that’s basically free money.
- College Savings Insurance Is a Flexible Alternative to 529 Plans. Gerber’s College Plan is an attractive, flexible alternative to traditional college savings accounts. Unlike those, you can use the guaranteed payout to cover virtually any expense, education-related or otherwise.
Disadvantages of Gerber Life Insurance
Gerber’s life insurance products aren’t for everyone. These drawbacks mean most adult plans may be better as supplemental insurance, especially for adults with higher coverage needs.
- Low Maximum Coverage Amounts. Even with coverage doubling at 18 on the kids plans, adult coverage is still thin compared with top competitors.
- Adult Life Insurance Seems Like an Afterthought. Gerber focuses on life insurance for kids, which is excellent for families in a position to buy it. But its adult life insurance products seem like afterthoughts. There are many other insurers to buy from if you’re just in the market for coverage yourself.
One common myth about life insurance is that it’s only appropriate for adults with significant debts or dependents who rely on them for financial support. And as tragic as the death of a child is, and as financially burdensome as any funeral and burial can be, the stakes aren’t as high.
Nevertheless, buying whole life insurance for your child can make financial and practical sense. As long as you continue paying premiums, you help establish a nest egg your child can use any way they want after they turn 21.