Life insurance on an ex

I was thinking of getting a 10 year term life insurance on my ex simply because if she dies, I would have to raise our son on a single income and a small bankroll would probably help to buy a bigger place, move him out here, etc. How would one go about doing that? Would she have to approve it or at least go for a physical?

Insurable interest:

Yep. You don’t have an insurable interest on your ex. You cannot buy a life insurance policy on the ex, and if you manage to sneak it past them, they won’t pay come daisy pushing time.

However, you might be able to convince your ex to take out a policy and name you as the beneficiary. I’m not sure if your kids could take out a policy on a parent, but I suspect not. Some property settlements following divorce require a life insurance policy be maintained by the divorcing party, but this is a poor idea as there is little incentive to keep up the payments.

I don’t see why you wouldnt have an insurable interest in the ex, especially if they are helping with the costs of raising kids through partial custody or child support payments, or are paying alimony.

It’s very common for divorce decrees to contain a requirement that the man obtain and maintain a life insurance policy naming his ex-wife as a beneficiary. This protects the ex-wife’s entitlement to receive child support payments if the ex-husband should die.

I imagine that Saint Cad could have had his attorney negotiate such a provision in his own divorce. It’s probably a little trickier now that the divorce has gone through. As far as I know, getting a life insurance policy requires the cooperation of the person whose life is being insured. For example, filling out a health questionnaire; submitting to a physical examination, etc.

Not only that, but I would think most ex-spouses would not cooperate with such a request. I’m not divorced, but if my ex-spouse called me out of the blue and said she wanted to get life insurance on me, I would be a bit uncomfortable.

If the ex-wife won’t cooperate, it may be necessary to bring the issue to the family court. I would call an insurance broker first, followed by my attorney.

What brazil84 said is essentially true. Unless the divorce decree makes provisions for a policy, you may have to see your lawyer to get an order to make the ex cooperate.

However, you may want to talk to your ex first to see if she’ll play ball on her own. She may think it’s a good idea if it’s in the interest of the child. You may even sweeten the pot a little by offering to spring for a whole-life policy with the goal of transferring ownership to her when the child reaches the age of majority, and with the child as beneficiary. It’s just a little something extra for the kid.

The best way to set up such a policy is for you to buy the policy and name yourself owner (which means paying the premiums, but whatever). This prevents the ex from cashing the policy out without your consent, so the policy will always be there with no surprises if loans were taken out and not repaid. There are ways to set up the child as beneficiary.

Obviously, you’re going to want to talk to your ex, your lawyer, and your insurance agent (in that order). If your ex won’t cooperate, you’ll have to get a court order. Many insurance agents won’t even take the application without some assurance that the ex will cooperate; I certainly wouldn’t so much as run a quote without the ex being present or at least in the presence of a valid order.

That being said, there may already be a provision in the divorce decree for such a policy. Ask your lawyer.

cainxinth and The Second Stone, there is certainly an insurable interest in an ex-spouse who happens to be the other parent of your child. If the ex dies, you’ll have to limp along without that parent’s financial support and life insurance fills the gap. In fact, even if there was no child involved, as long as both ex-spouses maintain some common obligation, there may be an insurable interest. The agent must justify that interest, but as long as there is supporting documentation, it’s not that hard to demonstrate. There is also every incentive to keep up the premiums since you’ll be on the hook for all that money if there is no policy in force.

:: reaching for a business card:: Disclosures: I am a licensed insurance agent in PA and Texas. Since I don’t know where Saint Cad lives, I don’t know if I’m licensed in that state, so the applicable laws of that state may differ. You know the rest of the drill.


This is what we did. I own a policy on my ex, although it’s very small. He was in total agreement with it, as he is not able to afford one.

Under Florida law, you don’t have insurable interest in your ex but your kiddywink does, so you can take out a policy against his death or disablement as long as your kid is the named beneficiary.

This may or may not be the case in your state.

That’s exactly how these policies are set up. In the case of a minor child (which is usually what we’re dealing with), the proceeds may go into a trust set up for the benefit of the child with the surviving parent as the trustee. There are other ways to do it, but IIRC, this is the most common and most flexible since the money is accessible for the child’s care.

Otherwise, yeah, ex-spouses have no more insurable interest in each other than any two strangers.


  1. Ex-spouses do not have insurable interests in each other’s lives as long as there are no continuing financial obligations between them. *cf., * (insurable interest terminated with lapse of alimony obligation).

  2. Many jurisdictions require the consent of the party whose life is the subject of the insurance policy. Keeton & Widiss, Insurance Law.

  3. Children have an insurable interest in their parents. Id. and see, Robert Jerry, Understanding Insurance Law