Gerber Life Insurance: Is This Child Life Insurance Really Worth It?
Gerber Life Insurance: There are many things parents can do to prepare their children for the future. They can move to a neighborhood with better schools. They can pay for after-school activities or extra tutors. And they can obtain life insurance, so their families—and especially their children—are protected financially in the event of their death.
Gerber Life Insurance is one of the most “marketed” life insurance products out there – with the iconic Gerber baby logo. In this article, we will explain what the insurance is, and why you may (or may not) want to buy it for your little ones.
Gerber is best known for its life insurance policies for children, but the company also sells small term and whole life insurance policies for adults. Also, Gerber is one of the largest U.S. insurers selling life insurance directly to consumers, rather than through agents.
Gerber, yes the baby food company, is also in the financial services business. Specifically, it offers a form of whole life insurance for children called the Grow-Up® Plan. If you’re a new parent, you’ve probably seen at least a few ads for this insurance.
The Grow-Up® Plan is a typical whole life insurance policy which means it has the following features:
You pay equal monthly payments for as long as you hold the life insurance policy.
If the covered person (your child) dies, the insurance company will pay out the policy value (with Gerber the policy can be $5,000 to $50,000).
The policy builds up a “cash value” over time. You can borrow against the cash value, use the interest from the cash value to pay premiums, or give up the policy in exchange for the cash value. We will discuss more about the cash value concept later on.
The plan also has a little twist. When the covered person turns 18, the policy amount doubles (from $10,000 to $20,000, for example). This makes it a little more valuable for the child. Also, when the child turns 21, they automatically own the policy.
Simplified issue and guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance
Seniors and those with pre-existing medical conditions
Many policies to choose from. Gerber’s many policies focus on protecting your little and not-so-little ones while potentially saving for the future.
Medical exams not required. A simple process often forgoes exams for those ages 18 to 50.
Not your best savings option. Its dual life and college savings plan sounds easy. But if saving for college is your main concern, you’ll likely see a better return on your money with a high-yield savings account or 529 plan.
A child rider might provide the same protection. Instead of taking out a new life insurance policy for your child, your existing life insurance policy likely allows for extending your policy’s benefits to cover your children.
Only one rider mentioned on its website. While most insurers offer a range of policy add-ons to expand coverage, Gerber only advertises one: its waiver of premium.
Why Have Life Insurance for Children?
The Gerber Life Insurance policy is first and foremost a life insurance policy. The main reason to buy life insurance is to cover the loss of income and the increase in expenses that are incurred when a person dies. In general, parents need life insurance for themselves whether they are part of the formal workforce or they work at home (stay-at-home parents).
By contrast, parents don’t really need life insurance for their children. Children don’t earn income, so parents don’t need to replace their income should the child die.
However, I think there are valid reasons to consider buying a whole life insurance policy for your child. Here are the reasons I would consider it:
Your child is facing a disability or severe diagnosis that would make it difficult to buy life insurance later in life.
You can get a cheap life insurance policy on your children through work (I pay about $5 per month for $10,000 in coverage for my three kids).
You don’t have $3,000 to $5,000 to cover funeral costs.
When It Doesn’t Make Sense to Buy Life Insurance for Children
A lot of the Gerber life insurance marketing surrounds the cash value part of the policy. The advertising implies that your child may be able to use the cash value to pay for college or major expenses (like a wedding) years down the line.
That implied advertising is true. Your child can borrow against the cash value that’s built up in a life insurance policy. The problem is that cash value in a life insurance policy builds up very slowly over time. After paying into the plan for 17 or 18 years, the $50,000 policy may have just $3,000 to $4,000 of cash value built up into it when your child hits college age.
If you want to give your child access to money between the ages of 17 and 25, a life insurance plan is rarely the way to do it. The cash value builds too slowly to be worthwhile in the life of your child.
What types of life insurance coverage does Gerber offer?
The majority of Gerber’s plans are whole life policies, offering life insurance with the ability to build cash value, though you’ll find a small term life policy in the mix.
Term life insurance Coverage ranges from $25,000 to $150,000 with a guaranteed premium over terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years, with payments as low as $8 monthly.
Whole life insurance Coverage of up to $150,000 with guaranteed premiums and the potential to build cash value over the life of the policy that you can borrow from at 8% interest.
Guaranteed life insurance Whole life insurance designed for applicants ages 50 to 80 with guaranteed acceptance with no medical examination required. Select coverage from $5,000 to $25,000.
Accident protection insurance Offers cash benefits in the event of accidental death or a policy-covered injury as a result of an accident, with coverage of up to $100,000 available and rates as low as $0.07 a day.
Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan Coverage of up to $50,000 available for children ages 14 days to 14 years. Monthly premiums are guaranteed for life, and coverage automatically doubles at 18.
Young Adult Life Insurance Whole life insurance designed for children ages 15 to 17 with cash-building coverage of up to $50,000. Coverage automatically doubles at 18 with no monthly premium increase.
Gerber Life College Plan Rolls life insurance and college savings into one plan that offers a guaranteed $10,000 to $150,000 payment on policy maturity. If anything happens to the policyholder before the maturity date, a beneficiary receives the full benefit.
Gerber Life FAQ
How much cash value can I expect from the Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan?
It seems nice to build a Gerber Life baby savings account on behalf of your child through an insurance policy, but the truth is that the cash value of the plan will be relatively modest unless your child continues to fund the policy for many decades. The actual cash value of the policy will depend on the level of the benefit. Higher-benefit policies will generate a higher cash value.
How can I cash out the Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan?
You may choose at any time to surrender your Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan. Just contact Gerber Life’s customer service and let them know that you wish to give up your policy.
If you’ve built up a cash value, you will receive that money when you cash out the policy, though you’ll likely have to pay penalty fees for giving up the policy. That will cut into the amount you receive back. It often takes several years for a whole life policy to generate a cash value since the early premiums are used to pay costs related to setting up and managing the policy. If you give up your policy after only a few years, you may not receive any money back at all.
When your child turns 21, they take ownership of the policy. If they can’t or don’t want to keep making the premium payments, they can choose to surrender the policy and receive the cash value after fees and penalties have been deducted. It’s worth noting that if your child wishes to keep the policy but doesn’t have the funds to cover the premium payments, they can use the policy’s cash value to pay the premiums for as long as the cash value lasts.
What is the difference between the Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan and the Gerber Life Young Adult Life Insurance?
These two plans are virtually identical, except for the age limits of the insured individual. The Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan applies to children 14 days to 14 years old, while the young adult life insurance plan is for teens 15 to 17 years old. At 18, the individual can seek out a whole life or term life insurance plan for adults, which Gerber Life also offers.
Whole life insurance premium rate quotes increase with age, so premium rates will be higher with the Young Adult Life Insurance Plan than with the Grow-Up Plan.
Who can purchase a Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan?
Gerber Life Grow-Up Plans and Young Adult Life Insurance Plans can be purchased by a child’s parents, grandparents, or legal guardians.
Can I purchase a term life insurance policy for my child?
Since children do not have dependents, there really isn’t much reason to purchase a term life insurance policy for them, and no insurance companies sell term life products for minors. If you want to insure your child, you have two options. You can either purchase a whole life insurance policy, like the Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan, for them, or you can add a child rider to your insurance policy, which will pay out a benefit to cover burial costs if your child should die.
For the policyholder, life insurance is peace of mind that comes from knowing that your loved ones will have financial protection when you’re gone. A good life insurance policy can give them time to adjust to life without you without having to worry about how to pay for your funeral and how to pay the monthly bills. Gerber Life Insurance has been giving families peace of mind by offering reliable policies for decades.
However, review all the options to be sure it is what you really need.
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