Posted: 11:18 pm Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Toddler story just keeps shocking: Do you have life insurance on your kids? 

By Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

Editor’s Note: I wanted to give you a quick update and then jump into our topic: Sorry for the radio silence last week. The house was packed up on Tuesday and loaded on Wednesday. We drove out Wednesday afternoon right after the movers left. We made it to Albuquerque at like 2 in the morning. On Thursday we made it to Joplin, Missouri, and on Friday we slept in Zanesville, Ohio. We can’t move into our house until the 9th so we headed to the Jersey shore for a few days on the beach. We don’t have internet set up at the new house yet so I will try to post this week as much as I can but please understand if there’s not something new. More on the drive and the move later but now let’s talk about the toddler dad.

As we were driving across the country on Thursday, I was following the toddler dad court proceedings on my AJC app on my smart phone. I was literally gasping and muttering to myself  “Oh no. Oh no.” Michael was like “What are you reading?” One of the many surprising revelations that came out was that the family had life insurance on their son.

 From AJC.com:

He held $27,000 in life insurance on Cooper and, from jail, talked with family members about how to collect on it, according to search warrants released Friday.

The Associated Press followed up with an interesting story about life insurance on kids. If you’re wondering: Life insurance on children represents less than 1 percent on the total insurance market. Translation: Not many people buy it.

From AJC.com:

Life insurance for kids

Associated Press

The mention that Ross Harris held $27,000 in two life insurance policies on his son has drawn attention to policies that families sometime buy for children. They are somewhat unusual, and a benefit of $25,000 is on the high side, although no unheard-of. Some facts:

  • Bought by parents, grandparents or anyone directly related to the child. Buyers are required to have an “insurable interest” in the person covered, meaning the buyer wants the person covered to actually live.
  • Insurers require documentation of how a covered individual dies, and the policies will not pay out if the beneficiary is convicted of murdering the person covered.
  • Life insurance policies typically have a cash value while the covered person is still living. Often, a parent or grandparent buys a policy with the intention of giving the child the option later in life of cashing in the policy.
  • Policies for adults typically offer much higher death benefits than those for children. Life insurance with benefits of $5,000 to $10,000 — enough to cover funeral expenses — are typical.
  • Life insurance policies on children represent less than 1 percent of the overall life insurance market, one expert said.

So my questions are: Do you have life insurance on your kids? If so, why did you get it? Do you think it’s odd or just parents wanting a product the kids could cash out later? What do you think this indicates in this case?

 

43 comments
Ibcuser
Ibcuser

It is unfortunate to find such poor thinking in reference to life insurance on children and newborns. The biggest advantage is the cost is very low. It is true, life happens and those children can die at a very young age and the policies can help cover illness and burial expenses. 

Are you able to see past the trivial and popular thinking that insurance only works at death? A well designed policy can accumulate cash value if given time. So a newborn can sit on a nice cash value when he/she is 22, 25 years old. If properly educated, this young person can use the cash value to finance needs and wants, help themselves to pay for college.

This cash value will be a solid foundation this young person can build on.

Get more information from "Becoming your Own Banker" by Nelson Nash and "How Privatized Banking Really Works" by Carlos Lara and Robert P. Murphy Ph.D.

anothercomment
anothercomment

I am a very responsible person. When my oldest daughter was born I increased my work life insurance policy to 5x my salary from about 2 x naming my estate as beneficiary, she also would have been covered for $5,000 in life insurance. I also purchased a $100k policy from NY life, that has a child rider of $25,000 in insurance on my daughter. This policy allows both of us to have insurance without regard to being tied to an employer. It also allows my child to always have at least this amount of insurance, and by multiplies of it. Good thing, I bought that policy almost 20 years ago because my child has had serious medical issues, including Chemotherapy over the course of the last five years and we still don't know what is wrong with her. She would be uninsurable on the private marketplace. She will always just have this and only a group employer policy.

My cousins 23 year old son was murdered in a small upstate NY town when I was pregnant with my child. My cousin did not have any insurance on him, nor did he have any insurance through his job at a local restaurant. My cousin had a difficult time paying for a funeral and felt bad about it. My family is too proud to ever go on the news to beg people to pay for their son's funeral. Luckily, she and her sister went to high school with the Funeral Home owner.

No real parent is able to work after the sudden loss of a child, you are just torn up. My cousin had a hard time functioning the first year. Then decided her mission in life was to become a foster parent to the toughest teen boy the state of NY could hand her.

The_Real_KJ
The_Real_KJ

In related news, people continue to be really bad at math.

Vanilla212
Vanilla212

I can understand having a life insurance policy for just enough to cover funeral expenses for a child, but anything more than that seems excessive. That's not exactly a smoking gun in the case of these parents, but combined with everything else a $25k policy seems fishy.

As for the Gerber grow-up plan, it's not a great plan. There are cheaper ways to get life insurance for kids, and better ways to invest for their future.

skeeterN
skeeterN

I want all the people who signed change.org and the ones who donated to his defense fund to have their names publicly exposed.  

Some how the words, seven hours, went over their hollow heads.

Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

 I was literally gasping and muttering to myself “Oh no. Oh no.” Michael was like “What are you reading?”

Really? You write like a teenager speaks? Is this what they teach in Athens? Do you allow your kids to speak/write in the same special olympian manner?

WasDenise
WasDenise

I thought it was really NUTS when I heard my cousin had life insurance on her kids but after reading what you all have said about this subject I cannot imagine not having if I had a kid, especially a policy they can cash out for other benefits.  It doesn't seem like $27K is a lot if it is a policy that a child can cash it out later.  One year of tuition may be less than that by the time a young child would get to college.

foxdog
foxdog

I bought policies on my kids. The premium on a $25000 policy for a child is probably less than $10 a month...

JosephHoward
JosephHoward

Let's NOT forget, this is the paper the convicted Richard Jewell!!!!!!!!!

historywriter
historywriter

Almost everyone on here has insurance on their children ($25,000 on each of mine).  My husband wanted insurance because of possible lost wages while caring for a child and grieving.  Obviously, unlike the headline says, life insurance on a child is not "shocking."  There appears to be a great deal of sensationalism in reporting about this case.  

Mystery_Poster
Mystery_Poster

As part of my benefit package at work, I could buy spouse/depedent life insurance for an insanely cheap amount of money. I always buy it. You don't want to think about such a horible thing as losing a child, but a horrible situation would be even worse if you went bankrupt to pay for it. 

K's Mom
K's Mom

My husband sold insurance for a period of time and there are life insurance policies sold on children that have a cash value on the back end that parents are purchasing as a college savings instrument.  Some of them are about $100K.  I do not find the life insurance policy in this case to be a smoking gun, it is everything else that this guy did and his telling family how to collect on the policy that are what make this case so chilling.  My heart breaks for this little boy who was only 4 months younger than my younger son.  

MostlySunny
MostlySunny

IMHO, the Internet is truly destroying our once civilized society.  Sex and related crimes via the world wide web seems to be what is occupying many peoples attention if you read the headlines, not that the boss is over working you or that life in general is too busy.  The Internet has taken control over peoples lives, especially in this country.   I am truly beginning to believe that you truly don't "know" what anyone is really like - with this case, along with other personal incidences, I am quickly losing faith in humanity.


Although a 25k policy seems steep, this is the least of the shocking and heart wrenching revelations to come out of this case.  My gut told me when this man was arrested that this was going to be much more disturbing, but I had no idea just how jaw dropping it would turn.   I have a sick feeling this is far from over and more shocking details are to come.


Just DAMN.  SMH

NewName
NewName

Until recently, I thought a burial policy on a child was pretty standard just in case; it's much better to have to ask for donations in case of a tragedy. There is a cash value on most of these policies as well so that when the child survives they have money to invest, start in life, etc.


There's really no excuse for a $25k policy though for a child. 

tlh3791
tlh3791

I found it more telling that he searched for "how to survive in prison" and "at what temperature will a child die in a hot car" than the life insurance thing. I mean, if he had a $1 million dollar policy, yeh I'd think that was EXTREMELY suspicious. But a total of $27k? Nah. 


I have a policy on my oldest. Only for $10k...enough to cover her funeral/burial, basically. She was living a risky life for awhile and I was pretty sure she'd end up dead. Not a pleasant thought, but I also didn't want to be stuck trying to pay for an unexpected funeral if the worst happened. 


Also, many parents get small life insurance policies on their kids in case they do pass away, it would pay for lost wages. That way, a parent isn't worrying about how to pay their mortgage while they're grieving the loss of their child.


Any bets on how long until "toddler mom" flips on the dad? Considering she (presumably) just found out her husband was sexting 6 different people, including an under-aged girl, I would think she might get a little hot under the collar. 

MomtoKTB
MomtoKTB

We do not have insurance on our kids, but I remember it being heavily marketed by the Gerber company during my pregnancies - brochures at the doctor's office, inserts in magazines, forms in the hospital goody bag, etc.

April-01
April-01

I have 10k on each of my children. It is offered as an add on policy with my policy at work. This is considered a burial policy and I think pretty common.

25k seems like a lot to me.

ReallyTired
ReallyTired

We've always had a small policy on our daughter since she was born. The main reason is that when I was young, 2 or 3 kids died for various reasons in my community. Only one family had insurance and the others struggled to pay for the funerals. Another reason is that right before I had my daughter, I saw news stories of kids dying in car accidents and house fires with the families struggling to pay for funeral costs while trying to grieve.  I couldn't imagine that so although it breaks my heart to even think something could happen,  we still got coverage.

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

I have Life on both kids.  It's an add on for a few cents a month on my work policy.

Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

 I was following the toddler dad court proceedings

The guy does have a name. Also, just saying "toddler dad" is rather vague. Of course, I see you are no longer referring to it as an "accident" capable of any parent.

ecm1969
ecm1969

We have a Gerber Life policy for our daughter, but more so because it looked like a decent savings vehicle for her that will mature while she's in college and assist her with her college costs. That was our reason for getting the policy in the first place.

workingmommyof2
workingmommyof2

I have life insurance on both of my children. They both have $50,000 in coverage. I work in the insurance field and have multiple reasons for having policies on them. There are many benefits to the policy they have and I took it out for a couple of reasons:

1) If one of my children die I don't want to make payments to a funeral home for 20 years

2) If something happens during their childhood and they are unable to get life insurance as an adult, the policy I have for them allows them to add additional coverage from ages 21-40 every three years.

I don't think it's odd at all. I like the ability to know I'm doing something now to help my kids down the road. To me, because of being in my field, it's no different than parent who set up a 529 plan for their child.

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

That bama clown is gonna need sodimite insurance once he gets to prison.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I did not have policies on my children (was too poor) but do on my grands. $5000, enough for a simple funeral or  few doctor expenses.


If my son had died (not been able to be resuscitated)  during that time when he was hurt so badly, we would have had to rely on the kindness of others.


$25,000 for one policy seems steep.  The $2000 may be through his work.  I would bet the DA will explore this.


I cannot imagine any scenario where this was an accident.  Who forgets their kid when they do the dropoff ever day?  I suspect the mom, also, due to her statements.


May the wheels of justice grind true.

ssidawg
ssidawg

We don't have life insurance on our son, even though my husband & I certainly have it on each other in case something were to happen to one of us.  I guess I could see having a small policy on a child to cover funeral expenses if you don't have any savings.  Having said that- this story makes me incredibly sad.  Every time I check ajc.com it's with a sense of dread that I'm going to see another article about what monsters these people are.  I mean, who drives a mile down the road and forgets his child is in the car???

KittyGirl1119
KittyGirl1119

(Formerly BlondeHoney) When my boys were little, we had a10k child rider for each boy on my life insurance for them to cash out later so not completely unheard of; 25K sounds like a lot to me. My grandson is 22months now and the more I hear about this story the sicker it makes me feel.

RJMusic
RJMusic

Employers offer these polcies and I don't find it that unusual. While we don't want to ever even consider losing a child, it can and does happen.  With all the craziness that goes on in the world, I'm not shocked by this man's actions, just deeply saddened.  I cried for that poor baby.  This man is a monster that I hope gets the death penalty if he is as guilty as he looks. 

malleesmom
malleesmom

Hoping the pieces of the move fall smoothly into place.


mistyknapp
mistyknapp

Good luck with the rest of your move and setting up house! Did the house in Arizona sell?

mistyknapp
mistyknapp

I don't have any kids and I've never heard of parent getting one for the children ( spouses, yes). I did read that he wanted children ( one article on the AJC) and then, another, he didn't want children ( again, AJC).

In this case, I think he wanted the money due to financial trouble. I see they are looking at the mother, now. good! I think she's part of this whole thing.

mom2alex@max
mom2alex@max

@WasDenise I thought it was nuts too...until i watched a good friend rely on donations to pay off the funeral and other medical expenses after she lost her child.



MostlySunny
MostlySunny

@NewName Home Depot reportedly paid for little Cooper's funeral expenses through something called the Homer Fund.   Also, a friend of the family named "Heather" had a donation page on the YouCaring site set up for the so-called parents to be used at their discretion with over $22K funds  until the site was shut down sometime last week.   I really hope the police are focusing on this site, who shut it down, and if funds were collected or returned etc.   


There is so much fraud and financial scams going on in our society.   SMH

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@ecm1969 Be careful you are not knocking her out of financial aid with this, as it will be part of her/your expected family contribution.  Of course, who knows how high the costs will be then?

mom2alex@max
mom2alex@max

@mistyknapp My parents had an insurance policy on each of us kids when we were young. It was a small one (around 10K) that could cash out after a certain point. It was used mainly as a savings method for college and also to pay for a funeral if the unthinkable happened.


I never really thought about it until recently, when a dear friend of mine lost her child. The family relied on the incredible support of the community and through donations were able to take care of it, but it got me thinking about it. Getting small insurance policies on my children is on my to do list this fall.

WasDenise
WasDenise

@mom2alex@max @WasDenise  I cannot even imagine having to deal with the loss of a child AND not having the means to have a funeral without assistance.  My God, parents have so much to think about and plan for, even when you pray that what you plan for never comes to pass.

NewName
NewName

@MostlySunny - I'm wondering if Home Depot is looking to have the money for the funeral returned due to the way things have unfolded. 


Not that that would excuse his focus on attempting to get that insurance payment in the least. 

tlh3791
tlh3791

@Wascatlady @tlh3791 I agree. If she is NOT involved, she would be smart to distance herself from her husband as quickly as possible. I think the fact she's standing by his side and did some of the same concerning things (internet searches, lack of emotion, etc) is pretty damning.

NewName
NewName

@Wascatlady - Insurance isn't betting against someone living. It's being responsible and not getting into a financial bind should disaster strike. It's usually a whole lot cheaper and more realistic than setting aside enough money for a funeral for a child "just in case".

RealKat
RealKat

@NewName @MostlySunny The child deserved to have a decent burial regardless of the situation. It would be a PR nightmare if HD were to ask for the money to be reimbursed. Similar to KFC letting that $30,000 go to charity.