Ever wondered, “can you take a life insurance policy out on anyone” (like, ANYONE)? Wondering how to find out if someone took an insurance policy out on YOU? Let’s dive into this touchy subject.

Could you imagine being allowed to take out a life insurance policy on anyone you wanted?woman with hat having leisurely walk on beach with text overlay "can anyone take a life insurance policy out on me?"

This would mean that if they died, you would get a cash payment of some sort.

You could take one out on movie stars like Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. You could take one out on someone in a dangerous situation, like a football player, a soldier, or a police officer.

And since they wouldn’t ever have to know – at least, you’d hope – then you could save on all of those awkward conversations…right?

It turns out that life insurance polices do not work that way.

Let’s dig further into this touchy subject by looking at what life insurance policies are, reasons someone would want to buy one on someone else, whether or not someone can take a life insurance policy out on you without you knowing, etc.

Psst: In a hurry, and you suspect someone took an insurance policy out on you without you knowing? You can request a free report (one per year) from The Medical Information Bureau (MIB), which keeps a database of life insurance applications from the last 7 years.

What is a Life Insurance Policy?

Life insurance is a type of insurance that pays out to a beneficiary upon death of the “insured” person the policy (who the policy is for), or after a certain period of time has passed.

It’s really financial protection against the loss of someone who’s passing would bring financial problems (let alone, grieving) for others.

Money can be used for things like the costs of the funeral, future educational expenses for the kids, outstanding debts, income that’s been lost, etc.

A life insurance policy is your contract with the insurance company; you pay premiums each month (don't worry if you don't have much money to get one — here's tips for getting budget life insurance), and in exchange, they hold up their side of the contract by either paying out a sum of money upon death of the insured, or paying out money at the end of a certain time period.

The two types of life insurance policies you can buy are term life insurance, and permanent life insurance (aka, whole life insurance or universal life insurance).

This guide helps explain the differences between term and whole life insurance policies.

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Reasons to Buy Life Insurance on Someone Else

There are many reasons why you would want to buy life insurance on someone else.

For example, I’ve got a life insurance policy out on someone else – my husband.

We pay a $29/month premium, and have enough life insurance to pay off the mortgage + pay for part of our son’s college in the event that my husband was to die.

Look – the whole subject sucks. But if someone dies without you guys having had the discussion, then it could really throw loved one’s lives into a tailspin (on top of the grief they’re already experiencing).

Think about if you died unexpectedly next week – who would be affected, financially? Would your spouse be able to pay the bills? Would your child be able to stay in the same school or after school activities that they’re currently in?

The following can all be reasons to buy life insurance on someone else:

  • The Person has Dependents: If a person has dependents – children, a spouse who stays home with children, an ex-spouse who counts on alimony/child support, etc. – then life insurance is a good idea. This is especially true in a single-income household.
  • The Person is Worth a Lot to Your Company: Did you know that some employers take out life insurance policies on employees? And not just the high-ranking VPs, but also on the rest of us (these policies are called janitor’s insurance or dead peasants’ insurance policies – how nice…). Business partners sometimes take out life insurance policies on each other as well, listing each other as the primary beneficiary.
  • You Co-Signed a Loan with Them: If you co-signed someone’s loans, such as for a car, or for a college education, then you might want to get a life insurance policy on them. Otherwise, you’d have to pay their remaining debt out of your own pocket.
  • You Used to Be Married to Them and They Pay Child Support: Having a requirement for life insurance in divorce decrees is common. That's because if you have dependents who live with your ex who are dependent on your child support, who would continue helping with their living costs if you were to die?

Can You Take a Life Insurance Policy Out on Anyone?

Now we’re really getting down to it.

The simple answer to “can you take a life insurance policy out on anyone?”

No. You cannot take a life insurance policy out on just anyone.

There are four different parties involved in a life insurance policy:

  • the insurer (life insurance company)
  • the owner of the policy (the person who pays the premiums)
  • the insured (the person whose life the policy is for)
  • the beneficiary (the person who will get the claim paid out to them)

And each of these parties has to be involved in the process, meaning they would have to know that a person is taking a life insurance policy out on them (except if you're a minor and it's your parents taking the policy out on you — see section below).

Let’s take a deeper look at how knowing someone is taking a policy out on you is built into the life insurance process.

Can I Buy Life Insurance on Someone Else?

Yes, you can absolutely buy life insurance on someone else.

But, you must cover your bases from what we discussed in the section above. Namely, you must have an “insurable interest” in the person you want to insure. AND, you must get their consent.

In order for anyone to take a policy out on someone else, they have to go through several steps that makes it next to impossible to unknowingly take a policy out on someone else.

Step #1: Show Insurable Interest

The regulation of insurance is left to each state so the laws vary; however, generally speaking, you must have an “insurable interest” in the person you will be taking a life insurance policy out for. This is easy to prove for people that are close family, such as your spouse, child, etc.

Insurable interest means a person or an entity must have a financial stake in the person they’d like to insure, which gives them the right to attempt to protect their financial losses.

Step #2: Have the “Insured” Go through a Medical Exam (Normally)

While there are life insurance policies that do not require a medical exam, for the most part, they do. That’s because insurance companies need to know that the insured person’s health is in relatively good shape (they are, after all, in it to make money).

The cool thing is that if you find a life insurance policy through Policygenius.com, they'll send a nurse out to conduct the exam when it's convenient from you, in the comfort of your own home!

Step #3: Get the Signature of the Insured

Finally, you have to have consent from the “insured” (usually through signatures on important documents) in order to take the policy out on them.

Even in the case of employers taking life insurance policies out on their employees, they have to tell the employees in writing and get employee consent (you might have signed something in all that onboarding paperwork and not have known it if you skimmed through).

Can I Cancel a Life Insurance Policy My Parents Have on Me?

You should know that it's perfectly legal for a parent to take a life insurance policy out on their child (as a minor) — AND, it's legal for them to keep that policy once that child becomes an adult.

However, if you're an adult, then your parents would need your consent to take a policy out on you at this point.

What if you don't know whether or not your parents have a policy on you, leftover from when you were a kid?

Aside from just asking them, you can request a report from The Medical Information Bureau (MIB), which keeps a database of life insurance applications.

Life Insurance Policy for Parents – Life Insurance for Parents

Taking a life insurance policy for parents might be a good idea for several reasons:

  • You need to cover their funeral expenses and this would be a hardship for you.
  • They watch your kids while you go to work, so if they passed you would need to start paying childcare.
  • They have any debts you’d need to pay off (specifically if you co-signed a loan for them).

If you’re wondering, “can I get life insurance on my parents without them knowing?” The answer is no — you can't get life insurance on a parent without their consent.

You’ll need to have “the talk” with them about your intentions (see the above section “Can You Take a Life Insurance Policy Out on Anyone?” for why they need to know you’ll be taking a policy out on them; in a nutshell, it’s because you’ll need their consent, they’ll need to pass a medical exam, and an “insured” party should know if someone is doing this. You’d want to know, right?).

But, don't fret. There is one type of life insurance for parents' policy that is easier to get than the others. It's called Final Expense Insurance (aka, burial insurance — I know, I know, kind of morbid). You'll still need your parent's consent to get the policy, HOWEVER, they do not need to get medical exams (though there will be a few medical questions they'll need to answer).

☑️Get Free Life Insurance Policy for Parents Quotes from Multiple Companies
A good place to start the process of getting life insurance for your parents is by getting free quotes from a number of companies through PolicyGenius.com.

Can You Get Life Insurance on an Ex-Spouse?

Divorce is messy. One of the details is, even though the two of you are separated, your finances probably aren’t. This is especially true if one spouse receives alimony and/or child support.

Many divorce decrees dictate that one spouse – the one provided alimony and/or child support – take out a life insurance policy and add their ex-spouse and/or child(ren) as beneficiaries so that in the event of their death, financial obligations can still be met.

The problem with this set-up is that the spouse who is ordered by the decree to get life insurance policy on themselves might decide to cancel the policy or change the beneficiaries. And how would you know if this happened?

Granted, if this happens to you, you likely have sway in a court decision upon death. Here’s some further evidence of what happens when there’s a failure to comply with divorce decree.

Can you get life insurance on an ex-spouse? Yes. You have an insurable interest. However, you need their consent.

Even non med-exam policies require either a pen-and-ink signature or a voice signature, which is the insured confirming their identity via voice. The insurer or agent will keep both on file. Also, policies that don’t require underwriting (such as a medical exam) are expensive — they’re generally only available for people over 50, and $25,000 of coverage could cost over $150 a month.

How Do I Find Out Is There a Life Insurance Policy On Me?

Do you suspect that someone might have a life insurance policy out on you, without your permission?

It turns out that there's a place that keeps records of life insurance applications — though only for underwritten applications. The Medical Information Bureau (MIB) is a clearinghouse for insurance companies to deter fraud, and they keep records of life insurance applications. You can request your report from the MIB (this page explains how).

Your report will show you any underwritten applications that have been made in your name (though this won't include any Guaranteed Issue Policies, as those are not underwritten).

Forged Signature Life Insurance Policy – How to Deal with Suspected Fraud

Do you suspect that someone else has forced your signature on a life insurance policy? If you do find evidence that someone has forged your signature in order to apply for a life insurance application in your name, you should contact the insurance company to report the suspected fraud, or contact your state's insurance bureau.

You can report insurance fraud through your state's insurance board. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) also has an online fraud reporting site that is an easy way to file a report.

39 replies
  1. sarah
    sarah says:

    I belive my parents. have. a insurance policy out on me but I don’t want them to because I don’t think it’s right, is there anything I can do about it?

    • Amanda
      Amanda says:

      Hmmm…I’m assuming you’re under 18? I’m not sure if there is anything you can do about it. You might want to call a life insurance rep and ask them the question. Please let us know if you do!

      • L
        L says:

        Why would they care. It is usually only enough to make sure that final arrangements are made so they are not taken out of pocket. If your are dead, why do you care of someone that is alive can benefit from that. My ex husband did not believe in it and left nothing to his two children. Nothing to his mother who had to pay for all his final arrangements out of her pocket. I think it is just selfish to do that to your relatives. That is what life insurance is all about.

        • Melissa Lisdero
          Melissa Lisdero says:

          This isn’t about the family getting the money from an insurance policy, it’s about a stranger having an insurance policy on someone who is NOT family and is taking advantage and they are getting the money for funeral costs and the children, NOT the family who NEED IT!

    • Brianne
      Brianne says:

      Im not sure how that would work if they took it out on you as a minor.
      I think you could check out if you have any policies without your consent. If there is im guessing you could confront them and hopefully you can refuse consent.

    • Amanda
      Amanda says:

      From what I’ve researched, it’s legal to take a life insurance policy out on a husband. However, it would be difficult to do without the husband knowing — that’s because many policies require a medical exam, and virtually all policies require a signature from the insured person. Is it possible you didn’t look at what you were signing? Yes — people fail to read contracts all the time.

  2. Mrs.Lasa
    Mrs.Lasa says:

    I just recently learned that my dad ex girlfriend stepson has a insurance policy on my little brother and he did not know nothing about what should I do

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      You can report insurance fraud through your state’s insurance board. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) also has an online fraud reporting site that is an easy way to file a report.

  3. mia
    mia says:

    Two years ago I was diagnosed with a rare and incurable terminal illness. It has been brought to my attention via Washington State Courts, that there was an insurance policy taken out on me by my father after learning of my condition. I called the insurance company and they said that yes there was a policy but they can not give me any information on the policy but my dad is the beneficiary.

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      A parent can purchase a policy for their child if they are a minor, so if he purchased the policy before you turned 17 or 18, depending on the terms of the policy, then it’s legal for him to have the policy. If you believe he purchased it after you were already over 18, then you would have had to consent to the policy. If you didn’t, he would have had to forge that consent, which is fraud. You can report the fraud to your state’s insurance board.

  4. kg
    kg says:

    I have an 88 y old parent with alzheimers. Two siblings monopolized her financial affairs. I believe they may have had her take out a policy and list them as beneficiaries either before or after the disease. Either way, the asset, if exists, should have been disclosed because she had to go on welfare. They had her sign a quit claim deed on her home and do a reverse mtg without her awareness so not a stretch to imagine this. Any way to find out if a policy exists? thanks

  5. corrine
    corrine says:

    Can a life insurance policy be taken out on a stepmother by her stepson after her husband has passed without her knowing it.

  6. Bridget Gatewood
    Bridget Gatewood says:

    Can u take a life insurance policy out on a dead beat dad that don’t want anything to do with his daughter for his daughter without his approval being we was never married do I have that right on behalf of our daughter ?,?

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      There could certainly be insurable interest if you shared children or a mortgage or a business, but you’d still need their permission to purchase the life insurance policy, as well as their cooperation in filling out the application and taking the medical exam.

  7. Jim
    Jim says:

    Anyone who takes out life insurance on another should be aware of the fact that most companies go over the policy with a fine tooth comb if they have to pay and will refuse payment on the slightest technicality.

  8. tina
    tina says:

    i have a daughter n law who works for an insurance company in california (blue shield) can my daughter in law take out a life insurance on me without my signature and she is keeping it a secret????

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      Not likely. Even if she got a non med-exam policy on you, those policies would still either require a pen-and-ink signature or a voice signature, which is the insured confirming their identity via voice. The insurer or agent will keep both of these on file. Forging either is fraud, so for someone to take out this kind of policy on someone else is a serious offense.

  9. marci
    marci says:

    My mother passed. Can any of her siblings take taken out life insurance on her without her knowing and how can I find out this info

  10. melissa
    melissa says:

    The frightening part is that if a stranger or even family member could have a secret policy they could have the person meet with an”accident” that they would benefit from. There are policies that don’t require medical exams but there may be an investigation by the insurance company.

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      I should note that If the insured person dies during the first two years after a policy is purchased, the application will be gone over pretty stringently — that’s the called the contestability period, and they’ll want to make sure you were totally truthful in your application. If they find any of evidence of fraud, they’ll certainly look into that and refuse payment if they determine fraud has been committed.

  11. Karin Antal
    Karin Antal says:

    Can a life insurance policy be taken out on a stepmother by her stepson whose father has passed away without her knowing about it

  12. Anne
    Anne says:

    “as well as your trust in the people around you that they would not take out a policy on you without your knowledge…”

    Yes Amanda, I trust them.

    When I am murdered 10 years from now, Amanda, you can write this on my tombstone: “Here Lies the Idiot Who Blindly Trusted, Thanks To Amanda Grossman’s Sagely Advice”.

  13. Linda Brooks
    Linda Brooks says:

    How can I find out who has life insurance on my two aunts who I take care of. I get calls to see if they are still living or I get welfare checks from the police certain times of the year.

  14. Catherine Skoubis
    Catherine Skoubis says:

    I recently received a notice of an inquiry, I did not make by A.I.G. For a 500,000 dollar policy? What should I do? This might be a “clue” that someone is trying to kill me for a pay out?

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      An insurance company would have had to have been given your email address in order to send you this kind of information, so I think I’d file this under a mistake on someone’s part. If I’m misunderstanding, you could contact the insurer and share your concerns or file a complaint with your state’s insurance board.

  15. healthideas.in
    healthideas.in says:

    This is the right blog for anybody who really wants to understand this topic.
    You understand a whole lot its almost tough to
    argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic which
    has been discussed for a long time. Great
    stuff, just wonderful!

  16. Sue
    Sue says:

    My younger brother is an irresponsible person. Since I am probably his next of kin, I will have to pay for burying him. I have asked him to take out a life insurance policy but I am pretty sure this won’t get done. He is 60 years old. I don’t want to be surprise with burial expenses when he passes. But I also don’t want to enable him by assuming the responsibility he should assume himself. Do I have to let him know I am taking out a policy?

  17. Aimee
    Aimee says:

    My parents set up a life Insurance policy on me while I was a minor. I’m now 35 and have been trying to close this policy for 15yrs. My parents are divorced and I do not have a relationship with my mother nor do I want her to know my personal information. She has access to my address through this policy account and the company will not allow me to do anything about it. Can I legally close the account myself? My dad is trying to help but cannot do it without her signature. She is unwilling to cooperate.

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      Unfortunately, from my research, it’s legal for them to keep the policy on you (even though you’re no longer a minor). If you move, since you’re not the holder of the policy, I’m assuming they wouldn’t have your current address anymore? That’s because your mother would have to give them the new address…and if she doesn’t know it…

  18. Dustin
    Dustin says:

    My boyfriend put an accident life insurance policy soon after we started dating for 500k, only after he died in an accident did I find out. I never signed anything and why so much only after only dating. I live in Georgia and was wondering if the insurance company could be at fault. He must have done something so I wouldn’t know.


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