Double the impact
Juvenile life insurance provides security for you now and protection for your child later.
Jamie Bootz with her children (from left) Bowen, Bailey, Brexton (holding a photo of Paige) and MarriThis article (PDF) | Current issue (PDF) | Archive
By Kristin Baird Rattini, Photos by Jeff Lendrum
In April 2016, Thrivent member Lori Hope, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, purchased a juvenile life insurance contract for her son, Ellis. He was approaching his 16th birthday. "I knew that the younger the child when you take out the contract, the better," she says. "I also thought of it as something he could borrow against for college."
But that December, when Ellis was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, the contract took on a whole new significance: Ellis may have been uninsurable, may have had to wait before being able to purchase insurance or may have had to pay more for the insurance. The contract would allow Ellis to remain insured with Thrivent as long as premiums are paid.
A safeguard for the future
"A main reason that parents buy a life insurance contract for their child is to protect their future insurability," says Mark Carbaugh, a Thrivent financial representative in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Life insurance coverage and rates are determined in part by a person's age and health. If a person develops a serious illness, they could become ineligible for life insurance coverage.
Purchasing a permanent life insurance contract when a child is born has two distinct advantages. "First, the child is generally at the best underwriting rate that is available," says Carbaugh. "Second, they can be insured into the future at that rate."*
Ellis is now in remission and wrapping up his junior year in high school. "He had one of the most curable kinds of cancer, and he is cured," Hope says. "But the condition will always be a part of his life." Hope is grateful that Ellis already has coverage in place that he can rely on in adulthood. "I tell people that buying life insurance for your child is like writing a will or picking a trustee or guardian for your child. It's just the right thing to do," she says.
Support in times of sorrow
For Thrivent member Jamie Bootz, of Wausau, Wisconsin, there was never any question of buying juvenile life insurance for her five children. During her own childhood, her parents had purchased contracts for her and her siblings. Her stepbrother was later killed in a car accident at age 18. "As young as I was at that time, I knew what the contract was for and the purpose it served," she says. "You just never know what may happen."
In September 2015, a car accident once again brought tragedy to Bootz and her family. Her 17-year-old daughter, Paige, was killed, and her 11-year-old daughter, Marri, was severely injured. After the accident, the family was reeling as they mourned Paige and tended to Marri throughout her recovery. The life insurance contract for Paige provided some relief. "It enabled us to not feel guilty and not worry about work when we needed that time at home with our family," Bootz says.
"It enabled us to not feel guilty and not worry about work when we needed that time at home with our family."
– Thrivent member Jamie Bootz
No one ever wants to think that their child might die. But in the event of a child's death, a life insurance contract can help support the grieving family, says Adam Julch, a Thrivent financial representative in Omaha, Nebraska. "At a time of tragedy, those funds can help relieve the financial worries that can compound the stress on the family," he says. The funds can potentially cover funeral expenses, which can run $7,000 or more, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.1
They also can provide parents some much-needed breathing room. "Having some money available to allow yourself some time to grieve is very important," Julch says.
Because Paige's life insurance contract covered their financial needs, the Bootz family was able to use the outpouring of donations to create a lasting legacy: an annual high school scholarship in Paige's name.
More about juvenile life insurance
What happens to my child's life insurance when they become an adult?
Unless parents applied for third-party contract ownership at the time of the initial purchase, control of a juvenile life insurance contract will automatically transfer to the child at age 18 or 21, depending on the contract. Meet with your Thrivent financial representative before the contract transfers to discuss the best ownership options for the contract. Before that milestone, a child has the option to sign off on the contract so that parents maintain their control.
What if my child already has a serious illness?
Through Thrivent's fraternal benefits, members who meet eligibility requirements may be able to purchase a $10,000 life insurance contract that will cover a child who is otherwise uninsurable. Contact your Thrivent financial representative to learn more about eligibility guidelines and to apply. Or go to Thrivent.com.
To learn more about juvenile life insurance options and to determine level of coverage, contact your financial representative.
St. Louis-based freelance writer Kristin Baird Rattini has written about consumer finance for national publications for two decades.
Loans and surrenders will decrease the death proceeds and the value available to pay insurance costs, which may cause the contract to terminate without value. Surrenders may generate an income tax liability and charges may apply. A significant taxable event can occur if a contract terminates with outstanding debt. Contact your tax advisor for further details. Loaned values may accumulate at a lower rate than unloaned values.
Insurance products issued or offered by Thrivent, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Not all products are available in all states. Thrivent financial representatives are licensed insurance agents/producers of Thrivent. For additional important information, visit Thrivent.com/disclosures.
* If the child was issued standard rates as a child, then all of the guaranteed issues of coverage later would be at standard rates, based on the age of the person that is exercising the option.
1 "Member General Price List Study," Oct. 1, 2015, National Funeral Directors Association