I took out $200,000 of life insurance in my early 20s, years before most people ever think they need it – and I’ve never looked back

mom mother parent walking

At an age when most people are college seniors worrying about graduation and securing a job, I found myself in my living room with a needle in my arm. The nurse was drawing blood. She had already taken my height and weight. As the vial filled, she asked me questions about my physical and mental health.

I was in the middle of the health exam portion of the life insurance application process, after filling out a form online and completing a quick phone call. In my early 20s, the purchase was unusual for my age, but my circumstances were unusual, too. Here’s why I bought a term life insurance policy when I was so young.

I was expecting a child, and I wanted to lock in a lower rate

First and foremost, I was about to welcome a child into the world. As a parent, I knew it was only responsible to plan for the worst. If I passed away, I wanted there to be enough money for my baby to be comfortable for a few years until their new guardian was able to adjust to the changed circumstances.

Because I knew the older I became the higher my rates would become, I didn’t want to put the process off. By locking in a 20-year policy that wouldn’t expire until my early 40s, I was able to keep my premiums as low as possible.

I was a little worried about the nurse taking my height and weight while I was in the third trimester. Prior to my pregnancy, my BMI had been healthy. But the nurse assured me that the pregnancy would be accounted for in their calculations.

I got term life insurance to cover my family for 20 years

Term life insurance provides you with insurance for a certain amount of time. For example, my term is 20 years. At the expiration of 20 years, I would have to apply for a new policy if I still wanted coverage.

The other option, whole life insurance, allows you to build equity in your policy. That means if you have a $100,000 policy that you’ve been paying premiums on for quite a few years, you may have built a few thousand in equity that you could cash out prior to death.

I prefer not to treat my insurance policies as investments, though, so term was the right choice for me.

At the end of the process, I had a $200,000 policy for about $64 a month as a new, expectant mother. Honestly, that’s not a low rate. I have pre-existing conditions – including a congenital heart defect – that have affected my premiums. Nonetheless, as my income has increased over the years, I have continued to increase my coverage.

There is a great peace of mind knowing that if I pass away in my prime earning years, my children will be OK.