Individual life insurance

Share this article

Individual life insurance pays out a cash benefit* to your beneficiaries after your death.

Life insurance is truly a family matter. Unlike medical insurance or dental insurance, both of which take care of your personal health, life insurance helps cover your family and those closest to you in the event of your death. It allows you to provide financial confidence so your loved ones remain financially taken care of, even if you’re not around to provide that care.

Purchasing individual life insurance can help make sure your entire family is covered. If you’re married or have children, individual life insurance might be a good idea for you, especially if you provide the main source of income.

If you’re looking for life insurance and you aren’t currently covered by a group policy, or if your group policy isn’t enough coverage, individual life insurance can be a cost-effective way to continue to provide for your family even after you pass. Learn how to get a life insurance policy, whether you need individual or family life insurance, and what to look for as you shop around for life insurance.

Looking for plans?
Let’s find the right life plan for you.

Free Quote

A background decorative of Blue color

How to get a life insurance policy

It may feel a bit morbid to start planning for what would happen to your family after your death but the best time to start thinking about getting a life insurance policy is when you’re young and healthy. You’ll typically pay a lower monthly premium if you purchase life insurance earlier in life rather than later¹. Purchasing a life insurance policy online for yourself may be easy. We’ll help walk you through a typical process, step by step:

  1. Take a few minutes to look over your budget and your finances to determine how much coverage you realistically need and how much you can afford to pay each month. For more advice on how to determine how much life insurance you need.

  2. Request a term life insurance quote. After providing some basic information, you could get an offer within just 10 minutes if qualified.

  3. Review your offer and select your policy. You’ll be able to choose both your death benefit amount and your term length. (Make sure you’re comfortable paying the monthly premium amount.)

It’s important to note that you can’t purchase term life insurance for someone else through Guardian Direct®. That means you can’t buy life insurance for your children or your spouse as well.

Child, parents & family life insurance

If your full-time employer offers life insurance benefits, you can get life insurance benefits through their group life insurance plan. But if you’re retired, unemployed, self-employed, or your employer does not offer life insurance benefits, you can still purchase affordable life insurance coverage for you and your family.

Individual life insurance can be an affordable, easy-to-purchase option for anyone who has financially dependent loved ones who could benefit from income replacement if you pass away. Even if your full-time employer does offer life insurance, you can still opt for individual life insurance if you aren’t satisfied with the level of coverage offered through the group plan.

An individual life insurance policy typically can help provide parents, children, and other family members you designate as beneficiaries with a lump sum cash benefit in the event of your death. While Guardian Direct only allows you to purchase life insurance for yourself, you can also encourage your spouse to purchase a policy if you’d like to make sure you’re both covered. Life insurance for parents will make sure your children are financially taken care of, even if one or both of their parents pass away.

You might be thinking... what about life insurance for kids? Life insurance is typically designed to help cover expenses for financial dependents – chances are, your minor children don’t have any financial dependents or significant expenses.

Whether you choose to purchase a family life insurance policy or an individual life insurance policy, you can typically designate children, spouses, parents, or other family members as the beneficiaries of your policy.

What to look for as an individual purchasing life insurance

Before you purchase a life insurance policy, make sure you’ve done your homework. Life insurance policies may be customizable depending on your needs – but that’s only helpful if you’re aware of how much coverage and what type of coverage would be best for you and your circumstances. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for individual term life insurance:

  • Type of life insurance – You have two main options when it comes to life insurance: term life insurance or whole life**/permanent life insurance². Term life insurance lasts for a specified period of time and typically comes at a lower monthly cost. It may be the type of life insurance for parents looking for extra coverage during their child-raising years. Whole Life also known as permanent life insurance offers coverage for your entire life typically at a higher cost, and some include a cash value*** component.

  • Premium amount – $1,000,000 worth of coverage may sound great – but if the monthly payments that come along with it are out of reach, it may not be worth it. Make sure your monthly premium amount fits comfortably in your budget.

  • Coverage amount – Make sure you’re comfortable with the amount of coverage your policy includes after calculating how much insurance you may need.

Life insurance for disabled individuals

Life insurance is also available for disabled individuals. People with a disability may find themselves having to pay more or having to shop around more for a policy before getting approved, but it doesn’t mean an automatic life insurance denial³.

If you’re the primary provider for your children or if you have debt you’d prefer not to leave behind as your legacy, a life insurance policy for disabled individuals can still help provide for them if you passed away. Request a quote to see what your options are. Just make sure you’re forthright about your disabilities and medical conditions in your application – otherwise, your insurance company could end up withholding benefits.

* All life insurance policy guarantees are subject to the timely payment of all required premiums and the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

** All whole life insurance policy guarantees are subject to the timely payment of all required premiums and the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Policy loans and withdrawals affect the guarantees by reducing the policy’s death benefit and cash values.

*** Some whole life polices do not have cash values in the first two years of the policy and don’t pay a dividend until the policy’s third year. Talk to your financial representative and refer to your individual whole life policy illustration for more information.

Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed reliable, please note that individual situations can vary, therefore the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. Guardian assumes no responsibility for non-Guardian products or services. Guardian, its affiliates & subsidiaries do not provide tax/legal/medical advice.

Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.


Insights for the people.

Join our new digital insurance community that includes tips, resources and useful information from Guardian Direct.


  1., (October 2019), last accessed September 2021.

  2., last accessed September 2021

  3., (August 2018), last accessed September 2021.