Editor's note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser.

Generally, financial gurus recommend that you get 5-20 times your annual income in life insurance coverage.

But what if you have no income because you’re a full-time, stay-at-home parent? Or what if you contribute a few hundred bucks a year to the family bank account from your side hustle, while you mostly stay home with the kids?

We all know that zero multiplied by anything is zero, but that doesn’t mean that a stay-at-home parent should not have life insurance. In fact, as a stay-at-home parent, you make hugely valuable contributions to your household — contributions that would cost your family a pretty penny should something happen to you.

The Value of a SAHM (Stay-At-Home Mom)

According to a recent Salary.com survey, the value of a stay-at-home mom in 2016 (sorry, dads, you weren’t part of the survey this time) would cost about $143,000 if you had to outsource those jobs. The survey looked at the services provided by a typical homemaker, including housekeeper, child care, chauffeur, and more. If you had to hire someone else to take care of all those services, you’d pay a lot to do it.

But does that mean that a stay-at-home parent needs more than $1 million in life insurance? Probably not.

Related: The Complete Guide to Life Insurance

The truth is that in single-parent households, not all of these services are outsourced. Yes, if something happened to you, your spouse would have to pay for daycare and would probably like to pay for extra services like housekeeping. But plenty of working single parents clean the house, make the lunches, plan the doctor’s appointments, run to school and soccer practice, and still work.

The Goal is Something In Between

While your stay-at-home parent services are invaluable for your family, you don’t want to wind up with more life insurance than you can afford. So when you’re deciding how much term life insurance coverage to buy for yourself, you’ll have to do some personal calculations and some hard thinking.

Here’s one process for deciding how much life insurance to carry for the stay-at-home parent in your family:

Step 1: Calculate What You Actually Need

First, talk about what life would look like if that parent died. No one likes to think about this possibility, but to make good life insurance decisions you must.

Which services would the surviving spouse need (or want) to outsource? Look into the cost of full-time child care in your area and include that in your calculations. You may also want to check out things such as housekeeping services.

Remember to look at the ways a stay-at-home parent saves your family money, as well. For instance, many stay-at-home moms are able to shave hundreds off the monthly grocery bill by meal planning, couponing, and cooking at home. If something happened to this parent, the family’s food costs could go up quite a bit.

Related: How to Create a Bare Bones Budget

Also look into counseling services. If something happens to your children’s primary caregiver, chances are they’ll need some professional help to cope in a healthy way. How much would some basic grief counseling or therapy cost your family?

Again, it’s not fun to think about these possibilities, but it’s essential to choosing the right amount of life insurance for a stay-at-home parent.

Step 2: Figure Out How Much It Costs

Second, research how much life insurance coverage would cost. Term life insurance rates are typically low. But if you’re a one-income family living on a tight budget, you may not be able to afford much coverage. On the other hand, if rates are very low, you might be able to afford the luxury of more coverage.

The key is to make sure you can pay for it, even if you get into a bind financially. Not paying your premiums can result in a termination of coverage, which is not a place you want to find yourself.

The reality is, life insurance isn’t all that expensive if you know where to look. One of the best places a stay-at-home mom can look for life insurance is Bestow.

Bestow is a newer company that has completely shifted the way we shop for life insurance. They don’t require you to set up annoying doctors visits, blood draws, or urine tests, and you don’t have to deal with complicated paperwork through the mail.

It’s basically the perfect scenario for a stay-at-home mom who has plenty of other things to worry about.

Policies start at just $5 per month, and you can sign up from your phone within about 10 minutes. Check out or Bestow review for more information.

Find the Cheapest Insurance Quotes in Your Area

Step 3: Decide How Much to Buy

Finally, choose how much coverage you want. Your best bet is to apply through a broker, so you can get the best deal on the amount of coverage you need. It’s also easy to get life insurance quotes online. A SAHM is possibly the most important job as a mom, and part of that job is making sure your children are cared for in all eventualities. One option to consider is Policygenius‘ tools and insights to help you decide on the best insurance policy for you and how much to plan for.

Another company to consider is HealthIQ. They’ll give steep discounts based on how in-shape you are. So if you have a good diet, exercise, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you might find that they have the cheapest plan for you.

One Broker Option: Looking for Life Insurance? Quotacy Can Help

Having the right type of life insurance coverage for both parents in a family can give you peace of mind. You can sleep well knowing that you’re protecting your family, and especially your children, in the worst possible circumstances.

If one partner in your family stays at home with the kids, calculating life insurance needs can be more complicated, because you can’t just multiply your annual income. Take the time to figure out how much coverage the stay-at-home parent warrants, though. It is an important step in making sure your family is well-protected.

Compare Life Insurance

Find the best life insurance rates with Policygenius today

Author Bio

Total Articles: 279
Abby is a freelance journalist who writes on everything from personal finance to health and wellness. She spends her spare time bargain hunting and meal planning for her family of three. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, and lives with her husband and children in Indianapolis.

Article comments

David says:

Abby, this is a great post. A relative of mine is actually considering leaving their position for working at home and the topic of life insurance was brought up. I will definitely share!

Dawn says:

Abby, I totally agree.. You really want to make sure you are getting the right amount of insurance from a reputable company. For me not knowing where to go and which company to go with was scary. a friend of mine told me about FirstOptionInsurance.com they search the market to find the best rates for you. I like that they give you the top 5 companies prices so you can decided what works for your family. As we know not all companies are the same. Hope this helps.