Can I Secretly Buy Life Insurance on My Ex?

Dear Insurance Adviser,

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Can I take out a life insurance policy on my ex-husband, with whom I share a child, without his consent? He is refusing to get a policy on himself and won't cooperate with allowing me to take a policy out on him.

-- Anxious Ex

Dear Anxious, I'm sorry you are having that problem. I'm surprised that as part of the divorce settlement, there isn't a requirement that he buy life insurance so that his child support payments will continue should he die prematurely. I encourage you to check with your attorney to see if that provision isn't in the settlement. That would be your easiest path to getting these needs met.

It's a fact that the insurance industry will not allow anyone to take out a life insurance policy on another person without his or her permission. In addition, it's probably illegal in most states. Here are some reasons why, besides the obvious privacy infringement.

  • There are medical questions that need to be answered by the person being insured.
  • The insurance company has the right to medically examine the individual and check past medical records, requiring his or her signature.
  • The accuracy of the application must be agreed to and signed by the insured. The fully completed and signed application then becomes part of the insurance policy.

If you do succeed in getting him to agree to apply for life insurance, try to be the policy owner, not just the beneficiary. The owner pays the premium, which would avert a major source of conflict in the future. In addition, only the owner can make changes to the policy terms. And if there is cash value as part of the life insurance policy, only the owner has rights to that.

Good luck!

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