Guide to Buying Life Insurance for Police Officers

Why do police officers need life insurance?

Law enforcement is a dangerous job. 

According to preliminary reports from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 64 police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2022,1 and a total of 226 federal state, tribal and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty.2

Police officers are well aware of the risks that come with the job, as are their families and loved ones. Law enforcement professionals—like anyone else—need to take steps to ensure their families are financially protected in the unfortunate event of their death. That means understanding the importance of life insurance.

The danger of the law enforcement profession does present some wrinkles for police officers who want to shop for affordable coverage, but it’s nothing we can’t handle at SelectQuote. Our experienced licensed insurance agents help shop for coverage from several carriers at once to find the best possible rates for our customers, no matter what their profession or hobbies entail.

What type of life insurance makes sense for police officers?

The first step in buying life insurance coverage is understanding the difference between each type of coverage. Some particular kinds of policies make more sense depending on circumstances. The main life insurance types available to most people (including police officers) are term life insurance and permanent (whole life) life insurance.

Term life insurance describes policies that provide a set amount of coverage over a set amount of time before the term expires. Term life policies typically have terms of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. In addition, term life policies tend to be less expensive than other options. Term life insurance can often be converted into a whole life policy at the conclusion of the policy term, although this option will likely vary between different insurance carriers.

Term life policies are a good fit for police officers because they can purchase the coverage for as long as they plan on remaining in the field.

Whole life, or permanent life insurance, differs from term life policies in that it does not expire. Provided the policyholder continues to pay their premiums, the insurance policy will cover them for their entire life. Permanent life insurance options tend to cost more, but their premiums are stable and will typically never increase.

Whole life insurance has other benefits, too. Most policies of this type include a cash value component that policyholders can borrow against after certain conditions are met. Some permanent life insurance can also be used as a vehicle for retirement, but those types of policies are often very expensive.

Do police officers pay more for life insurance?

Because police officers have dangerous jobs, they will likely have to pay more for life insurance.

They’re not the only ones, however. Most people who work in high-risk occupations pay more for life insurance coverage. Firefighters, construction workers, oil and natural gas workers, and lumberjacks are other career choices that cause life insurance premium prices to go up.

Depending on your job and the protection it requires, some life insurance companies may assign “table ratings” and charge higher premiums with extra fees. These premiums can even exceed the prices that they charge people with the lowest health ratings.

How much coverage is needed?

Most officers have families that will need to use life insurance benefits to replace their income. But it’s more than just buying a policy to replace a year’s salary or longer. Consider the following financial obligations when buying life insurance coverage:

  • Living expenses for surviving family members
  • Mortgage expenses
  • Any outstanding personal or medical debt
  • College education costs for any children
  • Estimate contributions for a retirement fund
  • The costs of funeral and burial

In many cases, these costs far outweigh the annual salary for most law enforcement officers. Calculating the amount of necessary coverage is fairly simple, however, and takes just minutes.

Why is my work life insurance policy not enough?

One type of policy that is readily available and may make sense for police officers at a minimal cost is group life insurance through the department or employer. Group life insurance policies typically offer significantly less coverage than traditional policies, but can be an affordable way to secure basic coverage because they are employer-subsidized.

While group life insurance through work is a great place to start with life insurance coverage, it’s not a perfect solution. Work-provided policies don’t even come close to meeting the requirements for income replacement for officers with families and significant financial responsibilities. In addition, if the officer leaves the department or transitions to a different career, they cannot take that group life coverage with them.

Find the Right Life Insurance for Your Needs with SelectQuote’s Help

Police officers fulfill a vital function in our society, so it’s important we take care of them and their families. SelectQuote helps put customers in touch with insurance companies that offer competitive prices for life insurance policies.

We use proprietary technology to search for appropriate coverage from dozens of life insurance companies at once. This allows us to save you time and money by comparing several policies and carriers to find the lowest prices available to you for insurance coverage from highly-rated, trusted insurance carriers.

1 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2023/01/11/police-officer-deaths-2022-report/11017969002/ 2 https://nleomf.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/2022-EOY-Fatality-Rept-FINAL-opt.pdf

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