Life insurance for stay-at-home moms and dads: How much is enough?


Many couples determine the amount of life insurance they need based on an employed spouse’s income, the household budget and children’s future educational needs. But what about life insurance for stay-at-home moms or dads? Calculating a coverage amount for a stay-at-home spouse is not as straightforward. Their valuable contributions, such as caring for children, maintaining household duties or assisting an elderly relative, can seem more difficult to measure.

The easiest way to determine life insurance coverage needs for a stay-at-home spouse is to focus on providing the monetary resources to replace his or her duties if the unthinkable happens. Here are four major areas to consider.

1. Child Care and Education Costs

Child care will likely be your largest expense if your family includes small children. Having adequate life insurance can lessen that financial burden. On average, U.S. families spend almost a third of their household income on child care expenses, with 59% of parents planning to spend more than $18,000 annually.1 Multiply your estimated yearly cost of child care by the number of years needed and by the number of children you have.

The rising cost of college tuition is another factor to consider when calculating the amount of life insurance coverage for a stay-at-home parent. The average annual cost of college has grown to more than $36,000 in the U.S.2

2. Household Maintenance

Stay-at-home spouses often fulfill many household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, cooking, yard work and caring for pets. Housework can be low on the priority list of a surviving spouse, especially if he or she is also caring for small children. Cleaning services charge an average of $25–$75 per hour.3 Estimate your house cleaning service costs based on rates in your area and how often you need help cleaning.

3. Elder or Disabled Caregiving

Caregivers fill an essential — and often unpaid — role in providing for the needs of the elderly and disabled in their families. Not only are they unpaid for their services, but the average caregiver also pays more than $7,200 annually4 from their own pockets for costs related to transportation and other needs.

If your spouse is a primary caregiver, the value of their services varies depending on the level of care required. As a comparison, the average daily rates for home care agencies are $200 to $350 per day.5

4. End-of-life Medical and Funeral Expenses

An insurance policy for stay-at-home spouses should also provide adequate coverage to repay any end-of-life expenses, including medical and funeral expenses. The National Funeral Directors Association estimates the cost of an average funeral to be more than $7,800.6

Stay-at-home Parents, Stay Covered with Adequate Life Insurance

At GuideStone®, our vision is that every servant of Christ finishes well.™ Having adequate life insurance for stay-at-home moms and dads helps relieve financial burdens when the unthinkable happens. Need more help determining coverage amounts? Use this life insurance needs calculator to estimate how much both spouses may need. To get a quote on a life insurance plan made for ministry, start here. For more information, contact us at or 1-844-INS-GUIDE (1-844-467-4843), Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT. today.

GuideStone® welcomes the opportunity to share this general information. However, this article is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice.