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What Happens When Someone Dies Without Life Insurance?

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If you die without life insurance, your family will have to worry about all of your final expenses. These include paying for your funeral and burial out of pocket and dealing with any taxes or debts themselves.

They also won’t have much leeway in terms of financial security.

As you’ll see below, everything associated with your death is harder without life insurance.

Here’s what you need to know about dying with no life insurance—and how life insurance can help make everything easier and tidier.

What Costs Do You Need To Prepare For After You Die?

Death isn’t something that many people think about, especially if they’re young, preferring to spend their time worrying about other things.

Yet, it’s very important to take a few minutes to think about what’s going to happen after you die in terms of your funeral, associated final expenses, and your family.

The right life insurance coverage tackles all three.

It pays for your funeral and burial costs, helps cover additional loose ends, and often provides something for your family financially, as well.

If you’ve never thought about life insurance before, you really ought to. 

Dying without life insurance can leave your loved ones confused and stressed at one of the worst possible times.

What Does Life Insurance Do for My Family?

The number one reason why many people first look into life insurance is to help support their family in one way or another.

If you have any dependents, most commonly a spouse or dependent children, life insurance can help take care of them financially when you pass away.

Life insurance is particularly popular among younger people with young children.

Starting a family really gets the gears in motion, urging you to figure out a way to support your loved ones if you happen to die unexpectedly.

In short, a life insurance policy helps ease the burden on your loved ones financially, giving them adequate time to mourn and figure out their next steps.

Though life insurance does benefit you, as well, most people first look into it because it’s a way they can help plan for their family’s future when they’ll no longer be around.

What Are Common Funeral and Burial Costs?

Aside from providing for your family financially, the next most important reason to buy life insurance is to cover your funeral and burial costs.

If you don’t have life insurance, then these costs are left up to you (or your loved ones). And a funeral isn’t as cheap as you might think.

Even a very basic funeral will cost a thousand to several thousand dollars—and that’s on the low end.

The average funeral with all the trappings runs approximately $9,000, according to the Funeral Directors of America.

That’s a lot of money to take on without life insurance.

If you don’t otherwise set that money aside, it’s left up to your family to pay those costs.

Most people would prefer to have these final expenses covered ahead of time.

Are There Other Options for Final Expenses?

Options other than life insurance include getting a loan or asking a funeral home for a payment plan.

Unfortunately, both of these options also put your family on the hook to pay for your final funeral and burial expenses.

Social security is another option.

The Social Security Administration will give small assistance, usually in the realm of $250, to the families of someone that collected social security before death.

But that small sum won’t do much more than put a dent in your funeral costs.

Some people choose to just release their body to the County Coroner.

Basically, this means that you give your body to the government to dispose of. These days, this usually means cremation, with your remains then going into a common grave.

Simply put, most people prefer some sort of funeral service and don’t want to unduly burden their surviving relatives with these expenses. One of the best ways to ensure you get the funeral you want, and that no one has to bat an eye over the associated expenses, is by investing in a solid life insurance policy that covers funeral and burial.

What Other Final Expenses Should You Consider?

Funeral and burial costs are only the tip of the iceberg as far as the costs go after you die.

Sure, they’re the most immediate expenses, but your survivors will likely face numerous other financial challenges immediately after you die.

Without life insurance, your surviving family will have to pay their own travel expenses to your funeral and deal with lost wages. If counseling or emotional support is needed, they’ll have to pay for this themselves too.

The right life insurance policy helps cover all of these things.

It helps pay to get your important loved ones to the site of your funeral. It also helps pay to transport your body, if needed..

A death in the family is often a traumatic experience, necessitating time off work. With life insurance, your spouse or children won’t feel as much of a need to rush back in order to avoid lost wages..

Counseling is also covered by the best life insurance policies. Such services are pivotal for many people to process the emotions of grief associated with the death of a loved one.

Yet another factor to consider are taxes and debt.

If you die without life insurance and have unpaid taxes or debt, your surviving family are likely on the hook.

Life insurance can help lessen the brunt of some of these expenses, by helping to cover taxes and debt from the person that just passed away.

Another great idea is to invest in estate planning.

With estate planning, you’ll take the time to figure out what happens after you die, including setting up life insurance, to make everything easier for your family after your death.

Why is Planning Ahead Important?

Planning ahead for your death has way too many benefits to list.

In addition to providing for the funeral that you desire, planning ahead also helps protect your family and loved ones.

You should plan ahead to ensure that your death isn’t a burden on survivors. You want to give them time to properly grieve without worrying about finances.

Estate planning and life insurance help accomplish this. Both tie up loose ends on your side and give your loved ones time to work through their emotions.

Many people fail to think about life insurance before it’s too late.

Or they think that all it does is provide a cushy life for their survivors.

The fact is that the main goal of life insurance is to cover your final expenses, including funeral and burial fees.

Any additional benefits depend on the particular policy as well as the specifics of the type of plan you’re looking for.

How Do You Buy the Right Life Insurance Policy?

The fact is that there are many different options for life insurance.

First you must decide what type of coverage you want.

The two main traditional options are term and whole. However, both require an application process to ensure you don’t pose too high of a risk.

Your other options are guaranteed issue life insurance.

Though it provides fewer benefits, guaranteed issue still provides the means necessary to at least cover your funeral expenses.

This form of coverage doesn’t require a medical exam, typically, but may be cheaper if it does.

Even after you narrow it down to the type of insurance you want, you still have tons of great companies to choose from.

That’s why we always recommend starting your research now, so you can find the absolute best life insurance for you and your family, long before it’s actually needed.


Jason Fisher

Jason Fisher is the founder and CEO of, LLC. and a multi-state licensed life insurance agent who has helped over a million Americans seek out affordable coverage, compare quotes, or get their family and businesses covered.

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