Life Insurance for Freelancers: What You Need to Know

Freelancers represent 35% of the U.S. workforce, and that number is growing. By 2020, they’re expected to comprise 50% of the labor force. That’s a lot of people who are likely responsible for managing their own benefits, including life insurance coverage. Here’s what you need to know if you’re one of them.

Prioritizing Coverage Is Key

Fluctuating income is one of the challenges of freelancing, so it can be tough to cover all your insurance needs. An assignment or gig that’s been your bread and butter can end before you have another one lined up, making it hard to have consistent numbers for a personal budget.

Life insurance may not seem like a priority compared to other needs and expenses, but this type of coverage is critical, especially if you’re the breadwinner in your household. If something happens to you, you’ll want to be sure your loved ones are able to cover any debt and expenses. It’s important to take a close look at the needs of your family and determine what your insurance priorities are.

Professional Unions Can Be Useful Resources

Many professional unions, like Freelancers Union or the National Writers Union, are great resources for freelancers. In addition to lobbying for freelancers’ rights and providing legal assistance for contract disputes, these unions offer life insurance plans for their members. Group plans through unions may provide access to benefits that could be harder for a freelancer to secure on their own.

If you’re considering joining a union, ask a representative in the organization about health and dental plans, as well as other forms of insurance, including life, disability, and retirement benefits. They’ll likely have information on options available in your home state.

Spousal Coverage Can Help, but Isn’t Always Comprehensive

If your spouse works full time, you should explore the pros and cons of dependent coverage through their employer. Be sure to find out the cost of coverage, and if it’s comprehensive before you enroll. Some employer-sponsored insurance plans tack on a spousal surcharge, which may make the total cost of the plan too high for your household budget. Still, you might be able to supplement coverage through your spouse’s employer with products you can purchase as an individual, like life insurance.

Life insurance may not seem like a necessity when you’re a freelancer trying to budget for all of your financial priorities, but it’s an important part of your benefits coverage. Keeping these tips in mind can help you determine what’s best for you and your family.

This article includes information from “Freelancing in America 2016,” a study by Upwork and Freelancers Union. Learn more.