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If you’re an undocumented immigrant, you may wonder, ‘can you get life insurance without a social security number?’ Fortunately, the answer is ‘yes,’ you can protect your loved ones when you die.

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Without a Social Security number, though, you’ll need another form of legal documentation to prove your identity. Most people use their tax identification number.

Here’s how to get life insurance without a SSN.

Why is a Social Security Number Important for Life Insurance?

Insurance companies use your SSN to reduce the risk of fraud. They use it to make sure all information provided on your application is accurate including:

  • You are who you say you are
  • Look at your Medical Information Bureau record to make sure you didn’t lie about your medical history
  • Check with the prescription drug database to see what prescriptions you’ve taken recently (checking for managed health conditions, such as high blood pressure)
  • Check your credit report
  • Check your criminal record
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A Social Security number allows insurance companies easy access to this information, helping them make an informed (and safe) decision about your application.

If you don’t have a Social Security number, you’ll need either an ITIN, student visa, or green card to prove your identity and get life insurance.

What Type of Life Insurance can you Get without a Social Security Number?

If you have an ITIN or green card, you can apply for term life insurance. This life insurance provides a fixed amount of coverage for a specific term. For example, if you buy $250,000 in life insurance for 10 years, your beneficiaries would receive $250,000 if you die within 10 years.

If you outlive the policy, it expires, and you’d have to apply for a new policy, using the same requirements as before.

What are the Requirements?

Anyone applying for term life insurance has the same requirements. While each life insurance company has different rules, overall, insurance companies look at:

  1. Your overall health – They look for any signs of severe health issues that could cause premature death
  2. Your lifestyle – They assess if you drink excessively, do drugs, or smoke
  3. Your occupation and hobbies – They assess if your job puts you at higher risk of death, or even your hobbies (do you jump out of airplanes?)

What’s the Cost?

Your immigration status does not affect the life insurance rates. Just like an application with a Social Security number, life insurance companies look at your risk of dying prematurely. They assess your lifestyle, health, hobbies, occupation, and criminal background to determine premiums.

Your premiums also vary based on the term and coverage amount. Here are a few sample rates:

25-year old non-smoking male10-year$100,000 policy$11/month
25-year old non-smoking female10-year$100,000 policy$10.50/month
45-year old non-smoking male30-year$100,000 policy$29/month
45-year old non-smoking female30-year$100,000 policy$23/month

Finding the Right Insurance Company

To get life insurance without a Social Security number, it may take some shopping around. Not all life insurance companies accept other forms of identification, but plenty does. Search for a company that agrees with a green card, visa, or ITIN number if you have recently come to the US as a foreign national.

In short, you must find a company that sells life insurance for non-US residents or US residents with no SSN but who have the proper identification.

Can you Refuse to Provide your Social Security Number?

If you have a SSN but don’t feel comfortable sharing it, you’re in the same boat. Can an insurance company force you to share it?

No.

Can they deny your application?

Absolutely.

But just like undocumented immigrants, there are ways to get a policy – typically a term life insurance policy for particular companies. You may not get as much insurance coverage or pay the best rates, but it’s your right to refuse to share your SSN.

Do Life Insurance Beneficiaries Need a Social Security Number?

A life insurance beneficiary doesn’t have to have a Social Security number because life insurance companies don’t collect the it with the name of the beneficiary. You can leave the money to whomever you choose, with or without a Social Security number. But, for identification, the recipient does need to prove who they are so they can receive the benefits.

If your beneficiary has a Social Security number, it speeds up the identification process. Life insurance companies must determine beyond a reasonable doubt that the beneficiary is who he/she says before distributing life insurance proceeds.

Each life insurance company has different requirements, so always check with your chosen company to determine their rules.

Is there Life Insurance for Illegal Immigrants?

Illegal immigrants are in a different position. Very few companies offer policies to illegal residents IF they have an ITIN number and are less than 60 years old. Other restrictions typically apply as well, including a maximum coverage amount of $100,000.

Before you buy life insurance without a Social Security number:

  1. Do your research.
  2. Find out the maximum coverage amount, term, and premiums.
  3. Talk to insurance agents themselves, ask pointed questions, and make sure the policy is the right fit for you.
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