Should Christians Have Insurance?

Here's an interesting question from Crosswalk -- should Christians have life insurance? After all, if they trust God for their provision, why do they need it?

The piece is written by a man who's associated with Sound Mind Investing (SMI), a Christian investment newsletter I've discussed in the past, and generally comes to the conclusion that life insurance is ok if the buyer's attitude is right -- if he sees it as a solid financial tool and doesn't look to it as his security (a place God should have alone.) The author also says that many times Christians make two mistakes when buying life insurance:

First, overbuying. When selecting an insurance amount, many times we provide an amount sufficient that the surviving spouse would never have to work again. In some cases, we insure for an even better standard of living than our family currently maintains. It may make sense to provide a level of insurance that would allow Mom to stay at home while children are young. But insuring to a lifetime "work-free" level wastes assets that would be better spent on what should be financial priorities (like debt repayment). And second, we transfer our confidence from God to insurance. The first is harmful, the latter fatal.

The piece ends with a couple thoughts on life insurance:

  • God has committed to providing for his children (Matthew 6:26, 31-32).  He can use many methods—another mate, support of extended family, friends, church, scholarships and work-study programs, Social Security, and so on. Insurance is one of many tools He may use, but it is only one.

  • Buying life insurance in a way that pleases God involves faith (Hebrews 11:6), not fear (Psalm 23:4, 91:5). For what are you trusting God in your life insurance planning?

Here's my take:

1. I agree that Christians should look to God as their source for provision (Deuteronomy 8:18).

2. That said, the Bible also says that we need to plan financially for the future (Proverbs 6:6-7). Life insurance is one way to do this. (FYI, Proverbs 13:22 also deals with this as well.)

3. Yes, you should buy the amount of life insurance you need, not an amount that is so over-the-top that it's the equivalent of winning the lottery if you die. If you're doing this, it's likely that you're spending way too much on life insurance. As we know, the odds are always stacked in favor of the insurance company (they make their living doing this, after all), so buying more life insurance than we need is a bad financial move.

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