What is Family Insurance?

J. Beam
J. Beam
A family insurance agreement.
A family insurance agreement.

Family insurance is one of a few different options most insurance companies offer through their healthcare insurance packages. As opposed to single coverage or additional coverage of a dependent spouse or child only, family insurance covers all eligible dependent children as well as you and a spouse. Premiums for family insurance are considerably higher than single coverage, but normally cost the same amount whether the policy holder has one child or three.

Family insurance often covers prenatal care.
Family insurance often covers prenatal care.

A family insurance plan is structured differently than single coverage. The deductible that applies to family insurance is higher than individual insurance, but there should be a maximum deductible per family each calendar year. Family insurance usually offers coverage for prenatal care, well-child care, and routine annual physicals for children up to at least age 16. Under most insurance plans, a dependent child becomes ineligible for coverage at 18 years of age, but there may be exceptions and extended benefits allowed.

In the case of employer sponsored family insurance plans, you may not have a lot of choice in coverage, but you are offered the opportunity to purchase the insurance at a group-rate premium. If you need family insurance coverage and do not have the benefit of participating in an employer sponsored plan, you can still individually purchase family coverage through the insurance company of your choice, but the premium will be significantly higher in most cases.

If you and your spouse both have family insurance offered at work, it is beneficial to compare the coverage and premiums of both plans. Some families find it beneficial to elect single coverage from one spouse’s workplace and purchase insurance for a dependent child through the other spouse. However, odds are, if you are married and have more than one dependent child, purchasing the family insurance plan through only one spouse will make the most sense. Compare your plans carefully and weigh the monthly premiums against the annual deductible and co-pay amounts. Also examine your family situation and consider whether or not special circumstances apply.

If you need to purchase private family insurance, talk to at least three different companies and compare quotes and coverage in writing before deciding. If possible, you may benefit from purchasing family insurance through a company that also provides homeowners, auto and life insurance and applies deep discounts for combining policies.

Discussion Comments


My company offers family life insurance and health insurance, but we do not have dental or eye benefits. I realize that going to the dentist and eye doctor are not usually as expensive as any kind of medical procedure, but when you have a family with kids, it really adds up.

I don't know how families that don't have any kind of medical coverage do it. By the time you have an office visit and any kind of medication you are out quite a bit of money even with just making a co-payment.


My company has made several changes to their family medical insurance rates. They have switched companies every year for the past three years because of increased premiums.

I am very thankful that we have insurance coverage, but it gets frustrating getting used to new plans and limitations. One time I had to change doctors because the one I had been seeing was not covered under the new plan.


Having a family insurance plan has been very beneficial for us. We have four kids and being on the family plan through my company has saved us a lot of money.

The way my family health insurance plan is set up means that while you pay for family coverage and a deductible needs to be met for each person, this is still much better than single coverage.

With the cost of insurance rising each year, the premiums keep going up, but there is no way I would be able to pay these on my own.

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    • A family insurance agreement.
      By: alexskopje
      A family insurance agreement.
    • Family insurance often covers prenatal care.
      By: WavebreakMediaMicro
      Family insurance often covers prenatal care.