It’s a common misconception that seniors can’t get life insurance. In fact, lots of life insurance companies will issue new policies up to age 80 or 85. As a senior, you might be able to choose from a full range of life insurance policies, including:
If you’re considering senior life insurance for yourself or a loved one, there are two key questions to ask: Do you really need it? And which type of policy is right for you? We’ll help you find the answers to those questions here.
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Life insurance is a good idea for anyone who has dependents, large debts, or other expenses that might fall to somebody else if they pass away. That includes senior citizens.
Seniors might not have the same financial obligations as young families — like a new mortgage, young children, or college tuitions to think about. But there are still circumstances that can necessitate life insurance well into one’s 60s, 70s, and beyond.
For seniors who don’t already have life insurance, it might make sense to purchase coverage later in life if any of the following situations apply.
As LifeHappens explains: “When the family is forced to sell the business quickly, they may have to sell at a discount or during market conditions that make the business less attractive. In other cases, the business may be worth very little without the proprietor or partner.”
You might also consider life insurance as a senior if you want to leave an inheritance.
Many of the expenses listed above (funeral, debt repayments, selling your house, accounting fees, etc.) can be paid out of your estate. Your estate includes savings and assets that can be liquidated.
Paying off expenses can eat up most of your estate. If you want to leave behind an inheritance but don’t have large savings, life insurance is one way to do that.
But once outstanding debts have been paid, there might not be much left over for your family members.
Life insurance can pad that nest egg, allowing you to leave a sizable inheritance to your loved ones — often at a relatively low cost during life.
Only two types of life insurance are specifically designed for seniors. They are guaranteed universal life insurance and guaranteed issue whole life insurance (often called “final expense” or “burial insurance”). Here’s a brief overview of the two types:
Compare Senior Life Insurance Policies
|Guaranteed Univarsal Life (GUL) Insurance||Guaranteed Issue Whole Life (“Burial Insurance”)|
|Best for||More Coverage Helping Dependends Leaving an inheritance||Less Coverage covering funeral costs no medical exam|
|Average Cost||Higher, due to bigger coverage amount||Lower, due to bigger coverage amount|
|Guaranteed to pay a death benefit||Yes||Yes|
|Medical exam required||Yes||No|
|Has cash value during life||No||No|
NOTE: GUL is usually cheaper per dollar of coverage than burial insurance. However, coverage limits are so different for the two kinds of insurance that it’s difficult to compare rates head-to-head. Any price comparison should take your own coverage needs into account. You can request custom rates for final expense insurance here
Guaranteed universal life insurance (GUL) is not branded “for seniors.” But in many ways it’s one of the very best life insurance options for those over 65. That’s because it strikes a compromise between term life insurance and whole life — offering a lower price tag like term, with the lifelong protection of whole.
How guaranteed universal life insurance works:
Guaranteed universal life insurance technically has an expiration date. But the expiration age is meant to be late enough that policy will outlive you. In effect, this makes the death benefit payout “guaranteed” — just like a whole life policy.
Of course, for GUL insurance to payout, you have to stay current on premium payments for the duration of the policy.
This type of insurance can be confusing — partly, because there are so many names for it. “Final expense insurance,” “burial insurance,” and “funeral insurance” are all the same thing. Another, more technical name is “guaranteed issue whole life insurance.”
“Final expense insurance,” “burial insurance,” and “funeral insurance” are all the same thing. Another name is “guaranteed issue whole life insurance.”
This policy is a simplified type of whole life insurance, meant for seniors or people with pre-existing health issues.
The main benefit? There’s no health exam involved in the application. So you can get final expense insurance even if you have a critical health condition that would ban you from getting other types of life insurance. That’s a helpful feature for many seniors.
How burial insurance works:
Burial insurance is guaranteed to pay out if you keep up with the premiums throughout life.
The main thing to note is that the payout — or “death benefit” — is smaller with burial insurance than with any other kind of life insurance. That means it’s often cheaper for seniors than other life insurance policies (like GUL).
But it also won’t go very far toward providing for dependents or leaving an inheritance. Thus, burial insurance is best if you have limited life insurance needs.
Life insurance is always more expensive for seniors. There are two reasons for that:
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to get around higher life insurance rates as a senior. Especially if you have a pre-existing health condition.
If you take a medical exam and a health issue shows up, your rates will increase. And if you go the no-exam life insurance route, rates are higher across the board. That’s because insurers have to charge more to make up for the added risk of not knowing your health history.
The best way (really, the only way) to find affordable life insurance as a senior is to compare rates from multiple companies before buying.
The best solution is to compare rates from multiple life insurance companies before buying. That way, you can find the best deal on the coverage you need.
Average life insurance rates for 65-year-old
|Guaranteed Univarsal Life (GUL) Insurance||Guaranteed Issue Whole Life (“Burial Insurance”)|
|Coverage amount (death benefit)||$100,000||$10,000|
|Average monthly rate: MALE||$190||$56|
|Average monthly rate: FEMALE||$163||$41|
NOTE: The cost of life insurance varies hugely. The rates shown in the table above are a snapshot meant for comparison only. Your own rate will be different. Request custom quotes to see your life insurance rates today.
There are other life insurance plans available to seniors, if not specifically intended for them. Term and whole life — the two most popular types of life insurance — may be an option for seniors as well depending on age, health, and budget.
Term life insurance is generally regarded as “the best option for most people.” It’s affordable, and only provides coverage as long as you need it (often 10-30 years).
Term life insurance may also be a good option for seniors. It depends on the individual applicant’s age and health. Remember — term life insurance only lasts for a set time period and is not generally expected to pay out. Also, premiums rise steeply with age.
However, for seniors in relatively good health, term life insurance might still be the most affordable option.
Whole life insurance has its own unique benefits, with the ability to grow cash value that you can withdraw or borrow from throughout life.
But a whole life insurance policy purchased after age 65 would likely not have time to accrue much cash or interest, which diminishes its value. In addition, whole life is typically much more expensive than either term life or guaranteed universal life insurance.
For some, purchasing life insurance after age 65 is a wise choice. It can provide a much-needed safety net for loved ones, either by creating dependable cash flow or by protecting one’s family from inheriting large debts.
But a senior life insurance policy doesn’t make sense for everyone. If purchased without real need — or if the wrong kind of policy is chosen — life insurance can be a bigger financial burden than it’s worth.
Before buying life insurance as a senior, consider:
This isn’t meant to scare you away from life insurance. But it’s important to realize this type of plan isn’t for everyone. Make sure you’re aware of the cost versus the benefit before signing on.
Finally, remember that both types of senior life insurance (GUL and burial insurance) only pay out if you pay premiums for the duration of the policy. In this case, the “duration” is the rest of your life.
It’s a big financial commitment, and the long-term benefit to your loved ones should be significant enough to be worth it.
Typically, the best life insurance for seniors is either guaranteed universal life (GUL) or burial insurance. GUL is better for seniors with a large life insurance need. It can create longer-term cash flow or cover large debts. Burial insurance is often best for seniors with limited coverage needs. For example, if you need to cover funeral costs and little else. Term life insurance is another good option for seniors in strong health.
Yes, you can buy life insurance for a parent. A life insurance policy can help cover expenses left to you after a parent passes — especially funeral costs, which can be a large financial burden on family members if there is no financial plan in place. To buy life insurance for a parent, you just need their consent and proof of your insurable interest. “Insurable interest” simply means you’d experience financial loss if that person passes away.
At any age, life insurance costs vary depending on the type of policy, amount of coverage, insurance company, the applicant’s health, and whether or not they take a medical exam. For example, these sites all offer “average” life insurance rates for a 70-year-old man:
|Type of insurance||Amount of Coverage||Average Monthly Rate||Source|
|Term life insurance||$100,000||$97||Insurance Blog By Chris|
|Term life insurance||$500,000||$377||NerdWallet|
|Guaranteed universal life insurance||$100,000||$217||JRC Insurance Group|
|Burial Insurance||$10,000||$74||Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage|
|Whole life Insurance||$250,000||$1,000-$2,000||Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage|
Term life insurance is likely better than whole life insurance for most seniors. Primarily, because term life is far cheaper. Whole life insurance is much more expensive due to the cash value component included. But for seniors buying a brand new life insurance policy, that cash value component may not provide much value; it can be withdrawn or borrowed from during life, but typically won’t be passed on to beneficiaries after the policy holder passes away.
Term life is the cheapest kind of life insurance. However, it’s hard to make a blanket statement about life insurance costs for seniors. That’s because age and health have such a big impact on rates. Guaranteed universal life insurance and burial or “final expense” life insurance can also be relatively cheap for seniors, depending on policy size. A smaller policy (with a lower “death benefit”) always costs less than a larger one.
Many people stop term life insurance in their 50s or 60s. That’s because it’s often purchased around life’s big financial events (starting a family, buying a house, etc.) and then the policy expires in 10 to 20 years. But there might be reasons to maintain term life insurance as a senior; for instance, if you still have a mortgage or dependents. Some policies even have a renewal clause that lets you extend coverage without taking a second medical exam. This can help you avoid much higher premiums later in life.
You might want to buy life insurance in your 60s or later if: You still have dependents; your savings wouldn’t cover funeral expenses; you’d want to help a surviving spouse cover mortgage payments or rent; you have shared accounts or co-signed debts, or you own a business. These are only general guidelines. We recommend speaking with a financial professional to figure out whether you should buy life insurance in your 60s or later.
The best type of life insurance for anyone will depend on their needs and intentions for the policy. For seniors, life insurance serves a different purpose than policies purchased at younger ages. Seniors usually don’t have dependents and have often paid down the majority of their debts. As a result, they don’t necessarily need huge policies.
Generally speaking, the best life insurance for seniors would be a term policy, since whole life policies are more expensive and more for long-term needs. While it can be tempting to get a large life insurance policy, seniors should determine what they can afford for premiums before picking the policy amount.
It’s expected that by the time people retire and are living out their golden years, they’ll be financially secure and won’t have pressing debts. However, that’s not always the case. More and more people are finding themselves paying down debts well past retirement.
A life insurance plan is beneficial to seniors because it will provide a financial safety net for their loved ones. Debts like a mortgage or car payment can fall on the shoulders of children, but life insurance benefits could help cut those costs.
Another benefit for having life insurance when you’re older is the money could help cover funeral expenses that family members might not be able to afford. The cost of funerals is constantly increasing, making it a serious burden for those without end of life financial plans.
Finally, life insurance can be a benefit for family members. If seniors want to pay off their children’s student loans, put college money aside for grandchildren, or continue financially supporting family in need, life insurance is the best way to do so.
There are too many variables involved in deciding what company has the cheapest life insurance for seniors. Not only do plans vary for every company, but every person will have different factors that influence the final cost of their insurance. An individual’s health, age, gender, and even where they live will play a part in determining the cost of their life insurance.
More important than finding the cheapest life insurance is finding a reputable life insurance company. You want to make sure you’re paying for exactly what you expect, which means finding a tried and true company. And these might not always offer the cheapest plans.
It’s very easy to get quotes from life insurance companies before making a commitment. Just make sure you’re getting the coverage you expect at a price you can afford.
Depending on health, age, gender, and location, senior life insurance costs will vary. However, on average, a healthy man over 70 will pay between $122 and $435 for a ten year term life policy for $200,000. A woman over 70 will pay between $66 and $194 for a ten year term life policy for $200,000.
These are just averages, though, and you should request quotes from insurance agencies before making the choice to get a policy.
Whether or not it’s worth getting life insurance when you’re 60 or older depends on your financial situation.
Life insurance’s purpose is to take care of your children or partner if you passed away and they couldn’t survive without your financial support. In an ideal world, once children are grown and spouses retire, there shouldn’t be a need for a life insurance policy.
However, there are still reasons why getting life insurance when you’re older is still beneficial. If you have children that still depend on you financially, whether they’re in school or physically unable to care for themselves, you might want to consider life insurance.
Another reason it might be worth getting life insurance when you’re older is if you have a large amount of debt. If you don’t want your debt to fall on the shoulders of your spouse or children, a life insurance benefit could be helpful. Even if you don’t have debts, but would like to leave a financial legacy, life insurance might be for you.
The cost of a $100,000 life insurance policy depends on your age, your gender, and what type of plan you have.
For seniors 60+ with a whole life insurance policy, the monthly cost would be between $279.62 and $1,097.07, with women getting cheaper option.
For a term policy for the same age range, the monthly cost would be between $52.39 and $171.50, with no prices available for those over 80 years old.
If you don’t have large debts, any dependents, and are generally financially stable, you probably don’t need life insurance after you retire.
However, there are also many benefits for having life insurance policies even as you get older. The biggest one is benefits could help support children or spouses who aren’t fully self-sufficient. Another reason you might get life insurance is to cover any debts you might be leaving behind, from mortgages to medical bills.
Yes! You can take a life insurance policy out on your elderly parents. In fact, if your parents have debts or you aren’t sure how you’ll cover final expenses, a life insurance could be very beneficial.
However, there are a few stipulations you need to know before you start the process.
First, you need the consent of your parents before you take out a life insurance policy on them. They need to understand and agree to the insurance.
Secondly, you need to be able to prove you have an insurable interest in your parents. This may sound complicated, but it basically means you need to prove their deaths would affect you financially.
As long as you can afford the premiums and your parents are comfortable with it, getting a life insurance policy for your parents can be a great way to make sure you’re financially prepared for a difficult time.
While the age limits vary from company to company, most life insurance agencies won’t sell plans to those over the ages of 75 or 80.
For seniors wanting to purchase life insurance, term policies are often seen as the best. Not only do term policies tend to be cheaper, they also make sense if you’re older and don’t need thirty or forty years of coverage.
Whole life insurance policies tend to be more expensive, but do offer the benefit of having a cash value. However, if you won’t have enough time to build up this cash value, it will be an added expense without any of the benefit.
Only possible with permanent life insurance policies, when a policy has fully matured, it means the cash value of your policy is now the same as the death benefit. At this point, you could pull out the cash value of your policy.
If you already have a life insurance policy, there are a few instances where you might want to terminate your policy.
The first is if you have enough money or assets to live comfortably and cover any debts should you pass away. Another reason to cancel life insurance is if your children no longer need your support financially. And finally, if you don’t need to pay estate taxes and have enough put away for your burial expenses, you probably don’t need life insurance.
How much a life insurance policy pays out is completely dependent on the policyholder. Most policies offer $100,000 to $1,000,000, though there are smaller and larger options available.
Most insurance agencies recommend getting a life insurance policy that is 6 to 10 times the amount of your annual salary. Since annual salaries vary so much, you can imagine how the average payout would also vary.
Yes! In fact, one of the most common ways life insurance is purchased for oneself. It’s important to remember, however, while you’re the insured party, you can’t be the beneficiary. Your policy benefit must go to another person.
When a life insurance policy pays out, the beneficiary has complete control over where that money goes. Most policyholders and beneficiaries will agree beforehand where parts of the benefits will go, like to paying off debts or paying for funeral costs.
However, one of the most overlooked aspects of life insurance is how long they take to process. While some can process rather quickly, others take months. If family is depending on life insurance to cover funeral costs, but the money isn’t released for a while, they could find themselves in a tight financial position.
Seniors who want their life insurance to pay for funeral costs should check their policy to check that the processing timeline will allow their beneficiaries to draw on that money to cover expenses. If the policy doesn’t, a burial insurance policy should be considered.
If you’re the main provider for your family, you need the life insurance the most. While this usually means parents with financially dependent children, spouses that have typically been the main earner should also get life insurance.
Those with large debts without assets to cover those costs are also at the top of the list for those who need life insurance the most.
Burial insurance and life insurance are designed for two different things. Burial insurance is to cover the costs of funerals directly after the death of a loved one. Life insurance, on the other hand, was designed to financially support family and loved ones after the death of a main earner.
For seniors who might not have any dependents, the choice between burial insurance and life insurance can be a tricky one. However, if covering the costs for end of life expenses is the primary goal, burial insurance is a better bet.
If someone outlives their life insurance policy, their loved ones won’t receive any benefits when they pass away.
For those worried about outliving their life insurance, they should look into purchasing a new term policy or even a permanent policy. However, it’s also important to assess where you and your family are financially before purchasing a new life insurance policy. Take the time to look over your financial needs and consider whether or not a life insurance benefit is necessary.
The major difference between term and whole life insurance is how long both cover you.
Term insurance, which is often the simplest and cheapest option, pays out if the policyholder dies within the set time, or term, of the policy. Terms can be anywhere from a year to thirty years, depending on the policyholders needs. Most term insurance policies are level terms, which means the death benefit is consistent throughout the length of the policy.
Whole life insurance, also called permanent insurance, is one that covers you for the entirety of your life. By default, these plans are often more expensive, but they have the benefit of having cash value. Once policyholders have paid the value of the policy, they have access to the cash value of their policy. They can borrow this money against their policy or take it out in cash if they opt to discontinue their policy.
If you want to keep your whole life insurance active, you probably don’t want to cash it out. You’ll want to keep your policy whole if you know your family needs the entire benefit of your life insurance payout.
It’s also not the best choice to borrow or withdraw from your whole life policy unless you absolutely need to or you know your beneficiaries don’t need the entire payout.
The only time you should really consider cashing out your whole life policy is if you no longer need the policy and if you’re set financially. If you’re older, you could also cancel your whole life insurance, cash out, and purchase a term policy. It all depends on where you and your loved ones are financially.
There are only a few reasons why life insurance policies won’t pay out to the beneficiaries. The first is if someone has lied on their application. If someone doesn’t include medical conditions, dangerous hobbies, certain travel plans, or parts of their health history, agencies could refuse to pay. This is easily avoidable as long as you’re extremely honest on your applications.
The other reasons a life insurance policy might not pay out are if your beneficiary murders you or if you commit suicide within the first two years of your policy. For obvious reasons, beneficiaries who have murdered life insurance policyholders will not receive the benefits, which will instead be given to any other beneficiaries or used to pay your estate.
If you commit suicide within the first two years of your policy, also called the suicide clause, your beneficiaries won’t get the payout.
If you or your family members are not financially secure after you retire or your debts are larger than your assets, you should consider maintaining a life insurance policy.
The primary goal of a life insurance policy is to prevent loss of income for the families of the deceased. This will look different for different people. Those who are doing well financially and don’t have any debts might not see the need for life insurance.
However, those with dependent children, grandchildren, or spouses know that loss of their financial contributions could be detrimental to their families. In these cases, even after retirement, it’s a good idea to maintain life insurance.
Usually, life insurance policies will request more than one beneficiary, often referred to as contingent beneficiaries. If you don’t have any beneficiaries on your policy, or none of your contingencies are alive, your benefits will go to your estate.
When death benefits go to an estate, it basically means taxes and debts will be taken out. At that point, if no next of kin can be located, the money goes to the state.
It’s rather common for employers to offer some form of life insurance to their employees at low costs or for free. These policies may be smaller than most, an average of $10,000 or a year’s salary, but they may be all you need.
If you want low-coverage, low-cost life insurance, getting it through an employer is a great option. However, you should determine your needs and request several quotes from other insurance agencies before making a decision.
Yes, you can have more than one life insurance policy. Often, employees will get some form of life insurance through their job and get an additional, supplemental plan to make up any deficiencies.
As your financial situation changes, you could consider two life insurance policies. For example, you could have a whole life policy, but while you have dependent children, get a term policy to cover those extra costs.
How many life insurance policies you have will depend on your needs as well as your ability to pay the premiums for those policies.
In most cases, single seniors don’t need to have life insurance. The only time single seniors should consider life insurance is if they have debts or want to cover their final expenses. In these cases, burial insurance is also an insurance option.
Yes, if you opt to cash out your whole life insurance benefit, you will have to pay taxes. However, death benefits received by beneficiaries are not taxed.
The vast majority of causes of death are covered by senior life insurance. The only times a death benefit might be withheld is if a person dies participating in a risky habit or commits suicide before the policy is two years old.
If a policyholder is murdered by their beneficiary, the beneficiary will not receive the death benefit, though it will still go to contingent beneficiaries.
Mortgage protection is a type of life insurance that is designed to cover remaining mortgage costs after the policyholder dies. This helps families avoid large debts, needing to move, or foreclosing on their homes after the death of a loved one.
The only time a senior would need this form of life insurance is if they still owe money on their home. If the remaining mortgage on the home is too large, mortgage protection insurance is a great way to take that burden off loved ones shoulders.
One of the benefits of life insurance, especially for seniors, is that if the policy has been maintained and premiums have been met, your beneficiary will receive the full amount.
And life insurance payouts are not considered taxable income, so beneficiaries can get the full amount without worrying about huge payments come tax season.
Buying life insurance is an incredibly personal decision. The “right” choice depends on your age, your health, your financial portfolio, your family’s needs…
In other words, we can’t tell you what the right or wrong decision is. To find out for yourself:
If you think you or a loved one need senior life insurance, you can connect with insurers to compare options and rates using the link below.