Updated August 26, 2019

Best Life Insurance for Seniors

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How much is life insurance at 60, 70, or even 80? Depends on your health and if you want no medical exam. Read on for the best policies for seniors.

Why Seniors Need Life Insurance

Most seniors can benefit from life insurance for several reasons. You can cover a variety of expenses, including:

  • Unpaid Debt
    A life insurance policy can ease the burden of mortgages and outstanding loans that are passed on to loved ones after you're gone.

  • End-of-Life Costs
    Funeral costs and medical bills quickly add up. Don't let your family foot the bill of your funeral, which costs $10K on average.

  • Inheritance
    If you had to dip into retirement funds, you can use an insurance policy to offer loved ones some financial stability.

  • Disabled Child or Spouse
    You can provide financial security to a disabled child or spouse (or their caregiver).

Best Life Insurance Companies for Seniors

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Read on for our list of top life insurance companies for seniors.

Average premium quotes are based on a 10-year term policy with a $150K death benefit. Quotes are for a 65-year-old, non-smoking male in good health.

Best Overall for Seniors: Transamerica

A.M. Best rating: A+
Average Monthly Premium: $124

In business for more than 100 years, Transamerica provides a wide variety of coverage options and competitive rates especially for seniors over 71. They offer both medically underwritten and no-exam policies, plus conversion options if you opt for a term product.

Policyholders also get the benefit Transamerica's health community and wellness services, which other companies don't always offer.

A.M. Best rating: A+
Average Monthly Premium: $91

If you're a longtime smoker or partake in tobacco products, Banner Life is a great life insurance option. They're one of the few companies that cater to the smoking niche.

While smokers may pay up to 3x more than a non-smoker for coverage, Banner has a specific rating system that allows smokers to get affordable coverage.

Best for Universal Life: Lincoln Financial

A.M. Best rating: A+
Average Monthly Premium: N/A

While Universal life policies may have a more intensive underwriting process, it may be a good option for some seniors who want coverage with added cash value.

If you like the idea of Universal life insurance but wonder how long-term care may fit in, Lincoln has a specific product just for you. Their combination life/long-term care Universal policy offers lifetime coverage and provides financial assistance should you require long-term care.

Best for Healthy Seniors: Mutual of Omaha

A.M. Best rating: A+
Average Monthly Premium: $268

Mutual of Omaha offers medically-underwritten and no-exam policy options and covers people ages 18-85. Where they really shine is in products for healthy policyholders.

Their Fit Underwriting Credit program allows policyholders to earn "fit" credits through healthy living choices. With each credit, you can earn lower premiums - a great option for active level seniors.

Best for Simplified Issue: Assurity

A.M. Best rating: A+
Average Monthly Premium: $121

Simplified Issue, one of the two main types of no-exam life insurance policies, is a great option for seniors who want coverage without too much consideration given to health status.

Assurity's Simplified Whole life insurance provides coverage without any invasive medical exams. Based on a brief questionnaire that considers your past and current health, you can qualify for one of three plans: level, graded, or modified death benefit.

Best for Fast Approval: Fidelity

A.M. Best rating: A-
Average Monthly Premium: $239

Fidelity Life, in business for more than 120, provides a variety of coverage options under their RAPIDecision product family. Any RAPIDecision plan can offer coverage in a matter of days or even hours.

Better yet, Fidelity offers a RAPIDecision Guaranteed Issue policy for individuals up to 85, making it a great option for seniors wanting coverage quickly.

Best for Final Expense: Foresters Financial

A.M. Best rating: A
Average Monthly Premium: $70

Foresters Financial has more than 3 million customers and offers some of the most competitive rates on the market. What makes them a great choice for seniors are their Final Expense policy offerings.

Their PlanRight policy includes extra coverage for burial or funeral expenses, as well as level premiums and a variety of options for how the death benefit is paid out.

Best for Diabetics: Prudential

A.M. Best rating: A+
Average Monthly Premium: $102

Unlike other life insurance companies that may charge higher premiums, Prudential offers a special health class rating system for diabetics. Depending on when you were diagnosed and how you manage you symptoms, you rates could be a fraction of what you'd get from other insurers.

While Prudential doesn't offer any Whole life policies, they do have a wide variety of riders and add-ons to choose from, like Waiver of Premium benefit, Accidental Needs benefit, and more.

Best for Guaranteed Issue: AIG

A.M. Best rating: A
Average Monthly Premium $100

AIG, or the American General Life Insurance Company, offers some of the best available policies for seniors. Their Guaranteed Issue Whole Life product is a perfect option for policyholders aged 50-85.

This policy guarantees acceptance without a medical exam and includes living benefits at no extra cost. Should you encounter debilitating disability in day-to-day functioning, all premiums paid will be returned to you.

Best for Living Benefits: American National

A.M. Best rating: A
Average Monthly Premium: $140

American National's Guaranteed Universal Life policy is perfect for seniors who need to cover medical bills or other expenses. Under the Guaranteed Universal Life policy, you're able to make full or partial use of your death benefit if you become terminally ill.

Unlike other companies, you can use the death benefit to cover any cost. If at any point you decide you no longer need life insurance, you can also cash out your death benefit with their Guaranteed Cash-Out rider.

Request quotes from different companies to find the best rate. Read about the insurer's policy coverage and find a match for your needs.

Best Life Insurance Policies for Seniors

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Depending on the policy and death benefit, some seniors could be denied coverage or charged expensive premiums. Read on to find out which policies are best suited for seniors and how to buy coverage.

Best life insurance Policy for Seniors Over 60

Simplified Issue
No medical exam is required in a Simplified Issue policy. However, underwriters will ask thorough questions designed to learn more about your health and any medical conditions.

If the insurer requests additional medical records from your doctor, approval can take 4-6 weeks. The underwriter will analyze the risk and determines how much coverage to offer you.

ProsCons
  • No medical exam
  • Cheaper than permanent coverage
  • Death benefits up to $300,000
  • Generally quick underwriting
  • More expensive than term coverage
  • Not all companies offer these policies
  • Some companies have age limits (generally age 65)

Best Life Insurance Policy for Seniors Over 70

Final Expense Insurance
This is a form of permanent life insurance, meaning you have the insurance coverage for as long as you pay monthly premiums. It's commonly used to cover funeral and other end-of-life expenses.

There's no medical exam required and most applicants are approved after just a few basic questions. While death benefits are generally low, premiums are fixed and underwriting is quick.

ProsCons
  • No medical exam
  • Affordable
  • Good for final expenses like a funeral and medical bills
  • Quick underwriting
  • Low death benefits (max $100,000)
  • More expensive than term life insurance

Learn more about final expense life insurance here.

There may be reasons you want to skip a medical exam when applying for life insurance. While a no-exam policy may be faster and easier to obtain, it won't always offer the coverage your family may need.

Research and review ALL policy options before deciding on coverage.

Best Life Insurance Policy for Seniors Over 80

Guaranteed Issue
This insurance was created for people who wouldn't normally qualify for other life insurance policies. As the name suggests, guaranteed coverage doesn't require a medical exam.

Monthly premiums are significantly more expensive and death benefits are also generally lower, around $10,000 - $20,000. As such, these policies are often considered to be "last resort" coverage.

ProsCons
  • Guaranteed coverage
  • No medical exam
  • Fixed premiums
  • Cash value
  • High premiums
  • Low death benefit

Learn more about guaranteed issue life insurance here.

More Policy Options for Seniors

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If you're looking for additional policy options, consider those listed below. We cover average rates for popular policy types, such as term, whole, universal and variable.

Term Life Insurance

Term life is a great coverage option no matter your age, but especially for seniors. The policies last for a certain amount of time (or term). Terms can be anywhere from 1 to 30 years long.

Term life is typically the most affordable and provides the most flexibility with coverage length and death benefit options. The premiums are fixed, but it's wise to apply early—the older you are, the more you'll pay. Learn more about term life insurance here.

Below are average term rates for non-smoking men and women in generally good health.

10-Year Term Rates—Male

Age$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
50$17.87$26.72$44.83$77.17
60$36.14$65.82$117.32$221.04
70$91.88$192.03$336.40$637.06
80$395.00$772.83$1,055.50$2,903.80

10-Year Term Rates—Female

Age$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
50$15.87$21.87$37.08$66.73
60$27.47$46.94$81.13$148.12
70$84.14$148.78$301.51$589.79
80$294.56$545.17$1,055.50$2,061.75

Many term life policies won't require a traditional medical exam to secure coverage. Below are average no-exam policy rates for generally healthy, non-smoking men and women.

No Exam Term Rates—Male (based on a 10-year term)

Age$50,000$100,000$250,000
50$29.83$24.00$27.67
60$27.67$33.34$68.32

No Exam Term Rates—Female (based on a 10-year term)

Age$50,000$100,000$250,000
50$23.68$21.08$22.87
60$26.33$27.41$48.22

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance provides lifelong coverage and includes an investment and cash value component. It's typically a longer-term investment, as you may not see a cash value return for up to 10 years or more.

Guaranteed cash value growth, death benefit and level premiums for life are among the main reasons people opt for whole life insurance. While some policies may offer some of these features, it's less common for a product to guarantee all three.

Whole Life Insurance—Male

Age$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
50$177.60$357.42$678.90$1,369.00
60$285.06$617.25$911.25$2,188.33
70$488.60$1,150.41$2,176.75$4,848.67
80$897.17$2,211.09$4,650.83$6,797.50

Whole Life Insurance—Female

Age$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
50$157.67$335.17$685.50$1,300.50
60$241.92$540.58$986.08$2,121.73
70$414.75$1,010.33$1,956.25$3,908.15
80$736.05$1,783.50$3,536.67$7,339.01

With permanent coverage, it could take years before seeing a return on investment or cash value growth. Since seniors may not see these benefits, term life is usually a better option.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal Life Insurance provides a permanent death benefit with added cash value. Part of your monthly premium dollars go into a cash account that is credited each month with interest. The rest goes toward the death benefit.

Your premiums are not fixed, so the amount you pay each month can change month-to-month. But you have more control and access to the dollars that go into the cash account.

Universal Life Rates—Male

Age$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
50$102.22$197.44$298.48$563.97
60$169.95$332.90$547.50$824.66
70$241.60$563.59$1002.16$1918.41

Universal Life Rates—Female

Age$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
50$84.61$169.22$312.54$543.38
60$141.11$272.22$491.01$781.35
70$188.15$434.00$697.00$1,415.00

Variable Life Insurance

Similar to Universal Life, part of your premium is contributed to a cash account. But with Variable, the cash value can be invested in a variety of accounts, similar to mutual funds.

The choice of which accounts to invest in is up to you. Examples of investment funds are stocks, bonds, equity funds, and money market funds.

Where does long-term care fit into my policy?
Long-term care insurance can be purchased separately, or as a rider on a life insurance policy. These riders are triggered when a chronic condition leaves someone unable to care for themselves.

Seniors should consider a long-term care rider on their policy in case the unexpected happens and they need those services.

How to Buy Life Insurance for Seniors

It's easy to get overwhelmed when shopping for life insurance. Here are a few tips to help:

Research Financial Ratings
Financial ratings give you an idea into how likely the company is to pay out your death benefit when the time comes. Check ratings from A.M. Best, Fitch, Moody's, and Standard & Poors.

Know the Terms
Know how your premiums or cash-value may change over time, as well as your renewal options. Also check for hold periods. These prohibit a pay out if you die within a specific period of time after purchasing the policy.

Don't Wait to Apply
The older and unhealthier you are, the more risk a company takes on by insuring you. However, seniors ages 60, 70, or even 80 can still qualify for coverage. If you can, don't hesitate to buy a policy.

Risk Factors Matter
If you smoke, are overweight, or have a medical condition, your premiums will be higher or you could be denied coverage. Try to manage any conditions as best you can and live a healthy lifestyle.

If you have a medical condition, take steps to keep it under control. Meet with your doctor regularly, take medications as prescribed, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly (if you are able). Taking steps to a healthier lifestyle can positively impact your rates.

Bottom Line

Just because you're older doesn't mean you don't need life insurance. The right coverage can give you additional financial security, help you leave an inheritance for loved ones, or provide for end-of-life expenses.

Your age also doesn't mean you can't qualify for good, affordable coverage. There are many insurers that offer products to seniors.

Talk to a life insurance agent to learn about your options; they can help quote and find affordable coverage that's right for you.

More from CreditDonkey:


Life Insurance for Seniors Over 70


No Questions Asked Life Insurance


Life Insurance Quotes Over 50

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