May 7, 2019

Life Insurance Rates by Age

Read more about Life Insurance

How much you will have to pay for life insurance may surprise you. Learn how to find the best rates here.

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When thinking about purchasing a life insurance policy, one of your first questions is likely: How much is this going to cost? The truth is, your monthly premium depends on a number of factors. But it'll probably cost much less than you think.

Sample Term Life Insurance Rates ($250,000 policy)*

10 Year15 Year20 Year25 Year30 year

*These are monthly premiums for $250,000 term policy coverage for a very healthy, non-smoker who took a medical exam.

You may have a difficult time finding sample quotes when researching. Why? Most companies want to gather your information first so an agent can talk to you about purchasing a policy from them.

This, however, may not be in your best interest because you might feel pressured or confused after talking to an agent and rush into a purchasing decision that might not be right for you. Know the facts when it comes to purchasing a policy.

Read on to learn what kind of insurance you need and how much you should pay for it in our guide.

How do Life Insurance Rates Work?

Typically, monthly premiums increase the older and unhealthier you are. But there are a number of factors that affect your monthly premium.

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Health
  • Smoking Habits
  • Hobbies

How Does Life Insurance Work?
Life insurance pays money to a designated beneficiary - like your spouse or child - if you were to pass away. The payout, called a death benefit, can be used towards a variety of expenses like funeral costs, outstanding debts, medical bills, childcare services, and more.

The payout will total whatever your policy coverage is. For example, if you have a $600,000 policy, the payout is $600,000.

When you apply for coverage (more on that below), the insurance company determines the risk take-on by approving your policy purchase.

The higher your risk, the more likely it is that you will pass away before paying the full coverage amount. This will increase your monthly premium.

The lower your risk, the more likely it is you will pay off your full coverage. This will lower your premium.

Keep reading to see what you can expect to pay for life insurance.

Estimated Monthly Premiums

In the charts below, find an average monthly cost for different life insurance policy options. (More on types of life insurance policies a little later.)

The charts are separated by gender and based on a generally healthy, non-smoker applicant.

You Should Know: The two main types of life insurance are: term and whole.

  • A term policy provides coverage for a certain period of time, or term.

  • A whole life insurance policy provides lifelong coverage and includes an investment and cash value component.

10-Year Term Rates - Male

10-Year Term Rates - Female

15-Year Term Rates - Male

15-Year Term Rates - Female

20-Year Term Rates - Male

20-Year Term Rates - Female

25-Year Term Rates - Male

25-Year Term Rates - Female

30-Year Term Rates - Male

30-Year Term Rates - Female

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

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

Whole Life Insurance - Male

Whole Life Insurance - Female

Life Rates - Male

Universal Life Rates - Female

How Do I Get The Best Life Insurance Rate?

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Purchase A Policy When You Are Young And Healthy.
    Age and health are important factors. Take advantage by applying for a policy when you are most likely to get the best rate.

  • Get Quotes From Different Companies.
    Each insurance company offers different types of policies, benefits, and coverages. Find companies that offer what you need.

    Getting multiple quotes also allows you to see a variety of premium options so you can choose one that fits your budget.

  • Talk To An Insurance Agent.
    They are able to assist you with your research and the quoting process. These experts likely know what company and/or policy fits your needs with the best rate.

Do I Need Life Insurance?
Start by considering whether anyone relies on you for financial support. This may include your children, your spouse or partner, co-signors of debt or loans you have in your name, or elderly parents you care for, either now or in the future.

Then determine if you have enough savings to provide for them if you were to die. If the answer is no, then you likely do need life insurance.

How to Get A Quote

Before researching quotes, calculate how much coverage you think you need by following the steps above. (Keep reading to learn more.)

You also will want to know some general medical information such as height, weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Most companies offer different ways to get a quote:

Request A Quote Online
Enter and submit basic contact information, which is then provided to a life insurance agent. The agent will follow up with you via phone or email (depending on your preference).

They will ask questions like why you need life insurance, what kind of coverage you are looking for and for how long, and other informational policy questions.

Once they get the information, they will provide quotes from different companies that best fit your needs.

Go Through A Company Directly
If you get a quote online this way, you will answer questions like your gender, date of birth, height and weight, coverage amount you are considering, and other basic, simple health questions.

You will have to do this for every company you are considering. Once you submit the information, you will either be emailed or immediately shown a quote.

Talk To An Agent
You can also use an insurance agent. Provide them with all of your contact and health information and they will request the quotes for you. With this option, you don't have to do anything online or on your own.

Remember: All quotes are subject to change based on the answers to your application questions and/or results of your medical exam.

How To Purchase A Policy

Once you choose the quote and company that's right for you, submit an application for a specific policy. You'll be asked to answer questions like your age, marital status, occupation, and basic health history.

Most companies require a medical exam to gather additional health information in order to better assess your risk.

With an Exam
Once you apply, you will receive a call from a company representative or an email with instructions on how to complete your medical exam.

The exam verifies the information you gave about your health is accurate. They will:

  • Record your medical history
  • Take your blood pressure
  • Do a simple blood test to test for diseases, drug use, cholesterol and glucose levels, etc.

Once the results are received by the insurance company, they will determine your risk. This determines if they will approve your application and the cost of your premium.

If you're approved, your policy will go immediately into effect once you sign and pay the initial premium.

If you're denied, you will not have a policy through that company. You will either have to apply with a different company or apply for a no-exam policy.

You Should Know: The results of your application and exam may move you to another risk class. This means you may have to pay more than the price you were originally quoted.

Without an Exam
Some companies offer the option to bypass the medical exam.

If you:

  • Have a chronic condition or illness
  • Are a smoker
  • Are elderly
  • Have a dangerous job or hobby
  • Were previously denied coverage

you may not qualify for a traditional life insurance policy.

Bypassing the exam typically means underwriting decisions are quicker. But these plans might be slightly more expensive.

There are two types of non-exam policies: Guaranteed Issue and Simplified Issue.

Guaranteed Issue
When applying for this life insurance policy, you avoid the medical exam AND underwriters do not see your medical records.

This means the insurance company knows little about the risk your policy would present. Of course, this also means this policy generally costs the most.

What kind of questions can insurers ask with no-exam policies?

The insurance company will ask a variety of generic, yes/no questions like:

  • Do you smoke or use tobacco?
  • Are you currently residing in a hospital?
  • Do you have HIV or AIDS?
  • Have you been declared terminally ill?

Based on your answers, they will decide whether to insure you or not. Underwriting often happens and coverage is obtained within 24-48 hours.

NEVER LIE when answering these questions or your policy can be invalidated. That means that your loved ones won't receive benefits.

If approved, your policy will likely come with a graded death benefit. This means if you were to pass away within the first two or three years of owning the policy, your beneficiary would not receive the full payout.

In fact, they would probably only receive a refund on the premiums you paid, along with interest.

If you live beyond three years and continue to pay the premiums on the policy, your beneficiary would then qualify for the full death benefit amount.

Simplified Issue
With this type of policy, you do not take a medical exam. But underwriters will ask more thorough questions.

Depending on your answers, you may not be approved for coverage. These questions are meant to be more in-depth and revealing of your health and medical conditions.

They may also request more information based on your answers, like medical records from your doctor. If this is not necessary, you are typically approved for the coverage and the policy soon goes into effect. If records are requested, it may take longer to be approved, as the underwriter will analyze the risk and determine the coverage amount they will offer you.

While this policy is typically not as expensive, it still costs more than medically underwritten policies.

Now you know how to compare and find the best prices for life insurance. But when should you buy a policy? Read on to find out.

When Should I Get Life Insurance?

When You Are Younger
One of the factors that affects your monthly premium is your age. Generally the older you are when you apply for a policy, the higher your monthly premium.

When You Are Healthy And Have No Medical Conditions
The healthier you are, the less you will pay.

If you have a pre-existing health condition that can affect your mortality rate, like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, your premium rates will be especially high.

When You Are Expecting Or Recently Had A Baby
A life insurance policy should provide the financial support needed should you pass, both now and in your child's future.

Now that you know why you need life insurance, read on to learn what type of policy is right for you.

Types Of Life Insurance

There are two primary types of life insurance: term life and whole (or permanent) life.

Term Life Insurance
A term policy provides coverage for a certain period of time, or term. This type of insurance policy is designed to protect your dependents should you die prematurely.

With this policy, your beneficiaries receive the full payout only IF you die within the term. The most common terms are 10, 20 and 30 years.

Term life insurance is usually cheaper because it's temporary. In fact, most term policies don't end up paying the death benefit because the majority of policyholders live through the end of the term.

If the term ends and you still need life insurance protection, you can consider extending or renewing the coverage. You can usually choose to continue the policy on a year-to-year basis but at a much higher monthly premium. (More on this below.)

You'll want to choose a term life policy if:

  • You only need life insurance to replace your income over a certain period, such as the years you're raising your children or have an outstanding mortgage.

  • You want a simpler, more affordable policy.

Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance provides lifelong coverage and includes an investment and cash value component.

The three main benefits to a whole life insurance policy are:

Guaranteed Cash Value Growth
Because this type of policy typically involves investing dollars, the cash value account will grow over time.

You can normally access the cash value any time through withdrawals or loans, which you can use for retirement, emergency funds, or other bills. Withdrawals often come with a fee or other contingencies, so you'll want to be sure you're familiar with your policy.

Guaranteed Death Benefit
The death benefit is the set amount paid to your beneficiary upon your death.

Guaranteed Level Premiums For Life
Whole life insurance premiums are higher because the policy lasts forever and has cash value. However, the premium will not increase or decrease throughout your life, so it's easy to budget for.

Choose a whole life insurance policy if:
  • You want to provide money to your heirs to pay estate taxes.
  • You have lifelong dependents such as a child with special needs.
  • You want to spend your retirement savings but still leave an inheritance for your beneficiaries.

How Much Coverage Is Enough

Follow these simple steps to calculate your ideal coverage amount.

  1. Decide how many years of coverage you need and multiply your annual income by that number.

    For example, if you want a 10-year term policy and earn $60,000 per year, you'll want a minimum $600,000 policy.

  2. Think about other financial oblications you want your policy to cover.

    First, consider any children you may have. The cost of raising a child from day of birth to age 17 has increased to $233,610, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    This estimate only includes basics like food, housing, transportation, healthcare, and clothing. Which means that it does not include perks like electronics, lessons, vacations, college savings or tuition, a vehicle, or any other "just because" purchases.

    Aside from costs of raising a child, you need to account for:

    • Funeral costs
    • Mortgages
    • Student loans
    • Credit card debt
    • Medical bills

    Add these totals to the sum found in #1.

  3. Determine what services you provide that would have a cost to replace.

    This is particularly important if you are a stay-at-home parent. Your partner likely won't be able to quit their job to provide the services you do.

    Add the replacement cost to #1 and #2.

  4. Do you have any savings or life insurance thorugh a current employer?

    You'll want to subtract those totals from your determined policy amount.

    Most companies offer a life insurance policy for full-time employees. While you should participate in those policy offerings, an employer usually provides only 1-3 times your current salary.

    It's likely that coverage isn't enough for what you'll need. Also, if you leave that job, you lose the coverage.

You can find life insurance calculators online. They'll ask you questions and calculate numbers to estimate how much coverage you may need.

Now that you know how much coverage you need, keep reading learn how to get a quote and purchase a policy.

What Term Policy Length Is Best?

Some general things you might want to consider when thinking about the length of your term policy are:

  • The length of your mortgage
  • How long until your children are on their own
  • The number of years until you retire
  • The number of years until you pay off other debts, like student or car loans

Consider a 10-year term policy if:

  • You're looking for the cheapest premium. It's generally lower cost because you are much more likely to live to the end of the term length and pay off the full cost of the policy.

  • You have older children who won't need as many years of support.

  • You just graduated college and have student loan debt.

Consider a 15-year term policy if:

  • You have young kids and want coverage to last until they are at least 18 years old.

  • You want a policy to give coverage for the mortgage on your home. While the average loan term is 30 years, the average person lives only around 11 years in one home. In other words, a lower term length may be sufficient.

Remember your student loans.

Many student loan debts take 10 or 20 years to pay off if you stick with the minimum monthly payments. You might want a term length that covers that debt.

Consider a 20- or 25-year term policy if:

  • You have a child and want to provide coverage for them through college and beyond.

Consider a 25- or 30-year term policy if:

  • You are expecting a baby and want coverage for them through college.

  • You have a child with special needs.

  • You recently got married and want to provide support if you pass unexpectedly.

What if I Outlive My Term Life Insurance Policy?

If you still need life insurance protection when your term ends, consider extending or renewing the coverage. You can usually choose to continue the policy on a year-to-year basis, but at a much higher monthly premium.

Most term policies do not technically expire until you reach age 95. So you can keep your policy in place and continue paying monthly until you decide you no longer need the coverage.

Or opt for a term life insurance policy with a return of premium qualifier. You will get your premiums returned to you when the term expires.

With a return of premium qualifier, if you paid $100 per month for a 10-year term, you'll get $12,000 back (unless there are additional fees or riders on your policy).

Make sure to review your policy every few years to see if it's still adequate for your needs. Here are a few things to think about:

Did You Recently Marry?
You'll need to be able to support your new spouse for better or for worse, which includes taking on their existing debts. Your policy should be able to support both of your expenses should you die.

Did You Have A Baby?
One of the uses of your life insurance policy is supporting your children, from childcare through college tuition.

Did You Purchase A New Home?
Your policy will help pay off your mortgage so that another loved one doesn't have to.

Did You Start Or Graduate College?
Your policy could also pay off student loan debt so it doesn't fall to someone else.

Were You Diagnosed With A Serious Or Terminal Illness?
Sometimes people wait until a diagnosis before thinking about life insurance. You'll want to plan ahead. But a new diagnosis may add additional concerns or considerations that you want to ensure are covered.

Did You Get A New Job?
If you are earning more money than you did when you first purchased your policy, you will need to increase the coverage in order to keep up with your income contribution.

Did You Start A New Business?
If you are self-employed or running your own business, your policy should be able to pay off outstanding debts or assist in continuing to operate the business (should those be your wishes).

Talking to a life insurance agent may be especially helpful. They can ask the right questions and gather the information you'll need in order to make an informed decision.

What Is The Maximum Age For Life Insurance?

Maximum age depends on whether you have a term or whole policy, as well as the coverage amount and the term length. It can also vary by company.

Most companies will issue 10-year term policies up to age 85. Some companies set the maximum age at 80 or even 75.

15-year term policies are generally capped at age 70.

For 20-, 25- or 30-year term policies, you won't qualify with most companies if you are over age 60.

Similar to term insurance, most companies won't issue a whole life insurance policy if you are older than 85. Many companies set the maximum age to 80 or even 75.

No Exam
For no-exam policies, the maximum age ranges from 60-70 years old for most companies.

Premiums are higher if you are older when purchasing the policy. You will likely get the best premium and coverage you need with those options.

Bottom Line

Before buying life insurance, you need to understand your options and the cost. Talk to a life insurance agent to determine what type of policy is best for you and how much coverage you need.

They can also get quotes for you and assist in the application process. There are a variety of online options like life insurance calculators and online quoters if you want to keep matters in your own hands.

Either way, it's best to start thinking about life insurance now. Your monthly premium will increase with age and worsening health. In general, however, life insurance will not cost as much as you think. For as little as $10 a month, you could have the financial protection you need.

Write to Caitlyn Callahan at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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