Go To Top
See How Much You Can Save
Please enter valid zip
LIFE Insurance
LIFE INSURANCE INSIGHTS

Life insurance is often for people in their peak-earning years but seniors may also benefit from a life insurance policy.

Many people assume that life insurance is no longer needed once your adult children are established and you've saved enough to retire comfortably. But the truth is that having life insurance for seniors policy can be a good idea, including life insurance for seniors over 70.

Explore different life insurance options, including whole life, guaranteed universal life, final expense life, no medical exam life, and term life insurance. Do your homework and determine the best life insurance for seniors options available to you.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Seniors are often eligible for life insurance policies, including guaranteed issue policies that don't require medical exams.
  • Seniors may want life insurance if they want to make sure their beneficiaries receive death benefits, so they don't have to shoulder credit card and medical bills.
  • Senior citizens pay more for life insurance than younger people, especially term life insurance policies.
  • People who are not in top health can get a life insurance policy that doesn't require a medical exam. Some policies don't ask health questions either.

Why life insurance for seniors can be beneficial

Even if you’re retired or planning to retire soon, it's smart to start thinking about the assets you plan to pass on to your beneficiaries and heirs. But you may leave behind debts, too, including a credit card tab, medical care bills, and funeral, burial, and final expenses.

While your savings, investments, holdings, and overall estate may cover these expenses and provide a nice financial future for your beneficiaries, there's always the risk that your survivors may have to shoulder a bigger financial burden than you anticipate after you pass away.

That's why many experts recommend a life insurance policy for seniors.

"Life insurance isn't always needed after you retire, especially if you can care for yourself and your family's needs without financial assistance. However, it's good to have in place just in case something should happen to you," says Peyton Leonard, a life insurance expert with LifeInsurancePost.com. "Life insurance should be considered by seniors, especially if they have a family that is still dependent on them. The policy could be used to pay off bills and debts while also providing a steady flow of income."

What kind of life insurance policy is best for seniors?

There are many types of life insurance for seniors worth considering. Which one is best for you depends on what you want from a life insurance policy.

Here are five types of life policies:

Term life insurance

These policies are only for a period, such as 10 or 20 years. If you outlive a term life policy, your beneficiaries don’t receive a death benefit.

Term life policies offer a higher death benefit than other types, but the premiums may increase with each new term depending on the policy type -- often every five years with many carriers.

However, term life offers no cash value accumulation, it usually isn't offered or expires after age 80, and it may be difficult to qualify for a term policy if you have severe health issues.

Whole life insurance

This policy type is a kind of permanent life insurance. Whole life accumulates cash value that can be used to pay for premiums in the future or borrowed in case of emergency.

A whole life policy’s premiums don’t increase, and the life coverage never expires or decreases, as long as you pay premiums.

"But whole life insurance is more expensive than term life insurance because it is permanent protection that will last a lifetime," explains Randy VanderVaate, president/owner of Funeral Funds of America.

Guaranteed universal life insurance

This type of permanent life policy provides lifelong affordable life insurance with guaranteed death amounts plus a possible return on your premiums.

On the downside, you'll earn little to no cash value accumulation, depending on the policy, and because your returns are tied with the stock market, there’s a higher risk of your investment failing.

Final expense insurance

These policies are usually guaranteed, which means you don’t have to have a medical exam or answer health questions.

"This policy is designed for seniors to pay their end-of-life expenses like burial, cremation, medical, or estate expenses. Your premium stays the same, and the policy does not expire," VanderVaate says.

However, final expense life insurance is more expensive than term life insurance, and it will only cover final expenses, not provide income replacement for your beneficiaries.

No medical exam life insurance

This option also called guaranteed issue life insurance, is recommended for seniors with pre-existing health problems because no medical exam is required to get a policy (although the insurance company will review your medical and prescription records). The drawback is that the coverage/payout is more limited than other types of insurance policies - often maxing out at $25,000.

"For seniors most concerned about covering their final expenses, final expense life insurance is the most cost-effective option," says Brian Martucci, the Minneapolis-based finance editor for Money Crashers. "A no medical exam policy is ideal for seniors with known health conditions that could result in denial of coverage, although it's likely to be more expensive than a medically underwritten policy. By contrast, whole life insurance policies and higher-coverage term life insurance policies can be prohibitively expensive for older people and often aren't available to them at all."

Best life insurance companies for seniors

Several different carriers offer life insurance policies to seniors. Among the companies experts recommend getting life insurance quotes from include:

Mutual of Omaha

Its whole life insurance policies don't require medical exams, and you can get term life insurance even after 85 years of age; they stop insuring seniors by age 95, however, and have limited riders, according to Leonard.

A popular Mutual of Omaha plan is Living Promise Level whole life insurance, available in every state except New York to those aged 45 to 85 years, with coverage amounts ranging from $2,000 to $40,000.

"This plan comes with day one coverage upon acceptance," says Jake Irving, owner of Willamette Life Insurance. "The underwriting standards for this policy are pretty high, which is why the price is so competitive. Seniors who apply should be in good to excellent health. This policy is considered by many in the industry to be a top option for final expense life insurance."

AIG

This insurer offers a guaranteed issue whole life insurance policy in every state (minus New York) for 50- to 80-year-olds that pays out up to $25,000.

"Seniors in poor health will be accepted by this guaranteed issue plan. While most seniors are eligible, this coverage provides a great option for those who cannot qualify for other plans," Irving says. "AIG has some of the lowest prices available for this type of policy. But there is also a two-year waiting period, which is standard for coverage with no underwriting."

Aetna/CVS

Its Accendo level whole life insurance plan is offered nationwide (except in New York) to those aged 40 to 89 and provides coverage amounts up to $50,000, depending on age.

"There are two tiers of coverage with the Accendo level policy: preferred and standard. Both plans offer immediate coverage. But standard policies are easier to qualify for although they have slightly higher prices; standard policies also accept conditions like COPD, Parkinson's disease, lupus, and multiple sclerosis," notes Irving.

MassMutual Life

Leonard recommends this carrier's whole life policy because it allows you to borrow against the value of the policy.

"They also give guaranteed death benefits and the policy won't run out at the end of its term. But MassMutual is best for healthier seniors because their policies require medical exams," he says.

Guaranteed Trust Life

This carrier offers a guaranteed universal life insurance policy that is popular with seniors suffering from moderate to severe health conditions.

"They also offer a superior graded death benefit that eliminates the need for guaranteed life insurance with a two-year waiting period for most seniors," says VanderVaate.

Transamerica

The company offers final expense level premium whole life insurance policy options, available to policyholders up to age 85 in every state, with face amounts varying from $1,000 to $50,000 plus a guaranteed death benefit.

Banner Life Insurance

This is likely your best option for term life insurance. The life insurance company offers double pricing for its policies. Also, they insure seniors starting at 75 years of age, explains Leonard.

Gerber Life

This insurer offers a variety of senior life insurance options, including affordable term, guaranteed life, and whole life policies.

John Hancock

It provides permanent life insurance options up to 90 years old, "an age not every carrier will ensure up to," says Eric Estevez, owner of HLC Insurance Broker. "While no cases are the same, this is commonly used for the unpleasant cost of funeral expenses incurred."

How much does senior citizens' life insurance cost?

Life insurance costs can vary based on the policy type, the carrier, your age, and your preferred death benefit.

"On average, if you are going for whole life insurance, a healthy male senior should expect it to cost around $1,000 to $2,000 annually for a $250,000 policy, while a healthy female senior can expect to pay around $900 to $1,800 for a similar policy," says Brad Cummins, owner and principal agent of Insurance Geek.

Term life insurance is more affordable but rates increase as you age. Term life policies either increase as you age or stay level depending on the policy.

"Life insurance companies factor your age and health in determining the premium, because the older you get, the more health impairments you tend to have. Age and health impairments affect life expectancy and the cost of your life insurance," VanderVaate adds. "That's why the average premium cost for most seniors will be between $30 and $100 per month."

How much does senior term life insurance cost?

Here are the average annual costs for 10-year and 15-year level term life insurance policies for nonsmokers who are classified as regular health for up to age 75:

10-year term15-year term
65-year-old male$1,378$1,811
65-year-old female$976$1,363
70-year-old male$2,277$2,995
70-year-old female$1,613$2,225
75-year-old male$3,734$5,601
75-year-old female$2,569$4,502

Source: CompuLife, August 2021

What is the cheapest life insurance for seniors?

The most inexpensive life insurance option or policy type will depend on your age, need, and death benefit.

"For instance, if you are age 65 or younger, in good health, and have a minimal death benefit need, you stand a good chance at getting a competitive premium cost," advises Estevez.

A low-benefit final expense policy that requires medical underwriting is often the most affordable option for seniors who don't currently have life insurance.

"The cheapest life insurance option for seniors is first-day coverage final expense life insurance or burial insurance. The healthier you are, the better your rates will be," VanderVaate suggests.

A term life insurance policy can also be considerably cheaper but may be difficult to qualify for based on age and health condition.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if I die after my term life insurance policy ends?

If you, the policyholder, pass away after your term life insurance policy expires, your beneficiaries don’t receive anything from the policy.

When are you too old to buy life insurance?

You’re legally allowed to purchase life insurance at any age. However, if you are over age 80, you may find life insurance coverage prohibitively expensive and/or difficult to find.

Affordable term life insurance for people over 65 will be easier to find than term life insurance people over 75.

Also, if you have accumulated significant financial assets that will pass on to your beneficiaries and cover your final expenses, buying life insurance may not be worth it.

What should you look for in a senior life insurance policy?

Ideally, it's best to consider a life insurance policy that offers fixed rates you can afford as well as payouts large enough to cover your final expenses and benefit your beneficiaries.

"The insurer's financial strength is important, too; you want to make sure the company will still be around and solvent when you die," recommends Martucci.

Additionally, opt for first-day coverage, if available, which will trigger the lowest rates and the most coverage.

Are there life insurance policies designated specifically for seniors?

Final expense life insurance and no medical exam life insurance are targeted specifically for seniors. They require no medical exam and often don’t ask health questions either.

What is the best life insurance for a senior in poor medical condition?

A no-medical exam policy that offers guaranteed acceptance may be the best or only option if you are in poor health, although you can expect to pay more for this type of policy.

"These policies are approved for seniors in poor health as long as they don't have a terminal illness, are not confined to a nursing home or hospice, and can perform activities of daily living on their own," notes VanderVaate. "People under these circumstances can also be approved for guaranteed issue life insurance, but they need to wait two years before they will be fully covered."

What can a senior do if they no longer need their life insurance?

You can simply discontinue paying premiums and allow your policy to expire if you choose. Or, depending on your policy type, you may be able to surrender your policy to the carrier and receive a check for the cash value of the policy. It may also be possible to sell certain life insurance policies through a life insurance broker -- a process known as a life settlement or viatical settlement.

How can you get money out of a life insurance policy?

All permanent life insurance policies, including whole and universal life policies as well as final expense policies that are structured as whole life policies, build cash value over time that you can borrow against and repay later as you can. Be aware that any outstanding amounts borrowed against your policy will reduce your death benefit, however. These policies also offer living benefits through policy riders that can help you while you're still alive, such as long-term care, accidental death, accelerated death and critical illness coverage.

Helpful Life Insurance Articles & Guides