Best Senior Life Insurance Companies in 2022
Seniors who are buying life insurance don’t have decades to ride out any waves of poor policy performance. Nor do they have the disposable income to absorb a surprise need to pay additional premium to prevent a policy lapse. Reliable policy illustrations, low internal costs and the superior performance of investments for cash value are all key to the best senior life insurance.
We evaluated companies using data provided by Veralytic, a leading publisher of pricing and performance research and competitiveness ratings for cash value life insurance products.
What Is Life Insurance for Seniors?
Life insurance for seniors is typically coverage for people ages 65 and over. The death benefit can help beneficiaries to pay for expenses such as:
- Burial costs
- Medical bills
- Remaining debts, such as car payments or credit card bills
Having senior life insurance in place in your later years also provides financial protection for your spouse if you’re living on a pension that doesn’t have survivor benefits.
If you want to leave an inheritance to your children, grandchildren or others, a life insurance policy can also be a way to do that.
Life insurance with a chronic illness, critical illness or long-term care insurance rider can provide funds while you’re still alive. If your condition meets the eligibility requirements, riders like these can protect your savings.
Life insurance quotes increase as you age, but that doesn’t mean buying life insurance isn’t an option for seniors. You may still find an affordable term life insurance or whole life insurance as you age.
Seniors on a budget sometimes turn to burial insurance, also called funeral insurance or final expense insurance. These whole life insurance policies typically have low coverage amounts that are meant to mainly cover burial costs and some other final expenses.
Burial insurance doesn’t typically require a medical exam, and you generally can’t be turned down.
You may also be able to find term life insurance for seniors with a short length, such as 10 or 15 years, depending on your age.
Related: The Best Life Insurance Companies
When Are You Too Old to Buy Life Insurance?
Senior buyers of life insurance can choose among the same policy types as anyone else. This includes term life, whole life and universal life insurance.
- Term life insurance is often available through age 80, although the length of the level term period available will get shorter, especially as you enter your late 50s.
- Cash value life insurance policies such as whole and universal life insurance can be obtained with some companies through age 85, but some insurers have lower maximum ages.
How Much Does Life Insurance for Seniors Cost?
Here’s a look at average quotes for buyers of senior life insurance. Senior life insurance quotes rise significantly as you get further into your senior years. That’s one reason why it’s so important to buy life insurance when you’re younger, if possible.
Average senior life insurance costs for $250,000 in term life insurance
|Term length||Male age 70||Male age 75||Female age 70||Female age 75|
|10-year term||$191 a month||$348 a month||$127 a month||$223 a month|
|15-year term||$260 a month||$601 a month||$255 a month||$412 a month|
|20-year term||$409 a month||Not available||$376 a month||Not available|
|We averaged the three cheapest quotes we found online for $250,000 life insurance coverage. These monthly rates are for nonsmokers of average height and weight. Your own rates will differ depending on your age, health, driving record and other factors.|
Average senior life insurance costs for $250,000 in universal life insurance
|Male age 70||Male age 75||Female age 70||Female age 75|
|$751 a month||$1,330 a month||$628 a month||$949 a month|
Average senior life insurance costs for $250,000 in whole life insurance
|Male age 70||Male age 75||Female age 70||Female age 75|
|$1,365 a month||$1,904 a month||$1,171 a month||$1,573 a month|
What to Look for in a Senior Life Insurance Policy
Your need for life insurance will usually decrease as you grow older and accumulate other assets. The primary need for life insurance is based upon providing income to someone who is financially dependent upon you. If the assets you are leaving to heirs will be sufficient after you pass away, then your need for life insurance may disappear.
Here are reasons seniors may need life insurance:
- Final expenses. Provide funeral and related expenses to close up an estate.
- Inheritance. Fund an inheritance outside of your estate’s assets.
- Liquidity. Provide liquidity for an estate that has mainly illiquid assets, such as real estate.
- Income replacement. Continue income for a spouse or other dependent when your income is primarily from a pension or annuity that has minimal to no survivor benefits.
- Debts: Provide funds for survivors to pay large debts.
- Estate taxes. Provide funds to cover potential estate tax liability for heirs.
- Special needs child. Fund a special needs trust for a dependent who needs lifetime financial support.
- Charitable bequest. Make a lump sum donation to replace your on-going financial support for a non-profit.
How to Get the Best Senior Life Insurance
Your reasons for buying senior life insurance should guide your decision on the types of life insurance to consider. Here are some tips for seniors buying life insurance.
Avoid graded death benefit life insurance
It’s best to have life insurance that pays the full death benefit from day one. Therefore, you’ll want to consider a traditional life insurance policy and avoid a “senior policy” that has graded death benefits.
With a graded death benefit policy, your beneficiaries won’t get the full death benefit if you pass away from a non-accident cause within the first two or three years of owning the policy. For example, if you die from pneumonia a year after buying life insurance, a graded death benefit policy will pay your beneficiaries only a refund of the premiums you paid with some interest. If you die in an accident, such as a car crash, these policies will typically pay the full death benefit any time.
Don’t be rushed into a life insurance purchase
Financial predators often focus on seniors. They may try to get you to purchase unnecessary coverage, or a more expensive policy than you need. Be wary of anyone who tries to rush you into making a decision or discourages you from discussing a proposed policy with a family member or trusted advisor.
Don’t be sold on policy projections that aren’t guaranteed
Life insurance policies that can build cash value will have “policy illustrations” that show projections for costs and cash value over time. For some types of cash value policies, not all amounts shown in an illustration are actually guaranteed.
“Beware of ‘advisors’ offering policy reviews comparing non-guaranteed premiums, cash values and/or death benefits for some limited number of products,” says Barry Flagg, founder of Veralytic. These sales practices are now considered “misleading,” “fundamentally inappropriate” and unreliable by the financial, insurance and banking industry authorities.
“Insist that quotes include year-by-year disclosure of costs, often referred to as detailed expense pages or policy accounting pages,” says Flagg. Work with an advisor who will explain what’s guaranteed and what’s not.
Insurance agents and advisors should be able benchmark a policy’s internal policy costs and historical performance against the insurer’s peers, just like you do for other assets in your portfolio, says Flagg.
Get professional help
Because seniors are likely to have health issues, it’s especially important to work with a qualified life insurance advisor who can help you compare policies from multiple insurance companies.
Your advisor should review your medical history and send informal (anonymous) queries to multiple insurance companies to determine the best available rate for you. By doing anonymous inquiries, you’ll save time and avoid any possible application denials.
Don’t base your decision solely on cost
Price is a critical factor when choosing a life insurance policy, but you shouldn’t base your decision only on cost. Check out financial strength ratings for the insurers, such as AM Best ratings.
Research the available life insurance riders for the policies you’re considering. Life insurance riders allow you to add on coverage. Some riders let you access your death benefit while you’re still living for qualifying circumstances, such as accelerated death benefits for chronic or terminal illness, and long-term care riders.
Once you’re comfortable with a list of insurance companies, you can get quotes to find the best senior life insurance policy for you.