Insurance

Best Life Insurance for Seniors: Our Top 7 Options

There’s no doubt about it: the longer you wait to buy life insurance, the more expensive it gets. Even if you’re in top physical condition, a term life insurance policy bought at 60 will always be more expensive than it would have been at 30 or 40. But that doesn’t mean you have to go without.

Editor's Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

There are some good reasons to purchase life insurance as a senior, or simply an older adult. First, we’ll give you our top picks for life insurance for seniors. Then we’ll dive more in-depth into each of these life insurance picks to let you know why we chose these companies to be the best life insurance for seniors. Finally, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of purchasing life insurance at an older age. For the purposes of this article, we’ll consider the best places to search for life insurance for adults ages 55 and older.

Policygenius

Before we launch into our top picks, we want to mention a good option to consider called Policygenius. This company provides you with a side-by-side comparison of top name life insurance policies for seniors. Use the policy aggregator tool to get a comparison of your best policy options so that you can easily find the best choice for you. It makes searching for a policy quick and simple.

Related: Policygenius Review

Quick Picks: Our Top Options for Life Insurance for Seniors

When shopping for life insurance, it’s important to get multiple quotes. We pulled estimates from each of these companies that offered an online quote option. The estimate is for a 55-year-old woman in good health with a healthy BMI. We looked at $500,000 policies with a 10-year term.

Here are our top life insurance picks for older adults:

CompanyWhy We Like It
Mutual of OmahaPolicies issued up to age 80, with renewal through age 94, Competitive rates, Variety of policies
BannerLow rates, Coverage through age 90
PrudentialLiving benefits up to 95% of value, Policies issued above age 80
State FarmSpeak with an agent for personalized help, Renewable up to age 95
TransamericaIssue policies up to age 85, Variety of policy types
Haven LifeUnderwritten by MassMutual, Easy online process

Our Top Picks in Detail

We already listed our top life insurance picks for seniors in the table above. Here, well detail why we chose these particular companies and which is best.

Mutual of Omaha - Top Pick

Even though Mutual of Omaha isn’t the least expensive (although the pricing is competitive), it does offer a number of options for whole life as well as term life insurance. Mutual of Omaha has good customer service ratings and AM Best has given the company a Superior rating.

It’s possible to get a policy issued up to age 80, with renewal up to age 94. On top of being friendly to seniors in pricing, Mutual of Omaha also provides an easy-to-use website as well as the ability to meet with an agent over the phone or in person. The variety of options and flexible policies, along with the competitive pricing, makes Mutual of Omaha a top pick.

Pros:

  • Term life up to age 80, with renewal to age 94
  • Wide range of policies and options
  • Flexible customer service and support options

Cons:

  • Might need to purchase a policy through an agent
  • Some policies require a medical exam

Banner has some of the lowest rates available, which is why it’s considered one of the best life insurance policies for seniors. It’s important to note that Banner actually operates under the name Legal & General. A.M. Best has given Banner a Superior rating for financial stability.

While there are low-cost policies available, there might not be the same selection with Banner that you might see with some other companies. Additionally, while it’s possible to extend policies until age 90, you can’t get a policy if you’re over the age of 75.

Pros:

  • Very low policy premiums
  • Extend policy until age 90

Cons:

  • Fewer policy options
  • Not available for those over 75

Prudential - Best for Living Benefits

Prudential is a well-known insurance company that has been around for well over 100 years. This is another company with a rating of A+ from A.M. Best. However, one of the reasons that Prudential is one of the best life insurance for seniors is due to its living benefits.

Living benefits include riders that allow policyholders to access the death benefit if they meet certain conditions, such as terminal illness. Prudential will pay out up to 95% of the benefit, which is significantly higher than other policies. Pricing is also competitive with Prudential.

Pros:

  • Up to 95% of the benefit for payout in living benefits
  • Wide range of available policies
  • Competitive premiums

Cons:

  • Customer service isn’t as good as with other companies
  • Living benefits might come with restrictions

State Farm - Best for Customer Service

State Farm consistently gets great ratings for its customer service. It offers both term and permanent life insurance policies. Plus, during the quote process, you can look at all sorts of additional rider options. Some of these are things you may not have even thought of.

Start Farm offers term life insurance policies guaranteed to be renewable up to age 95, which is a huge benefit if you need longer-than-average coverage. The policies are also convertible to permanent policies.

Pros:

  • Great, personalized customer service
  • Several options
  • Renewable up to age 95

Cons:

  • On the more expensive side
  • Likely to require a medical exam

Transamerica - Best for Those Over 80

Even though some policies will let seniors renew their policies past the age of 90, many of them require that you get your initial policy at a lower age. Transamerica, though, allows seniors to get a new policy up to the age of 85. On top of that, the death benefit is higher for these older seniors. Transamerica’s rating with A.M. Best is an A.

However, the rate for younger seniors can be a little on the high side, even though rates are reasonable for older seniors. There are also a large number of policy options available for seniors who want more choices.

Pros:

  • Competitive rates for older seniors
  • Get a policy up to age 85
  • Several policy choices

Cons:

  • Website isn’t user friendly
  • Required to work with an agent

Haven Life -Best for Online Application

Haven Life Insurance Agency is issued by MassMutual or its subsidiary C.M. Life, which has a ton of products and an A++ A.M Best rating. Haven Life has an easy online application form and offers medically underwritten insurance, which is often cheaper. This makes it an attractive option for younger seniors. You can complete the majority of the paperwork online, which makes getting a life insurance policy really easy.

Haven Life allows you to submit an application until the day before your 65th birthday. But you get an extra four months to actually complete the underwriting process to purchase the insurance.

Pros:

  • Underwritten by a major company
  • Easy online application

Cons:

  • Might require an exam in some cases
  • Cannot get a policy after age 65

Visit Haven Life or read our full Haven Life Review

Find the Cheapest Insurance Quotes in Your Area

Additional (But Important) Coverage

Life insurance coverage provides important financial protection for many families, but it isn’t the only insurance you should be considering. Its important to also think about things like disability insurance coverage, which can offer monthly payments to you and your family if you suddenly find yourself unable to work.

What Is the Best Life Insurance Over 60?

In the 60 to 65 age bracket, you can still apply for a term life insurance policy with most insurance companies. In this case, we’d recommend Haven Life if you still qualify for their under-65 application date. Their application process is the smoothest, and their pricing tends to be some of the lowest.

Once you hit that 65th birthday, though, you won’t be able to apply for insurance from some of the companies listed above, including Haven. Mutual of Omaha offers insurance applications up to age 74, and if you are in your early 60s and think you might want to convert a term life policy to a whole life policy, check out State Farm.

What Is the Best Life Insurance Over 70?

As noted above, Mutual of Omaha invites new applicants for life insurance all the way up to age 74, and North American allows some applicants up to age 75. Once you are in your 70s, your pickings will be significantly slimmer because many companies won’t allow you to apply for life insurance at all. So check with these two companies if youre planning to take a new policy.

If you already have a policy with a life insurance company that allows it, such as State Farm, you may be able to renew a term life insurance policy through your 70s. If you don’t have a renewal option with your current term policy, consider looking into one of the few companies, including Mutual of Omaha and North American, that do allow for new applicants after the age of 70. Or you might look at more expensive whole life insurance options, which may also have higher maximum ages for applicants.

What Is the Best Life Insurance Over 80?

Life insurance companies won’t let you apply for new life insurance coverage at the age of 80, except for potentially burial-only coverage. This can be a helpful, affordable option for coverage if you want to help your family with these expenses when you pass away. But, again, if you’re with a company like State Farm, you may be able to renew an existing policy so that it extends into your 80s. And North American even has a rider that allows your coverage to extend to 120.

The bottom line here is that it’s essential to think about life insurance for seniors and what your needs will be well before your 80th birthday. Your options for new policies will become increasingly slim past your 65th birthday, and will be virtually nonexistent in your late 70s and beyond. But you can consider extending existing policies or adding riders to these policies to extend your coverage into and even beyond your 80s if this suits your particular needs.

Expected Costs Over 50

When you reach age 50, you can expect to pay for life insurance. You’re more likely to pass on, and your health is also more likely to begin declining. As a result, you might end up paying more for life insurance. In many cases, you can expect to pay anywhere between $40 and $75 per month for a $500,000 policy with a 10-year term. Longer terms or higher coverage amounts come with higher premiums.

Your age, health, and other factors will determine how much you pay in premiums. But, in general, you can expect to pay more than your younger counterparts.

Reasons You Need Life Insurance as a Senior

Term life insurance is most often geared towards younger consumers who are in the thick of paying off debt, buying a home, establishing a career, and raising a family. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need life insurance once you’re in your fifties, sixties, and beyond.

Here are a few reasons you might:

  • Your kids are still young. The average age of first-time parents in the U.S. is steadily creeping upwards. If you had kids in your late thirties or early forties–or even later–you may need a term life insurance policy that extends well into your sixties, seventies, or eighties to make sure your family is protected.
  • You’re still providing for someone with your income. Even if your children are independent, someone else, such as a disabled spouse, may still rely on your work income. If this is the case, you want to be able to replace that income should something happen to you.
  • You’re still in debt. The idea behind term life insurance is that you’ll eventually be able to self-insure. In other words, you won’t need insurance because you’ll have no debts and enough in savings to cover your end-of-life expenses. But if you’re still tackling that mountain of debt, you may need life insurance to protect your heirs.
  • You just want to pay your final expenses. A small, affordable life insurance policy can be a good idea if you want to give your heirs a no-hassle way to pay for your final expenses.
  • You have a large estate. Sometimes whole or term life insurance is part of a larger estate plan. Since proceeds of these policies are generally tax-free, they can be a good way to offset estate taxes. Talk to a professional estate planner if this is your idea.
  • You just want some peace of mind. If the premium for a small life insurance policy slides easily into your budget, you may want it just to know your loved ones will be provided for upon your death.

What kind of life insurance should I buy?

Even as a senior, most of the life insurance policies available to younger adults are also available to you. With that said, some types of plans are better than others. Here are options to check out:

Term Life Insurance

Generally, term life insurance is the best option. It provides more coverage at a lower rate, since it’s purely insurance. Even if you’re approaching 65 (the upper limit to apply for term insurance at many companies), you can get a policy for less than $100 per month if you’re in good health.

A term life insurance policy is a good way to insure for specific reasons, such as paying final expenses, paying off debts, or providing for your children and spouse for a certain amount of time. If you will only need the life insurance coverage for 10 to 20 years, opt for a term policy.

Term life insurance comes in a few different types. Here are the ones that might suit you best:

  • Guaranteed Level Term: This type of insurance has a level benefit amount and level premium amount throughout the full term (usually five to 20 years). It gives you predictable monthly payments for a set payout, should you pass away within the term.
  • Annual Renewable Term: This short-term life insurance policy can be renewed every year for a certain amount of time. So you could renew your policy annually for up to five years, for instance. The benefit is that premiums start out very low, comparatively. But each time you renew, your premiums will increase. Still, it’s a good option if you only need the insurance for a very short period, such as until you retire in two or three years.
  • Decreasing Term: As you might guess, this type of insurance has a death benefit that decreases each year. The premium is often level throughout the plan, but it starts out lower because of the decreasing payout. If you’re insuring against your debt, this can be a great option.

One thing to keep in mind about a term life insurance policy is that there are no guarantees of renewal. Even with an annual renewable term policy, you’re only guaranteed to be able to renew the policy for a certain number of years.

Since many companies won’t let you purchase a new policy after the age of 65, it’s essential that you figure out up front how long you need your term to last. Longer terms have more expensive premiums. But it’s better to foot the higher bill than to be stuck without life insurance coverage when you still need it.

Permanent Life Insurance

This is the other major category of life insurance. Unlike term life insurance, it covers you for your entire life. But it also isn’t just pure insurance. It also comes with a savings or investing component.

Related: Safe, Low-Risk Investments For Seniors

Sometimes you’ll hear “whole life insurance” used interchangeably with “permanent life insurance.” But whole life insurance is actually just one type of permanent life insurance.

Permanent life insurance is much more expensive than term life insurance. And since you’re already purchasing life insurance for a senior, the premiums could be prohibitively expensive.

With that said, sometimes permanent life insurance is the right solution. For instance, say you want to provide for a disabled spouse or child. This person will never be financially independent. So you’ll never be in a position where you don’t need some life insurance coverage. In this case, a permanent life insurance policy is a good idea. And, again, sometimes these policies are part of a larger estate plan.

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between whole and term life insurance check out this article.

We’re focusing on term life insurance for seniors here with the companies we’ve chosen. But we’ll still give you a quick overview of the types of permanent life insurance you might encounter:

  • Whole Life Insurance: This option comes with a death benefit and a cash value. Parts of your premium go towards the investment portion, on which the insurance company pays dividends. You can withdraw money from the cash value on some policies, and some offer a guaranteed minimum cash value.
  • Universal Life: This is similar to a whole life policy, but typically has a more aggressive investment strategy.
  • Variable Life: This option has more investment options, and your cash value will change depending on the underlying investments.
  • Survivorship Life: If you and your spouse are both providing for a disabled child, this is a good policy to have. It insures both of your lives together and only pays out when you both pass away. It’s cheaper than two separate whole life policies, but similar to them in other respects.

Should I go with a no medical exam policy?

It’s well-known that many life insurance policies require a medical exam. The healthier you are, the more likely you are to outlive your policy. This means you get a better rate.

Most life insurance medical exams are pretty easy. A nurse in an office, or even at your home, will weigh you, give you a questionnaire, and maybe take blood and urine samples. This is by no means a complete physical. The insurer is simply looking for telltale signs of serious future medical problems.

Some people will say you should avoid medical exams, especially if you’re a senior. And we’ve included companies in our list that offer medical exam free policies. If you’re not in great health, sometimes this can be a better option.

However, if you’re in average to good health for your age, a medical exam could actually save you money. Policies that don’t require a medical exam are automatically more expensive, since the insurer is taking on more risk.

Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on your medical history and current state of health. But, generally, if you’re healthy, a medical exam will help more than it hurts.

Learn More:

What should I look for in a policy or insurance company?

Shopping for life insurance online as a senior can be tough. There are loads of options. And more and more companies are offering life insurance for older adults. Having some criteria in mind up front will help you narrow down your options. Here’s what to look for in a company and a policy:

  • Good Financial Rating: The life insurance company you choose should have a good financial rating with a third party company like Standard and Poor’s or AM Best. If they’re solid financially, there’s little chance they’ll be unable to pay out on your policy as promised.
  • Easy Application: You should be able to start the application process largely online, even if you ultimately have to talk to a representative to complete the process.
  • Customizable Options: When looking for a life insurance company, find one that will let you customize your policy. At this age, a policy with a long-term care rider could be helpful. You may also want to customize your policy amount and coverage term or add additional riders.
  • Clear Terms: it’s especially important to understand the terms of your policy if you’re choosing one that’s not straightforward. If you opt for a decreasing term policy, for instance, how often does the benefit decrease? By how much? How does this affect your premiums? And does the policy have a limit on how quickly it will pay out? Some policies that don’t require a medical exam won’t pay if you die within the first two years of the policy.

Related: Best Auto Insurance for Seniors

FAQs

Why should seniors consider life insurance?

Depending on your situation, life insurance could help you protect your assets and even provide your heirs or surviving partner with the means to cover final expenses. While life insurance for seniors isn’t the right choice for everyone, it can be a good choice depending on your situation. Figure out what you need, whether you have commitments that might require it, and then figure out whether life insurance is right for you.

Is life insurance for seniors worth it?

Because the cost of life insurance for seniors can be higher, it’s hard to determine if it’s worth the cost. You can decide whether it’s a good fit for you by speaking with a professional who can help you determine how much it would cost, and weighing it against expenses that your heirs or partner might pay after you pass. If you have a large estate, the cost of life insurance might be worth paying if an estate planning professional can help you offset taxes.

How do health and age affect seniors’ life insurance?

Your health and age can determine your life insurance premiums. If your health isn’t considered good or average for your age, you might pay higher premiums for your insurance. Additionally, the older you are, the more likely you are to pay higher premiums. This is because the life insurance company knows that it’s more likely to pay out on your policy before you’ve paid enough in premiums for it to be profitable.

Can you be too old for life insurance?

In many cases, it can be difficult to get a new policy issued for you when you reach age 75. However, some companies, like State Farm, are willing to renew your policy until you reach age 95. As a result, as a senior, it’s important to consider life insurance before you reach age 75 and purchase a policy before then. You’ll save money and be more likely to find a policy that works for you.

What is the best life insurance for seniors?

The best life insurance for seniors is the policy that fits your needs. Carefully consider your age, your health, and the reasons you’re looking for life insurance. Find a policy that meets your needs at a premium that is affordable. Look for a policy that works with you, compare your options, and you’re more likely to find the life insurance that works for you.

How We Came Up With This List

In looking at the best life insurance for seniors, we considered a number of factors, hoping to provide a variety of options that could potentially fit with a variety of situations. We took into account price, medical exam requirements, customer service, ease of application, and other factors likely to be of importance to you. With this list, you’re likely to find something that fits your needs for insurance.

Bottom Line

Choosing the best life insurance for seniors can feel like a daunting task. If you’re looking for life insurance, carefully consider your needs, as well as your age and health. Compare different options to find a policy and provider that reflects your circumstances.

Also read: Best Bank Accounts for Senior Citizens

Note: Based on our research at the time of this writing (June 2020), the life insurance companies listed in this article are the best options for seniors age 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90. Applicants are not guaranteed coverage as other factors may also affect quotes and an applicant’s chance for coverage.



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