Affordable Life Insurance For Seniors

Many seniors are of the opinion that they do not need life insurance after a certain age, particularly during their post-retirement years. Not only is it a misconception, but it could also prove to be a very costly mistake in the long run.

Affordable Life Insurance Rates for Seniors

Let us now look at the average cost of term and whole life insurance policies for seniors. As you can see in the tables below, the prices can be quote affordable.

Average Cost of a $100,000, 10-Year Term Policy for Senior Men

Age Preferred Plus Preferred Standard Plus Standard Preferred (Tobacco Use) Standard (Tobacco Use)
60 $28.55 $33.63 $49.28 $50.57 $102.60 $132.88
70 $87.66 $104.31 $126.72 $143.90 $257.00 $297.37
80 $388.03 $428.54 $504.22 $606.47 $961.86 $1,140.15


Average Cost of a $100,000, 10-Year Term Policy for Senior Women

Age Preferred Plus Preferred Standard Plus Standard Preferred (Tobacco Use) Standard (Tobacco Use)
60 $23.29 $27.69 $34.06 $37.32 $71.28 $91.26
70 $58.22 $67.85 $84.57 $92.79 $154.79 $211.02
80 $296.67 $328.08 $370.78 $446.51 $711.65 $968.62


Average Cost of a Whole Life Policy for Senior Men

Age $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1,000,000
60 $3,550 $7,527 $14,992 $29,860
70 $6,225 $15,485 $30,918 $61,784
80 $11,606 $28,933 $61,450 $122,847


Average Cost of a Whole Life Policy for Senior Women

Age $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1,000,000
60 $3,023 $6,547 $13,033 $25,941
70 $4,977 $12,364 $24,675 $49,298
80 $9,073 $22,602 $46,040 $92,029


There are many reasons why life insurance is absolutely necessary even for older people.

Final Expenses

This is one of the most important and obvious reasons why you need life insurance when you are older.

A funeral could cost up to $15,000 and your family might have to dip into their savings account or other investments, which they might have earmarked for different purposes. With a final expenses policy, you can make sure that your funeral costs and other associated expenses are completely taken care of.

Income Replacement

Many Americans continue to work or run a business even after retiring from their main jobs and/or career. If you happen to be one of them, and if you want your income to be replaced in your absence, life insurance is the best way to do it.

Debt Burden

Not everyone can manage to pay off their debts before they retire. If you still have substantial debts, you definitely need an insurance policy whose death benefit can pay off your debt burden entirely, so that it is not passed on to your family.

Financial Dependents

If you have a spouse who stays at home and depends on you financially and/or if you have a special needs child, you need life insurance in order to make sure that their needs are taken care of even after you are gone.

Supplemental Income

The living benefits offered by permanent life policies (cash value and dividends) can be an additional source of income for you during your post-retirement years.


Finally, life insurance can be a poignant way to bequeath a large sum of money for your family after your passing. Since insurance payouts are not considered earnings, your family does not have to pay taxes on them either.

If any of the aforementioned factors are applicable to you, it means you need life insurance – irrespective of your age.

The Cost Factor

Research shows that one of the reasons why many seniors are hesitant to buy life insurance is that they believe it is too expensive. While it is true that life insurance companies tend to charge older people more, the rates are nowhere nearly as unaffordable as many people seem to think.

The first thing you need to remember is that apart from age, the two key factors that determine the price of a policy are term length and coverage amount. If you are in your 60’s or 70’s, you are not likely to require a 30-year policy.

Similarly, you are not likely to require a large death benefit, except in rare cases where you have substantial financial commitments. So, the policy costs are likely to be within your budget.

Moreover, there are a number of companies that offer life insurance policies for seniors. These policies are specifically designed to meet the needs of seniors and are competitively priced.

Even more importantly, not all seniors are treated the same way by insurance companies. If you are a non-smoker who is in reasonably good health, an insurance company is likely to charge you less than what they charge a person from your age group, who happens to be a smoker and is suffering from a plethora of ailments.

So, rather than assuming that insurance policies are prohibitively expensive, you should get personalized quotes from several companies. You are likely to find a policy that meets your financial needs as well as budget.

Life Insurance Options Available for Senior Citizens

If you are an elderly person, your options with respect to life insurance include – term life policies, whole life policies, guaranteed universal life policies, and final expense policies.

Term Life Policies

They offer a guaranteed death benefit, which your designated beneficiary will receive if you pass away while the policy is still in effect.

With most insurance companies, there is a cut-off age, beyond which you will not be issued term life policies. The cut-off age limit differs from one company to another.

You can still find term policies that are designed for seniors, but with shorter term lengths. For example, you might not be able to buy a 20-year or 30-year policy, but you can certainly buy a 10 or 15-year policy.

There are no living benefits associated with a term life policy, but you might be able to convert it into a permanent life policy in some cases.

Whole Life Policies

They offer lifelong coverage, a guaranteed death benefit, as well as a cash value portion. They are, however, more expensive compared to term life policies.

A portion of your premiums are allocated to the cash value account, which accrues interest until your death. You are eligible to borrow against the cash value, but you need to pay it back, failing which the amount will be deducted from your death benefit.

If you buy whole life insurance from a mutual insurance company, you might be eligible to receive dividends as well.

Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL) Policies

These policies combine the affordability of term life policies and the lifelong coverage offered by whole life policies. With a GUL policy, your coverage amount and premiums are guaranteed until a certain age, rather than a specific term period.

For example, if you are 60, you can buy a GUL policy in which the premium and the coverage amount stay the same until you reach the age of 90, 95, 100, or even 120.

Final Expenses Policies

These are policies that are designed to cover the expenses associated with your funeral. They offer lifelong coverage and a modest death benefit, which is sufficient to take care of your final expenses and to pay off minor debts or outstanding bills. Irrespective of your age or health status, you can qualify for a final expense policy.

How Much Coverage Do You Need as a Senior?

One of the reasons why seniors often end up spending more money on life insurance than they ought to is that they miscalculate the amount of coverage they need. In many cases, they overestimate their financial needs and end up buying a policy with a much larger death benefit than what they actually need.

Given here is a list of factors based on which you can determine how much coverage you need.

Income Replacement – If you work or run a business, your life insurance payout should be equivalent to at least five to ten years of your income.

Debts – If you have debts (mortgage, car loan, personal loan, or credit cards), your life insurance payout should be sufficient to pay them off completely.

College Expenses – If you have grandchildren and want to contribute to their tuition expenses, you should factor in the costs to your calculation for determining the coverage you need.

Medical Expenses/Professional Care – If you have dependents with special needs or suffering from chronic diseases, your policy’s payout should be adequate to take care of their needs.

Taxes – If you have a large estate that might attract federal taxes, your policy’s payout should be sufficient to pay off those taxes.

In most cases, only one or two of the factors mentioned above might be applicable to you. So, you should determine the coverage you need only based on those factors and buy a reasonably priced policy.

Should Seniors Undergo Medical Exams?

Medical exam is certainly an important factor you need to consider before buying life insurance. Generally, there are three types of policies available for seniors.

  • Fully underwritten policies that require you to undergo a medical exam.
  • Simplified issue policies that do not involve a medical exam and only require you to answer a few questions on your health condition and lifestyle.
  • Guaranteed issue policies that do not require you to undergo a medical exam or answer any questions.

Now, what kind of policy should you apply for? The answer mostly depends on your health condition.

  • If you are in good health, do not smoke, do not have a family history of hereditary diseases, and are not suffering from any major ailments, you can undergo a medical exam and buy life insurance at competitive rates.
  • If you are in reasonably good health, do not smoke, but are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, or other such ailments, you can apply for a simplified issue policy.
  • If you smoke or if you are suffering from a chronic or terminal illness, you can apply for a guaranteed issue policy.

The thumb of rule for seniors is to apply for a fully underwritten or a simplified issue policy first, and if you get rejected, apply for a guaranteed issue policy.

Buying Life Insurance as a Senior Citizen

It is critical to remember that your age has nothing to do with your need for life insurance. It depends on your financial commitments and the dependents you have. So, consider your situation carefully, determine the coverage you need, and apply for a life insurance policy that covers all your needs.

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Jonathan Holloway
November 2, 2018
John Holloway is a licensed life insurance agent and co-founder at NoExam.com
Disclaimer: We make every attempt to make sure our information is up to date, but since things change often it is best to double check the data. This review is an opinion. Clicking on links may result in NoExam.com being compensated.