Getting life insurance as a senior can be challenging as many life insurers put age restrictions on who can purchase policies. However, it’s important because it can provide financial security to your loved ones after you pass away, and fortunately, some insurance companies still offer coverage to seniors.
There are several different types of life insurance to choose from, though the availability of these options might vary based on your age. Term life insurance offers coverage that expires after a certain number of years, though it’s generally geared toward younger applicants. Permanent life insurance, including whole life insurance and universal life insurance, keeps coverage in place for your entire life and can build up value to borrow against or use to pay premiums, called cash value.
To help you shop for life insurance coverage as a senior, CNBC Select compared dozens of life insurance companies and ranked them based on factors like customer satisfaction, age limits, financial stability, and types of insurance offered. (See our methodology for more information on how we chose the best life insurance companies for seniors.)
Best senior life insurance companies
- Best overall: Mutual of Omaha
- Best for customer satisfaction: State Farm
- Best for whole life insurance: Guardian
- Best for universal life insurance: Prudential
Mutual of Omaha life insurance is ideal for seniors thanks to its variety of policies available and high age limits for purchasing policies. With this insurer, term life policies are available up to age 80, and whole life is available up to age 85. In fact, it guarantees acceptance for whole life insurance for ages 45 to 85 (in NY, 50 to 75), regardless of your health status. Oftentimes, whole life policies through Mutual of Omaha are available without a medical exam and limits are higher than what other insurers offer.
Best for customer satisfaction
State Farm is rated very highly for customer satisfaction, earning an excellent score of 839 out of 1,000 in JD Power’s latest life insurance customer satisfaction study. It offers a number of different policies including term life insurance and whole life insurance with relatively high cutoff ages but be prepared for a medical exam for higher coverage limits.
Best for whole life insurance
Guardian’s life insurance has relatively high age limits, especially for whole life policies which are available up to age 90. If you initially apply for term insurance, you’ll have the option to convert to a whole life policy in the first five years for free, a perk that other companies usually charge extra for. Additionally, Guardian is rated highly for both customer satisfaction and financial strength.
Best for universal life insurance
Prudential has a track record as one of the largest insurers in the U.S., and it offers a variety of life insurance products with relatively high age limits. With term policies available up to age 80, and universal life policies offered up to age 85 for new issue policies (and up to 90 for conversion), many people will be able to get universal life coverage no matter their age with Prudential.
Do seniors need life insurance?
Whether you need life insurance (and how much life insurance you need) is largely dependent on your personal and financial situation.
Some people need life insurance for different reasons. If you have a spouse or partner who depends on your income, dependent children or debt like a mortgage, a life insurance policy might make sense.
How much you need generally depends on your situation as well. While a small final expense policy (generally between $2,000 and $25,000) might be a good fit for some, others who want to leave an inheritance or support a spouse might need more coverage than a final expense policy could offer through a whole life or universal life insurance policy.
Talking with a financial planner or advisor could help you decide how much (if any) life insurance coverage you need, and what type of coverage could be helpful.
How much does life insurance for seniors cost?
According to an estimate by Progressive and Fidelity Association, the average 60-year-old man will pay about $174 per month for a $35,000 whole life policy, while the average 60-year-old female will pay about $135 per month. For 70-year-olds, those rates increase to $263 per month for a male and $209 for a female.
However, your life insurance costs will also vary based on factors like the company’s underwriting (or how they consider your information), your gender, the total amount of insurance coverage you want to purchase and your health status and information for some policies.
What type of life insurance is best for seniors?
There’s no one type of life insurance that’s a good fit for every senior. However, some policy types may make more sense based on cost and needs.
Final expense insurance (also called burial insurance) often makes sense for seniors who want to cover things like a burial or cremation and settle any remaining debts or expenses. However, it might be relatively expensive and have small amounts of coverage.
Whole life insurance policies or universal life insurance policies are permanent policies, and might also be a fit for seniors who want to leave more to heirs than what a final expense policy could provide. However, it could be a large expense.
It may also make sense to personalize your life insurance policy with riders. Things like long-term care insurance might make sense to add to your policy
In some instances, saving the money you would pay for premiums may make more sense than getting a new life insurance policy. Using a high-yield savings account could help your money grow faster than a typical savings account.
Life insurance for seniors may seem expensive, but in some cases, be well worth it to protect beneficiaries from financial suffering. When choosing a life insurance policy, it’s important to consider the cost, as well as financial stability, customer satisfaction ratings and types of coverage offered.