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What’s the average cost of life insurance?

Life insurance rates start as low as $16 a month — especially if you're young and healthy.

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This article was fact-checked and reviewed by Andrew Flueckiger, a licensed insurance agent and Certified Insurance Counselor. Content has been updated for 2020.

It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind — but ideally, that’s what life insurance will give you and your family. Because life insurance rates are tailored to the individual the amount can vary widely from one person to the next. This makes it difficult to nail down an average monthly cost, but we can give you a general idea of the typical life insurance policy costs for a few demographics.

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What’s the average life insurance cost?

For a healthy person aged between 18 and 70, life insurance costs an average of $67.88 a month for a 20-year, $250,000 policy. The exact life insurance rate you’ll pay will come down to your specific age, as well as your health and lifestyle.

Compare average cost of life insurance rates for a healthy non-smoker based on age.

Average life insurance rates for young people

Age$250,000 coverage$500,000 coverage$1,000,000 coverage

Average life insurance rates for people under 35

Age$250,000 coverage$500,000 coverage$1,000,000 coverage

Average life insurance rates for middle aged people

Age$250,000 coverage$500,000 coverage$1,000,000 coverage

Average life insurance rates for people under 55

Age$250,000 coverage$500,000 coverage$1,000,000 coverage

Average life insurance rates for seniors

Age$250,000 coverage$500,000 coverage$1,000,000 coverage

Average life insurance rates for seniors over 66

Age$250,000 coverage$500,000 coverage$1,000,000 coverage

Rates are provided by Policygenius and valid as of 2019 in all states except New York and Montana.


To find these rates, we averaged the premiums quoted by 14 life insurance companies for men and women in great health. We sourced these rates from Policygenius (2019), which means they’re subject to change. Not all life insurance companies offer policies for all age ranges, so the rates for some age ranges may have been averaged from fewer companies.

Cost of life insurance for people over the age of 70

It’s possible to get life insurance after 70, but your options will be limited, and you can expect to pay substantially more for coverage. A person in their 80s can expect to pay more than $1,000 a year for a $10,000 or $20,000 final expense or guaranteed issue policy. You’ll skip the medical exam in exchange for higher rates and lower maximum coverage.

Most life insurance companies stop offering term life insurance at 75 or 80, and permanent coverage at around 75 years old. However, each insurer has their own underwriting guidelines, so that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be denied if you’ve passed the 75-year mark.

Average term life insurance quotes for men vs women

Let’s look at the average cost for a 30-year term policy with typical coverage amounts for a non-smoking office worker.

Average term life insurance rates for men

Amount insured30-year-old40-year-old50-year-old

Average term life insurance rates for women

Amount insured30-year-old40-year-old50-year-old

Rates are provided by Quotacy and valid as of May 2018.

Can I pay my life insurance premiums weekly?

No. Most insurers allow you to pay your premiums monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually — and you may score a discount for paying for a full year upfront.

Get life insurance quotes online from top companies

Name Product Issue Ages Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Medical Exam Required
21 - 54 years old
Affordable 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies with instant quotes and no medical exams.
LadderLife™ Life Insurance
20 - 60 years old
Term life insurance with no policy fees and the freedom to cancel anytime. Simple application process that can get you approved for coverage instantly.
18 - 85 years old
Depends on provider and policy
Compare affordable quotes from 12+ A-rated life insurance companies side-by-side.
25 - 60 years old
Get affordable term life insurance with accelerated underwriting or no-exam coverage up to $1,000,000. Available in all states except CA, NY and MT.
Haven Life
18 - 64 years old
Customized term life insurance policies up to $3 million, no medical exam for certain applicants.
18 - 100 years old
This life insurance broker combines technology and the human touch to match you with a policy tailored to your needs.

Compare up to 4 providers

What factors affect my life insurance rates?

Life insurance companies categorize you by how risky you are to insure using life insurance classifications. Since most rates depend on the factors listed here, you can take steps to reach a rate class with better rates, like quitting smoking.

To determine your premium, your insurer will assess the following:

  • Type of policy. Term life insurance is temporary, so it costs six to ten times less than permanent policies such as whole life. Along with offering lifelong coverage, permanent policies have a savings component and become a cash asset over time.
  • Amount of coverage. A $1 million policy will be more expensive than a $250,000 or $500,000 policy, and so on.
  • Riders. Most insurers charge a fee to add optional extras to your policy, such as a waiver of premium or accelerated death benefit.
  • Your age. The older you are, the lower your life expectancy — which is why insurers reserve their best rates for young applicants.
  • Your gender. Studies show that women tend to live longer than men, so insurers charge women lower premiums. The reason is simple: There’s less of a chance they’ll need to pay out your policy.
  • Your smoking status. Since smoking is linked to a host of health issues, smokers almost always pay more for coverage.
  • Your health. Your insurer will look at preexisting health conditions and high cholesterol or blood pressure levels when setting your premium.
  • Your family medical history. If you have a family history of serious health conditions like cancer, stroke and heart disease, your insurer will probably raise your rates. Most insurers only look at your parents if they’re aged over 60, but some carriers also consider your siblings’ health.
  • Your occupation. If your work puts you in dangerous situations — for instance, miners, firefighters, exterminators or roof contractors — you’ll likely pay more than someone with an office job.
  • Your lifestyle. Underwriters assess your driving record, alcohol and drug use, whether you participate in high-risk hobbies — like aviation or scuba diving. Applicants who lead safe lifestyles are rewarded with better premiums.

What’s my morbidity rate?

Sometimes referred to as the illness rate, the morbidity rate measures the incidence of an illness, injury or disease in a given population. By doing that, it confirms how common those conditions are among a certain group of people.

Life insurance underwriters consider your morbidity rate to calculate your risk. If you’re part of a group with a higher morbidity rate for a disease — like cancer of heart disease — you may pay a higher premium. But if your group is statistically less likely to contract that illness, you won’t be charged more.

How can I get the cheapest life insurance rates?

Your overall medical history and other factors may be out of your hands. But there are a few things you can do to potentially lower your premium.

  • Quit smoking. If you’re a smoker, a logical step to reduce your premium — and improve your health — is to kick the habit as soon as you can. Doing so can help you avoid rates that are double or more that of a nonsmoker.
  • Cut down on drinking. A few drinks won’t have much of an effect on your rates. But if you tend to enjoy more than a drink a day, consider reducing your alcohol intake for lower rates.
  • Get in shape. Insurers consider your weight and how much you exercise an important part of determining risk. A lower BMI typically results in cheaper rates.
  • Consider major life changes. Your life insurance policy should change with your needs. For instance, if you just had your first kid, a 20-year term policy should cover your family until after your children are grown and supporting themselves. Or consider laddering policies based on debts, like a 30-year term life policy for your mortgage and a 15-year term policy to get you to retirement.
  • Look for discounts. A trick to keeping more money in your pocket is to look for opportunities to save. Talk with your provider about the possibility of cheaper premiums with a family or joint policy, rather than an individual plan.

Myths about life insurance costs

Life insurance is a simple concept: pay now to protect your family later. But many people opt out of life insurance because they don’t understand how it works. The most common myths about life insurance include:

  • Life insurance is too expensive. It might sound difficult to factor in premiums for yet another insurance plan. But life insurance can be a safety net that can prevent your family from dealing with debt and unnecessary hardship after you die. You can keep premiums low by buying only the coverage you need.
  • It’s a waste of money. Life insurance is designed to protect those you love in times of need. Consider how your family would cope if you were injured and unable to work? A life insurance policy could help them keep up with mortgage repayments, credit card debt and ongoing expenses.
  • Whole life insurance is a good investment. While the cash value component can be useful for people who’ve maxed out their other investments, your return on investment will typically be much lower than investing in stocks, bonds and funds. Be careful if a life insurance adviser claims whole life is a good investment and do your own homework to find out if it’s right for you.
  • Applying for coverage isn’t worth it. It’s true that many insurance providers require a medical exam and in-depth underwriting processes. But if you’re signing up for a long-term or whole life, the peace of mind that your family is protected could outweigh the one-time hassle. You’ll also find providers offering policies without medical exams with quick approval, though often with higher premiums.

More life insurance myths

Bottom line

Life insurance rates are personalized, and can vary wildly. When you apply for a policy, your insurer will take your age, gender, health, family medical history, occupation, lifestyle and driving record into account. To ensure you’re getting the best possible premium, compare life insurance companies.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MariaNovember 26, 2018

    I am Maria and I would like to know more information about the general rates of a basic life insurance.
    thank you!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Maria,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Aside from reading our article about the average cost of life insurance, you might also read other sources such as the following:

      Life insurance explained
      How to buy life insurance and buy it wisely

      Here’s our main page for life insurance. On that page, you can get a quote and that might also help you understand more the cost of life insurance.

      Of course, you can also read other sources to learn more about this topic.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


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