Buying life insurance as a 35-year-old | Find the best rates

Buying life insurance as a 35-year-old

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The best time to buy life insurance is as soon as you need it — and at 35, chances are that’s now.

Life insurance isn’t mandatory, but when you reach 35, you might be more motivated to sign up.
You probably have people depending on you for financial support, such as a husband, wife or aging parents. You may be thinking of having children, buying a home and building up your portfolio of assets. You might also have debt and be worried about someone else having to assume it if you die. These reasons are major motivators, and all of them make you an ideal candidate for life insurance.

The good news is, life insurance is incredibly affordable at this age. As a typical, healthy 35-year-old, you’re likely to be privy to low premiums and preferred rates. What’s more, higher coverage may be within your reach for as little as a few extra dollars a month.

Which is the cheapest life insurance provider for 35-year-olds?

At 35, you might be looking at $250,000 of coverage. For a nonsmoking man, our research shows Pacific Life may be the cheapest provider at around $13.73 a month. As always, the rates for a smoker are higher. In this case, Banner Life and William Penn may be the most cost-effective options, tending to charge $47.73 a month.

According to our research, Banner Life, William Penn and Protective Life might cover a 35-year-old nonsmoking woman for just $12.02 a month. For smokers, Banner Life and William Penn take on the “cheapest providers” title at $39.94 a month.

Monthly costs of a 20-year, $500,000 term life policy for a 35-year-old in perfect health

ProviderMaleFemale
AIG Life Ins (American General)$21.54$18.94
AXA Equitable$28.67$25.25
Banner Life (LGA)$21.84$18.49
John Hancock USA$25.07$24.72
Lincoln Financial Group$32.38$25.81
Minnesota Life$23.41$20.15
Pacific Life$21.59$19.04
Principal Life Insurance$21.88$19.51
Protective Life$21.07$18.49
Prudential$25.91$19.91
United of Omaha$22.97$19.91
US Life (AIG in New York)$21.54$18.94
William Penn (LGA in New York)$21.84$18.49

What is my risk of dying in the next five years?

A healthy 35-year-old can expect to live a long life. Based on our life expectancy data, the risk of dying within the next five years is low at 0.93% for men and 0.54% for women.

Living in the US, the life expectancy rate is in your favor. A man who reaches his 65th birthday is likely to live until 84.3, while a woman can expect to hit age 86.6. What’s more, about a quarter of 65-year-olds will live past the big 9-0.

While life insurers take your age into account when underwriting policies, as a 35-year-old, there’s no need to stress. As long as you’re healthy and free from major medical conditions, you should be able to qualify not only for coverage, but for most providers’ preferred rates.

Odds of dying for a 35-year-old

Within the next…MaleFemale
Year0.17%0.09%
5 years0.93%0.54%
10 years2.13%1.32%
20 years6.83%4.35%
30 years16.69%10.54%

What is the typical cost of life insurance for 35-year-olds?

The 30 to 39 age bracket is a popular time to apply for life insurance, and for good reason: You’re young enough to qualify for a low premium, and you probably have the funds to apply for a higher amount of coverage.

Say you’re a nonsmoking man in perfect health. The typical cost of a $500,000, 20-year term policy is $24.56 a month. Over the course of the policy, that price totals $5,894.40, with an expected value of $34,161.10. The average cost for the same amount of coverage is a bit lower for a nonsmoking woman, coming in at $21.24 a month. In 20 years, that totals $5,096.91, with an expected value of $21,773.20.

What is the best life insurance policy for 35-year-olds?

Since life insurance is personalized, the best policy for you could be very different from that of the next 35-year-old. That being said, there are some general guidelines to follow.

To protect your family and offer them a sense of financial security for the future, look at term insurance. It’s the most inexpensive option and popular among those in their 30s. Term insurance provides coverage for a set period of time, usually 10, 20 or 30 years, and people tend to choose a number that takes them up until the time they’ve paid off their debts and sent their children off to college. Think of term as putting a price on peace of mind: If you die during your policy, your beneficiary will receive the death benefit, which they can use to pay for things like outstanding loans, taxes and living expenses.

Term insurance is a safe option for both you and your provider. Life insurance carriers normally offer low premiums to 35-year-olds, mainly because the chances of you outliving your policy are high. If you do die, however, your term policy will kick in to take care of your loved ones. With term policies, the premium doesn’t change — so you can budget for it accordingly.

If you want to treat your life insurance policy as an investment, consider a permanent policy, such as whole life or universal life. While these policies are far more expensive, most healthy 35-year-olds can access low and even preferred rates. One of the most attractive features of a permanent policy is that it accumulates cash value. Once you build up enough cash value, you can take out loans against your own policy, which may come in handy if you need to pay for a wedding or put a down payment on a house. Permanent policies last a lifetime, so long as you make your monthly payments.

Life insurance agents tend to recommend permanent policies, particularly whole life, as they earn a bigger commission. To make an informed decision, check out our guide to life insurance.

How do I calculate my life insurance needs?

When you’re working out how much life insurance to buy, consider what you pay for now and what you predict you’ll be paying for in the future. At the same time, settle on a premium that’s affordable, because your policy will lapse if you don’t make your payments on time.

Factor in the following:

  • Student loans. Still paying off your student loans? If you die, any outstanding debt will be transferred to your cosigners, like your parents, or even your partner or kids. Ideally, your life insurance policy will cover that debt.
  • Other debt. At 35, you might have a mortgage, car loan or business loan. You’ll want to leave enough money to pay off those debts, too.
  • Marriage. People are getting married in their 30s now more than ever. If you’re married or thinking of getting married, you’ll know it’s a major financial responsibility. Should you die, life insurance protects your husband or wife and provides them with income to cover their living expenses.
  • Spouse’s age and health. When you’re crunching the numbers, consider the age and health of your spouse. The younger and healthier they are, the longer they will need a source of income when you’re gone.
  • Beneficiary’s lifestyle. Does your beneficiary work? If so, you may need less coverage. On the other hand, if your stay-at-home spouse is your beneficiary, you’ll probably need more.
  • Children. According to the CDC, women in their early 30s are now the group with the highest birth rate in the US. A life insurance policy can help to cover the costs of raising that child if one parent dies.
  • Size of family. Add coverage for each child you have.
  • College expenses. It’s never too early to start setting aside money for college. If your kids are planning to pursue higher education, consider those costs as part of your life insurance policy.
  • Care. You may be covering medical expenses for a parent or paying for a nursing home. If so, factor that in.
  • Business ownership. Do you have a business, or are you hoping to start one? A life insurance policy can give the company and its employees financial security in case of a tragedy.
  • End-of-life expenses. Death is hard enough on a family. You can help yours in a financial sense by covering your own funeral and burial expenses.
  • Life insurance through your employer. Group insurance usually only offers a base level of protection, like $100,000. You might want to supplement your policy.
  • Other financial plans. At this point in your life, you’re probably building up your savings accounts and portfolio of financial assets. With fixed premiums on most policies, life insurance needs to be affordable — so take any other financial contributions, like your 401k or 529 plan, into account.

Life insurance is highly personal, so it’s smart to review your policy as your circumstances change, like if you buy a new home, have a child, start a business or get a promotion.

Case study

If you can relate to a handful of those points, you might be wondering if you should get higher coverage. At 35, the difference between a quarter- and a half-million dollars of coverage for a 20-year term life policy comes down to a few dollars.

Let’s use a 35-year-old nonsmoking man as an example. According to our research, for a $250,000 policy, Pacific Life — one of the most budget-friendly providers — might charge $13.73 a month. To double that coverage to $500,000, Pacific Life tends to charge $21.59 a month, a price difference of $7.86. And to boost it to $1 million, the price is $37.40 a month.

Remember, once you’ve been accepted for a life insurance policy, your premium is locked in. That’s the major benefit of signing up sooner rather than later: You can get high coverage at a very low cost.

Bottom line

At age 35, you’re probably in the market to protect a family or financial assets. You may also have some debt to your name, such as a mortgage or student loan, that you don’t want being transferred to someone else in case of a tragedy. Those are among the major motivators for a 35-year-old taking out a life insurance policy, and the low monthly premiums can often swing those sitting on the fence.

If you decide to purchase life insurance, it will be tailored to your situation and financial goals. Before signing the dotted line, compare providers with our extensive guide to life insurance.

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