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Compare life insurance for your 50s
You might want life insurance in your 50s and beyond if you're a breadwinner or haven't paid off your mortgage.
Updated . What changed?
When you reach your 50s, your life and financial commitments probably look a bit different than they did in, say, your 20s. You may find yourself wondering whether you need life insurance at all. Before you make your decision, consider if a life insurance policy still makes sense.
What's in this guide?
- Do I need life insurance if I'm older than 50?
- How much does life insurance cost for over 50s?
- What kind of life insurance can I get in my 50s?
- Can I apply for life insurance without a medical exam?
- How to find the right life insurance policy if you're over 50
- Compare the best life insurance for over 50
- What are my odds of passing away in my 50s?
- Alternatives to life insurance if you're older than 50
- Bottom line
Do I need life insurance if I’m older than 50?
As a baby boomer, it’s worth looking into life insurance in these situations:
- You have people relying on your income. Above all, life insurance is an income protection policy. If you have loved ones relying on your income to cover their living expenses, a policy can ease their financial burden when you pass away — especially if you don’t have much in savings.
- You want to protect your estate. Life insurance is a payable-upon-death asset, which means the proceeds of your policy typically won’t go through probate. If you’ve accumulated assets over your lifetime, a policy can help your heirs to hold onto those assets and pay any taxes owed.
- You want to make sure you’re covered if you fall ill. You can add an accelerated death benefit or critical illness rider to most policies. These riders pay out a portion of your policy if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness, which can offset financial stress if you need to undergo treatment.
- You’d like to take care of your funeral costs. Many people in their 50s purchase a policy to simply pay for their burial and end-of-life expenses. A funeral can cost $10,000 or more, so the payout from a life insurance policy can help your family through the grieving process.
How much does life insurance cost for over 50s?
You can find affordable coverage without sacrificing the quality of protection in your 50s. A simple way to get started is by comparing life insurance providers that offer policies in line with the coverage you need. As you look at policies, you’ll notice that starting from age 50 on, your life insurance premiums begin to increase drastically.
Let’s look at the cost of a 20-year term life policy with $500,000 of coverage for a man in perfect health. According to our research, a 50-year-old man in good health could get a policy from Legal & General for around $74.39 a month. However, that same amount of coverage from those same providers would be double the cost if you bought the policy at age 57, with the monthly premiums increasing to $148.35.
So as you get into your 50s, consider purchasing a policy sooner rather than later to lock in a lower premium.
Estimated monthly costs for a 50-year-old
We pulled sample rates for a 20-year, $500,000 term life policy for a healthy 50-year-old man and woman in perfect health.
|Legal & General||$87.38||$65.83|
|Lincoln Financial Group||$94.24||$70.52|
|AIG Life Ins (American General)||$92.08||$68.913|
*Based on sample rates from Policygenius, August 2019.
Compare life insurance ratesCompare quotes for life insurance policies starting at $15/month.
What kind of life insurance can I get in my 50s?
These policies are the best choices for someone in their 50s:
- Term life insurance. This offers temporary coverage for a set period of time, like 10, 15 or 20 years. You could purchase a policy that would expire when you no longer have financial obligations — for example, the year you retire or pay off your mortgage, or when your grandchildren go to college. If you die during the term, your beneficiaries receive a guaranteed death benefit.
- Whole life insurance. If you want to treat your life insurance policy as a cash asset, look into whole life. A portion of your premiums are invested to give your policy a cash value, which earns interest over time at a set rate. Once you’ve built up enough cash value, you can begin to borrow against your policy — which can be useful if you have large expenses to cover, like a home renovation.
- Final expense insurance. Often marketed to those aged 55-plus, these policies are designed to cover end-of-life costs, such as a funeral and medical bills.
- Simplified issue life insurance. If you have a preexisting health condition, you can forgo the medical exam with simplified issue life insurance. You may need to complete a health questionnaire, though.
Which riders should I add to my policy?
Depending on your needs, you could add these riders to your coverage:
- Accelerated death benefit. Allows you to access part of the death benefit while you’re still alive if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- Long-term care rider. Pays out a portion of the death benefit to help you cover long-term care expenses, like a nursing home or private nurse.
- Term conversion rider. Available on term life policies, this rider gives you the option to convert to permanent coverage later on — usually before your 65th or 70th birthday.
Can I apply for life insurance without a medical exam?
Yes. Some policies don’t require a medical exam — like funeral, simplified issue and guaranteed issue insurance. However, these policies are expensive and capped at small amounts, like $25,000 or $50,000. Unless you have a preexisting condition or need coverage quickly, you’ll likely be able to lower your premiums by taking a medical exam.
How to find the right life insurance policy if you’re over 50
While getting life insurance when you’re 50 or older is fairly easy these days, weighing your options is critical when trying to get the most affordable policy that meets your needs. Here are a few simple steps for you to consider when purchasing a life insurance policy:
- Read the terms and conditions. Be sure that you’re getting the correct protection without any unnecessary features to avoid overpaying for a policy. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about any details on the policy that are unclear to you.
- Consider your health. If the insurance provider you apply with requires a medical test, know that any pre-existing medical conditions, lifestyle habits and driving records can significantly affect the cost of your premiums.
- Look for discounts. When applying for coverage, consider insurance needs for your partner or spouse as well — you may get a discount on your premiums. Insurance providers will generally also offer discounts if you pay your premiums annually.
- Talk to an insurance broker. If you’re unsure of which life insurance plan makes sense for you and is within your budget, an insurance consultant likely has the ability to provide recommendations on policies for you with competitive prices.
What if my application has been denied and I’m older than 50?
Ask the provider for a reassessment of your life insurance application. They may ask for additional medical information to determine if they’re able to provide you with coverage and take on any risk you might pose.
If you’re still unable to get coverage and your application has been denied, consider alternatives like funeral insurance or no-medical-exam life insurance.
Compare the best life insurance for over 50
What are my odds of passing away in my 50s?
According to our life expectancy data, if you’re a typical healthy 53-year-old woman, your risk of passing away within the next five years is 2.38%. For a man, that number is a little bit higher at 3.86%.
To put all of this into context, let’s look at the average life expectancy in the US. A woman who turns 65 can expect to live to age 86.6, while a man is likely to live to age 84.3. These are just averages; about a quarter of all 65-year-olds in the US will make it to their 90th birthday.
Alternatives to life insurance if you’re older than 50
If a life insurance policy isn’t the right fit for you, consider these types of policies:
- Critical illness insurance. This coverage pays out a lump sum benefit if you’re diagnosed with a life-threatening condition as specified in the policy. The medical conditions covered vary between providers but often include cancer, heart disease, strokes and major organ transplants. The payout can be put toward medical treatment and rehabilitation facilities.
- Disability insurance. The truest type of income protection, disability policies pay monthly benefits if you become disabled and can no longer work. Depending on your coverage, your policy can replace between 40% and 80% of your paycheck.
To get the ideal coverage if you’re older than 50, take the time to shop around and compare life insurance policies and premiums from different companies.
Remember, there is no single best policy on the market — the best policy is the one that offers the coverage you need with flexible terms at an affordable price.
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