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45 year old couple

Buying life insurance as a 45-year-old

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You’ve worked so hard — now it’s time to protect your family and plan for their future.

By the time you’re 45 years old, you’re probably in your financial prime. Your career is established, and you’re building your net worth. You may have assets to protect or a business. At the same time, you may have a family or loved ones you’re looking after — and that’s where a life insurance policy comes into play.

Much like building up a 401k or IRA gives you a financial cushion for your future, life insurance does the same for your family and anyone you leave behind should you die. At 45 years old, you’re not only young enough to access an affordable life insurance policy, but you’re also likely in a good position to buy the coverage that suits your needs, whether it’s simply to cover your debt, set your kids up for college or leave a lasting financial legacy.

People get life insurance for different reasons. Here’s the lowdown on purchasing a policy at age 45.

Why we like:

Affordable 2-, 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies. Instant quotes and no medical exams.

  • Offers on-the-spot coverage
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Why we like: Bestow

Affordable 2-, 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies. Instant quotes and no medical exams.

  • Application takes less than 10 minutes.
  • Available to people ages 25 to 54-years-old.
  • Currently offered in 40 states.
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Life insurance companies for 45-year-olds

Name Product Issue Ages Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage
21 - 54 years old
$50,000
$1,000,000
Affordable 2-, 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies. Instant quotes and no medical exams.
18 - 85 years old
$10,000
$10,000,000+
Compare quotes from 16 life insurance companies side by side.
Ethos
Ethos
18 - 75 years old
$25,000
$10,000,000
Term life insurance with no medical exams for $1 million of coverage or less. Online application gets you a decision in 10 minutes.
20 to 60 years old
$100,000
$8,000,000
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 - 80 years old
$50,000
$25,000,000
Get a quote within minutes from more than a dozen insurers.
JRC Life Insurance
JRC Life Insurance
20 - 80 years old
$25,000
$10,000,000
Quickly get a quote for coverage with this marketplace, which compares term life insurance policies from 45+ carriers.

Compare up to 4 providers

Which is the cheapest life insurance provider for 45-year-olds?

Our research indicates that the cheapest life insurance rates on a $500,000 [term life] policy for a 45-year-old man who doesn’t smoke could be from Banner Life and William Penn at $49.36 a month. Like with most life insurance policies, the rates for a smoker are higher. Banner Life and William Penn are still inexpensive at $209.75 per month.

If you’re a 45-year-old woman who is a nonsmoker, budget-friendly options are Protective Life, Banner Life and William Penn with a tie at $38.70 per month. For a smoker, the best rates still tend to be from Banner Life and William Penn at $152.99 per month.

Costs of a 20-year, $500,000 term life policy for a 45-year-old in perfect health

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

A typical, healthy 45-year-old has a long life ahead of them. According to life expectancy data, a woman’s, risk of dying in the next five years is 1.21%. For a man, the figure climbs slightly to 1.88%.

To put this into context, let’s look at the average life expectancy in the US. A man who reaches 65 can expect to live until age 84.3, and a woman is likely to live until the age of 86.6. Of course, these are averages; about a quarter of 65-year-olds live past age 90.

While life insurance underwriters do take your age into account when determining your rates, a healthy 45-year-old is not deemed too risky to insure. As you compare life insurance policies, you’ll see that people in this age group can still access low premiums.

Odds of dying for a 45-year-old

Within the next…MaleFemale
Year0.31%0.20%
5 years1.88%1.21%
10 years4.80%3.07%
20 years14.88%9.34%
30 years32.74%22.47%

Life expectancy rates are merely calculations based on averages of mortality among specific population, gender and age groups. They do not predict the specific life expectancy of any one person - including you. If you're concerned about your overall health and risks, talk to your doctor or health professional.

What is the typical cost of life insurance for 45-year-olds?

Life insurance is a personal decision. Every policy is unique and is a product of factors like your age, health, family history, occupation and hobbies. The 40 to 45 age bracket is a popular time to shop around for life insurance likely due to financial interests and the need to protect a family — and you’re still young enough to qualify for coverage and preferred rates.

According to our research, the typical cost for $500,000 of coverage in a 20-year term policy for a man in perfect health is $51.50. Over 20 years, this adds up to $12,360.17, with an expected value of $74,393.29.

For a woman, the average cost for the same policy is $42. Over 20 years, this adds up to $10,080, with an expected value of $46,681.12.

What is expected value — and how is it determined?

The expected value of a life insurance policy accounts for the odds that you’ll die within the term — and, therefore, that your beneficiaries will receive the payout — against the maximum premiums you could pay into the policy over that term. You can find expected value by multiplying the probability of you dying by your policy’s payout.

If the expected value is higher than your total premiums paid over the term length, then it might be considered a good investment. However, if the expected value is less than the maximum amount you’ll pay into the policy throughout the term, you might want to look at other providers or alternatives to life insurance.

Let’s say that you’re a 50-year-old nonsmoker who’s thinking about taking out a $500,000 policy for a 20-year term at $79.88 a month. If you’re a man, you have a 20.97% chance of dying within the next 20 years. You’d first multiply 20.97% by $500,000 to get an expected value of $104,859.38. Then you’d add up the maximum cost of your policy over 20 years — at $79.88 a month, you’re looking at $19,171.20.

Because $19.171.20 is less than the policy’s $104,859.38 expected value, your life insurance policy would be considered a good investment for your loved ones’ future.

What is the best life insurance policy for 45-year-olds?

The policy you choose really depends on your situation and financial goals. To figure it out, start by thinking about what you will be using your policy for. Are you purchasing life insurance to cover your mortgage, debt or children’s college expenses? Are you hoping to supplement your income? Are you buying it to help your family to pay for basic expenses when you’re gone, or do you want to leave a sizeable legacy?

Your answers to these questions will help you to determine the type and amount of coverage you need.

Most people in their 40s choose a term policy with the option to convert to a permanent policy later. There are a few reasons for this. First, term life insurance is less expensive, and it offers peace of mind and protection for your family should something happen to you. Second, it usually lasts for 10, 20 or 30 years, so you can decide how long you need coverage. For example, if you’re aiming to pay off your debts, you’ll need a policy that lasts until you’re in the clear. If you’re buying life insurance to supplement your income, you’ll need a policy that will last until you retire.

Life insurance is a form of financial planning. Many people who are 45 opt for a term policy, while continuing to contribute to their 401ks, IRAs and 529 plans. This kind of mix offers a sense of security while building up a comfortable nest egg.

A convertible term policy gives you flexibility in the future, so if you need the insurance longer than you thought or you want to switch to a policy that accumulates cash value, upgrade to a permanent policy. Most term policies come with the option to convert before the policy ends or by age 70. And in most cases, you can convert your insurance at the rate class you originally qualified at.

If you’re confident you’ll need lifelong protection, or you’re interested in making your life insurance policy a bigger part of your financial plan, it might be worth looking into a permanent policy — or a combination of the two.

Why we like:

Get a quote within minutes from more than a dozen insurers.

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Why we like: Quotacy

Get a quote within minutes from more than a dozen insurers.

  • Find the right amount of coverage that you need.
  • Compare prices from over a dozen companies.
  • Free online access to advisors.
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How do I calculate my life insurance needs?

To work out how much life insurance to buy, assess everything you pay for now and everything you can expect to pay for in the future. Unless you have enough savings to protect your family from financial burden, consider the dollar figure that covers your beneficiaries and one you can afford. Remember, if you don’t pay your premiums, your policy will lapse.

Consider the following:

  • Existing debt. Maybe you have a mortgage or a car loan or still paying off your student loans. If you die with unpaid debt, it’s transferred to your survivors like your parents, partner or kids. To prevent that from happening, leave enough to cover that debt.
  • College plans. Are your kids planning to go to college? That’s great — but it’s also a huge expense. When you’re calculating how much life insurance you need, factor in the cost of college.
  • End-of-life expenses. It’s morbid to think about, but the fact is, funerals are expensive. Many life insurance policyholders put aside some money to cover their funeral and burial costs, so their family doesn’t have to deal with those finances while they’re grieving.
  • Marriage and children. Whether it’s your first or your fifth, marriage comes with monetary obligations, such as the wedding, rent, car payments and mortgage. And if you have, or are hoping to have children, that’s another financial responsibility. Your life insurance should provide your spouse and/or kids with the income they need to survive.
  • Care. At this stage of your life, you may be looking after a parent who’s in a nursing home or covering some medical expenses. If that’s the case, consider this cost when working out your life insurance needs.
  • Financial safety net. Protection is one thing, and helping your family to maintain their lifestyle is another. To ensure your family has enough money to not just survive, but thrive, you may want to add “cushion coverage.” This also ties into leaving a legacy.
  • Business ownership. Do you have a business, or are you hoping to start one? A life insurance policy can give the company a sense of security.

Things change, so be sure to review your life insurance coverage every few years. And if you’ve gotten married or divorced, received an inheritance, bought a new home or became a grandparent, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your policy right away.

Case study

Weighing if it’s worth splurging on a higher level of protection? When you’re in your mid-40s, chances are it won’t be too much of a price difference.

Let’s look at a 45-year-old woman who is a non-smoker. Our research shows a $250,000 policy with Banner Life and William Penn, among the cheapest providers, will set her back just $22.57 per month. If she wants to increase that coverage to $500,000, those providers plus Protective Life will charge $35.60 per month. That’s less than $15 a month for double the protection.

Bottom line

As a 45-year-old, you may be a breadwinner, business owner or someone with financial assets to protect, so buying life insurance is a smart move. Most people in their mid-40s opt for a term life insurance policy that will take them up to their retirement — usually 20 or 30 years. If you’re in good health, you can typically lock in a pretty low premium for a quarter- or half-million dollars in coverage.

There’s nothing more personal than life insurance. When you’re planning for the future, compare life insurance policies to find one that fits your needs.

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