The Best Life Insurance Options for Seniors

Investing in a life insurance policy for seniors can help cover expensive costs, such as funeral expenses and other end-of-life expenses that can take a toll on the family. This is because cremation bills can reach thousands of dollars, while burial costs can even reach five digits. In addition, outstanding debts like medical bills and unpaid mortgages can also add up.

Although life insurance for seniors tends to be pricier as they age, there are plenty of life insurance policies that provide a range of coverage options and cater to different budgets. The best life insurance options policies for seniors include those from AIG, Prudential, Nationwide, Mutual of Omaha, and more.

Life Insurance Policies for Seniors

Life insurance policies are not only beneficial for the person taking out the policy but for their family members as well. Insurance companies that provide life insurance for seniors include many benefits for loved ones, including coverage for funeral expenses, guaranteed cash value, and other death benefits.

Because of this, a comprehensive life insurance policy might be useful if you:

  • Have accumulated unpaid debt
  • Support family members or other dependents with your income
  • Want to cover the costs of your funeral
  • Aim to provide an inheritance for your loved ones
  • Want to cover the high cost of estate taxes that others have inherited

Depending on your needs, here are some of the top insurance companies to work with if you're looking for life insurance for seniors.

Best for Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance: AIG

  • Recommended for ages up to 80
  • Costs approximately $8 a day for males and $6 a day for females of a good health rating for $500,000 of coverage at the age of 60 for a 20-year term life policy
  • Offers living benefits and easy application options

In terms of senior policy options, AIG has one of the best guaranteed acceptance life insurance products on the market. The best part is that it doesn't require a medical exam or any health questions that can lead to higher life policy costs. Not only does AIG have a great historical track record, but they also provide good access to cash value.

It also means that you are guaranteed to be accepted for a policy if you are between the ages of 50-80 despite any medical issues you might have. In addition, you can expect to pay fixed life insurance policies that do not increase during the premium period.

However, it's important to note that a graded death benefit is provided for the Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance policy. This means that if a natural death takes place within the first two years of the policy, the benefit can be somewhere between 110%-120% of the actual premium paid.

If an accidental death occurs, the benefit will be equal to the face amount of the policy. Because of this, this life coverage option can provide the benefits of permanent life insurance with an easier application process attached, since those who may have health concerns might not qualify for other permanent life insurance plans.

Best for Variety of Life Insurance for Seniors: Mutual of Omaha

  • Recommended for ages up to 68
  • Costs approximately $8 a day for males and $5.50 a day for females of a good health rating
  • Offers term, whole, and universal life insurance

When it comes to life insurance for seniors, Mutual of Omaha has many different options. Their "term life express" option doesn't call for a medical exam but comes with lower policy limits. In terms of pricing, their lower policy amounts are priced more competitively in terms of life policies.

However, their larger policy amounts are much higher compared to other top-rated no exam life insurance carriers. It offers four standard term lengths: 10, 15, 20, and 30-year terms. It comes with good living benefits related to chronic and terminal illness, residential damage, and more.

In contrast, their Living Promise Whole Life Insurance policies come with two different plan options: level and graded benefit. The level option is for those aged 45-85 with a coverage limit range of $2,000 to $40,000, while the graded option reduces coverage limits from $2,000 to $20,000.

If you're interested in Mutual of Omaha's life policies, you can get life insurance quotes online for some plans or speak to an agent if you prefer. The application process is relatively simple, depending on whether you partake in a phone interview or questionnaire.

Best for Affordability and Death Benefits: Northwestern Mutual

  • Recommended for ages up to 100
  • Costs approximately $4 a day for males and $3 a day for females of a good health rating for $380,000 of coverage at the age of 60
  • Offers flexible premium options and customization of death benefits

Senior life insurance can be a significant expense for many families. However, Northwestern Mutual is one of the most affordable options when it comes to flexible payment plans related to term, whole, universal, and variable life insurance. It is also one of the top choices for the best life insurance for seniors focused on estate planning.

Their term life policies are available for 10, 20, or 30 years up to the age of 80. You also might be eligible for dividends depending on your policy type. Note that permanent life insurance policies also build cash value.

If you choose the senior whole life policy, you might be eligible for dividends as long as it is issued before the age of 80. There are also senior life insurance options that combine the benefits of term and permanent life insurance plans.

However, there are some eligibility requirements that you need to meet. This includes things like passing a medical exam, having a minimal record of tobacco use, no record of substance or alcohol abuse, a clean driving record, and low-risk hobbies.

One drawback is that you need to find an agent to get more information about your chosen life insurance policy since they do not offer online quotes. This makes it difficult to research coverage options online.

Best for Higher Policy Coverage Limits for Seniors: Transamerica

  • Recommended for ages up to 85
  • Costs approximately $3 a day for males and $2 a day for females of a good health rating for $150,000 of coverage at the age of 60 for a 20-year term
  • Offers index universal, final expense, term, universal, and whole life insurance

For seniors looking for high coverage limits, Transamerica is one of the best life insurance companies that offers term policies for older adults. They offer more policy options for those over the age of 80 at a competitive price range that is well suited to many budgets.

Their term life coverage range from 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years and comes with many death benefit options to suit your needs. Add-ons include accelerated death benefit, decreasing term, estate protection, and child rider and spouse if you're looking for combined insurance policy.

In terms of requirements, most of their policies do require health questions. Factors that can impact the cost of life insurance for seniors include driving record, blood pressure level, BMI, record of tobacco use, and more.

They also do not offer online quotes, so it can be tricky to get a cost estimate for a life insurance policy. Unlike most insurance companies today, they also don't offer an online claim option, which can lengthen the claims process.

Furthermore, the Better Business Bureau has noted that they have received a significant number of customer complaints related to billing issues and slow claims payouts, so this is something to be aware of when choosing the best life insurance for your needs.

Best for Possible Life Insurance Rate Reductions: Prudential

  • Recommended for ages up to 75
  • Costs approximately $9 a day for males and $6 a day for females of a good health rating for $500,000 of coverage at the age of 60
  • Does not offer whole life insurance

One major perk of Prudential's selection of life insurance for seniors is that many of their policies include accelerated death benefits, which are also known as living benefits. However, their 14+ types of life insurance policies do not include whole life insurance policies and final approval of your life policy application could take up to eight weeks.

Their coverage limits for life insurance are on the higher end compared to most insurance companies, ranging from $100,000 to $10,000,000. On the other hand, you can expect to pay a higher premium for the majority of their insurance policies.

Prudential’s riders allow for up to 95% of total benefits to be accessed depending on the conditions of the illness. However, only those up to the age of 80 are eligible.

There are plenty of add ons you can use to further customize your insurance policy, including options like waiver-of-premium, accidental death benefit, guaranteed insurability, estate protection, and more.

Getting an insurance quote online at Prudential can be a relatively quick process, but approval can take longer depending on your exam answers and the volume of applicants.

Best for Seniors With a History of Tobacco Use: Nationwide

  • Recommended for ages up to 80
  • Costs approximately $9 a day for males and $7 a day for females of a good health rating for $500,000 of coverage at the age of 60
  • Offers term life insurance, whole life insurance, and universal life insurance

Finding life insurance companies for seniors who have a history of smoking can be a difficult task. However, Nationwide tends to be more forgiving than its competitors when it comes to those who have weight issues and smoking habits. On the other hand, they do require a medical exam for about 80% of applicants.

The good news is that seniors can be considered a nonsmoker only 12 months after they quit their habit, and they're allowed to smoke 12 cigars a year while still qualifying for affordable rates. Despite this, it's worth noting that Nationwide pays more attention to any negative issues related to your driving record during the approval process.

Being ticketed in the past two years can cause the life insurance for seniors to go up, along with dangerous occupations, serious health issues, and higher blood pressure. In contrast, they are quite lenient in terms of cholesterol and other issues unrelated to early cardiac death.

They offer a variety of policy types for your loved one. Their whole life insurance policy builds cash value over time and pays out a guaranteed death benefit. Their universal life policies have flexible premiums and high returns, ranging from survivorship policies and indexed policies that are tied to S&P performance.

Best for High-Risk Seniors: Lincoln Financial

  • Recommended for ages up to 80
  • Costs approximately $7 a day for males and $5 a day for females of a perfect health rating for a 20-year term life policy at the age of 60
  • Offers term, universal, indexed universal, variable universal insurance

Seniors who are looking for competitive term life insurance policies should take a look at Lincoln Financial. The company has relatively lenient approval guidelines and caters to the unique needs of seniors. However, those looking for whole life insurance and online applications should look elsewhere.

Following typical life insurance company practices, the lowest rates are given to those who have no prior period of drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, older applicants over the age of 69 should meet an average of 140/90 over a 12 month period.

Their term life insurance comes in 15, 20, or 30-year lengths, with death benefits ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. These plans can also be upgraded to permanent policies within a given time period.

In contrast, universal life insurance is a flexible, permanent policy that allows you to take tax-free life insurance loans using the cash value as collateral. However, this can affect the amount of your death benefit.

In terms of customer service ratings, there are fewer customer complaints to state regulators than expected for an insurance company of its size.

Best for Senior Healthcare Workers: MassMutual

  • Recommended for ages up to 80
  • Costs approximately $4 a day for males and $2.50 a day for females of a perfect health rating for a 20-year term life policy at the age of 65 with $100,000 of coverage
  • Offers term, whole life, universal, and guaranteed acceptance life insurance

MassMutual is one of the best insurance company options for seniors who are also healthcare workers. During the coronavirus pandemic, MassMutual is issuing a free life insurance policy through the HealthBridge program. It covers a three-year term policy worth $25,000 for applicants 18 to 50 years old, and $10,000 for those 51 to 60 years old.

To qualify for this form of life insurance for seniors, you need to have a yearly annual income of $250,0000 or less and be a doctor, nurse, or other listed health practitioner. In addition, you must be an American that works or volunteers for a minimum of 10 hours a month at a hospital or clinic that tests or treats patients with COVID-19.

MassMutual offers online applications and you might qualify for instant approval. However, those who have health concerns might need to go through some extra steps in order to finish their registration process for a life policy.

Best Customer Service Ratings: Guardian

  • Recommended for ages up to 75
  • Costs approximately $4 a day for males and $2.50 a day for females of a perfect health rating for a 20-year term life policy at the age of 65 with $100,000 of coverage
  • Offers term, whole, variable universal, and universal life insurance

When it comes to customer service, Guardian has positive reviews overall with fewer complaints on average. They offer a wide variety of coverage options that go as high as $5 million, which is relatively rare for a life insurance company. However, those that have pre-existing health conditions might have a harder time gaining approval.

For term life application processes, you can start the process online and answer a few questions related to age, health, gender, and income. For their other life insurance policies, you need to contact Guardian for more information at 1-888-482-7342.

One benefit of their term life policies is that the premiums don't change on time. You also have the option to upgrade to a whole life insurance policy without taking a medical exam. Similarly, a universal life policy provides flexible payments and lifetime coverage.

Some useful add-ons can expand your standard-issue policies, including accelerated death benefit, disability income benefit, and long-term care which can come in handy for seniors.

Best for Fast Life Insurance Coverage: Fidelity Life

  • Recommended for ages up to 85
  • Costs approximately $7.70 a day for males and $5.20 a day for females of a good health rating for a 20-year term life policy at the age of 60 with $500,000 of coverage
  • Offers term life insurance, whole life insurance, and accidental death benefit coverage

With an A-financial stability rating from AM Best, Fidelity Life is in a good position to provide payouts to your loved ones and quick approval for your chosen policy. It is licensed across all states and has a variety of life insurance coverage options for seniors.

One of their major selling points is their 30-day guarantee, which is generous compared to the 10-day free look period offered by most insurance companies. This means you have 30 days after you receive your policy to cancel it and get your money back.

The RAPIDecision feature is available for their term life, final expense, and permanent life policies, which can give you coverage within days as opposed to waiting for weeks or months. Fidelity Life doesn’t require medical exams for some policies, which can be more convenient.

However, coverage limits vary across policy types. For instance, RAPIDecision Senior Whole Life is only available from ages 50 to 85 and in coverage amounts ranging from $10,000 to $150,000. RAPIDecision Senior Life Term, however, is designed for those aged 50 to 70, with terms between 10 to 30 years and ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 in coverage.

If you're looking for higher coverage limits, it's worth emphasizing that Fidelity Life’s whole life policy maxes out at $150,000, and the highest coverage amount for their term life insurance policy is $1 million.

Some Tips For Choosing the Best Life Insurance Policy

Not every life insurance company will give seniors the benefits they need in terms of life insurance. Because of this, it's worth doing research on any customer complaints online, along with the AM Best Financial Strength of life insurance companies that you're considering.

Decide On Your Coverage Length

As you age, you can expect to pay more for a life insurance policy. In general, your term life insurance policy should be long enough to cover any financial obligations and outstanding debts you may have. The longer your term length, the higher the cost of your monthly premiums.

Identify Your Beneficiary

One of the most important decisions you should make is designating your beneficiary. If you fail to do so, the probate court will decide where the funds go and this can take a long time. This depends on your own goals and motivations for buying life insurance. Your spouse, business partner, or a charity are some options.

Consult With an Advisor

Navigating life insurance on your own can be tricky because of all the different policies out there. Asking a trusted advisor for more information on which policy best suits the needs of seniors can give you a better idea of what you're looking for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should a 70-year-old buy life insurance?

It is not uncommon for seniors over the age of 70 to purchase term life insurance, but when they do so at this later stage in their lives, there are some things that should be taken into consideration. The most obvious thing to note about a policy obtained at such an age would be its high rate, as well as how quickly it will rise because by then you have reached your maximum premium threshold limit.

What happens if I outlive my term life insurance?

If you die during that within your life insurance term, your beneficiaries receive the death benefit. On the other hand, if you outlive the policy you are able to collect all of its benefits.

Can a 90-year-old buy life insurance?

Many people make the mistake of believing that life insurance for seniors over 90 is impossible or even if they can manage one, it will be too expensive. This isn't entirely true though since some policies offer good coverage with an affordable premium for those who are just hitting their nineties.

Which is better, term insurance or whole life?

Whole life insurance is a great type of policy for that provides many benefits compared to term insurance policies. It's permanent and has an investment component, as well as protection over the long-term in case something happened where you couldn't provide any income.

At what age should I get life insurance?

Your 20s are the best time to have affordable term life insurance coverage. Since your health can change at any moment as we get older, it’s always important to buy something before being faced with unexpected medical bills.

How much is a unit in life insurance?

A unit of life insurance equates to $1,000 worth of coverage.

When should you stop term life insurance?

You should keep your term life insurance for as long as you have a need for coverage. For instance, if children still live at home or there is another non-working spouse to provide support for.

Can you cash out a life insurance policy?

There are a few different options for those wondering how to cash out a life insurance policy. You can take out a loan against it and pay back with monthly payments or opt for straight-up withdrawals.

If you want the money in one lump sum payment, surrendering is the best option—which means turning over ownership of your policy to an investor who pays off its balance at once. The third way would be selling it outright as part-time income through either viatical settlements or life settlement opportunities.

Although life insurance is one of the topics that people often shy away from, understanding the benefits of a comprehensive policy can provide you with living benefits, cover expensive funeral costs, and help give your loved one's peace of mind. Doing your research can help you choose the best policy for your needs in terms of value for money and the amount of coverage.

For more information on the process of finding life policies for seniors, feel free to explore our retirement planning guides on Senior Strong.

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