Life insurance for people over 50

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If you are at least 50 years old, your life insurance needs may be different than they were when you were young. Your debts may be lower, and you may no longer need to provide financial support to young children. Instead, you may be considering how you could leave a legacy to your heirs and buying life insurance can be an effective way to accomplish that.

Turning 50 can be “a natural review point” for your life insurance needs, says Scott Witt, a fee-only insurance adviser and actuary in New Berlin, Wisconsin. “Prior to that age, you may have been worried about passing away prematurely without providing sufficiently for your spouse or getting your kids through college.”

Because your life insurance needs may have changed, you may want to consider switching your life insurance company as well, as some companies are better suited to the needs of people over 50. Although the best life insurance company will vary based on your needs, there are some companies that stand out for their ability to provide coverage for the needs of people over 50.

By buying or maintaining a life insurance policy after the age of 50, you may be able to leave your loved ones a lump sum at the time of your death. The death benefit from a life insurance policy could help your loved ones arrange your funeral services, pay the bills or continue your legacy by making a donation to a cause that was close to your heart.

Here are the best life insurance companies for people over 50, based on our research:

Company Financial strength rating (AM Best)
Haven Life A++
AIG A
Mutual of Omaha A+
New York Life A++
Transamerica A

Haven Life

Haven Life offers term life insurance at affordable prices. Policies are purchased online, so if you are looking for a company with strong digital assets, Haven Life may be a good option for you. If you feel more comfortable having an in-person agent to discuss your life insurance needs with, or if you are looking for a permanent policy instead of a term one, Haven Life may not be the right choice.

Haven Life’s life insurance products are underwritten by MassMutual, which boasts an A++ AM Best financial strength rating. MassMutual received a customer service rating that was just above industry average in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study.

AIG

AIG offers several types of life insurance policies that could be a good fit for people over 50, including term life insurance, universal life and guaranteed issue whole life. In fact, AIG boasts that its $250,000 term life policies start at just $14 per month.

However, you should be aware that AIG’s customer service score from J.D. Power is below industry average, which could indicate that customers are often dissatisfied with its customer service. If budget is your primary concern, AIG could be a good option.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha offers both term and whole life insurance policies to people over the age of 50. They also ranked fifth overall in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study, meaning that its customers are generally satisfied with its customer service. The company is also financially strong, with an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best.

Mutual of Omaha also offers a unique blog called Mutual Cares. This is a repository of information geared toward seniors. Articles discuss a variety of senior-oriented health topics, ways to stay connected and tips to stay active.

New York Life

If you are a member of AARP, you may want to consider getting a quote from New York Life. The company has a partnership with AARP which offers exclusive pricing and policy features to members. If you are worried about life insurance medical exams, the AARP program through New York Life could be a great choice, as no medical exams are required to get a policy.

New York Life received a well-below-average complaint index score from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). A score of 1.00 represents an industry-average number of complaints. New York Life received a score of just 0.16, indicating that the NAIC receives a below-average number of complaints.

Transamerica

If you are interested in a final expense policy, which is a type of whole life policy which provides a small death benefit to cover end-of-life expenses, Transamerica could be a good fit. The company also offers other types of life insurance, such as term life, whole life and universal life.

However, Transamerica did receive a low customer satisfaction score from J.D. Power, just 734 out of 1,000 points. Customers concerned with customer service may find this information disconcerting. Even so, Transamerica is a part of Aegon, and its AM Best financial strength score is an A, which may put some customers at ease.

How to choose the best life insurance for people over 50

Whether you are shopping for your first life insurance policy or considering altering your coverage, there are a few key factors to consider if you are over 50.

Policy type

There are to primary times of life insurance coverage: permanent life coverage and term life coverage. Term life coverage expires at the end of the set term, often 10 years, 20 years or 30 years. Because it provides coverage only for a specified period of time, term life insurance is generally more affordable than permanent life insurance. While permanent life insurance coverage often costs more, it lasts until you die and sometimes provides a cash value benefit that you can use while you are living.

If you are not sure which type of life insurance would be best for you, you can use our calculator. You may also want to consider talking to a licensed agent.

Policy benefit

It is also important to determine how much death benefit you want to purchase. The death benefit of a life insurance policy is the sum that will be paid out to your beneficiaries at the time of your death. You may want just enough to cover your funeral expenses or you may want a policy that can provide an inheritance, pay off your mortgage or fund a child’s or grandchild’s education.

Additionally, if you choose a permanent life insurance policy, like whole life or universal life, your policy may offer a cash value benefit. A cash value benefit means that some of the money you pay in premiums is put into a savings account that you may be able to access while you are still alive. You may be able to borrow your cash value without paying it back. Although this will lower the death benefit that will be paid to your beneficiaries, it can provide a way to take care of expenses without worrying about repayment.

Customer service

Before you buy coverage from a company, you may want to research their customer service reviews. If you ever have questions about your policy or need to make adjustments, you likely want a company that is known for taking care of its customers.

You can often view customer service reviews directly on a company’s website. Third-party rankings, such as those provided by J.D. Power, may also be helpful to your research. Additionally, you may want to consider a company’s online and digital tools. If you prefer to handle your policy on your own, a company with an online customer portal or phone app may be a good choice.

Financial stability

Financial strength scores are a measure of how able a company is to pay the claims filed by policyholders. A poor financial strength score could mean that a company might struggle to pay death benefits to policyholders, depending on the number of claims being filed simultaneously. AM Best provides financial strength ratings. It may be a good idea to research the ratings of any company from which you are considering buying life insurance. If the company has a score of A or higher, it is more likely that it is a financially strong company.

Why is life insurance more expensive for people over 50?

You can expect to pay more for life insurance coverage once you enter your 50s. First, life insurers rely on premium payments to mitigate their risk in offering you a policy. When someone buys coverage in their 20s, the risk of the policyholder passing away and the life insurance company no longer having their premium payments is lower than it is for someone who is older. Although it may be an unpleasant thought, the older you are, the more likely you are to pass away. Because of this, life insurance premiums tend to increase as you get older.

Additionally, many life insurance policies require a medical exam. A lack of preexisting conditions, health history problems or reliance on certain medications means you are more likely to live longer. If you know your medical review will likely raise a red flag for your insurer — a probability that increases with age — you can likely expect to pay more for your policy.

Do people over 50 need life insurance?

Life insurance is a very personal consideration. If your house is paid off, your kids have finished college and you have plenty set aside to cover funeral costs or leave an inheritance behind, you may be able to go without life insurance coverage.

But you might want to consider buying a policy — or keeping the one you have in place — if you want to:

  • Ensure your loved ones do not have to pay for funeral costs
  • Help your family finish paying off a mortgage or any other debt
  • Fund education for your children or grandchildren
  • Leave money to your heirs
  • Leave a donation to a charity you value
  • Provide for your partner

If a lump sum of money would help protect your loved ones against financial hardship or set them up for financial success, you might want to consider life insurance even after age 50. If you are unsure how much life insurance you need, how much you can afford or what type of policies to consider, you may want to talk to a financial planner or licensed life insurance agent.

Frequently asked questions

Is life insurance worth it for people over 50?

It depends on your specific needs and goals. If you have outstanding debt or your loved ones rely on you for a source of income, paying life insurance premiums might feel like a small price to pay to give you peace of mind that the people you value most will be comfortable after you pass.

What type of life insurance do people over 50 need?

The type of life insurance that you purchase will depend on your individual needs. If price is your primary concern, you may want to look at term policies. If you are wanting coverage that will last for your entire life or you are interested in a policy with living benefits, whole or universal life may be a good fit for you. Our life insurance calculators may help you get a better idea of what policy type might be best for you and your loved ones.

How do I get life insurance over 50?

The process for getting life insurance if you are over 50 is not much different than it is when you are younger. Once you decide what companies to request quotes from and what type of policy you are interested in, you will fill out an application and perhaps go through a medical exam. If you are concerned about your health being a barrier to your eligibility, you may want to choose a company and policy type that does not require a medical exam. If you are approved for life insurance, you will likely be asked for the first premium payment to make the policy active.

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in professional and technical writing from Indiana University East. She began writing for Bankrate in January 2021 and has nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent. Cate has worked with over a dozen insurance companies and is experienced with auto, home, flood, umbrella and life insurance.