Life insurance for people over 50

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If you’re at least 50 years old, then you’re likely not in need of life insurance to provide for small children or pay off large debts, although you may have outstanding student loans or a mortgage. 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.

Many people choose to buy life insurance when they go through a major life change. They might buy a policy when they get married to protect their spouse or when they have a kid to ensure their kid will have the money needed to get a quality education. But by age 50, you might feel there’s less unknown.

“I think it’s a natural review point,” 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.”

But that doesn’t mean there’s no point in having life insurance over 50. By buying or maintaining a life insurance policy now, you can leave your loved ones a lump sum at the time of your death to provide for them while possibly giving yourself some perks in the near future too.

And by the time you reach your mid-60s, impending retirement raises the question: Do you still need life insurance? The mid-60s represent something of a grand pivot, in which our insurance risks shift from dying too soon to living too long.

“The majority of people retiring these days will have to live off of assets rather than a pension, so people are concerned about outliving their money,” says Craig Schubert, a Prudential financial planner based in Annapolis, Maryland.

Is life insurance still worth carrying after you turn 50? Unless you’re comfortable leaving your loved ones with your funeral expenses, yes.

Here are our top picks for life insurance companies for individuals looking for coverage after their 50th birthday.

Best over 50 life insurance

Getting life insurance quotes over 50 can feel daunting. But life insurance for people over 50 might not be as hard to come by as you expect. We’ve gathered up three quality options to get you started.

Company Financial Strength Rating (A.M. Best)
Haven Life A++
AIG A
Mutual of Omaha A+

Haven Life

Do you want the cheapest life insurance for over-50 individuals you can find? If so, you’ll want to choose a simple term life insurance policy. For options, check out Haven Life. Their policies are issued by MassMutual, which boasts an A++ AM Best financial strength rating. Plus, they make it easy to purchase a policy digitally so you can put coverage in place without a big hassle.

Haven Life does require a medical review as part of the underwriting process. If you’re healthy, you should be able to get your term life policy with affordable premiums, scoring you some of the cheapest life insurance for over-50 adults.

AIG

Looking for life insurance if you’re over 50 doesn’t have to mean stressful medical reviews and potential denials. If you’re worried about being able to get a life insurance policy, look to AIG. They offer guaranteed issue whole life insurance to people between the ages of 50 and 85. These policies don’t require a medical exam, but they also don’t offer full coverage right away.

With this type of whole life coverage from AIG, if you pass away during the first two years of holding your policy then AIG pays 110% of any premiums you’ve paid up until that point. They won’t pay your beneficiaries the full face amount of your coverage (e.g., the death benefit) until the third year of coverage.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha offers both term and whole life insurance policies to people over the age of 50. They also ranked third overall in the most recent J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study, meaning you can expect a quality insurance product and reliable customer service when you choose them.

Like AIG, they offer guaranteed issue whole life coverage. Their payout structure mirrors AIG’s, too: 110% of all premiums you pay in the first two years, then your full death benefit after the second year. If you want life insurance over 50, they’re worth checking out.

How to choose the best life insurance for people over 50

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

Policy type

When you shop for life insurance, you get to choose between two primary types: whole coverage and term coverage. Term coverage expires at the end of the set term (10 years, 20 years, 30 years, etc.) and is generally more affordable. While whole coverage costs more, it lasts until you die — guaranteeing your beneficiaries get your death benefit — and usually provides a cash value benefit that you can use while you’re living, too.

If you’re not sure which type would be best for you, you can use our handy calculator.

Policy benefit

Of course, it’s important to determine how much death benefit you want to purchase. This is the lump sum that will be paid out to your beneficiaries at the time of your death (assuming your policy is still in effect if you have term insurance). You may want just enough to cover your funeral expenses and to leave your loved ones a small nest egg, 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 whole life insurance policy, 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 can access while you’re still alive. Look into how this money will grow and consider an aggressive option like variable life insurance since you’ll start accruing this value later in life.

Customer service

Before you buy coverage from a certain company, research their reviews. If you ever have questions about your policy or need to make adjustments, you’ll want a company that’s easy to work with.

Each year, J.D. Power releases a Life Insurance Study. This is a useful tool because it looks at several of the most important customer satisfaction benchmarks and distills the results down for you.

Financial stability

The last thing you want is for your loved ones to turn to your life insurance company to claim your death benefit, only to find the company doesn’t have the liquid funds to pay it out. Check the AM Best financial strength rating of any company from which you’re considering buying life insurance. If they have an A or higher, you can rest easy that they’re not likely to experience any financial instability any time soon.

Why is life insurance more expensive for people over 50?

There are a couple of key reasons 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, that insurer can pretty much safely assume that they’ll get at least a few decades of premium payments before they need to pay out the policy’s death benefit. Later in life, there’s less certainty of this, meaning more risk for the insurer. So they pass that risk on to you in the form of higher cost.

Additionally, many life insurance policies require a medical exam. Again, this is an insurance provider’s way of limiting their risk exposure. A lack of preexisting conditions, health history problems or reliance on certain medications means you’re more likely to live longer, giving them more time to recoup costs from you. If you know your medical review will likely raise a red flag for your insurer — a probability that increases with age — expect to pay more for your policy.

Do people over 50 need life insurance?

Long story short: it depends. 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 can probably skip the 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 don’t have to pay thousands of dollars in funeral costs
  • Help your family finish paying off your mortgage or any other debt
  • Fund education for your kids or grandkids
  • Leave money to your heirs
  • Leave a donation to a charity you value
  • Provide for your partner

In other words, 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. Now let’s look at the various ways you can use a policy.

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 (for example, pension payments), 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?

Again, it depends. You can use our life insurance calculators to get a better idea of what policy type might be best for you and your loved ones. If you want the cheapest life insurance for over-50 individuals, look at term policies. If you don’t want to have to worry about your policy expiring, check out whole life insurance.

Is it too late to get life insurance over 50?

Absolutely not. If you’re interested in getting a policy, start shopping for options now. Coverage will only get more expensive as you age.

How do I get life insurance over 50?

If you’re worried about getting approved for life insurance, several insurers offer guaranteed issue life insurance. That means when you get life insurance quotes over 50 from these companies, you’ll definitely be able to get the quoted policy should you choose that insurer. And, in most cases, you won’t even have to worry about a medical review.