Each life stage comes with different needs for life insurance coverage. For instance, many middle-aged adults want coverage to pay off debts and replace income should they pass away. But adults aged 60 and up may have a different set of concerns. Seniors may want to purchase life insurance to pay for funeral costs and other final expenses or to meet estate planning goals. Luckily, there are different policy types to meet individual needs for various life stages.
Although the cost of life insurance increases as you age, it may not be as expensive as you think. The best life insurance for seniors depends on the type of coverage you need, the amount and the policy types that work best to meet those goals. However, Mutual of Omaha, New York Life, AIG Life, Transamerica and Haven Life have proven to be some of the best life insurance companies on the market, according to our research.
The best life insurance for seniors
Seniors purchasing life insurance may want to consider life insurance companies with living benefits for terminal illness and other factors important to them. The following life insurance companies are among the best based on Bankrate’s analysis of market share, financial strength ratings from AM Best, customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power and coverage offerings for seniors. However, the best life insurance company for you may vary based on your individual preferences and priorities for life insurance, budget or other financial considerations.
|Company||J.D. Power score||AM Best financial strength rating|
|Mutual of Omaha||795/1,000||A+ (Superior)|
|New York Life||777/1,000||A++ (Superior)|
|AIG Life||729/1,000||A (Excellent)|
|Haven Life*||782/1,000||A++ (Superior)|
*Score based on MassMutual, Haven Life’s underwriter
Mutual of Omaha
Why we chose it: The company caters to seniors by offering a host of senior-centric health and wellness material on their website.
Mutual of Omaha underwrites its policies through United of Omaha Life Insurance Company. The company offers term, whole and universal life insurance policies. Seniors can purchase a policy up to age 80, although final expense whole life insurance is available through age 85. If you’re interested in a term life policy and you’re 70 or older, the longest term you’re eligible for is a 15-year term.
Mutual of Omaha is worth considering as a senior life insurance company thanks to the recently launched Mutual Cares. The online resource was designed to inform seniors about the topics they may be interested in, such as combating loneliness, along with health and wellness topics specific to seniors. However, if you’re tech savvy, you may be disappointed that the company doesn’t have a mobile app.
The company is financially strong with an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best and an A+ rating from S&P. Mutual of Omaha also received a high score in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study, with a score of 795 out of 1,000 for overall satisfaction, earning it fifth place in the study. Mutual of Omaha could be a great life insurance company for any senior looking for financial help during retirement and starting to plan for final expenses.
|Highest J.D. Power score on our list||Can’t purchase a life insurance policy after age 80, although final expense insurance is available through age 85|
|Online resources for informing seniors about health and wellness topics specific to their age||No mobile app for managing your life insurance policy|
New York Life
Why we chose it: New York Life caters to seniors through its partnership with AARP, which allows members to get term or permanent life insurance up to $100,000 with no medical exam.
New York Life specializes in life insurance, retirement planning and long-term care. The company offers term, whole, universal and variable universal life insurance for seniors. New York Life also offers a number of flexible policy options and compounding coverage that seniors can use as they get older.
AARP members have access to exclusive pricing and coverage through a partnership with New York Life. Members can get term and permanent coverage up to $100,000 with no medical exam, though you still have to answer health questions to qualify for coverage.
New York Life is a one-stop-shop for every life insurance need, with great ratings. It earned a rating of 777 out of 1,000 from J.D. Power, placing right behind Mutual of Omaha. It has an A++ rating for financial strength from AM Best and an AA+ rating from S&P. New York Life’s financial strength indicates that it has a strong history of meeting its financial obligations.
|Above-average customer satisfaction rating||No mobile app for managing your policy|
|AARP members can get term and permanent life insurance up to $100,000 with no medical exam||Can’t get quotes online|
Why we chose it: The company offers life insurance with living benefits, which means seniors can purchase add-ons such as a long-term care rider. This rider ensures that if the senior needs long-term care before they pass away, their death benefit can be used to pay for that care.
AIG offers term life, whole life, guaranteed issue whole life, universal life and accidental death life insurance. It also offers a “Quality of Life” term policy, which is term life insurance with living benefits.
AIG Life does not have the highest customer service ratings from J.D. Power, but it has historical financial strength according to its A (Excellent) AM Best rating and an A+ rating from S&P.
|Offers living benefits such as a long-term care rider||Lower than average J.D. Power score|
|Claims to offer $250,000 of term life coverage for as low as $14 a month*||Can’t get quotes online|
*Company claim does not specify age or gender of applicant for that price point.
Why we chose it: Transamerica caters to seniors by issuing immediate coverage with no waiting period after the underwriting process.
Seniors looking specifically for final expense insurance might want to consider Transamerica. The company is known for offering robust and customizable final expense insurance options. In addition to final expense insurance, Transamerica also offers whole, term, universal and index universal life insurance policies.
Most of Transamerica’s insurance plans require a medical exam and health questions as part of the application. The guaranteed issue final expense policy is the only plan that does not require an older adult to undergo lab tests or medical examinations. Instead, Transamerica uses proprietary underwriting algorithms to determine insurability and to issue immediate coverage with no waiting period.
Transamerica is strong financially, with an A (Excellent) rating for financial strength from AM Best and an A+ rating from S&P. However, the company placed well below industry average in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study, with a score of 747 out of 1,000.
|High financial strength score||Lower-than-average J.D. Power score|
|Offers a wide range of policy options||Higher-than-baseline National Association of Insurance Commissioners complaint index of over 2. Many of its competitors have far fewer complaints than the baseline.|
Why we chose it: Haven Life caters to recently retired seniors that are planning for the years to come through offering options such as the long-term care rider.
Haven Life underwrites its life insurance policies through MassMutual, which received an overall customer satisfaction score just above industry average from J.D. Power. Haven Life offers comprehensive coverage at an affordable price, making it a good option for seniors who are recently retired and planning for the years to come.
The one downside to Haven Life is that they only offer a term life insurance policy. However, term policies with a death benefit of $100,000 to $3 million are possible for applicants up to the age of 65. Haven Life’s parent company, MassMutual, also has good financial strength, with an A++(Superior) rating from AM Best.
|Higher-than-average J.D. Power score||Only offers term life insurance policies|
|High AM Best score||Not available in all states|
What type of life insurance policy is best for seniors?
There are many different kinds of life insurance for seniors to choose from, and each option comes with pros and cons. It’s important to understand the various types of life insurance so that you can make the best choice for your individual needs.
Term life insurance for seniors
Term life insurance covers you for a specified period of time, usually ranging from 10 to 30 years. If you purchased a conversion rider, you may be able to convert your policy to permanent life insurance before it ends. Simply put, the older you are, the more expensive a term policy will be. If you are a senior and considering a term life insurance policy, be sure to think about your future budget and if you will want to renew the policy at the end of the term.
- Term life insurance policies are typically much cheaper than permanent life insurance policies.
- If you pass away after your policy expires, your beneficiaries will not receive a death benefit.
Permanent life insurance for seniors
Permanent life insurance covers you until your death (under most circumstances) or until you choose to surrender the policy. Permanent life insurance comes in two main forms: whole life insurance and universal life insurance. Diving deeper, there are subtypes of each form, such as variable universal life insurance. Since it covers you until death in most cases, permanent insurance tends to be more expensive than a term life insurance policy, but may provide the peace of mind that the policy will be there to provide financial assistance to your loved ones after your death.
- Comes with a cash value account that may be used as a savings or investment account or to pay policy premiums
- Remains in effect for your whole life (under most circumstances)
- Typically much more expensive than term life insurance
Guaranteed universal life insurance for seniors
Guaranteed universal life policies are a type of permanent life insurance that has a small cash value account or no cash value portion at all. Other types of universal life insurance policies allow you to change your premium or death benefit amounts, but this is not an option with guaranteed universal life.
- Generally cheaper than other forms of universal life insurance
- Typically lasts your whole life
- Death benefit and premium amounts are not flexible
- Cash value account lacks the investment component
Guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance for seniors (Final expense insurance)
Guaranteed acceptance whole life, sometimes called guaranteed issue whole life or final expense insurance, is a whole life policy for which coverage generally cannot be denied. Coverage amounts are low, usually between $10,000 to $25,000 and are typically used to cover funeral expenses such as headstones and funeral home fees.
- Generally no medical exam required
- Coverage typically cannot be denied
- Premium may be high for the level of coverage you’re receiving
- Low level of coverage
Choosing the best senior life insurance policy for you
Seniors generally have different priorities than other generations. They may be paying off debts and phasing into retirement, helping children and grandchildren with their finances or preparing for end-of-life costs. Before purchasing life insurance, it is helpful to understand what factors you may need to consider at various ages.
Life insurance for seniors over 60
In your 60s, you may still be working and starting to think about retirement. It might be a good time to make sure your life insurance is in place because life insurance premiums are generally less expensive the younger you are. You may want to think about replacing your lost income if you were to pass away suddenly so that a spouse or other loved ones who depend on your income would be provided for. Additionally, if you have children or grandchildren (or anticipate that you will in the future), you may want to consider if you will leave them a financial gift when you pass away.
Life insurance for seniors over 70
If you are in your 70s, you are hopefully well into retirement. If you are retired, replacing lost income for your spouse or loved ones might not need to be a factor when shopping for life insurance. However, you may want to consider what your family members will be left with when you are gone. Are you still paying off a mortgage? Do you have any other debt? Do you have enough savings for your loved ones to pay for your funeral expenses and other end-of-life costs? Life insurance can help ease the financial burden of your death for your loved ones, as well as potentially leave a financial gift for them when you are gone.
Life insurance for seniors over 80
If you are 80 or older, your life insurance options may be limited. You may be considering all the same life insurance factors that you did in your 70s, but if you did not obtain insurance at a younger age, you may have fewer choices than you would have. A final expense policy may be the best option to obtain coverage, although the death benefit may be low and the premiums may be high.
How much does a senior life insurance policy cost?
There are several factors that contribute to the cost of a life insurance policy. The main factors are age, health history, gender and lifestyle. Typically, younger people pay less for life insurance than older people. Additionally, healthy individuals will pay less for life insurance than people who have pre-existing health conditions or people who smoke.
When looking at a senior life insurance company, it is important to keep in mind that term life insurance is typically less expensive than a permanent policy, but those costs will increase the older you are regardless of policy type. Because the cost of life insurance is so personalized, everyone will pay a different premium based on their own specific rating factors, but rates for the same life insurance policy will not vary greatly between companies like other insurance types.
Before purchasing life insurance, you may still want to shop around and get quotes from multiple life insurance companies to find the best option for you, such as varying requirements to qualify. And if you are considering buying life insurance, doing it as soon as possible will help ensure your premiums are within your budget—the younger you are, the lower life insurance premiums tend to be.