How Much Life Insurance Coverage Do You Qualify for as a Senior?

Written by Jeff Root

Life insurance is a form of insurance which provides a death benefit to your beneficiaries when you pass away.

It can provide financial aid in the event of your death to your family members, to help: 

  • Pay off existing debts
  • Leave a legacy for your family
  • Cover the costs of final expenses
  • Provide income to a financial dependent in the event of your death

While many seniors think they may not need or qualify for life insurance coverage, there are plenty of policies available.

Rates will vary mostly based on health and age. But, typically, as long as you are under age 85, there are quite a few life insurance options for seniors on the market.

Types of Life Insurance for Seniors

Generally speaking, there are two main types of life insurance:

Term Life Insurance for Seniors 

Term policies are given for a set amount of time, usually 10-30 years, and they cost much less on a monthly basis. This coverage expires when you outlive the policy, and usually turns into Annually Renewable Term coverage, which can be purchased each year until you are age 95. The cost of this quickly becomes expensive. 

Some term life insurance policies for seniors are able to be converted into permanent life insurance coverage in a certain period of time. Other policies allow you to take out term life insurance for your children or grandchildren.

There are even policies that allow for you to protect yourself and your spouse at the same time. These are called Joint life insurance policies. Again, whether you qualify for these types of coverage all depends on your health, age, and the insurance provider.

What Seniors Can Get Term Life Insurance?

Typically, term life insurance is not available for people older than 65-70 years old from most companies. There are, however, life insurance companies that offer affordable term life insurance to seniors who are older than this.

In terms of coverage amount, seniors who are in good health in this age range will qualify for millions in life insurance coverage.

For those who are older than this, perhaps age 70-85, there are some options, but coverage is limited. Usually, beyond this age we recommend burial insurance or final expense insurance policies.

Pros of Term Life Insurance for Seniors 

  • Cheaper than permanent life insurance coverage
  • Convertible into permanent life insurance
  • Available through age 95
  • Most people can secure coverage through age 65

Cons of Term Life Insurance for Seniors

  • May not be available to those over 65 years of age at some companies
  • Not available for most seniors with pre-existing health conditions
  • May convert into pricey ART policies, which can cost you a lot if you are unaware of this
  • Do not provide permanent life insurance coverage

Permanent Life Insurance for Seniors 

Permanent policies will remain in effect until you pass away assuming you have paid your premiums on time. There is an expiration date to these policies as well, but it is usually after age 121. 

With permanent life policies you can lock in a level rate and enjoy cash value accumulation if you want to use your life insurance as an investment tool. This cash value is added to your death benefit and can be borrowed against tax-free. It can also be used in order to pay premiums in the event that you cannot afford them with some policies such as Universal Life Insurance for Seniors. 

Permanent life insurance policies are more expensive than term life coverage in terms of cost per unit of coverage, however, there are also more riders and policy options available.  Many permanent life insurance policies offer Children’s Life Insurance Riders which allow you to ensure a grandchild or child. They also have riders which prepare for Long Term Care needs, accidental death, terminal and critical illnesses, and much more.

Lastly, permanent life insurance policies for seniors can be used to establish and execute a trust or estate. They are a great way to ensure that your assets and family are financially protected in the event of your death.

What Seniors Can Get Permanent Life Insurance?

Traditional permanent life insurance coverage is available to seniors who are in good health through age 70 on average. Some burial insurance companies provide policies later in life, while others tend to cut it off here. 

In terms of coverage available, this again stretches into the millions for those who qualify.

Pros of Permanent Life Insurance for Seniors 

  • Provides life long coverage through age 121
  • Build cash value from premiums paid in
  • Has more riders and policy add-ons offered
  • Can be used to set up estates and trusts

Cons of Permanent Life Insurance for Seniors 

  • More expensive than term life insurance for seniors
  • Can be hard to qualify for with health conditions

What if I Don’t Qualify for Term or Permanent Life Insurance as a Senior? 

If you have a pre-existing health condition such as emphysema or COPD or have perhaps had a bout with cancer, you are still able to get life insurance coverage as a senior.

People who are high risks are offered no exam life insurance and burial insurance policies designed to give seniors low face amount value policies at affordable rates that last through their whole life.

Some simplified issue policies offer no exam life insurance coverage to people who can answer a few health related questions. These policies typically go up to $500,000 in coverage, and can be approved in as little as 24 hours or less.

Guaranteed issue life insurance policies for seniors are recommend for those who do not qualify for any other type of coverage. These offer life insurance coverage of up to $25,000-$50,000 for seniors who have serious health conditions at affordable rates. These policies are more expensive than traditional policies and are designed to cover immediate costs after death such as final expenses and burial expenses.

How Much Life Insurance Coverage Do You Qualify for as a Senior

As a senior, your main concern is going to be the types of policies you can get based on age. The older you get the more limitations there are on policies. Once you reach 60, you will find it harder to get a 30 year term policy, if at all.

After the age of 65, most companies stop providing access to whole life insurance. As you get into your 70’s and 80’s the 20 year term options get taken off the table too.

For guaranteed issue policies, you can get coverage with some companies until you reach 90. For most companies, policies stop paying out after age 121.

How to Get the Best Life Insurance Health Ratings as a Senior

As a senior you can get better coverage if you apply sooner rather than later. You also get better coverage if you are healthier.

The health requirements for someone who is older are not nearly as strict as for someone younger, so you can still be moderately healthy and receive a preferred health rating category.

Work with your doctor to see what health concerns you have which might be better controlled; life insurance agencies want to see that you are controlling whatever diseases or conditions you have. If you can demonstrate this, it can help you out a lot.

How Much Does Life Insurance for Seniors Cost? 

Below are sample traditional term life insurance and permanent life insurance rates for seniors who are in the preferred health category. Keep in mind that the premiums are monthly.

Burial insurance rates are much lower than this, and a senior can expect to find coverage for as little as $50 a month or less in most cases.

Age Policy Type $100,000 Male  $100,000 Female  $500,000 Male  $500,000 Female  $1,000,000 Male  $1,000,000 Female 
60 10 Year Term $32 $25 $122 $83 $226 $151
60 20 Year Term $60 $41 $235 $158 $456 $304
60 Whole Life $384 $300 $1,464 $996 $2,712 $1,812
65 10 Year Term $57 $37 $220 $136 $409 $254
65 20 Year Term $108 $72 $457 $298 $865 $556
70 10 Year Term $96 $63 $373 $241 $705 $445
70 20 Year Term $207 $172 $848 $682 $1,694 $1,363
75 10 Year Term $161 $112 $675 $460 $1,259 $885
75 20 Year Term $280 $215 $1,254 $871 $2,487 $1,659
80 10 Year Term $388 $296 $1,514 $1,221 $2,920 $2,240

How Health Affects Life Insurance Rates for Seniors 

Health, of course, plays a big role in the premiums you receive. The following individual was diagnosed in 07/2013, has Type 1 diabetes. Their last A1C reading was 5.4 with average reading of 5.6.

Otherwise, they have no current health complications, are undergoing treatment, and take a daily dosage of 30 insulin units.

 

Age Policy Type $100,000 Male  $100,000 Female  $500,000 Male  $500,000 Female  $1,000,000 Male  $1,000,000 Female 
60 10 Year Term $65 $49 $231 $150 $442 $283
60 20 Year Term $105 $74 $445 $304 $861 $566
60 Whole Life $780 $588 $2,772 $1,800 $5,304 $3,396
65 10 Year Term $103 $81 $399 $247 $771 $449
65 20 Year Term $191 $132 $841 $552 $1,611 $1,062
70 10 Year Term $171 $130 $710 $430 $1,323 $796
70 20 Year Term $311 $255 $1,296 $1,056 $2,585 $2,032
75 10 Year Term $293 $237 $1,195 $841 $2,168 $1,604
75 15 Year Term $401 $318 $1,773 $1,283 $3,488 $2,443
80 10 Year Term $606 $451 $2,507 $1,756 $5,010 $3,371

If you do not qualify for, or do not want a large term or permanent policy, and you only want a guaranteed issue policy, AIG, Americo, and Mutual of Omaha are your best options.

Below is a quick comparison of what they offer:

Americo AIG Mutual of Omaha
Age Availability 50-70 50-85 45-85
Waiting Period 3 years 2 years 2 years
Payout During Waiting Period Premiums paid + 5% interest year 1

Premiums paid + 10% interest year 2

75% of death benefit year 3

Premiums paid + 10% interest Premiums paid + 20% interest
Minimum Coverage $2,000 $5,000 $2,000
Maximum Coverage $10,000 $25,000 $25,000

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Life Insurance for Seniors

Life insurance for seniors is important, but it can also get confusing. Don’t worry, we are here to help. Here are some commonly asked questions we get a lot about life insurance for seniors.

Does Medicare Pay for Assisted Living Facilities?

Medicare does not typically cover the cost of assisted living facilities or any type of long term care. If you need home health care or a skilled nursing facility, they might cover that.

Can you get Medicare if you never paid into it?

Medicare covers many aspects of health care. If you have never paid into it, that means you do not qualify for Medicare Part A benefits without paying a premium for it. Part A refers to hospital insurance. However, you can still qualify for Part B and Part D as neither have anything to do with how long you worked. Part B covers doctor services, medical equipment, and outpatient care. Part D covers prescription drugs.

To cover for Part A, you have to have earned around 40 credits by paying Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. This is equal to ten years of work. If you reach this limit, it means your premiums are covered by said payroll taxes. If, however, you do not have enough credits to receive Part A for free, you might still qualify if your spouse qualifies, so long as your spouse is 62 or older and you are 65 or older.

If you are older than 65 you can buy into the program by paying a premium for Part A coverage. The cost of Part A is about $250 per month if you have between 30 and 39 credits, and $500 per month if you have fewer than 30 credits. The cost changes each year. So, if you do not have enough credits currently, but you want to get Part A, you can pay the premiums until your total work credits reaches 40.

You are able to buy Part A, but you have to enroll in Part B as well, if you do. You can, however, enroll in Part B without enrolling in Part A. If you are enrolled in either Part A or Part B, you can get Part D coverage.

How many elderly people are on Medicaid?

6 million low-income elderly people are covered under Medicaid. This means 1 in every 7 elderly people are on Medicaid.

How much money do you need to make to qualify for Medicaid?

In order to qualify for Medicaid you must have an annual income between $12,140 and $48,560 for a single family. For a household with three or more, the limits are between $20,780 and $83,120 annually.

Where to Find the Best Life Insurance for Seniors 

For traditional and burial insurance coverage, these companies are usually some of the best on the market for senior life insurance policies. While they may not be the best for every situation, they typically offer affordable rates and a multitude of life insurance options for people who are in their senior years.

These companies are trusted financially, and have long histories of customer satisfaction and paying out claims. 

Haven Life

Haven life is perfect for a fast and simple form of coverage. This company is connected to the company MassMutual which means they have some of the highest Financial ratings in the industry. They are great if you want to take out life insurance policies.

Banner life

Banner life is a leader among life insurance company particularly for any senior who is considered a high-risk individual. With Banner Life you can apply for a policy up to 95 years of age which is roughly 20 or 30 years higher than the cut off for almost all other companies. They are best for much older senior applicants.

AIG

AIG has a great sized company and if you have been put into a lower class rating due to health, they are the best company for you. Below is a comparison of a $1,000,000 policy at a 20-year term and a 30-year term for Banner compared to AIG:

Company 20-Year Term 30-Year Term
Banner $64.22 per month $107.97 per month
AIG $47.92 per month $87.71 per month
Annual savings $195.60 $243.12
Total policy savings $3,312 $7,293

How to Find the Best Life Insurance Coverage for Seniors

Finding the best life insurance for seniors is easy when you know where and how to do it.

Looking through the thousands of life insurance options can be overwhelming and time consuming. That is why we are here to help!

Our online life insurance quoting engine can help you compare life insurance rates for seniors instantly from dozens of the best life insurance companies.

Our agents can also answer any questions you may have and help you find the best coverage for you and your loved ones’ needs. Give us a call today to speak with a professional.

About Burial Insurance Coverage
About Burial Insurance Coverage

We work with individuals across the nation to secure the best life insurance rates.

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