It can be very hard to qualify for life insurance as a senior, let alone find an affordable rate.
But guess what:
The process doesn’t have to be that hard, and getting life insurance for seniors can be a painless process if you know where to look and which companies to apply with.
Today, I am going to go over how life insurance for senior citizens will work, how to get the most affordable rate, and how to get an accurate quote to protect your loved ones.
What Is Life Insurance For Seniors
There are several insurance companies that offer more lax underwriting requirements for seniors which makes getting life insurance as a senior much easier and more affordable.
This is basically what getting the best life insurance for seniors over 65 is about, especially if you need life insurance or final expense life insurance.
Some insurance companies even have 2 different sets of underwriting guidelines, one for people under the age of 65 and a different set for people over the age of 65.
This is good news for seniors because it means that companies are starting to consider the natural changes in health for senior citizens.
I have even been able to find a few companies that can approve some late age onset type 2 diabetics with excellent control, for a “Preferred” rate.
I am even running across companies that allow you to have blood pressure readings as high as 150/90 or companies that don’t consider your family history issues and allow you to get the best rates.
Since life insurance can be such a competitive market, hopefully these underwriting changes will become an industry standard and benefit all seniors.
Since life insurance for senior citizens has become a niche for a few life insurance companies, you should consider taking a look at the best rates available today.
Why Seniors Need Life Insurance
Income replacement is going to be the most important reason you would need life insurance as a senior.
If you were to pass away and your spouse is depending on you for financial support from retirement income, their life could change immediately.
No one wants to work during their retirement years, but if you pass away without protecting them, they just might have to do that.
Especially if you guys don’t have a solid amount of money in savings, this could completely destroy any possibility of your spouse staying in retirement.
If your home isn’t paid off by then it could also have to be sold to keep it from going into foreclosure.
It also prevents you from having to put away too much into savings if you purchase a policy that will cover you up to age 95, that is pretty much all the savings you would need if you were to pass away.
The expectation is for Seniors to be in a position where they don’t need life insurance, but this just isn’t a realistic expectation.
With people living longer and working longer, having the funds to outlive going broke is getting harder for everyone.
Covering all of your final expenses is also another reason seniors would need life insurance.
The worst thing that could happen is that you pass away and your family has to use GoFund me to bury you.
Funerals are costing around $10,000 just for a burial on a national average and the average family doesn’t have $3,000 in their bank account.
As a senior, life insurance is extremely important to have.
Types of Life Insurance Options For Seniors
The best thing about term life insurance is going to be that it will always be the most affordable option.
However, it does have its limitations in regards to length of coverage, especially for seniors.
This is because term policies only last for a specific amount of time, from 5 years up to 30 years.
At around the age of 50 years old, most term policies will no longer offer a 30 year term policy.
This means at most you will be able to get a 20 year term, or have coverage up until you are 70.
If you live past 70 you will have to renew the policy or get a new one.
You get even less coverage options as you get older when it comes to a term life policy.
By the time you turn 65 you usually can only get a 10 year term policy so again, you won't be covered past the age of 75.
This is something as a senior you have to take into consideration.
Whole life insurance is going to last for your whole life as long as you pay the premiums.
This is a great benefit for seniors, but you will find that these policies usually are too expensive or outside what you planned to pay for life insurance.
These policies will build cash value and give you lasting proctection but you really don't catch a break with the pricing.
This makes Whole Life not that great for Seniors when it comes to life insurance.
Guaranteed Universal Whole Life (GUL)
We have a whole section below on why Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance is usually the best option for seniors.
Even though it is more expensive than a term policy, it is much more affordable than a whole life policy.
It also gives you the option to have coverage up to age 90, 95, or 121.
Think of it as the Baby of Whole Life & Term Life, it has all of their great features and almost none of their bad character traits.
Is AARP Term Life Insurance A Good Deal
The honest answer, in my professional opinion is no, AARP Term Life insurance is not a good deal.
All of the AARP term rates are overpriced compared to other term life insurance policies available to seniors.
AARP’s lowest price life insurance plan is a five year increasing premium term plan.
This means that the rate that you currently pay will increase at five year intervals and will terminate at age 80.
Below are AARP’s monthly rates for a $50,000, 5 year term policy for men ages 50 to 74:
Issue Age $50,000
If you are age 54 when you purchase the plan above, you’ll pay $51.04 per month this year.
Next year your rate will increase to $74.58 per month, this means in one year your rates would increase by over $20.00 per month.
The same thing will happen when you turn 60, the rate you pay will then increase to $108.25 per month.
At age 65, your rate will increase to $143.96 per month, and at age 70 it will increase to $207.25 per month.
The AARP life insurance website does not show the age 75-79 monthly rates, but I suspect they are unaffordable for most people.
As long as you are an AARP member, you only need to answer some medical questions to be able to qualify for the above rates.
If your health is not good, then there is a good chance that you won’t qualify for the AARP plan.
This makes me wonder if AARP even cares about how bad their term life insurance program is.
And guess what:
According to Wikipedia, AARP “was paid $652,000,000 in royalties from insurance companies that sold products referred by AARP.”
That’s a LOT of money, and they certainly are not helping seniors save money on their term life insurance!
I would avoid an AARP term product like the plague and focus only on guaranteed level products.
Why GUL Is Better Than Term Life For Seniors
Guaranteed Universal Life goes by a few different names such as:
No Lapse Universal Life
Term Insurance For Life
GUL is the most cost effective, permanent life insurance that has a guaranteed level rate up to your entire lifetime, regardless of interest rates that are credited to your policy.
You can also choose the guaranteed level premium you’d like on GUL products with the longest guarantee being your total lifetime.
This is the only life insurance product for which you can choose any guarantee you’d like.
Pacific Life just came out with a new GUL that so far seems to be really competitive with guarantee to age 90.
They are probably the most competitive GUL company when competing against a term policy.
This is great because there isn't a term policy that can guarantee your rates to age 90.
As I mentioned above, the nice thing about GUL rates is many companies will allow you to choose your guaranteed level premium period.
If you’re 65 now and are comfortable having a guaranteed level rate to age 85, 88, or 90, you can lock into one of these guaranteed periods.
On the other hand, if you feel better locking into a guaranteed level rate to age 95 or 100, you can do that too.
Of course, the longer the guarantee, the more expensive the insurance will be.
For many seniors, the guaranteed universal life rates to age 85, 90, or longer will be less expensive than a term insurance policy for the same time frame.
Plus, you can pay more into almost every GUL policy to extend the duration of coverage later.
This is a great option if you get concerned that you may outlive your policy later or decide to “sell” your policy via a life settlement.
To get an offer to “sell” your policy via a life settlement, your policy must be able to accommodate a level premium to your age 100. UL, GUL, and term plans that are still convertible are perfect for life settlements.
Another reason GUL products are great is because some insurance companies are more liberal in underwriting a GUL case vs underwriting term life insurance.
While some people with health issues might get charged an extra premium on term life, they may be able to qualify for a “Regular” or better rate with no extra premium on a guaranteed universal life product.
GUL products provide more flexibility than most traditional term life insurance policies, especially for people age 60 and older who want a 20 year or longer guaranteed level rate.
Since GUL rates are a bit more expensive than term insurance for younger people, many younger people will be better off buying term insurance that is convertable.
To get GUL quotes, use the quoting tool to the upper right hand side of this page and input your information. For “Insurance Type,” scroll down to “To Age 121 Level (No Lapse U/L)” and hit “compare now.”
You can pay any of the No Lapse Universal Life products on a monthly basis, and each company has special software to do this.
Final Expense Life Insurance For Seniors
Final expense insurance, often called Burial Insurance, is a type of whole life insurance policy that is marketed towards the senior market.
These are small policies that range from $2,000 up to $25,000 and usually are purchased to cover the cost of burial and other small final expenses when you pass away.
These policies are extremely liberal when it comes to underwriting requirements and height and weight guidelines.
If you can’t get approved for traditional life insurance this type of policy is usually your next best option.
You will also find that most of these final expense companies won’t order your medical records either.
Beware, though, when applying for any no exam coverage, as the best final expense companies that don’t require an exam will do a pharmacy records database search.
If you were prescribed any of the Alzheimer’s or dementia drugs like:
It’s going to create a RED FLAG because these are drugs which will result in an automatic decline with all of the best no exam insurance companies.
If you are declined for life insurance or you feel you’ve exhausted all of your options, there is always guaranteed issue life insurance available to you.
I know how frustrating it can be to be declined for life insurance, as there are very few companies that would insure me.
I understand your pain and will do my very best to get you covered at the best rate possible.
Life Insurance Quotes Over 50
Directly below are the best no-exam $50,000 - 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 year guaranteed level term monthly rates available to men in average health (not good, but not bad) from ages 50 to 70:
Issue Age 10 Year 15 Year 20 Year 25 Year 30 Year
50 $23.03 $25.44 $29.59 $37.27 $51.11
55 $31.84 $34.30 $42.68 $56.04 n/a
60 $47.17 $56.38 $71.19 $85.66 n/a
65 $72.71 $90.20 $114.97 n/a n/a
70 $131.77 $155.14 n/a n/a n/a
All of the rates above are guaranteed to remain level for the time frame shown.
If you are age 50 and you purchase the 25 year rate above of $37.27 per month, this rate is guaranteed to remain level until you turn age 75.
Completing Your Medical Exam As A Senior
Life Insurance for seniors can be affordable, but if you’re 70 or older, many insurance companies will require that you do cognitive function testing as part of your free LIFE insurance exam.
Even if your health is very good, failing the cognitive function test as defined by the insurance company will ALWAYS result in a decline for life insurance for seniors over 70.
Cognitive Function can be defined as an intellectual process by which one becomes aware of, perceives, or comprehends ideas.
It involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning, and remembering.
In addition to your overall health, the best insurance companies for seniors are concerned with cognitive function because there is a direct link between mild cognitive impairment and early death.
There is also evidence that moderate to severe cognitive impairment can greatly reduce your life expectancy.
The testing that is done can be:
Delayed Word Recall
for which you’ll be told some words and then asked to repeat as many of those words as possible after a period of time.
Landmark Drawing Copy Test
for which you’d be shown a picture and asked to copy the picture (usually a picture of a clock with a specific time).
Get Up And Go Mobility Testing
for which an examiner would observe you getting up out of a chair and walking across a room.
If you have any cognitive type of issues, and are unable to pass the above tests, then you will definitely want to avoid a company that requires it.
I suspect more life insurance companies will be adding cognitive function testing as part of their application process in the future.
As of today the following insurance companies do NOT require any type of cognitive function testing:
ING ReliaStar Life
ING Security Life of Denver
National Life of Vermont
New York Life
SBLI of MA
Security Mutual Life of NY (unless applying for Chronic Illness Rider, then they do require cognitive testing)
United of Omaha
Western Reserve Life
Even if you pass a cognitive function test, all of the competitive life insurance companies for seniors will request medical records for everyone over age 70.
If your doctor indicates you have memory issues, concerns about cognitive decline, or indicates even possible mild dementia or Alzheimer’s in your records, this will also almost always result in a decline.
If you are between the ages of 50 to 69, you probably won’t need to complete the cognitive function test.
Whenever you have to complete an exam be sure to follow the instructions of the medical examiner on how to prepare the day before.
Affordable Life Insurance For Seniors
Wouldn’t you be angry if you do all of the things you’re supposed to, like eating right, exercising, and not smoking.
However, you still don’t get the best life insurance rate because you haven’t had a medical check up with your own doctor within past couple of years.
Many life insurance companies will preclude people age 60 and older from their better rate classifications, which I find odd.
And some companies will even decline you if you haven't had a checkup within past 2 to 3 years.
This can even be an issue if you do have a free insurance exam and the insurance exam results are perfect.
We know that life insurance underwriting is not always a fair process, so we developed a strategy that will get anyone the best offer possible.
Not seeing a doctor because you feel great, or don’t have health insurance aren’t acceptable reasons to the life insurance companies.
According to the underwriters, insurance exams don’t always show everything, and exams can't always be relied upon for them to make an accurate offer.
MANY life insurance companies want to make sure you’re getting regular medical check ups.
The older you get, the more important this is to the life insurance companies.
Case Study - 66 Year Old Male
A 66 year old client of mine had a term insurance policy that just came up for renewal.
He was not going to continue it because he no longer needed $550,000 of life insurance.
He still wanted to keep some life insurance in force for his wife and/or his children for the rest of his life.
He answered a lot of questions for me so that I could determine the best rates and insurance companies for him and his health was good.
In addition, he told me he did have a personal physician, but I didn’t question him about when he last saw his physician.
Converting his existing term policy was going to cost more than he wanted to pay, so he decided to re-apply for coverage to get the best possible offer.
He wanted permanent life insurance but was comfortable with a guaranteed universal life insurance policy to age 95.
I looked at rates from all of the “players” at his age and health status including:
Lincoln National Life
Because I know anything can turn up in underwriting, I had him apply to both Columbus Life and Symetra Life.
I wanted to see which would make him the best offer, as they should have the best price for my client based on his age and other information.
Relying on any one insurance company to make the best offer is becoming harder since most insurance companies have different rate classifications.
It turns out my client had not seen his doctor in over two years, and this placed my client in a Standard or Regular rate class with Columbus Life.
All of the Columbus Life underwriters are great, and they go out of their way to make any exceptions possible on my cases.
My underwriter they can't offer their preferred plus or preferred rates to anyone over age 60 that doesn't see their doctor annually.
I told my client that Columbus Life would only offer their Standard rate, which was $804 more per year than what I originally quoted.
He was not happy and told me he could schedule a doctor’s appointment right away if it would get Columbus Life to change their offer.
I told him to hold off on that appointment until we get Symetra’s offer.
The reason I told him to hold off on an exam with his own doctor is because you can risk getting declined if something comes up during a medical exam.
Insurance companies always reserve the right to review any new medical records that could have been from doctor’s visits during the underwriting process.
Anything could turn up on a medical check up, which could cause any insurance company to make a higher offer or to decline the case altogether.
I always try to have my clients avoid seeing any doctors while underwriting is going on (unless it’s an emergency).
Symetra ended up approving my client for their “Super Preferred” or best rate classification.
This was an even better offer than I was expecting due to my clients family history.
My client bought a guaranteed level rate policy to age 100 instead of only to 95, and that was still $1,008 per year less than Columbus Life’s offer to age 95.
That’s a savings of over $20,000 if my client lives another 20 years or over $30,000 if he lives another 30 years; Huge savings!
It is important to remember that you aren't alone though this process.
There are several options available when it comes to life insurance for seniors.
All you need to do is click the above button for an accurate quote and we can get the process started to getting you covered for the best rates possible.
The worst thing to do is wait any longer for coverage, the longer you wait the higher the probability you will not be able to get covered.
It doesn't cost us anything to get an answer or an approval, but it could cost your family everything if you don't have coverage.