Life insurance for seniors is typically available. The policy choices can become limited at older ages. For example, longer lengths of term life insurance may not be available, such as 30-year term life when you’re in your 60s, but guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance is often available.

Why seniors might need life insurance

What is the maximum age to get life insurance?

Many life insurance companies will set a maximum “issue age” for buying a policy, typically around age 75 or 80. This maximum age typically also depends on the policy type.

Here are examples of maximum issue ages for term life insurance from Pruco, a subsidiary of Prudential.

Policy type Maximum issue age
10-year term life 75
15-year term life 70
20-year term life 65
30-year term life 50
Source: Pruco, for Term Elite and Term Essential policies

An independent life insurance agent can help you find insurance companies that sell life insurance policies for seniors.

Do you need life insurance after 70?

There may be a few reasons life insurance for seniors over 70 makes sense. A common reason is to provide funds for a spouse if you’re no longer around. If you’re retired and a spouse or other person relies on your pension or Social Security payments, they may not be eligible for survivor benefits. Here are more reasons you may need life insurance after age 70:

  • You have existing debts that someone else will inherit, such as a mortgage or medical bills.
  • You want to provide funds for the cost of a funeral.
  • You need to provide financial support for a special needs dependent.
  • You still have business-related financial obligations.
  • You want to provide an inheritance but don’t have the savings for it.

You may not need life insurance if:

  • Your funeral expenses are already covered.
  • You have enough in retirement savings for your spouse and dependents’ expenses.
  • You do not have any dependents.
  • You have no outstanding debt that someone else would have to pay. Here’s more on what debts die with you.

Is term or whole life insurance better for seniors?

The best life insurance policy for seniors is the type that fits your specific needs. It's a good idea to look at the features of term vs. whole life and what each type of policy will cover. Here’s a quick look.

  • Term life insurance is generally good for people who want life insurance for specific financial obligations with a known end. For example, if you have seven years left on a mortgage, you might consider a 10-year life insurance policy so your spouse could pay off the mortgage. Your choices for term length will become limited based on your age. It’s also possible you could outlive a term life policy. So if you want to provide money for a funeral, term life is not the best option.
  • Whole life insurance promises a payout to beneficiaries no matter when you die. If you’re looking for funds to provide an inheritance or help beneficiaries pay for a funeral or debt, this is the better option. Some whole life policies don’t require a life insurance medical exam but do ask some health questions.
  • Universal life insurance is another policy type that can last your entire life, although it typically has a “maturity” age. For example, “universal life to age 100” pays out the death benefit to you if you live to age 100. The downside here is that the money paid to you is taxable. If you die before age 100, the policy’s death benefit is tax-free to your beneficiaries.

What’s “guaranteed acceptance” life insurance?

You may have seen guaranteed acceptance life insurance advertised on TV. You can’t be turned down, there are no questions asked and no life insurance medical exam. However, it’s generally an expensive way to buy life insurance. With no medical exam and little information about you, the insurance company prices a policy based on age. Here’s how it works:

Pros

  • There’s no medical exam or questions about your health.
  • You pay a premium that doesn’t change over time.
  • The life insurance company cannot cancel the policy.
  • You won’t outlive the policy.

Cons

  • Coverage amount can be limited, such as $25,000.
  • The premiums can be very high.
  • The policy might have “graded death benefits.” These policies won’t pay out the full benefit if you die within the first few years of owning the policy. The policy will outline the percentages of the death benefit paid in the first few years. If you die shortly after buying the policy, your beneficiary will receive only the premiums you paid and some interest.

Learn more about other types of no exam life insurance.

How much does life insurance for seniors cost?

EverQuote looked cost examples for a $25,000 guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance policy for seniors. Here’s how costs compare at different ages.

Life insurance rates for seniors

Finding affordable life insurance for seniors

To get a good price, no matter what your age, compare life insurance quotes from at least a few companies.

An independent life insurance agent can help you find insurance companies offering the policies and coverage types you want.

It’s also a good idea to check an insurer’s financial strength rating from A.M. Best or Standard & Poor’s. Most life insurers provide their ratings on their websites, or ask your insurance agent for the ratings. Look for a company rated A- or higher.