If you are age 70 or older, it’s not too late to secure life insurance coverage lasting through your golden years.
Life insurance over 70 can be affordable and relatively easy to purchase, especially if you have an experienced independent agent guiding you and your family through the process.
Quick Article Guide
1. Types of Life Insurance
2. The Key to Buying Life Insurance Over 70
3. Life Insurance to Leave an Inheritance
4. Life Insurance to Cover Final Expenses
5. Life Insurance to Reduce Estate Taxes
6. Life Insurance for Pension Maximization
7. The Medical Exam
8. How to Apply
Understanding the different types of life insurance can be difficult, especially if this is your first time shopping. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from protecting your loved ones, so let’s start with a quick rundown of the policies you will come across:
Term Life Insurance
We describe term life insurance as pure protection. Term life provides a death benefit (money paid to your spouse or heirs to cover income loss and assets in the event of your death) at a fixed premium, for a set period of time (your term).
Terms are generally available in 5-year increments ranging from 5 to 30 years, after which the policy will usually become renewable on an annual basis. Term life insurance is generally the most affordable and cost-effective option for most people.
We included some sample rates for a 15-year and 20-year term for a male in excellent health. If you would like to see additional quotes or quotes for a female, please visit our guide, Life Insurance Rates By Age.
After the age of 71, term life insurance in no longer available in a 20 year term. If you need to secure life insurance until age 90, 95, or even 100 with guaranteed rates that do not increase as you get older, skip below to Life Insurance to Leave an Inheritance.
*Continue reading to view average rates for a GUL policy to age 90, 95, or 100.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance provides lifetime protection at fixed periodic premiums and builds cash value in addition to your death benefit.
There are many different types of whole life insurance, from indexed universal life policies embedded in stock market indexes to variable universal life, which is actually invested in the stock market.
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance (GUL)
Despite the implication of its name, guaranteed universal life insurance (GUL) is not whole life insurance. It does not build cash value, nor does it carry the expensive management fees of whole life, allowing you to keep your payments low.
A GUL policy functions similarly to a term life policy, except rates are fixed to a specified age (90, 95, 100, 105, 110, and even 121) rather than a specified number of years.
At JRC, we are strong proponents of guaranteed universal life insurance over its non-guaranteed counterpart—learn why here.
After the age of 70, the majority of well-known or “big-box” life insurance companies have stopped offering term life insurance. In fact, many stop offering competitive rates much sooner—even after age 50!
Agents working for big-name insurers are what we call “captive agents,” meaning they are only able to sell their employer’s products. Likewise, these companies have for decades built their names on home and auto insurance, with life insurance as an afterthought, add-on, or “bundle” deal.
While it may seem like a quick and comfortable solution to call your longtime auto insurance agent and ask about life insurance, understand that this will severely limit your options, and you will likely end up spending 25 to 30 percent more than you should. That’s if they are even interested in providing you with life insurance over 70.
For this reason, many older folks who call us are surprised to find that term life insurance is indeed available to them. JRC is an independent agency, meaning we can impartially shop dozens of carriers across the market on behalf of our clients. We are not owned by an insurance company, and our services are completely free to you. Only after you are approved for and 100% happy with your policy are we compensated by the insurance company.
The takeaway: it’s especially important for you to work with an independent agent.
If you are 70 or older and need life insurance for longer than 10 years, you will want to purchase guaranteed universal life insurance to lock in your rates and coverage until the age of 90 or later. These policies are often called “term to 90,” “term to 95,” or “term to 100” life insurance, because they work just like a term policy, with rates and coverage guaranteed to a specific age.
Many of our clients purchase life insurance to leave an inheritance. With a guaranteed policy to age 90 or later, you can spend your retirement savings and still leave a legacy, tax-free.
In quite a few cases, it even turns out that a GUL policy offers longer coverage and greater savings than term life insurance.
The tables below show average rates for a male in excellent health seeking “Lifetime” coverage or a GUL policy to age 90, 95, or 100. You may notice that at age 75, you could buy a 15-year term life policy with a $500,000 death benefit for roughly $1,257.75. Or, you could lock in the same coverage up to age 100 with a GUL policy that would cost roughly $1,484.44.
If you are in a place where you already have money to leave behind to your spouse or heirs, we might recommend a minimalist policy designed to cover final expenses and burial costs.
Final expense policies carry death benefits between $5,000 and $25,000. Just like all other life insurance policies, the money is paid to your beneficiaries tax-free, in a lump sum if they wish, or in monthly installments. The two main things to look for in a final expense policy are a fixed rate and coverage for your entire lifetime. To obtain a quote for a final expense policy, please give us a call at 855-247-9555. We shop dozens of companies, and we’ll be able to find you the best rate.
Life insurance is also purchased to protect estates for high-net-worth families. This can be through individual policies or lower cost “second to die” coverage (meaning heirs receive the death benefit after both spouses on a policy die). If your estate is valued at more than $5,450,000 as of 2016, it may be subject to taxes of up to 40% for the amount above the exemption.
To minimize or eliminate the tax burden for your heirs, you may wish to consider permanent life insurance to cover taxes and the cost of an estate settlement.
JRC recently worked with an older gentleman who lives in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. with his wife. He loves his profession and happily goes to work every day, despite having accumulated notable wealth and being well past the typical retirement age. He uses life insurance for estate planning, to effectively shield his two children from estate taxes down the road.
The client was originally working with a large, well-known non-profit in hopes of getting a third second-to-die life insurance policy. After becoming frustrated with the organization’s lack of responsiveness, he searched online for a life insurance agent and found JRC.
After shopping 40 top insurance carriers to find the right solution, we were able to help him funnel the cash value from his two second-to-die cash accumulation accounts toward one policy. This allowed him not only to condense his life insurance from a prospective three plans down to one, but also secure 15% more coverage and save roughly $24,000 per year in premiums—all at zero extra cost.
Now, he pays no monthly premiums and has peace of mind knowing that his life insurance is aligned with his estate taxes. He was even able to put the residual money he was going to spend on a third policy into a trust fund instead.
Are you in your 60s and considering buying life insurance to enable you to retire with full pension benefits? Using a strategy called pension maximization, you can supplement your pension with life insurance to accept the full payout while still providing financial protection for your spouse and family.
For example, if your full pension pays $4,500 per month, taking the spousal benefit might drop your payout to $3,700 per month. Life insurance, on the other hand, can provide the same peace of mind and perhaps even a larger death benefit for, say, $200 per month. So, by accepting your full $4,500 per month pension and buying life insurance separately, you are putting $600 more in your pocket each month ($7,200 per year) compared to the spousal benefit.
If you are currently weighing the options of your pension, we’ve created the only guide you’ll ever need to determine whether pension maximization will be a viable strategy for you.
You may or may not be aware that many life insurance policies require a medical exam. The exam is free to you, paid by the insurance company you apply with (regardless of whether you are approved). A nurse can visit you to administer an in-home test, or we can make arrangements for you to go to an approved lab in your area, such as Quest Diagnostics.
A medical exam for life insurance typically includes measuring your height and weight, taking your blood pressure, and giving a small blood and urine sample. You should also be sure to have all of your age appropriate checkups up to date at this time. An insurance underwriter will then review your lab work results, along with your medical records, as part of standard due diligence. This all requires absolutely no work or payment from you.
If you’re shopping for life insurance after age 70, you may still be able to obtain life insurance without a medical exam, although your death benefit will likely be capped at $25,000, and your rates will be higher. Without reviewing your lab work results, a life insurance company is accepting a higher risk. Therefore, you’ll be treated as “high risk” even if you’re not.
An insurance company that offers coverage without an exam has no way to determine if you are overweight, a smoker, or have other underlying health issues. Many policies purchased without an exam increase in cost every give years. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you take a medical exam for life insurance.
- Give JRC a call at 855-247-9555, or get a free life insurance quote online.
- We will discuss your needs and begin shopping 40+ carriers to find you the best rates.
- Complete your application with the insurance company of your choice. (Don’t worry–it only takes a few minutes!)
- Complete a free, in-home life insurance health screening physical. This will be required unless you’re buying a $5,000-$25,000 “final expense” policy. After age 65, life insurance companies want to make sure you don’t have any serious issues. (Worried that you’ll be declined? You might be surprised to learn that many serious health issues are insurable.)
- Wait for your approval (typically 6-8 weeks) and review your policy when received. At this time, you can decline the offer for insurance at no cost, adjust your death benefit amount, or make your first payment to start your policy.
Were here to help. Give us a call today at 855-247-9555 or request a free quote online.