Best Age to Get Life Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
December 28, 2023

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The best age to get life insurance depends on various factors. Just because it’s the right time for someone your age to get life insurance doesn’t necessarily mean that you should buy a policy as well. As a general rule, it’s better to buy life insurance when you are younger because this usually allows you to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of your policy. However, you can find a life insurance policy at almost every age. 

The Importance of Life Insurance

There are plenty of reasons to take out a life insurance policy. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest reasons why men and women purchase life insurance policies. 

Give Security to Your Loved Ones

If you have life insurance, you are ensuring some financial security for loved ones once you are no longer here. Whether it’s security for everyday expenses or making up for lost income as the primary breadwinner in your household, any additional financial security could save your family a lot of stress. 

Provide Some Generational Wealth

In most cases, life insurance payments aren’t taxed before they’re paid out to your beneficiaries. This means that a life insurance policy can offer you a great way to provide some inheritance to your loved ones. It could provide enough of a cushion for them to add onto, which can provide for many generations to come — and it all started with your legacy and prior planning. 

Give Yourself Some Comfort in Your Retirement

Most people associate life insurance with their death, but it can actually be quite beneficial when retiring or just preparing for retirement. You can withdraw the cash value or take out a loan against your life insurance policy that can be supplemental funds when you no longer have an income in retirement. Though this option only applies to more expensive whole life insurance policies, it can be a major benefit if you didn’t have as much time to add to your retirement savings. 

Take the Burden of End of Life Expenses Off Your Survivors

Once you pass, you’re leaving your loved ones to grieve. The last thing you want is to burden them with your end-of-life expenses in addition to the grieving process. In most cases, the biggest expense that your loved ones will need to handle after you pass on is the cost of your funeral, which can quickly reach thousands of dollars. A life insurance policy can take away that burden.  

Be Prepared for Anything

At the end of the day, anything can happen in life. A life insurance policy can provide just a little peace of mind that comes with knowing that your family is protected. 

Variables of Life Insurance at Different Ages

Your age is one of the main influences when it comes to how companies calculate your life insurance premium rate, along with your health condition. Your health condition sometimes coincides with your age; as you get older, you tend to develop more health problems. Let’s take a look at a few variables that will play a role in your application process when you apply for life insurance at different points in your life. 

Life Insurance Between 20 to 39

This is arguably the best time to get life insurance. Why? Because your premium will be at its lowest. In addition, if you’re getting a whole life or universal life insurance policy, taking it out in this age range will give you the longest amount of time to build the cash value — assuming you live a long life.

Life Insurance Between 40 to 59

This age is generally the time people start to think about life insurance. However, many men and women decide that they don’t want to spend the extra money at this time and don’t end up investing in a policy. If you do purchase life insurance at this age, you’ll be paying a higher monthly premium than if you were to get the policy at a younger age.  

Life Insurance Between 60 and Older

At this older age, you are nearing your life expectancy. This means that you are more expensive to insure, and you can expect your premiums to be significantly higher than someone who is younger. It’s once you reach this age that the premiums increase exponentially each year you age. 

At this point in your life, your health may also be diminishing, which means you may not even qualify for life insurance. Because people tend to become less healthy as they get older, insurance companies may require you to take a range of medical tests before they will grant you a policy at this age range. 

Why Get Life Insurance Younger?

Waiting to purchase a life insurance policy until you’re in your 50s or 60s can end up backfiring, even though most people think later in life is when you should be comparing life insurance options. In actuality, purchasing a life insurance policy later in life not only decreases your chances of getting a policy at all, it also will cost more than if you had gotten it at a younger age.

If you choose to get life insurance at a younger age, you can be assured you are receiving the best rates for your policy. You’ll also have a much easier time finding a life insurance company that works with your budget and coverage needs, as younger applicants have more options. We recommend starting your search for life insurance as soon as possible to ensure you get the best rates. 

Policies, Coverage and Plans

When determining what the best type of life insurance policy is for you, you’ll have to consider the amount of coverage you need. You’ll also need to consider how much you can afford to pay as a premium. There are several policy options, the most common of which are term life and whole life insurance. 

Term Life Insurance

Term life is a policy that guarantees a death benefit if the person who is covered dies within the determined time period (referred to as the term). Upon expiration of the term, the policy can be renewed if you so desire. If the policy expires before you die, there is no death benefit.

This type of policy is generally the cheapest option. However, with this term life policy, you do not accumulate a cash value portion of your insurance, so you cannot use it for supplemental income during retirement. The terms of these policies can be anywhere between 10 and 30 years.  

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. It offers coverage for your lifetime and ensures a death benefit to the beneficiaries when you pass on. This policy also has a savings component, referred to as the cash value, which accumulates money through dividends paid and interest on a tax-deferred basis. As long as you keep paying your premiums, your beneficiaries are guaranteed to receive your policy’s stated death benefit, no matter when you die or how long your policy is active. 

Life Insurance Prices at Different Ages

Let’s take a look at what you might expect to pay for your term life insurance coverage at a variety of ages, terms and benefit amounts. These rates were calculated for a non-smoking male at a variety of ages. 

AgeTermDeath benefitMonthly estimated cost
2010 years$500,000$14
2020 years$1 million$35
3015 years$500,000$17
3020 years$1 million$37
4010 years$500,000$19
4020 years$1 millon $55
50 15 years$500,000$42
5020 years$1 million$146
6010 years$500,000$113
6020 years$1 million$406
7010 years$500,000$319
7020 years$1 million$1,577
Quotes calculated on 7/7/21

Life Insurance When You Have Family Dependents  

Life insurance can end up helping your family when you no longer can. If people are depending on your income, a life insurance policy can ensure that your income is being made up when you’re gone. This means that if you have children or if your spouse has chosen to exit the workforce to care for the home or your family, you should seriously consider getting a life insurance policy. 

Life Insurance Duration

The duration of your life insurance is dependent on what type of policy you get and the amount of coverage you need. You can get a policy that has a lifetime duration or just get a policy for a certain amount of time. If you’re looking for a permanent life insurance plan, choose a whole life policy. If you’re looking for more affordable coverage but still want to maintain a level of coverage for your family, you may want to choose a term life insurance policy. 

Best Life Insurance Companies

Are you ready to begin your search for the right life insurance policy? Consider beginning your search with a few of Benzinga’s favorite life insurance policy providers using the table below. 

  • securely through Wysh Life Insurance's website
    securely through Wysh Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Those Under 50 Years Old
    Rating:
    Read Review
  • securely through Ladder Life Insurance's website
    securely through Ladder Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Adjustable coverage
    Rating:
    Read Review

    Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (CA license # OK22568; AR license # 3000140372) distributes term life insurance products issued by multiple insurers – for further details see ladderlife.com. All insurance products are governed by the terms set forth in the applicable insurance policy. Each insurer has financial responsibility for its own products. Coverage amounts vary by state.

  • securely through Haven Life Insurance's website
    securely through Haven Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Under Age 64
    Rating:
    Read Review

    Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC21 Haven Term in certain states, including NC) issued by C.M. Life Insurance Company (C.M. Life), Enfield, CT 06082. In New York (DTC-NY) and California (DTC-CA), it is issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001.

  • securely through Fabric Life Insurance's website
    securely through Fabric Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Young families
    Rating:
    Read Review
  • securely through Bestow Life Insurance's website
    securely through Bestow Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Term life insurance
    Rating:
    Read Review

    *excludes New York

  • securely through Sproutt Life's website
    securely through Sproutt Life's website
    Best For:
    People with healthy lifestyles
    Rating:
    Read Review

Who Needs Life Insurance?

If you’re between the ages of 21 and 54, chances are that you can benefit from a life insurance policy. But what is the best age to get life insurance? The answer to this question will vary depending on your unique circumstances. For example, if both you and your spouse work and you don’t have any dependents, you may not need a life insurance policy just yet. However, if you’re 21 and you have a family that relies on you for the majority of your income, you should seriously consider looking at life insurance policies to determine how much insurance you should get.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

How much life insurance should a 25-year-old have?

A

Life insurance for 25-year-olds is very affordable. Most insurance providers recommend you carry 5 to 10 times your annual income in life insurance coverage.  

Q

What is a good amount of life insurance?

A

The best amount of life insurance for your purposes will vary depending on your income and your familial structure. Think about the expenses your family would need to cover after your passing to determine how much life insurance you should protect yourself with.   

Q

What are the three main types of life insurance?

A

The three main types of life insurance are term life insurance, whole life insurance, and universal life insurance.

Methodology

Benzinga crafted a specific methodology to rank life insurance. To see a comprehensive breakdown of our methodology, please visit our Life Insurance Methodology page.