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If you're an older adult, you might think life insurance is beyond your grasp, simply too expensive, or too difficult to qualify for. It turns out, that's not always the case. In fact, there are a variety of life insurance policies that accommodate seniors. This article explains some of the key points you need to know when deciding which policy is right for you.

Life insurance policies for seniors

When selecting life insurance at any stage in life, it's important to keep in mind the many factors involved, such as age, financial goals and overall health. If the insurance company considers you a higher risk based on health conditions and lifestyle factors, you could be rejected. So you should consider these variables when reviewing the policies available.

Determining the best product to meet your needs

The benefits of whole life and universal life insurance vary, and which one you choose has a lot to do with your priorities and your budget. In the past, your primary goal for purchasing life insurance might have been to protect your loved ones financially if something happened to you. But even if life's big expenses, such as paying off your mortgage and your kids' education, are behind you, there are still reasons to purchase life insurance. For instance, a life policy could provide cash value that you use to supplement your retirement income.

These factors all play a significant role in how much insurance you decide to buy — and the type of insurance you purchase. A couple of options to consider include:

  • Whole life insurance
  • Whole life insurance also called permanent life insurance, pays benefits whenever the policyholder passes, as long as the policy is still in force. Whole life policies also accumulate a cash value, which can be distributed as a loan that must be paid back while the policyholder is still living or it will be deducted from the benefit at the time of death. Smokers can expect to pay higher premiums.1

  • Guaranteed universal life insurance
  • Although the premiums are lower than whole life, it still pays a small cash value — and higher death benefits. Like all forms of life insurance, smokers pay higher premiums, and a medical exam is almost always required.1

Life insurance for those over age 60

Individuals 60 years of age and older may be experiencing life changes such as retirement and decreased living expenses. If you already have a term life insurance policy, which is good for only a specified length of time, you may consider switching to a permanent policy for a different amount of coverage.

Life insurance for those over age 70

At this stage, you may not have much, if any, debt, and larger expenses are probably a thing of the past. You may, however, want to leave a legacy to your loved ones. With this in mind, a permanent policy would be a good option. But remember that the cost of these policies tend to increase with age.

Another option would be to consider a policy to cover final expenses.

Life insurance riders for seniors

A life insurance rider is an optional feature that you can purchase to add to a policy. This customization can provide different types of protection. Several riders may be of special benefit later in life, including2:

  • Guaranteed insurability rider: This rider makes it possible to purchase additional coverage within a pre-determined time period without taking another medical exam. This could be especially helpful if your health declines with age.
  • Waiver of premium rider: With this rider, future premiums are waived if the insured becomes disabled.
  • Accelerated death benefit rider: This rider makes it possible for the insured to use the death benefits if he or she is diagnosed with a terminal illness that results in a lifespan that is significantly shortened as a result.
  • Long-term care rider: This rider provides the ability to access the death benefit early to help pay for long-term-care-related expenses. Learn more about long-term care insurance.

What to consider before buying life insurance

When selecting a life insurance policy that's right for you, it helps to consider a few tips. First, shop around to compare monthly premiums and death benefit coverage. This will help ensure you're getting a policy you can afford and one that’ll help you achieve your financial goals. Like so many financial agreements, it's also a good idea to read the fine print carefully.

Buying life insurance at any age can be a complex process and one that requires a fair amount of homework and comparison shopping. Find out which life insurance policies are available to you.

[1] "Complete Guide to the Best Senior Life Insurance Options," https://www.lhlic.com/consumer-resources/life-insurance-for-seniors/ (accessed Dec. 7, 2020).
[2] “How riders can customize your coverage," https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/life_insurance_rider.asp (August 29, 2020).
Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which are controlling. Such terms and availability may vary by state and exclusions may apply. Discounts may not be applied to all policy coverages.