By the time you get to your fifties, you’re usually looking at your second life insurance policy. The first one you bought in your twenties or thirties is about to expire, or you’re looking for something to replace a failing whole life insurance policy.
When it comes to buying life insurance in your fifties, there’s good and bad news. Good news: you probably don’t need as much coverage as you did when you were younger, which makes your policy cheaper! Not as good news: because you’re older, your life insurance policy will be more expensive! Age is a major driver of life insurance rates, but there are some strategies that you can use to keep costs down.
Determining your coverage amount
Calculating your coverage amount is a very personal process – no one needs exactly the same amount of coverage for the same reasons. However, there are some common financial obligations that a lot of people want to cover: outstanding mortgage debt, your kid’s college tuitions, and retirement funds.
By your fifties, there’s a good chance that some of these common financial obligations no longer apply to you, or look very different from when you were in your thirties. Your mortgage, for example – when you took out your first policy, you were probably just beginning to pay off your mortgage. By now, you’ve probably paid off a good twenty years of it, leaving you with a much smaller debt obligation.
This means that most fifty-year-olds can buy smaller policies with shorter terms – the financial obligations they’re covering are smaller and shorter than they were twenty years ago.
Our life insurance calculator can help you figure out how much life insurance you need no matter what age you are or what your financial situation looks like.
Consider your age and health
Now it’s time to get strategic. Because you’re in your fifties, your life insurance will cost more than it did in your thirties. This is true regardless of your actual health record; life insurance just gets more expensive across the board as you age.
While you can’t change your age (unfortunately), you can find a life insurance company that looks at your age more favorably – assuming you’re otherwise healthy. (Find out how to compare life insurance quotes and find the cheapest life insurance policy for you.)
There are also health conditions that usually start showing up sometime in your forties and fifties that can adversely affect your life insurance rate. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, weight gain – just to name a few common conditions that may appear. Life insurance companies always have applicants go through a short medical exam in order to calculate the most accurate rates. Some older life insurance shoppers might look at simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance policies, which don’t require a medical exam, because they’re afraid a traditional life insurance policy will be too expensive. However, these policies are significantly more expensive, and a traditional term life insurance policy should always be your first choice, even if you have a medical condition.
Luckily, this is another area where shopping around for life insurance can help you save money. Every life insurance company considers every medical condition differently – Company A may be conservative when it comes to diabetes, for example, while Company B is more than happy to give shoppers with diabetes competitive rates assuming they are managing the condition. We offer a breakdown of which companies look favorably upon the top health conditions that could drive up your rates in our life insurance reviews.
An independent life insurance agent can help you shop around for life insurance policies based on your specific medical profile. The more life insurance companies they can look at, the more likely it is that you’ll find one that matches up with your needs.
While life insurance itself hasn’t changed much since you bought a policy twenty years ago, the way you shop and buy life insurance has. You can now compare policies from almost a dozen companies online, instantly. This makes it much easier to find and buy the cheapest life insurance policy available for you.