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Average life insurance rates by age, gender, policy type, and coverage amount

Life insurance costs are dependent on your unique profile and the type of policy you are getting.

Headshot of Policygenius editor Nupur GambhirAmanda Shih author photo

By 

Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Senior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

 & Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is an editor and a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about life insurance and disability insurance. Her expertise has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

Expert reviewed

Expert reviewed

This article has been reviewed by a licensed Policygenius expert to ensure that sources, statistics, and claims meet our standard for accurate and unbiased advice.

Learn more about our editorial review process.

by

Patrick Hanzel, CFP®

Patrick Hanzel, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner™ & Advanced Planning Team Lead

Patrick Hanzel, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Planner™ and Advanced Planning Team Lead at Policygenius. His expertise has been featured at Lifehacker, Consumer Affairs, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, and Fatherly.

Updated | 9 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

Life insurance provides a financial safety net that you'll potentially be paying premiums toward for decades. That’s why it’s important to understand the cost of your policy. After all, having a policy lapse because you can’t afford it defeats the purpose of buying it in the first place.

Your policy’s premiums are determined by your policy details, including the type of policy and coverage amount, and your own circumstances, like your health, age, family background, and lifestyle choices. Working with an independent broker is the best way to get the most competitive premiums.

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Key Takeaways

  • The cost of life insurance is determined by five factors: age, gender, policy type (term vs. whole), health, and hobbies.

  • It’s best to get coverage sooner rather than later because rates increase as you age and as your health declines.

  • The longer and larger your policy or the riskier your health and hobbies, the higher your premiums will be.

How much does life insurance cost?

Individual life insurance quotes depend on many factors, which influence your risk. A healthy 35-year-old male getting a term life insurance policy can expect to pay about $30.42 in monthly premiums for a 20-year, $500,000 policy as of April 2022, while a 35-year-old female with the same term length and policy amount may pay $25.60. Generally, term life insurance is more affordable than whole life insurance because whole life lasts longer and has an additional savings feature. 

More than 50% of Americans overestimate the cost of insurance and put off buying a life insurance policy as a result. In a study by LIMRA, a research, consulting, and professional development organization for financial services, and Life Happens, a nonprofit focused on providing unbiased education around insurance options, 44% of millennials estimated that a 20-year term policy would cost $1,000 or more per year. By contrast, the actual cost of the policy was approximately $165/year. [1]

The following are sample rates of a 20-year policy for a 35-year-old male non-smoker with a Preferred health rating — in other words, somebody with a very good health or minor health conditions.

Term life insurance rates - April 2022

For shoppers interested in a whole life insurance policy, rates are significantly higher. A healthy, non-smoking, 35-year-old male can expect to pay about $571 per month for a $500,000 policy with premiums paid up by age 99. Other types of policies, including some no-medical exam or guaranteed life insurance policies, may cost even more.  

To see up-to-date life insurance pricing trends month over month, check out our price index.

How are life insurance rates calculated?

Life insurance rates are determined by five main factors: 

  • Age: Each year that you delay buying a life insurance policy, the cost of premiums increases by 4.5% to 9% on average.

  • Gender: Women generally pay less for life insurance than men because they have a longer life expectancy.

  • Policy type: Whole life insurance costs more than term life insurance. A policy with a longer term or higher coverage amount will also cost more.

  • Health: Health has a significant impact on your rates. Generally the healthier you are, the lower your rates will be. 

  • Hobbies and lifestyle: Hobbies and lifestyle choices that put you at risk of harm, like skydiving or smoking, will raise your rates.

Average life insurance rates by age and gender

Your premium is set when you sign your policy, and it won’t change during the term of the policy. But, as you age, the cost of purchasing life insurance increases. 

Because women tend to live longer than men, [2] they also receive lower life insurance rates. This difference applies across policy types, and the gap grows wider as you age. For example, men pay only about $5 more than women per month at age 35, but about $40 more per month at age 55. Ultimately however, health conditions have a bigger impact on your rates regardless of your gender.

The tables below show average monthly life insurance rates for men and women buying different types of common policies: a 20-year term policy, a whole life insurance policy paid up by age 99, and a no-medical-exam policy.

Term life insurance rates by age

AgeFemaleMale
25$21.16$26.98
35$25.60$30.42
45$48.09$60.99
55$109.39$152.08

Methodology: Sample monthly rates are based on a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy for non-smokers in a Preferred health classification; quotes based on data from Policygenius partner insurance companies including AIG, Banner Life, Brighthouse, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, SBLI and Transamerica, and may vary by carrier, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 4/01/2022.

Term life insurance rates by gender

Sex$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Female$16.60$25.60$42.92
Male$18.93$30.42$52.01

Methodology: Sample monthly rates are based on a 20-year term life insurance policy for 35-year-old non-smokers in a Preferred health classification; quotes based on data from Policygenius partner insurance companies including AIG, Banner Life, Brighthouse, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, SBLI and Transamerica, and may vary by carrier, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 4/01/2022.

Whole life insurance rates by age

AgeFemaleMale
25$346.00$393.00
35$481.00$571.00
45$716.00$866.00
55$1,173.00$1,380.00

Methodology: Sample rates are calculated for non-smokers in a Preferred health classification, obtaining a $500,000 whole life insurance policy payable within 99 years from MassMutual. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 4/01/2022.

Whole life insurance rates by gender

Sex$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Female$243.00$481.00$947.00
Male$288.00$571.00$1,121.00

Methodology: Sample rates are calculated for 35-year-old non-smokers in a Preferred health classification, obtaining a whole life insurance policy payable within 99 years from MassMutual. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 4/01/2022.

No-medical-exam term life insurance rates by age

AgeFemaleMale
25$19.82$25.36
35$23.72$27.85
45$46.27$33.22
55$109.88$151.42

Methodology: Rates are calculated for non-smokers in a Preferred health classification, buying a $500,000, 20-year, no-medical-exam term life insurance policy. This calculation is a composite of carriers that offer policies through Policygenius, including Brighthouse, Foresters Financial, and Lincoln Financial, and may vary by carrier, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 4/01/2022.

No-medical-exam term life insurance rates by gender

Sex$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Female$15.10$23.72$39.90
Male$17.16$27.85$48.57

Methodology: Rates are calculated for 35-year-old non-smokers in a Preferred health classification, buying a 20-year, no-medical-exam term life insurance policy. This calculation is a composite of carriers that offer policies through Policygenius, including Brighthouse, Foresters Financial, and Lincoln Financial, and may vary by carrier, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 4/01/2022.

To lock in cheaper rates, purchase a life insurance policy while you’re young and in good health. Premiums will remain the same throughout the entirety of any of the policies above.

Transgender applicants and life insurance

At this time, there is no established protocol on gender for transgender applicants across the life insurance industry. Insurers typically offer policies based on your actual gender as opposed to the gender you were assigned at birth, but it’s up to the underwriter to make this determination. Hormone therapy and gender affirming surgery won’t impact your rates. Insurers cannot discriminate against you because you are transgender and doing so is illegal.

Companies on the Policygenius marketplace that generally underwrite applicants based on their gender identity include AIG, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Underwriting guidelines can change, so we recommend working with a Policygenius agent to find an insurer that will underwrite your life insurance policy using the correct gender. 

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When is the best time to buy life insurance?

It’s best to buy a policy when you’re young and healthy to save money over the long term. The study published by LIMRA and Life Happens mentioned above found that nearly 4 in 10 current life insurance policyholders expressed regret that they didn’t purchase their policy at a younger age.

Buy a policy as soon as you anticipate crossing major milestones like:

When it makes sense to buy life insurance when you’re older

There are times when it makes sense to buy a policy at an older age, even if it is at a higher cost. For example, you might need coverage for a lifelong dependent or need some coverage to pay for your funeral. People who started a family or bought a house later in life, which is common among millennials, [3] will need a policy for longer.

But ideally, you won’t need to buy a life insurance policy when you’re older. By retirement, the goal is to have fewer people who rely on you for financial security as your dependents become independents and long-term expenses, like your mortgage, are closer to being paid off.

Average life insurance rates by policy size & length

How much life insurance you need is a two-part question: how much coverage you need (the death benefit), and how many years you need that coverage to last (the term). The longer your policy lasts and the greater your coverage, the higher its cost. A whole life insurance policy ensures your coverage will last the rest of your life.

The table below shows average monthly term life insurance rates by policy size & length.

Term lengthSex$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10 yearsFemale$12.22$17.43$25.83
Male$13.60$20.64$30.91
20 yearsFemale$16.60$25.60$42.92
Male$18.78$30.18$51.64
30 yearsFemale$23.78$39.03$68.92
Male$27.76$46.48$83.67

Methodology: Rates are calculated for 35-year-old male and female non-smokers in a Preferred health classification buying a term life insurance policy; quotes based on data from Policygenius partner insurance companies including AIG, Banner Life, Brighthouse, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, SBLI and Transamerica, and may vary by carrier, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 4/01/2022.

The table below shows average monthly whole life insurance rates by policy size & payment period.

Payout lengthSex$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10 yearsFemale$1,206$2,412$4,824
Male$1,286$2,572$5,144
20 yearsFemale$493$986$1,947
Male$545$1,089$2,455
65 yearsFemale$384$763$1,492
Male$423$843$1,650
99 yearsFemale$243$481$719
Male$288$571$1,121

Methodology: Sample rates are calculated for 35-year-old non-smokers in a Preferred health classification, obtaining a whole life insurance policy payable within 10 years, 20 years, 65 years, and 99 years, from MassMutual. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 4/01/2022.

How the type of life insurance affects your policy cost

The type of life insurance you have affects the cost of your policy. A term life insurance policy is the most common and most affordable; a permanent policy is more expensive but has extra perks, like an investment-style cash component.

Policygenius' free cost calculator can help you figure out how much life insurance coverage you need, determine the average cost, and compare policies side-by-side.

The added cost of life insurance riders

Riders are like mini contracts that allow you to customize your life insurance policy. They often come at an additional cost that adds to your monthly premium. Some riders, however, like the term conversion rider, are included in your policy at no additional charge. Common riders for both term and whole life insurance include:

  • Accelerated death benefit rider: Often included at no cost, this rider lets you pull money out of the death benefit to cover medical expenses for a terminal illness.

  • Child insurance rider: At about $5 per month, this provides a small amount of life insurance coverage for all of your children.

Guaranteed insurability rider: More common in whole life, this $3 to $5 rider allows you to increase your coverage after major life events, like marriage, without a new medical evaluation. Term life insurance rates vs. whole life insurance rates

The type of life insurance you have affects the cost of your policy. Term life insurance costs 5 to 15 times less than whole life insurance, making it the more affordable option for your family's financial protection. 

Whole life insurance is more expensive because it lasts your whole life and has a cash value account that acts like a tax-deferred investment account. However, this also means that whole life insurance policies can sometimes become so unaffordable that 45% of them are abandoned within the first 10 years of the policy, according to a report published by LIMRA and the Society of Actuaries. [4]

If lifetime coverage or an additional investment account are your priority, whole life may be worth the higher rates for you. For most people, a simpler term life policy is the better financial choice.

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Average life insurance rates by health

Your health status is one of the most important factors in determining your premiums. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to die, and thus the cheaper you are to insure. During the underwriting process, you’ll have to answer some questions about your health and your family health history and, in many cases, take a brief medical exam.

The table below shows monthly term life insurance costs for a 35-year-old male and female in a Preferred health class (applicants with very good health) and Standard health class (applicants with a complicated family health history or not an ideal height-to-weight ratio.

Health classFemaleMale
Preferred$25.60$30.42
Standard$38.62$46.50

Methodology: Rates are calculated for non-smokers buying a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy. This calculation is a composite of the 10 carriers that offer policies through Policygenius, including AIG, Banner, Brighthouse, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, SBLI, and Transamerica. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 4/01/2022.

Some health-related factors that might result in higher premiums include:

While any of these could raise your life insurance costs, each life insurance company evaluates every health condition differently. It's possible to find providers to accommodate your lifestyle or health history, which is why it’s important to shop around.

How your hobbies impact your life insurance costs

If you have a job that puts you at risk, like if you’re active military, or have any dangerous hobbies, such as scuba diving, you can expect to see higher life insurance quotes.

"In order to cover you while working in a high-risk occupation or while participating in hobbies that are considered higher risk, insurance companies might require something called a flat additional fee, such as $2 or $5 per $1,000 of coverage," says Patrick Hanzel, certified financial planner and advanced planning team lead at Policygenius.

A skydiver with a $1,000,000 policy could end up paying a flat extra of $5,000 per year. However, someone who skydives too often might not be able to purchase life insurance with certain insurance companies at all. A Policygenius advisor can help you determine the best options based on your hobbies and how frequently you participate in them.

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What does not impact your life insurance rates?

Although the underwriting process accounts for factors like age and gender, life insurance companies cannot discriminate against race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation as determining factors during the underwriting process.

Here are some other factors that will not affect how much you pay for life insurance:

Where you live

As long as you live within the U.S., your specific state or city won’t affect your premiums. This means that your premiums won’t increase even if your area is prone to certain natural disasters or has higher rates of violence. But because life insurance is state-regulated, where you live can determine certain rules and regulations related to your policy.

How many beneficiaries you have

Many people choose to name multiple life insurance beneficiaries in their life insurance policies. Your premiums won’t increase or decrease based on how many beneficiaries you name.

How many policies you have

Depending on your financial situation, having multiple life insurance policies might make sense. Sometimes, laddering multiple policies can even save you money long term. If you end up getting coverage from multiple policies, your premiums for any single policy won’t increase based on how many total life insurance policies you hold.

Frequently asked questions

How much does life insurance cost?

The cost of life insurance varies depending on your age, health, lifestyle choices, and how much life insurance coverage you’re getting. Term life insurance policies offer affordable coverage.

How much does life insurance cost on average per month?

Life insurance costs $30 or less per month for a 35-year-old buying a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy. A 35-year-old buying $500,000 of whole life insurance will pay $480 to $571. Your rates will differ based on your age and health.

Is it worth it to buy life insurance?

Life insurance protects your loved ones from financial despair if you die prematurely and can no longer provide for them. Getting coverage is absolutely worth it — for peace of mind and financial security.

Is life insurance taxable?

Life insurance payouts are not taxed as long as they’re paid in a lump sum. The payout is taxable if you receive it in installments, or to the policy owner for certain cash value transactions.

How can you pay for life insurance?

You can pay your premiums by electronic bank transfer or check. Few insurance companies accept credit cards past the initial payment.