Why do life insurance rates keep dropping?

Jeanine Skowronski


Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski

Former Head of Content at Policygenius

Jeanine Skowronski is the former head of content at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, American Banker Magazine, Newsweek, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, MSN, CNBC and more.

Published April 18, 2018|1 min read

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Updated August 13, 2019: Attention, smart shoppers: Protective Life just lowered its life insurance rates.

The drop is part of an ongoing trend. Term life insurance rates are currently at a 20-year-low. Why? People are living longer. Insurers are paying less to operate (thanks, technology!) and state regulators have lowered the amount of cash carriers need on hand.

Should you apply now?

Yes — but not simply to capitalize on the trend.

While life insurers set their base prices, your specific rates are set by a bunch of factors that provide insight into how risky you are to insure. The big ones include your age and your health. The older you get, the more expensive your premiums. Any conditions you develop later in life will lead to higher rates, too.

In other words, unless you’re currently in very poor health, a policy will never be cheaper for you than it is right now. In fact, premiums increase by an average of 8% to 10% every year you put off buying it.

How to get the best life insurance rates

Of course, buying life insurance while you're still young and healthy is one way to save on rates. Here are some more.

  1. Opt for a term life policy, since they are much cheaper than whole life insurance policies and meet most shoppers' needs. For a full explainer on term vs. whole, check out our Learn Center page.

  2. Comparison-shop. Insurers change prices over time (see above). Plus, they all have different underwriting standards, so one life insurance company may be more amenable to your specific profile than others — and offer you a better deal. We can help you easily compare life insurance quotes across companies here.

  3. Pay premiums annually. Insurers offer a discount to people who pay for their policy in bulk. For instance, some companies offer as much as 8% off if you pay them once a year instead of monthly.

  4. Look for a guaranteed level term premium policy. That's a fancy way of saying your premiums won't increase during the life of your policy.

One final note: It's important to shop for the right amount of coverage. Our life insurance calculator can help you figure out how much financial protection you need.

Disclosure: Policygenius offers insurance policies from many of the nation's top insurers, who pay us a commission for our services. However, all editorial choices are made independently.

Image: Akshar Dave