Whole life insurance calculator

Whole life insurance is the most common type of permanent life insurance, but calculating your exact cost is best done with a licensed life insurance agent. Use our cost calculator to estimate how much you'll pay for a policy.

Rebecca Shoenthal author photoAmanda Shih author photo


Rebecca Shoenthal

Rebecca Shoenthal

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius. Her insights about life insurance and finance have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, The Balance, HerMoney, SBLI, and John Hancock.

&Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

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

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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.

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Maria Filindras

Maria Filindras

Financial Advisor

Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

Updated|3 min read

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Whole life insurance is one of the most popular types of permanent life insurance because it offers a guaranteed minimum cash value and premiums that stay the same throughout your policy. If you’ve determined that you need whole life insurance, the next step is to calculate how much you’ll pay.

The cost of life insurance varies greatly from person to person and depends on several different factors. Whole life insurance costs about 5 to 15 times more than a comparable term life insurance policy because it lasts longer and comes with a cash value investment component.  

You can use our term life insurance calculator above as a starting point to calculate the estimated cost of whole life insurance. Start by calculating how much you’d pay for term life insurance based on a few pieces of information. From there, you can calculate your expected cost for whole life insurance. For example, if your term life estimate is $35/month here’s how to calculate your cost range for whole life insurance: 

Low range: 35 x 5 = $175

High range: 35 x 15 = $525

Estimated cost of whole life insurance

$175 – $525/month

For the most precise quote, reach out to a Policygenius agent for free who can compare real-time whole life rates from different companies.

How to use the whole life insurance calculator

Life insurance companies set your premiums based on the risk of insuring you, how long your coverage will last, and the amount of coverage you buy. Here’s how the information you enter into our term life calculator affects your estimate:

  1. Age The younger you are, the lower your premiums, which is why it’s best to buy earlier. The cost of life insurance increases by 4.5% to 9% each year you put off buying coverage. 

  2. Gender Based on Policygenius policy offerings in 2022, women pay an average of 24% less for life insurance than men

  3. ZIP code Where you live won’t directly influence your premiums, but some policies may not be available to you because of insurance regulations in your state. If you live outside the U.S., you’re unlikely to qualify for a U.S.-based policy. 

  4. Policy term length The longer your policy lasts, the more you’ll pay. Since a whole life insurance policy lasts for life, that automatically leads to a higher premium.

  5. Policy coverage amount The bigger your policy’s death benefit (also referred to as the face value), the higher your premiums will be. We can help you calculate how much life insurance you need based on financial responsibilities like your mortgage.

  6. Multiply by 5 to 15 for whole life insurance range Whole life insurance costs between 5 to 15 times more than term life insurance.

Here’s an example of how this works:

Sample calculator input:

  • Age: 35 

  • Gender: Female

  • ZIP code: 43004

  • Term length: 30 years

  • Coverage amount: $1 million

Sample calculator output:

  • Best health: $51/month

  • Good health: $61/month

  • Average health: $85/month

If you have average health (for example, if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes) you’d take the $85/month calculator estimate and multiply that by 5 to 15:

Sample estimate range for whole life insurance

$425/month – $1,275/month

You’ll have to work with an insurance agent if you want to calculate the cash value of a whole life insurance policy. Every policy’s cash value has different options and interest rates that are specific to your provider, which can provide the most accurate estimate for every scenario.

Other factors that influence life insurance premiums 

Our whole life insurance premium calculator doesn’t account for your personal health history. Your medical history and other risk factors, like smoking, have a major impact on how much you pay for a policy and each insurance company weighs health factors differently. 

That means two people with the same age, gender, and ZIP code would get the same estimates from our cost calculator, but receive different final premiums after going through the life insurance application process. 

Shopping around and comparing rates from different insurance companies is the best way to ensure you’re not overpaying for a policy. 

→ Learn more about how your health affects your life insurance rates

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Policy factors that impact whole life rates

Some policy options can also impact your rates, including whether your cash value is added to the death benefit when you die and how quickly your premiums are paid. If you choose to include any remaining cash value in the death benefit when you die, your premiums will be much higher. 

If you choose to pay your premiums over a shorter period — over 65 years instead of over your lifetime, for example — your premiums will be higher but you’ll be done paying for your policy earlier. This can also give you more time to grow your cash value. 

Riders, or policy add-ons, can also increase the cost of your whole life insurance policy, though some riders are free.

How to find the most affordable whole life insurance policy

Every life insurance application is evaluated on an individual basis, but there are some universal tips to find affordable coverage:

  • Buy early: Buying a policy when you’re younger and at lower risk for illness can lock you into more affordable premiums for decades.

  • Comparison shop: Because every provider assesses your risk differently, comparing quotes can help you find the lowest rates.

  • Work with a broker: Brokers like Policygenius work with multiple insurance companies so they can give you expert advice about the best provider for your unique circumstances.

If anyone relies on you financially, you should have life insurance coverage to protect them when you’re gone. Whole life insurance is lifelong protection with a cash value that can earn interest and contribute to your family’s financial future. Use our calculator or reach out to an agent to receive a free quote and get started.

Frequently asked questions

What is the average cost of whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance policies are highly customized and there isn’t a set price for coverage. The premiums for a whole life insurance policy are based on each individual’s life insurance needs, but they tend to be costly (about 5 to 15 times more than term policies).

How long do you pay for whole life insurance?

There are several different payment options for whole life insurance, including: up to age 65, up to age 99, up to age 121, and 10-, or 20-year payment plans.

What is the best age to buy life insurance?

You will pay less for life insurance in your 20s or 30s. The younger you buy coverage, the more affordable it will be.