Understanding whole life insurance quotes & rates

Whole life insurance rates are much higher than term life insurance rates. But if you need life insurance that doesn't expire and has a cash value, the cost may be worth it.

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There are many different options when it comes to finding the right life insurance policy to financially protect your loved ones when you die. Whole life insurance lasts your entire life, even though you only have to pay premiums until a certain age or for a certain number of years. Policy premiums are 5 to 15 times more expensive than for term life insurance, which only lasts until a set expiration date.

Your own rates will depend on your age, health, lifestyle, and how long you plan to pay premiums. According to internal Policygenius data, a 35-year-old with few health issues could pay between $433 and $517 for a $500,000 whole life insurance policy paid until age 99.

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Whole life insurance quotes

When purchasing a whole life insurance policy, the insurer will set up quotes based on paying your premiums until you’re age 65, 99, and 121.

Other, less common payment options for whole life policies (depending on the insurer) are:

  • 10 Pay (paying the policy’s lifetime premiums over 10 years)

  • 20 Pay (paying the policy’s lifetime premiums over 20 years)

  • Single premium (paying the policy’s lifetime premiums upfront)

You’ll spend more money each year if your premium payments are packed into a shorter period and vice versa.

Whole life insurance payable until age 65

AgeMonthlyYearly
25$85.45$995.55
35$122.20$1,423.65
45$196.25$2,286.00
55IneligibleIneligible

Methodology: Rates are calculated for a male non-smoker in a Preferred Plus rate class, obtaining a $100,000 whole life insurance policy payable until age 65. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 10/08/2021.

Whole life insurance payable until age 99

AgeMonthlyYearly
20$66.00$758.62
30$89.00$1,022.99
40$136.00$1,563.22
50$217.00$2,494.25

Methodology: Rates are calculated for a male non-smoker in a Preferred Plus rate class, obtaining a $100,000 whole life insurance policy payable until age 99. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 10/08/2021.

Whole life insurance payable until age 121

AgeMonthlyYearly
20$41.00$483.21
30$48.00$565.70
40$65.00$766.06
50$95.00$1,119.62

Methodology: Rates are calculated for a male non-smoker in a Preferred Plus rate class, obtaining a $100,000 whole life insurance policy payable until age 121. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 10/08/2021.

10 Pay and 20 Pay whole life insurance quotes

10 Pay and 20 Pay policies are most useful to people who will have disposable income over the 10- or 20-year payment period since they’ll need to pay higher premiums over less time. 

10 Pay whole life insurance 

AgeMonthlyYearly
20$169.09$1,970.00
30$238.79$2,782.00
40$337.58$3,933.00
50$470.97$5,487.00

Methodology: Rates are calculated for a male non-smoker in a Preferred rate class, obtaining a $100,000 whole life insurance policy payable within 10 years. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 10/08/2021.

20 Pay whole life insurance 

AgeMonthlyYearly
20$110.93$1,292.35
30$145.44$1,694.40
40$210.49$2,452.30
50$311.59$3,630.15

Methodology: Rates are calculated for a male non-smoker in a Preferred rate class, obtaining a $100,000 whole life insurance policy payable within 20 years. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 10/08/2021.

Whole life insurance rates vs. term life insurance rates

Term life insurance lasts for a set period (usually 10 to 30 years), after which the policy expires. Term life insurance is generally a lot cheaper than whole life insurance, making it a more affordable coverage option for most people.

Over 20 years, a healthy 35-year-old male would pay $124,080 for $500,000 of whole life coverage. For $500,000 of term life insurance coverage, he’d pay $7,305.60 over a 20-year term.

→ For a deeper look, read our full guide on term life vs. whole life

How do insurers calculate whole life insurance quotes?

Your premiums are determined by the health classification you fall into. There are four main life insurance classifications, from healthiest and most affordable premiums to least:

  • Preferred Plus

  • Preferred

  • Standard Plus

  • Standard

The life insurance classification you receive is based on several variables including age, health, and lifestyle.

→ Find more information about life insurance classifications here

Why are whole life insurance rates so high?

Permanent life insurance policies have higher premiums than term life insurance policies. The high costs are tied to two key policy features:

  • Cash value: The cash value functions like a savings account and is funded by your premiums, which requires additional investment management.

  • Lifetime coverage: Whole life insurance never expires, unlike term life insurance, so there’s little chance your insurer won’t need to pay out your death benefit.

Whole life insurance vs. other types of permanent life insurance

Whole life insurance is one of several types of permanent life insurance. Whole life is simplest, but the best policy for you depends on your finances.

A side-by-side cost comparison is difficult because some types of permanent life insurance, like variable life insurance or universal life insurance, have premiums and death benefits that can fluctuate over time. It might change based on cash value growth or at your choosing, depending on the type of policy you have. 

Final expense life insurance, like simplified issue or guaranteed issue, is intended to cover burial expenses. You’ll pay more for final expense insurance than for a comparable amount of whole life insurance because final expense has less restrictive underwriting requirements. 

→ Learn more about permanent life insurance policies

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Is whole life insurance worth the cost?

A whole life insurance policy probably isn’t worth the expense for the average person, but there are reasons that someone would want to pay the costlier premiums.

“It's typically a good option to consider if you have a significant annual income or assets, complex estate planning needs, or a special needs dependent, says Patrick Hanzel, certified financial planner and Advanced Planning Team Lead at Policygenius.

An individual with a high net worth who has already maxed out other savings accounts could use whole life insurance as an additional estate planning resource, making the high premiums worthwhile.

Individuals who are leaving behind dependents with special needs may also find that whole life insurance is a better life insurance policy option for them, as it never expires and the cost of premiums won’t change.

If you’re considering whole life insurance, work with an independent agent or broker to compare options that meet your financial needs.

Frequently asked questions

How much does whole life insurance cost?

Whole life insurance premiums are based on each individual’s life insurance needs, but they tend to be costly: a 35-year-old could pay $433 to $517 per month for a $500,000 policy.

Is whole life insurance a good investment?

You’ll typically see better return on a traditional investment account than with whole life insurance. If you’re in a high tax bracket and have maxed out other investment options, whole life insurance can build additional untaxed wealth.

What are the disadvantages of whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance is much more expensive than term life insurance, and cash value returns are often low. For most people, the high cost outweighs the potential benefits.