Whole life insurance rates by age

Buying whole life insurance when you’re younger will earn you lower premiums and help maximize your cash value growth. Here’s how age impacts your whole life insurance rates.

The cost of life insurance premiums depend on several factors. When you apply for a policy, your provider evaluates your medical history and lifestyle for risk. The higher your perceived risk, the higher your premiums will be.

One of the most common reasons for higher premiums is older age. Based on Policygenius data from June 2021, a $250,000 whole life policy that costs $156 per month for a 25-year-old female would cost $219 per month for a 35-year-old female in similar health.

Take a look at how whole life insurance premiums change as you age so you can decide when it’s the best time for you to buy.

Key Takeaways

  • Your policy will be more expensive the older you are when you apply

  • Applying later means less time for your cash value to earn interest

  • The shorter your premium payment period, the higher your premiums will be

  • Buy a policy in your 20s or 30s to lock in low rates and maximize investment growth

How much does whole life insurance cost?

Whole life insurance costs five to 15 times more than its common counterpart, term life insurance, because it provides lifetime coverage and a cash value component. Based on rates from June 2021, a 45-year-old man might pay $60.76 per month for a 20-year, $500,000 term life policy, but $827 per month for $500,000 of whole life coverage.

Whole life insurance rates by age

Whole life insurance premiums are higher the older you are when you apply. But, they also depend on when your policy will be paid up — i.e., when you’ve paid all of the premiums required to fund your death benefit and your cash value account.

Most people buy a whole life policy that they’ll pay monthly or annually until they die (usually called paid up by age 99), but you may be able to buy limited pay whole life insurance.

Limited pay is paid up over a shorter period, after which you don’t owe any premiums to keep your policy in force. Funding your policy faster means higher premiums, but can also increase the return on your cash value because you’ll be earning interest on a greater amount of money.

The chart below reflects monthly whole life insurance rates by age for a policy paid up by age 99.

AGEGENDER   $250,000$500,000$750,000$1,000,000$2,000,000 
25 Male  $178    $351    $524    $688      $1,179     
   Female$156    $307    $458    $600      $1,196     
30 Male  $213    $421    $629    $827      $1,650     
   Female$189    $374    $558    $733      $1,462     
35 Male  $261    $517    $773    $1,020    $2,035     
   Female$219    $433    $647    $852      $1,699     
40 Male  $328    $652    $975    $1,289    $2,574     
   Female$264    $523    $782    $1,032    $2,059     
45 Male  $416    $827    $1,239  $1,641    $3,277     
   Female$329    $653    $978    $1,293    $2,581     
50 Male  $531    $1,057  $1,584  $2,101    $4,198     
   Female$421    $837    $1,254  $1,661    $3,317     
55 Male  $678    $1,351  $2,024  $2,688    $5,372     
   Female$544    $1,084  $1,623  $2,153    $4,302     
60 Male  $865    $1,725  $2,586  $3,437    $6,869     
   Female$705    $1,406  $2,107  $2,799    $5,593     
65 Male  $1,123  $2,241  $3,360  $4,468    $8,932     
   Female$935    $1,865  $2,796  $3,717    $7,429     
70 Male  $1,518  $3,031  $4,544  $6,047    $12,090    
   Female$1,274  $2,544  $3,814  $5,074    $10,143    

Methodology: Sample rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in New Jersey, with a Preferred Plus health classification, obtaining a 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 6/16/2021.

The chart below reflects monthly whole life insurance rates by age for a policy paid up by age 65.

AGEGENDER   $250,000$500,000$750,000$1,000,000$2,000,000 
25 Male  $255    $505    $756    $994      $1,984     
   Female$199    $394    $589    $776      $1,548     
30 Male  $314    $624    $934    $1,231    $2,458     
   Female$251    $497    $743    $984      $1,964     
35 Male  $385    $766    $1,148  $1,514    $3,023     
   Female$311    $619    $926    $1,233    $2,461     
40 Male  $484    $964    $1,443  $1,910    $3,815     
   Female$398    $793    $1,187  $1,575    $3,145     
45 Male  $669    $1,333  $1,997  $2,650    $5,296     
   Female$562    $1,119  $1,676  $2,219    $4,434     
50 Male  $917    $1,830  $2,743  $3,624    $7,243     
   Female$811    $1,617  $2,423  $3,212    $6,420     
55 Male  $1,452  $2,899  $4,346  $5,770    $11,535    
   Female$1,387  $2,770  $4,153  $5,513    $11,022    
60 Male  $2,757  $5,511  $8,264  $10,997   $21,989    
   Female$2,375  $4,746  $7,117  $9,464    $18,923    

Methodology: Sample rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in New Jersey, with a Preferred Plus health classification, obtaining a 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 6/16/2021.

20 Pay

One common limited pay option is 20 Pay whole life insurance, which allows you to fund your premiums and cash value in 20 years. The chart below reflects monthly whole life insurance rates by age for a 20 Pay policy.

AGEGENDER   $250,000$500,000$750,000$1,000,000 
25 Male  $321    $641    $962    $1,274     
   Female$275    $550    $825    $1,081     
30 Male  $383    $766    $1,148  $1,522     
   Female$327    $655    $982    $1,296     
35 Male  $459    $917    $1,376  $1,826     
   Female$390    $780    $1,171  $1,553     
40 Male  $558    $1,116  $1,674  $2,222     
   Female$472    $945    $1,417  $1,881     
45 Male  $674    $1,348  $2,021  $2,682     
   Female$570    $1,140  $1,710  $2,269     
50 Male  $806    $1,612  $2,418  $3,216     
   Female$685    $1,370  $2,055  $2,731     
55 Male  $960    $1,921  $2,881  $3,831     
   Female$816    $1,632  $2,448  $3,259     
60 Male  $1,159  $2,317  $3,476  $4,619     
   Female$1,111  $2,021  $3,032  $4,037     

Methodology: Sample rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in New Jersey, with a Preferred Plus health classification, obtaining a 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 6/16/2021.

10 Pay

Another typical limited pay whole life option is 10 Pay whole life insurance. You fund your policy over 10 years, and premiums are higher than 20 Pay because of the shorter payment period. The chart below reflects monthly whole life insurance rates by age for a 10 Pay policy.

AGEGENDER   $250,000$500,000$750,000$1,000,000 
25 Male  $521    $1,042  $1,563  $2,084     
   Female$451    $902    $1,353  $1,804     
30 Male  $615    $1,230  $1,845  $2,460     
   Female$541    $1,082  $1,623  $2,165     
35 Male  $730    $1,460  $2,190  $2,921     
   Female$649    $1,298  $1,947  $2,596     
40 Male  $863    $1,726  $2,588  $3,451     
   Female$775    $1,551  $2,326  $3,102     
45 Male  $1,014  $2,028  $3,043  $4,057     
   Female$924    $1,848  $2,772  $3,696     
50 Male  $1,195  $2,391  $3,586  $4,782     
   Female$1,101  $2,203  $3,304  $4,406     
55 Male  $1,414  $2,827  $4,241  $5,654     
   Female$1,310  $2,620  $3,930  $5,240     
60 Male  $1,672  $3,343  $5,015  $6,687     
   Female$1,554  $3,109  $4,663  $6,217     

Methodology: Sample rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in New Jersey, with a Preferred Plus health classification, obtaining a 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 6/16/2021.

Whole life insurance for children

We don’t recommend buying an individual life insurance policy for your child unless they’re at risk of developing a medical condition that would make them difficult to insure as an adult. The chart below reflects monthly life insurance premiums by age for children ages 5 to 15 years.

AGEGENDER   $50,000$75,000$100,000$250,000 
0  Male  $32.41 $45.70 $51.12  $108.54  
   Female$28.54 $39.89 $40.07  $82.22   
5  Male  $37.85 $53.51 $60.77  $129.63  
   Female$32.28 $45.16 $46.59  $95.92   
10 Male  $44.15 $62.62 $72.26  $155.52  
   Female$36.41 $51.01 $54.07  $112.23  
15 Male  $51.02 $72.58 $85.13  $186.18  
   Female$41.10 $57.71 $62.69  $132.68   

Methodology: Sample rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in New Jersey, with a Standard health classification, obtaining a whole life insurance policy payable until age 65 with a guaranteed insurability rider. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 6/16/2021.

Monthly premiums for a newborn’s $250,000 policy are at least $70 cheaper compared to a $250,000 whole life policy for a 25-year-old. But if your child won’t need lifelong coverage, they’ll likely find a term life policy with a bigger death benefit at a fraction of the price as an adult.

→ Learn more about the different types of whole life insurance

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How do insurance companies set whole life insurance rates?

Your age and when your policy is paid up aren’t the only things that affect your life insurance rates. The life insurance underwriter will take a holistic view when weighing the risk of insuring you and look closely at:

After reviewing your records, you’ll be given an insurance classification that reflects how risky your profile is. The classifications range from Preferred Plus to Substandard, with Preferred Plus offering the best rates.

The more risk associated with your profile, the more you could pay for your policy. For example, men have a lower life expectancy than women, so male applicants tend to receive higher premiums compared to women of the same age and health.

→ Learn more about how insurers set whole life rates

What is the best time to buy whole life insurance?

Most people will lock in their cheapest premiums if they buy a policy in their 20s or 30s. However, you should always have life insurance if someone depends on you financially.

With whole life insurance, buying early also means you’ll have more time to grow your cash value. Investments take decades to mature, and if you intend to use your cash value to supplement your retirement funds, buying a policy early means more time to grow your savings.

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Should you buy whole life insurance?

Most people will find term life insurance more straightforward and affordable — it expires when you no longer need it and there’s no cash value to manage. But the higher premiums of whole life might be worth it if:

  • You need additional tax-advantaged investment options

  • You have a lifelong dependent, like a sick relative or child with disabilities

  • Your financial advisor recommends whole life for estate planning purposes

Whether whole life insurance is right for you depends on your family’s financial needs. Work with a certified financial planner and an independent life insurance agent to choose the best policy to protect your family.

Whole life insurance rates by age FAQ:

What is the average monthly cost of whole life insurance?

Premiums vary on an individual basis. A 35-year-old non-smoker without major health concerns could pay $517 per month for a $500,000 whole life policy paid up by age 99.

Do whole life insurance premiums increase with age?

Yes, a new whole life insurance policy is more expensive if you’re older because your life expectancy is statistically lower. Premiums for an existing policy don’t change due to age.

How else does age affect whole life insurance?

The older you are when you buy your policy, the less time there is for your cash value to earn interest. You’ll likely see better gains the longer you own your policy.