Contrary to what many people believe, it is quite possible to obtain life insurance if you are 70 years old. And it might be even more affordable than you think. Having said that it’s certainly going to cost more to buy a policy now at age 70 than when you were 50 or 30 for that matter. The amount you will have to pay will depend on several factors which we will look at below. We will also look at the different types of coverage available and what it takes to qualify. Finally, we will look at some some life insurance rates.
How To Get Life Insurance At 70
There are five factors that will have an affect on how much you’ll pay for life insurance. These include your current age, health, lifestyle habits, they type of policy you are looking to purchase and of course the amount of the death benefit. Let’s first look at what options are available to you based upon being 70 years old.
Your age is a key factor in determining what type of life insurance policy is available to you. There are two major types of life insurance policies that you can buy. There’s term life and permanent (whole) life.
Typically term life is available as either a 10, 15, 20, or 30 year level term. The policy will stay in force for the length of the term as long as you pay the premium of course. Also, the premium will not change throughout the course of the level term period. At age 70 you can still purchase a 10, 15, or 20 year term.
Every insurance company we are aware of that offers term life will offer a 10 year term policy for a 70 year old.
If you are wanting a 15 year term policy some companies won’t offer although many of them will.
And if you are wanting a 20 year term policy you better buy it quickly because if you wait until your 71 to start your policy it won’t be available anywhere. At age 70 very few companies offer 20 year term policies.
If you are needing a permanent (whole) life policy you will have no problem getting coverage based on your age. The most common types of permanent life insurance policies include whole life, universal life, indexed universal life, and guaranteed universal life.
If you are needing at least $50,000 of coverage and want to pay the least amount you have to for a policy and know it’s guaranteed to be there as long as you pay the premium, we typically recommend guaranteed universal life (GUL). If you are needing less than $50,000 of permanent coverage there are whole life policies that can be purchased if you just need coverage to pay for your final expenses. You can buy a final expense whole life policy that has a death benefit for as low as $5,000. Some companies will offer policies with a death benefit even lower if that’s all you need.
Your current as well as overall health history is certainly an important factor in determining if you can qualify for life insurance. And if you can qualify, what rates are you likely to be approved. Many people think that life insurance is an either you get approved for it or you don’t. Yes, there are some policies that are what we call accept or reject. However, the typical term life or permanent life insurance policy is not.
The easy way we like to explain is that you are rated on a scale from about 1 to 12. If you get a 13 that means you are declined for coverage. If you get a 1 those are the lowest rates the insurance companies offer. However, insurance companies don’t use numbers. There are variations of the verbiage insurance companies will use to name their rate classes. Here’s a fairly common example.
Preferred Plus (best rate class)
Preferred (2nd best rate class)
Standard Plus (3rd best rate class)
Standard (4th best rate class)
After Standard are the table ratings – Table 1 to 8. Some companies go beyond table 8.
Preferred plus is the best rate you can be approved for and offers the lowest premiums. And in this example a table 8 is the highest rate class you can be approved for which means you would have to pay the highest premiums they offer. Of course worst case scenario is you don’t get approved at all.
Know that every single life insurance company will look at your health differently. They all have different underwriting guidelines that they follow. One company may approve you at standard while another may approve you at preferred. That’s our job to know which company is going to look at your medical history most favorably when reviewing your application.
When considering your overall health an insurance company will review your answer on the application. They will also run prescription drug check to see what medication you’ve taken over the last several years. Depending on the policy you apply for they may also obtain your medical records and you may need to complete a medical exam. Typically an examiner will come to your house or to where you work if you prefer. The exam usually consist of the examiner asking you health questions, doing a blood draw, and taking a urine sample. They may also have you get on a scale and/or take your blood pressure. It usually takes about 25 minutes so it’s a pretty quick visit normally.
There are options for life insurance that do not require a medical exam. However, the amount of coverage that you can get at age 70 is limited if you don’t do an exam. There is a least one company that will offer up to $150,000 without requiring an exam. It’s available as either a 10 or 15 year term only. Policies can be issued an put in force in as little as a 1-3 days. These policies are definitely convenient if want to skip the medical exam. However, if your goal is to keep costs down or you need more than $150,000 of coverage you may want to opt to complete a medical exam.
Your lifestyle habits affect the rates that you can be approved for. These are some of the lifestyle habits that can affect your life insurance rates:
- Smoking – Certain types of tobacco use like chewing tobacco and cigar use can still qualify for non smoker depending on the insurance company you apply with.
- Driving issues – Any history of a DUI or an excessive amount of tickets or accidents
- Financial issues – If you have filed for bankruptcy most companies will require it to be discharged before applying. However, some are more willing to approve you based on you overall financial situation.
- Hazardous Sports – If you like to jump out of airplanes (with a parachute of course) or participate in some other high risk activities.
- Traveling outside the United States – It depends where you travel, for how long, and what purpose. Certain countries and certain parts of the world are more concerning than others. However, for most developed countries it’s not a concern to go on a vacation for instance.
Type of Products
The two types of products that usually makes most sense for a 70 year old is term life and permanent life. We discussed them a little bit already, but let’s look at both of these types of policies a little closer.
Term life insurance products are the easiest to understand. And it is the cheapest life insurance product you can buy for a given amount of coverage. This because the longer a policy will cover you for, the more it costs. A 10 year term will be cheaper than a 15 year term and a 15 year term will be cheaper than a policy that will cover you for 20 years.
So, should you buy term life insurance? Well it depends on just one thing. How long do you need the coverage for? If you are 70 years old and are just needing coverage for a temporary need it might be the perfect solution. Perhaps you have a mortgage that will be paid off in 10 years. If you want coverage that could pay off the house in case you were to pass away a 10 year term policy might work perfectly. Also, if you end up not needing coverage for the full 10 years you can cancel at anytime and save yourself the money.
However, don’t buy a 10 year term policy at age 70 with the intention of buying another policy in 10 years. At age 80 the rates are much higher. And that assumes your health is just as good as it is today. If your health changes for the worse your rates may be much higher or even worse you may not even be approved for a new policy.
Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL)
If you are 70 or older and needing coverage for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live, then we will likely recommend a guaranteed universal life policy.
Understand that some permanent policies are quite expensive because part of the premium that you have to pay goes toward building up cash value which can grow over time. These types of policies can be great for the right person in the right situation. However, they are often not a good choice if you are over 60 when you purchase the policy. The high internal cost of insurance on these policies if you buy them at age 70 or older often does not make sense.
Guaranteed universal life insurance policies sort of act as a bridge between term life policies and whole life policies. It is designed to provide low cost permanent life insurance. There is no cash value accumulates in the policy. The idea is pay the least you need to pay strictly for the coverage you need. Think of it as lifetime term life insurance. Technically the name of the product is not lifetime term of course, but here’s what I mean.
For example, If you are 70 years old you can buy a GUL that is guaranteed to stay in force, as long as you pay the premium of course, until you are 120 years old. That’s kind of like getting a 50 year term policy. Again it’s not term. Instead, it is referred to as GUL that is guaranteed to age 120.
Also, you pick the length your guarantee. Common time periods are having your coverage guaranteed to age 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 120, and 121. However, if you want a policy that will go to age 97 for instance or some other specific age above age 90 you can do that. Not all companies will allow you to select the exact age. However, some will.
Guaranteed Universal Life insurance is ideal for seniors who want to leave a legacy fund to their children, grandchildren or charity. The payout made when one is gone can also be used to offset any taxes that may be due or pay for any final expenses.
Sample Life Insurance Rates For a 70 Year Old
Below are sample rates for a 70 year old. Rates shown are based upon being approved at preferred plus and also at standard. As you will recall from the explanation above a preferred plus rating is the best rate class an insurance company can approve you for. It is very difficult to get approved at the best rate at age 70. The standard rate is considered more of an average rate.
70 Year Old Man – $100,000
10 year term – $86 monthly
15 year term – $120 monthly
20 year term – $206 monthly
GUL to age 110 – $275 monthly
10 year term – $151 monthly
15 year term – $209 monthly
20 year term – $309 monthly
GUL to age 110 – $330 monthly
70 Year Old Woman – $100,000
10 year term – $58 monthly
15 year term – $76 monthly
20 year term – $171 monthly
GUL to age 110 – $261 monthly
10 year term – $93 monthly
15 year term – $131 monthly
20 year term – $237 monthly
GUL to age 110 – $284 monthly
What to do Next
Not everyone above 70 years should buy a life insurance policy. It is important to consider one’s circumstance before getting coverage. Understand why you are seeking coverage specifically. Does someone depend on your income? Are you concerned about what will happen when you are gone and potential burden that could be placed on your loved ones? Life insurance is very personal. Understand why you want. Then consider whether the cost you’ll have to pay for coverage makes sense for you.
If you are wanting or needing to get life insurance then speaking with an insurance professional should be a top priority. We are independent agents with access to dozens of top rated insurance companies. We specialize in helping seniors that are over 50 years old secure affordable life insurance coverage. Give us a call or fill out the quote request form. We would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have, and look forward to an opportunity to help you obtain the coverage you’re looking for.