If you are looking for the best life insurance for people over 50, you’ll want to make an informed decision when choosing a life insurance policy. Your age will play a major role in the cost of insurance and options available, but so will your health and financial goals.
Life insurance costs more as you get older, which makes finding the right type and amount of coverage essential. You’ll need to consider how long you’ll need a policy, as well as your health. When you’re over 50, it is wise to speak with an agent directly and include your parent or spouse if you’re shopping for them.
You might be tempted to choose a quick-purchase policy because of its convenience, but a thorough underwriting process often makes more sense.
Do you need life insurance when you are over 50?
If you are over fifty and considering life insurance, you’re not alone. More and more people are buying life insurance policies as they reach middle age and beyond. And for a good reason: life insurance can provide peace of mind in the event of an unexpected death.
We all have different reasons for wanting life insurance, but here are the everyday needs typically covered by folks in their mid-fifties.
- Mortgage Life Insurance – A mortgage protection policy can pay off your loan balance if you should die.
- Income Replacement – If you have a spouse who depends on your income, a life insurance policy will secure their financial future if something happens to you.
- Pension Maximization – If you retire in your fifties and your pension income discontinues when you die, getting pension life insurance can cover your spouse’s continued financial needs.
- Payment of Debt – Many middle-aged people may still have personal loans or credit card debt. You can use life insurance to pay off these debts.
- College Education – Ensuring your children can attend college is a common concern for people in their fifties. Life insurance can be used to make sure tuition is paid for.
- Final Expenses – If you have not put money away for final expenses, you may need to purchase a small final expense policy. Most individual universal life insurance policies start at a $25,000 death benefit and can be tailored to your needs and budget.
- Create an Estate – Universal life and Survivorship life insurance are two excellent policies to create an estate as part of a wealth transfer strategy. So, if you aim to pass down the maximum amount to your children, a second-to-die policy can be an excellent long-term investment.
Best life insurance companies for people over 50
Most Nationwide policies include three living benefit riders at no additional cost—which is a standout benefit, considering many other companies only include one. Living benefits, also called accelerated death benefits, allow you to access the death benefit early if you experience certain triggering events. Nationwide policies include critical, terminal, and chronic illness accelerated benefit riders and offer an optional long-term care rider.
Nationwide ranked sixth in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study for customer satisfaction, has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, and has received very few complaints over the past three years for a company of its size. It offers a wide range of policy types.
However, Nationwide falls short if you need term coverage. You face more age limits here than you do elsewhere. Men over 50 and women over 55 aren’t eligible for 30-year term coverage.
- Three living benefits included in most policies
- Receives few customer complaints
- Allows credit card payments
- Men over 50 not eligible for 30-year term policies
Protective makes the cut for the best life term insurance company for those over 50 because term policies are very affordable and issue ages are high. Importantly, the company has some of the highest issue ages for term coverage.
If you’re 58 or younger, you’re eligible for a 30-year term policy; if you’re 50 or younger, you’re eligible for a 35-year plan. Most companies don’t even offer 35-year term coverage. An added benefit is that the company accepts credit card payments, which is also uncommon among life insurance carriers.
However, customer satisfaction is lacking, according to J.D. Power’s 2025 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. Protective came in 15th out of 21 of the largest life insurers, well below the industry average.
- Cheap term policies
- High issue ages on term coverage
- Allows credit card payments
- Ranked 16 out of 21 companies for customer satisfaction
Guardian receives an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, which is the agency’s top-tier grade and means the company has a superior ability to honor its insurance obligations, such as paying claims. It is one of only two companies on this list with an A++ rating, and it has a low number of customer complaints relative to its size.
The company also pays dividends, and in 2022 made a record $1.13 billion in dividend payments to all eligible policyholders. It offers well-priced term coverage to 50-somethings based on our review of quotes for 55-year-old males and females in excellent health (for 30-year $250,000 policies). It also offers policies to 90-year-olds, which is the highest issue age of any company we reviewed.
While this is an impressive collection of attributes, the Guardian’s website does not impress. Neither online applications nor online claim filing are available. Plus, the company provides few policy details on its site, which means you’ll need to call an agent for specifics.
- Fewest complaints among top companies, relative to its size
- Highest financial strength rating
- Dividend-eligible policies
- Well-priced term coverage
- Policies available to 90-year-old applicants
- Online application and claim filing not available
Of the three dividend-paying companies in this list, MassMutual is the best for dividends because it makes eligible policies available to older applicants. MassMutual has been paying dividends since 1869 and made its largest-ever dividend payment of $1.85 billion in 2022.
It backs this up with the highest financial strength rating bestowed by AM Best (A++), as well as a better-than-average J.D. Power ranking. It also has a record of very few customer complaints over the past three years for a company of its size.
But if you’d like to have access to your death benefit in the event of a chronic, critical, or terminal illness — the three most common living benefit riders — MassMutual falls short. It includes a terminal illness accelerated benefit rider with most policies, which lets you receive a portion of the death benefit if you have fewer than 12 months to live. While this is nice, Mutual of Omaha and Nationwide do MassMutual one (or two) better by including two or three living benefits free of charge with most policies.
- Dividend-eligible policies
- Long history of paying dividends
- Highest financial strength rating
- Very few complaints
- Only one living benefit included
Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha is the overall winner for best burial insurance company and one of the best life insurance providers for people over 50. Burial insurance, also called final expense or funeral insurance, designates a small whole-life policy available to older applicants (generally 45-85) that’s meant to cover immediate expenses after death, such as the funeral and bills. Application and approval are typically easy, especially since there is no medical exam and few or no health questions.
Mutual of Omaha offers two types of final expense policies. Both are available to applicants aged 45 to 85. One is a guaranteed-issue plan, meaning you can’t be denied coverage. An application is available online, there are no health questions, and coverage is available up to $25,000. The other involves a few health questions (but no exam), is only available through an agent, and the maximum death benefit is $40,000. If you have preexisting conditions, you may not qualify for this option.
Mutual of Omaha’s final expense policies in particular are more beneficial because you have options, plus $40,000 is a relatively high amount of coverage for this type of policy. And if you qualify for this particular plan, a terminal illness rider is included at no additional cost and there is no graded death benefit period, which is unusual. Many burial insurance policies limit the death benefit during the first two (or three) years of coverage, meaning your beneficiaries don’t get the full death benefit if you die of natural causes.
Note that Mutual of Omaha’s guaranteed-issue plan does have a graded benefit period.
- Policies available to 85 year-olds
- Some policies include a terminal illness rider
- A+ financial strength rating
- Online application available
- Some policies don’t have a graded benefit
- More complaints than some competitors
How to choose the best life insurance for people over 50
Whether you are shopping for your first life insurance policy or thinking about making some refinements to your existing coverage, there are a few key factors to consider if you are aged 50 or older.
There are two primary types of life insurance coverage: permanent life coverage and term life coverage.
A term life insurance policy expires at the end of the selected term, often 10 years, 20 years or 30 years. Term life insurance is generally more affordable since many people outlive their policy. However, permanent coverage lasts through the duration of your life and may even provide a cash value benefit that you can access while you are still living.
Although this policy type may cost more, it also locks your premium rate in for life, versus a term policy premium that typically increases based on age.
When choosing your life insurance policy, it is also important to determine the amount of death benefit you want to purchase. A death benefit is the sum that will pay out to your beneficiaries at the time of your death. You may want just enough to cover your funeral expenses or you may want a policy that can provide an inheritance, pay off your mortgage or fund a child’s or grandchild’s education.
Additionally, if you choose permanent coverage, such as whole life or universal life, your policy may offer a cash value benefit. A cash value benefit means that some of the money you pay in premiums may be accessible to you while you are still alive. You would eventually be able to borrow from your cash value account and can pay it back over a period of your choice.
Keep in mind that, unlike standard loans, life insurance loans do not need to be paid back. Although this will likely lower the death benefit paid to your beneficiaries, it offers a way to take care of any unforeseen expenses.
Before purchasing a life insurance policy, you may want to research a company’s customer service reviews. There may be a point where you need to ask a question or make a change to your policy, so you likely want to work with a company that is known for taking care of its customers.
Usually, you can research customer satisfaction reviews directly through a company’s website. Third-party rankings, such as those provided by J.D. Power, may also be helpful to your search. Additionally, you may want to consider a company’s online and digital tools. If you prefer to handle your policy service electronically, a company with an online customer portal or mobile app may be a good choice.
Research how easy it is to contact your company with a question whether via a 24-7 chat representative, email, or phone call.
Financial strength ratings are an indication of a company’s history of being able to meet its financial obligations and pay claims that policyholders and their beneficiaries file. A poor financial strength rating could mean that a company might not have the financial viability to pay death benefits to its policyholders, depending on the number of claims being filed simultaneously.
To find out if your selected life insurance company has a solid financial strength rating, you can review the rating via AM Best’s website. If the carrier has a score of A- (Excellent) or higher, the company is more likely to be financially strong now and in the future. Your insurance agent should be able to provide you with detailed AM Best rating reports about the life insurers you are considering.
Why is life insurance more expensive for people over 50?
You can typically expect to pay more for life insurance coverage once you reach age 50.
First, life insurers rely on premium payments to mitigate their risk in offering you a policy. When someone buys coverage in their 20s, the risk of the policyholder passing away is generally much lower than it is for someone who is older. Although it may be an unpleasant thought, the older you are, the more likely you are to pass away based on actuarial data that life insurers use to price policies.
Because of this, life insurance premiums tend to increase as you get older.
Additionally, many life insurance policies require a medical exam or a comprehensive survey with health questions. A lack of preexisting conditions, health history problems or reliance on certain medications means you are more likely to live longer. If you know your medical review will likely raise a red flag for your insurer — a probability that increases with age — you can likely expect to pay more for your policy.
Taking health-oriented steps to mitigate risks as you age can help overcome these concerns when you are required to do a medical screening.
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