Life Insurance For The Elderly: Complete Guide

Life Insurance for Seniors Pic

Life Insurance For Seniors, Absolutely!!

Lots of misconceptions out there about life insurance and different uses of it. I am here to tell you, life insurance for seniors has become very much in demand, especially as of 2020.

If your a senior and don’t have it right now, we’ve got the answers to you life insurance questions right here.

Having written a good number of life insurance cases for seniors in my career, I’d would argue that life insurance is just as, if not more important for seniors than “young folks.”

The difference is, seniors are planning for the inevitable, whether it is creating a family legacy, covering estate taxes, charitable giving or just end of life expenses such as burial costs.

Ladies and Gentleman…Life insurance for seniors is here to stay. Times have changed. Government spending is out of control causing massive inflation.

What would your family do if you passed away? Where would the money come from? Do you have the financial resources to pay all the bills and not burden your loved ones?

So, how does life insurance help you as a senior?

Life insurance is meant to protect the financial value of a individuals life to another party called the “beneficiary.”  While that may sound generic…as it is, that is essentially what is happening. A policy allows you to transfer the risk of inevitable end of life to an insurance company who can guarantee your family has money to pay some or all of the bills.

In short, elderly life insurance is meant to give you financial peace of mind. Ultimately, as a senior, you are protecting your loved ones by making sure that your death does not cause financial strain at a very difficult time in their lives.

As a senior, permanent life insurance is often used as financial protection for our loved ones from our own inevitable death. 

Tough to think about and even tougher to act on.  I am with you.  But it is quite expensive to leave this world.  The average cost of a full funeral is roughly $10,000 nationwide.  $11,000 according to the Huffington Post.  This does not include a plot, grave or headstone. This is another 3K-5K quite easily. 

Have you determined what your end of life needs and desires are? Full funeral and burial or simple cremation? Maybe a legacy for your loved ones?

Creating a financial legacy for your family is another common use of life insurance for seniors.  Some use it to fund a irrevocable trust or donate to a charity.  Some high net worth families may use it to cover hefty estate taxes…  Taxes their offspring would have to pay otherwise out of estate proceeds. 

A properly named beneficiary in a life insurance policy can receive tax free money. This bypasses the probate court system as well.

Seniors we work with typically mention they don’t want to leave their families in a financial mess. 

A grieving family having to make life altering changes…most folks we speak with don’t want this to happen. Life insurance can make some or all of the difference. How much support do you want to leave behind to care for your loved ones? Will an income stream stop and/or will help around the house be needed? Can your savings easily absorb the costs of a funeral, burial, outstanding final medical bills, a mortgage, credit card or an auto loan outstanding? 

If any of this is unsettling…today, I hope to encourage you to take action promptly.  The older an a person is at application, the more expensive their rates will be. No way around that one. Add those numbers up.  If you have a spouse, make sure each one of you is considered.  It is a very tough adjustment for many spouses to absorb responsibilities their life partner committed their abilities and skill sets to.  Will health insurance coverage be lost? 

Life Insurance for Seniors is a solid solution to protect your loved ones from the change in life that will unfortunately occur.  It is a universal truth and one we must accept and plan for, especially as a senior.

A take home about elderly life insurance…

An owner of a life insurance policy is able to create an immediate estate (grow the value) in a tax advantaged package.  They are providing a tax free death benefit to their hand picked beneficiary(s).  In fact, there is no other legal way to create an estate at such a small montly cost. A properly documented beneficiary in the policy allows the full payout to bypass probate court.  Monies are not lost in probate this way and just one reason why life insurance has been used for years as an estate planning tool.

If you’d like to get some additional information on how life insurance can be used as a estate planning tool, use this link here to get a better understanding of how and why it plays a major role in caring for your family and business.

What Are Some Benefits of Life Insurance for Senior Citizens?

If you are going to be the insured yourself, the benefit would be that your family now has some degree of financial protection in place. This allows “peace of mind” for most people.  The extent of financial protection will be determined by a complete needs analysis in relation to the policy amount elected.   As a senior, many people elect to leave a legacy for their kids or grand children, while others are using life insurance to handle their burial expenses ensuring that their spouse or family isn’t left with huge financial challenges.   Some seniors with use life insurance to leave monies to the church or a charity.

Life insurance is a cost effective method for most to multiply their money into a tax free payment to family members, the church, a charity.  Some folk are retiring and want to protect their pension in the event they die prior to their spouse.  We call this pension maximization.  You know, there are clearly a lot of reasons people who are seniors or approaching those years need and/or want life insurance.  All of the former are just common uses of life insurance by seniors over the years.  Life insurance can also be used in additional ways beyond the scope of this post, very affordably.

Now, you may have heard about term life insurance or even owned it at one point of your life. 

Heck, maybe you still have coverage but it is nearing expiration and you are not sure what to do.  Working with seniors since the late 90’s, I can tell you that term life insurance is not a good all purpose senior product, by any means.  There is very real chance of the coverage expiring before you do. That is when your loved ones need protection the most. 

As such, I tend to discourage it.  Run from companies with salespeople selling cheap term life insurance.  It can bite you and/or your loved ones in the butt!!  Many seniors have purchased term life insurance policies from big name companies only to have them expire worthless.  Life insurance for seniors is not a guessing game!! It can be a very painful outcome of not choosing the right type of policy for your stage of life.

If you have a mortgage covered by term life insurance, that is good and appropriate. It is a defined period of time. 

Folks, make sure you are working with a independent agent/broker who has lots of senior clients.  Term life is often pushed on seniors because it is “cheap” without concern to whether it will reliably get the job done right. 

People are simply living longer due to modern medicine. With more advance age, it is important that your family’s financial protection be there for you lifetime. 

However, the older we get the more our health deteriorates. Level premium term life insurance is going to be more difficult to qualify for and out of reach for a number of seniors.  Some term life insurance just expires on your 75th or 80th birthday like AARP life insurance. 

Permanent Life Insurance is the way to go if you are planning for the inevitable.  In a few select cases, a blend of term life and permanent life insurance can be the answer but I will not get into specific scenarios here.

We have nothing against term life insurance, just don’t put a round peg in a square hole.  We, in fact use it regularly for our clients age, needs, goals and overall health allow it.  I own term life insurance myself.  My “term” rate will expire in 2028. I am replacing it with an indexed universal life policy, another type of permanent life insurance.  My needs will be changing because my kids will be out of college and do not anticipate any significant debts at that point.  While I am not spring chicken at age 55+…ssshhhh… the main use of term life insurance is for a defined period of time such as 10, 20 or 30 years. Now I need a lifelong policy to cover my inevitable burial expenses and the legacy I wish to leave my children.

Tip…Don’t be sold on the “lowest” price, purchase the right life insurance policy for your needs that offers the greatest value.

As a senior, I think you know that time is working against us all.  With age comes wisdom, right?  We don’t have a crystal ball to know “our time” do we?  We can, however, make sure we have a good financial plan for our family to carry on without us.

Remember, your family will be grieving when your day comes.  It is expensive to leave this world isn’t it?  Money will not be able to replace you, but we don’t have to leave those who matter the most in a financial crisis either, do we?  Life Insurance for Seniors is that answer!!

If you take the time to look into coverage for your loved ones, you will find your odds of your money being multiplied as a tax free payment to your family is another strong argument to purchase senior life insurance.  It is the only financial vehicle that can guarantee their financial needs are covered with proper upfront planning.

For many, senior or not, life insurance is very affordable when you work with a specialized, independent agent or broker like Special Risk Life.

Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance For Seniors

For seniors who sometimes need a larger, but  still a permanent policy, Guaranteed Universal Life policy for seniors can be the answer.  This policy is often referred to as GUL. It offers a level premium for life with a death benefit that will never decrease.  With lower premiums than whole life insurance but permanent coverage, GUL offers a very affordable alternative.  Guaranteed Universal life insurance for seniors can be purchased to cover you till age 121. With GUL, there is no cash value in the policy.  By removing the cash value accumulation feature and providing a simple, pure life insurance protection plan, seniors can purchase coverage they will not outlive, at a more affordable rate than whole life insurance.

Guaranteed Universal Life is sometimes called “No Lapse” Universal life.  The terminology simply means that the policy cannot implode as long as you pay your target premium.  These policies typically start with coverage amounts of $50,000 or more and are used for various purposes whether it be family legacy, charitable giving, final or end of life expenses, estate planning  and more.  For smaller amounts, a final expense insurance policy based on whole life insurance is the typically the solution.

Life Insurance for People Over 70

If you are wondering if being in your 70’s means life insurance is not something you can qualify for, think again.  Life insurance for people over 70 is readily available even if you have health problems. There are plenty of top notch insurers who gladly allow applications to 85 for lifetime coverage. Yes, no exams and all. 

If you have to have, very very serious health problems, we do offer guaranteed issue whole life insurance. For someone with active internal cancer, kidney dialysis, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, a terminal illness… a guaranteed issue, no medical question policy from Gerber Life or AIG is easily available. Now, that is not the first recommendation we make to our clients as Guaranteed Acceptance coverage is considerably more costly than the alternatives and has a “waiting period” built in.  The waiting period limits policy benefits for the first 2 years for natural death.

Often times, people over 70 looking for life insurance are just looking planning end of life expenses and just need a small, burial or a final expense policy.  Senior whole Life insurance is designed for the typical health of people 50-85. They are simple to apply for and absolutely no medical exam. For the best price and protection, choose a plan which has some health questions. Much easier on your wallet and better for those you love. You can thank me later!

Life insurance applicants in their 70’s typically have some health troubles which include prescription medications. No exam policies are less particular and are quite forgiving on prescription medications. Final Expense policies with benefit amounts of $2000 -$50000 are easily obtained over the phone and online even if you take multiple medications in many cases.

Term Life Insurance For Seniors Over 70?

Without expanding too much on all our reasons here, we do not recommend term life insurance for seniors be used specifically for final expenses/burial insurance.

Term means temporary or “terminating” life insurance.

For final expenses, a permanent form of life insurance such as whole life insurance or a guaranteed universal policy is appropriate.

Some of the Top Life Insurance Companies For Seniors

American Amicable

American Amicable, located in Waco, TX has been in business since 1910. Offering no exam final expense life insurance for seniors in 3 “flavors” gives them an underwriting edge over other carriers. Policy amounts to $50,000 can be purchased with this carrier. This is also one of easiest companies to apply for coverage in the industry. Company as a whole is easy to work with. They do accept the vast majority of pre-qualified applicants.

Banner Life Insurance Company


For Term Life needs, Banner life insurance seems to always be on our roundup top life insurance companies. Banner is an excellent company for sub-standard risk clients (health conditions), offering some of the most competitive life insurance plans, premiums and coverage for seniors.

Royal Neighbors of America

One of the oldest insurers on this list in Royal Neighbors of America. RNA is a fraternal benefit society established in 1895. The product offerings from this carrier are some of best whole life insurance offerings for people age 50-80. Whether you need whole life insurance or final expense insurance, RNA is high placement carrier we high recommend

Foresters Financial


Foresters Life Insurance is not a big household name like a few other companies on this list, but it provides some of the best life insurance policies and coverage options for seniors. If you have had a really rocky medical history, Foresters will still give you strong consideration as a client.  Competitive rates for those on a fixed income…something that is important particularly after retirement.

Gerber Life


The baby food company has an affiliate, Gerber Life Insurance Company.  They are most famous for their children and youth life insurance policies. Gerber Life Insurance is on our list of most top-rated insurance companies for senior citizens. However, they deserve it!

Gerber Life Insurance offers a guaranteed issue, no health question and no medical exam life insurance policy for the elderly who are in the poorest of health.  When a senior is uninsurable due to a serious medical such as active internal cancer, Gerber Life Insurance still offers whole life coverage. This product is a savior if you have a terminal health condition and expect to live 2 + years.

For more, see our Gerber Life Review.

Lincoln Financial


Catering to clients 70 and older, Lincoln Financial senior life insurance coverage offers whole and term life insurance policies for seniors even over 80.  The company has liberal standards for those with higher body mass ratings.

Additionally, the company offers competitive senior life insurance rates and products.  These offering often rank in the top 3 in cost of coverage for those age 70 and up.

Lincoln Financial allows greater limits for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetic life insurance applications…for seniors 70 and up.

Be aware that Lincoln Financial will not consider any applicant if he or she has not been seen their personal physician in the past 12 months.

Minnesota Life

Securian Financial, from Minnesota Life ranks at the top for senior term life insurance rates in a lot of categories. The company seems to be focused on making life insurance affordable for seniors by having several different rate classifications and taking applicants to even age 85. Securian also offers whole life for those seniors looking for guarantees.


prudential logo

Prudential has great brand, big company recognition.  It has been earned over lots of years of marketing and being pretty easy to work with.  Prudential Life Insurance policies are very competitive were many other companies balk. We can recommend them without reservation for anyone, but most often the following high risk life insurance situations:

  • You are a tobacco user
  • You need diabetic life insurance or…
  • Are a Cancer survivor
  • This makes Prudential a unique life insurance company because they have special underwriting guidelines that can work in your favor.


logo_transamerica life insurance company

Transamerica is the senior term life insurance company. The company consistently offers some of the best whole and term life insurance for seniors 70 and above.

Unlike some of the other big name competitors, Transamerica proves to work well with seniors offering what the other companies avoid.  The company issues term life insurance coverage to seniors over 80.  This is not common place at all.

Transamerica underwriting of seniors health allows for improved rates if you are 71 or older and have a blood pressure reading of 145/85.  You can likely apply for the best rate class. Additionally, you will still be able to get the best rate if you have up to 5.5 cholesterol ratio. Many competitors will only allow a cholesterol ratio up to 4.5.

Finally, Transamerica has some of the lowest rates for seniors over 75, making it a premium company for our most “seasoned” clients. We like their “Solutions” product for seniors needing final expense whole life insurance. It is liberal in nature and priced fairly for the excellent benefits of their level benefit, Solutions product.

Elderly Life Insurance:  The Terms You Should Know

Yes, there are a lot of different life insurance terms or lingo out there – death benefit, face value, burial or funeral expense policy, final expense, guaranteed acceptance. In this section we will  make it easier by explaining what those all mean.  It should help you to find the policy need.

Let’s start with:

Survivorship Life Insurance

Survivorship life insurance, sometimes known as second-to-die life insurance insurance, is actually a joint life insurance policy between two people.  Where it’s especially beneficial… if you were to pay hefty estate taxes (estate value 11 million + as married).  This helps your family or heirs inherit your estate and avoid liquidating your assets.  The key is…it doesn’t pay out until the second person on the life insurance policy is deceased (hence the second-to-die insurance coined name).  Example – husband dies at age 75 while Mom lives another 5 years until passing.  At this point, estate taxes become due and the Survivorship Life Insurance policy pays out tax free money to the children to cover those costs so the estate is not depleted from those expenses.

Death Benefit

The term “death benefit” certainly sounds grim, but in the context of life insurance, it refers to the amount of money that any beneficiary(s) will receive from a life insurance policy when the end of life of the insured is reached.

Face Value

Face value is the amount of money your beneficiary would receive when the policyholder passes away. In other words and in the context of the policies we’re discussing in this article, the face value is the death benefit of the policy.

Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

For some senior citizens, guaranteed acceptance life insurance maybe their only option.  A very serious health situation that is uninsurable thru health questioning, Rx report and/or MIB hits (Medical Information Bureau) will make it necessary.  You should never apply for this type of coverage until you have spoken to a high risk life insurance specialist!!

As suggested, it’s much easier to obtain than other types of life insurance, meaning that if you have poor health, you can still qualify for this type of life insurance.  There are little to know health questions, depending on the insurance company.  This is certainly not the case with most life insurance application either.

Final Expense Life Insurance For The Elderly

Final expense insurance, otherwise known as a burial insurance policy, is meant to cover end of life expenses after the passing of the insured.  These are smaller policies, usually $40,000 or less.  Like guaranteed acceptance life insurance, these policies can help pay for outstanding bills, final medical expenses and funeral costs.  Final Expense policies are meant for people who do not need a larger policy, yet need permanent coverage that promptly covers the costs of the end of life expenses for their loved ones.

Final Expense Whole Life insurance is more expensive per thousand than other forms of life insurance.  The key to remember here…it is easy to qualify for, permanent coverage and comes in smaller amounts and is the most common product our elderly clients purchase.  As a result, it ends up being a very affordable life insurance for the elderly folk who are almost always on a fixed income. We have provided you an instant quoting tool on this page so you can easily get a free quote. Find out who has the best pricing for starters.

Final Expense whole life insurance for the elderly has limited health questions and is very dependable. It will never expire as long as you pay your monthly premium. This is a common, go to product that seniors use to avoid the hassle of a medical exam and weeks of wait to see if they are approved for coverage.  With a no exam life insurance product, you only buy what you really need, want and can afford.

Term Life Insurance

A term life insurance policy means that beneficiaries receive a death benefit/face amount of the policy if the insured passes away during that specific period of time (the term).  This is temporary coverage and is usually the cheapest form of life insurance. It is temporary life insurance designed for a defined (known) period of time.

Whole Life Insurance

This is a permanent life insurance policy guaranteed to last your lifetime.  It develops cash value over a number of years which you may borrow from if you so choose.  It tends to be the most expensive type of coverage per thousand of coverage.  Whole life policies will endow at age 100 and payout the death benefit regardless of the insureds death or not.  Level premium and death benefit, cash value accumulation and the ability to borrow against the cash value in the policy are the hallmarks of a whole life policy.

Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance

Guaranteed Universal Life insurance (GUL) will be the best value of all life insurance types.  Like Whole Life Insurance, GUL does provide a permanent, guaranteed death benefit but at a much more affordable premium; comparable to term life insurance.  The premiums are level for life and the death benefit will never decrease.  GUL policies are designed for those who typically need $50,000 or more in life insurance.  While there is no cash value accumulation like a whole life policy, the affordable, permanent protection offers the best value in elderly life insurance.  As a general rule, for most senior citizens in good health for their age, guaranteed universal life insurance is a good option if needing considerably more financial coverage beyond the cost of a funeral and burial.

No Medical Exam Life Insurance For Seniors?

No medical exam life insurance means that you can skip the visit to the physician’s office or a nurse coming to your home and still qualify for permanent, life insurance policies.

For those seeking elderly life insurance, a no medical exam policy is a good option if your health has been a little bumpy over the years. In many cases, obtaining a no medical exam life insurance policy purchased thru our office can go from application to full approval in 24 hours.

Unless you opt for a no question, guaranteed issue whole life policy, you will be asked medical-related questions during your application process.  This is financially to your advantage.  The more questions and information, the lower your cost of ownership should be.

Life Insurance Quotes for Seniors

If at this point you’ve read enough and want some numbers to work into your budget, my first recommendation would be to give us a call so we can sort your out what you want to accomplish with life insurance. A short history of any medical conditions would help us determine anything that may affect you getting approved for a particular insurance companies policy. Otherwise go to our life insurance quotes for seniors page. The instant tools on that page should get you some pricing and the option to pre-qualify for coverage if you desire.

Conclusion: Life Insurance For the Elderly

In our experience, life insurance for seniors is very important the family’s financial well being whether.  I have lost track of how many life insurance applications we have processed for senior citizens.  It is an everyday thing for us. 

I’ve also heard plenty of sad stories about the damage left behind when a individual did not have life insurance in place and passed away leaving his/her wife and/or children without the means to pay their end of life expenses.

Pat yourself on the back! You are taking care of this so you family has what it needs when that day comes.

Seniors buy life insurance and keep it.  They know the coverage will inevitably take care of their families when they pass away. This is provided your policy is designed to offer permanent protection.  This is absolute key folks. 

Temporary (Term) insurance is fine to cover a mortgage or other loan expenses during a defined period of time. It should not be put in place with hopes it will cover you till you die.  We don’t have a crystal ball to know our time. 

While there are companies offering extended term life insurance now days, guaranteed universal life insurance is a better option being a permanent form of coverage.

The key to saving money on life insurance for seniors is…

drum roll please…

Buy sooner than later.

Life insurance prices are based on the age in which you purchase the policy. The younger and healthier you are, the more options for savings you will have.  Premiums are higher each year you put the protection off and as health inevitably declines.  Do not assume you are saving money by not paying for life insurance.  Doing this and risking a major health condition or worse yet, unexpected death is playing with fire.  Rates can easily double over a change in health status. I deal with people weekly who put the decision off a couple months than get a cancer diagnosis, have a heart attack, a stroke or worse yet, pass away unexpectedly.

Whether you are the “breadwinner” the “housekeeper,” “retired on a fixed income” it does not matter.  Do you want to protect your family from the inevitable financial woes that accompany the loss of your life?

Be careful on who you work with as senior. 

There are also many young and/or eager agents pushing “cheap, term life insurance.”  Their are also blowhard financial entertainers pushing their “ideology” that is completely inappropriate for the average senior. They just have not been around the block to know it isn’t the primary life insurance for seniors.  Never was and never will be, cheap or not. 

Questions?  Give us a call, 269-230-3464. We are always here to help and never any obligations with us.  Feel free to comment below if the spirit moves you.

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