How Does Life Insurance Work for Seniors Over 80?

Updated

For many people, life begins after 80. They’re busy staying active physically, socializing with friends and family, and taking care of their personal affairs. One of these personal affairs is making sure their family isn’t responsible for medical or funeral costs after they pass away. They look to life insurance as the way to make this happen.

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While using a permanent type of life insurance policy, like whole life or universal life, is not a way seniors over 80 use to accumulate cash value or save money inside a life insurance policy, they use these policies to meet other needs.

In this article, we’ll look at what options seniors over 80 have regarding buying life insurance, what it costs, where they can buy it, and more.

Can You Get Life Insurance If You’re Over 80 Years Old?

While they typically won’t qualify for a term life policy over 10 years in length because of their life expectancy, seniors over 80 can still be eligible for a permanent type of life insurance policy.

Permanent policies are often a better choice for seniors because it can be incredibly challenging for them to purchase coverage after age 90 if they still have financial obligations they want to ensure are covered when they pass away.

» MORE: Ensure your loved ones have a roadmap on what to do after you die. Create a will and easy-to-follow guidance for the important people in your life.

 

What Types of Life Insurance Are Available for Seniors Over 80 And What Are The Rates?

Many highly-rated life insurance companies provide life insurance coverage for seniors over 80 years of age. These companies vary in which types of policies they offer seniors, but this gives seniors options, allowing them to buy the coverage that best meets their needs. Let’s look at the different types of policies available to them:

1. Final expense life insurance

Many seniors who are in their 80s no longer need to purchase life insurance policies with face amounts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In many instances, the mortgage has been paid off, their children are no longer dependents, and they have no sizeable long-term debt. What they want and need is life insurance to pay their final expenses, such as funeral expenses, to help those responsible for funeral costs, and medical bills.

Final expense life insurance, also known as burial insurance or funeral insurance for seniors, is an excellent option for many seniors over 80. In addition to reasonable rates, there are several pros to getting burial insurance over 80:

  • The policy won’t expire as long as you pay your premiums
  •  The premiums will remain the same as long as you continue to pay them
  • The policy accumulates cash value that can be borrowed if needed
  • There are usually only a few health questions asked on the application, and no medical exam is required
  • It’s quick and easy to apply, and a policy can be issued within just a few days

There are two types of final expense life insurance: simplified issue and guaranteed issue. Let’s look at both.

Simplified issue life insurance

Simplified issue life insurance is for seniors that are in good health. There are just a few health questions on the application, compared to dozens of questions on an application for traditional life insurance, like term or whole life insurance. These questions usually concern:

  • Medications you take (prescription and over-the-counter)
  • Surgeries you’ve had
  • Your families medical history, including cases of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure
  • Your tobacco and alcohol use (failure to provide factual answers on the application can void the policy)
  • Your age
  • Your driving record (traffic violations, speeding tickets, and DUIs can all cause your life insurance premiums to go up)

Simplified issue policies generally have only these questions, and a medical exam is never required. The death benefit may be graded for an initial period of time.

Guaranteed issue life insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is an option for seniors that are not in good health and have a lengthy list of pre-existing medical conditions. With a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, there are:

  • No medical questions on the application
  • No medical exam is required

Because there is no information provided to the insurance company concerning an applicant’s health status, insurers charge higher rates for guaranteed issue policies than they do for permanent policies or simplified issue policies. 

Guaranteed issue life insurance is usually limited to people 50-85 years old, and the death benefits are generally smaller, only up to $25,000 compared to $50,000 with simplified issue life insurance. The death benefit may be graded for the first few years.

Average monthly final expense life insurance rates for men*

$5,000 Death Benefit

Age

Determined 'In Good Health' by Insurer

No Health Questions Asked

80

$68 - $88

$89 - $135

85

$93 - $145

$150 or more

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.

$10,000 Death Benefit

Age

Determined 'In Good Health' by Insurer

No Health Questions Asked

80

$133 - $173

$175 - $268

85

$183 - $286

$299 or more

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.

Average monthly final expense life insurance rates for women*

$5,000 Death Benefit

Age

Determined 'In Good Health' by Insurer

No Health Questions Asked

80

$51 - $66

$69 - $94

85

$70 - $107

$103 or more

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.

$10,000 Death Benefit

Age

Determined 'In Good Health' by Insurer

No Health Questions Asked

80

$98 - $129

$135 - $187

85

$136 - $211

$204 - $286

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.

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2. Term life insurance for seniors over 80

Term life insurance options are minimal and very expensive for this age group. Very few companies offer them, and the applicant will need to have a medical exam. The longest term insurers offer a senior over 80 is 10 years, and no death benefit is paid if you outlive the policy.

Average annual term life insurance rates for men*

Age 

Policy Amount

Average Rate for 10-Year Term

80

$250,000

$10,60

80

$500,000

$19,800

80

$1,000,000

$37,560

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.

Average annual term life insurance rates for women*

Age 

Policy Amount

Average Rate for 10-Year Term

80

$250,000

$7,860

80

$500,000

$15,600

80

$1,000,000

$28,320

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.

As you can see, term life insurance for seniors over 80 is very expensive making it an unlikely option for most seniors in this age group.

3. Whole life insurance for seniors over 80

The best whole life policy for seniors over 80 is the final expense policy we’ve looked at. Still, some seniors want a whole life policy with a higher death benefit because of the limited death benefits available. Whole life insurance policies are more costly than term life policies because the death benefit doesn’t expire as long as premiums are paid, and the policy builds cash value. Age 80 is often the oldest age that life insurance companies offer these traditional whole life policies

Each life insurer is unique in what they offer to this age group, so getting rates from each life insurance company you are considering is best.

» MORE: Ensure your loved ones have a roadmap on what to do after you die. Create a will and easy-to-follow guidance for the important people in your life.

 

4. Universal life insurance for seniors over 80

Universal life insurance is a blend of term life insurance and whole life insurance. Some companies offer it up to age 89; however, the applicant must have a medical exam. 

The majority of seniors over 80 that apply for universal life insurance don’t qualify because of their health history. Having a condition such as diabetes is one example of a disease that will disqualify them from getting coverage.

Many factors go into pricing this type of policy, making it best to talk with a life insurance agent to get rates and see what you can qualify for.

What Are Popular, National Life Insurance Companies for Seniors Over 80?

According to financial and insurance analysts at Benzinga, the five best life insurance companies for seniors over 80 are:

  • Best for term life insurance: MetLife
  • Best overall for seniors: AARP from New York Life
  • Cheapest for seniors over 80: Mutual of Omaha
  • Best Whole Life Insurance: AIG
  • Best Universal Life Insurance: Pacific Life

For help finding the best life insurance policy and life insurance company, you can research them online or speak with a life insurance agent.

Tips for Buying Life Insurance for Seniors Over 80

Here are a few tips if you’re a senior over 80 that is interested in purchasing life insurance:

Apply now if you’re in good health. If you apply while you’re in good health, you’ll have more types of policies to choose from, and your rates will be lower than if you have pre-existing conditions

Shop around. There are more life insurance companies than you might expect that offer life insurance to seniors over 80. They have different types of policies, and the rates will vary from insurer to insurer.

Work with an independent life insurance agent. Independent agents can get you quotes from many different life insurance companies; they’re not captive to only one company. Experienced agents will help you find out how much life insurance you may need.

Final Thoughts

If you’re over 80, it’s not too late to buy life insurance. You’ll be able to help your loved ones pay for your final expenses instead of them having to spend thousands of dollars for your burial costs. You’ll also be able to leave a financial gift for your loved ones. Having the life insurance you need will give you peace of mind, and that’s priceless.

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