We don't want to think about passing away, especially if we're at a relatively young age. But if the worst happens, you can look after your loved ones' future with a life insurance policy. In this article, we'll look at age limits for taking out life insurance and how they affect you, whatever your age.
Life insurance is a type of insurance that provides financial protection to your loved ones if you pass away (or are diagnosed with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of 12 months or less).
For more information on life insurance, please see our 'What is life insurance?' article.
Here's how it works:
There are several different types of life insurance policies. For help on choosing the right one for you, check out our 'Types of life insurance' article from MyTribe Insurance.
Most insurers operate maximum age and minimum age limits on their life insurance policies.
The minimum age for most policies is 18. However, many insurance providers offer specialist over 50's policies, which you can't apply for until you're 50.
Maximum age is a bit harder to quantify as different insurers operate different terms and conditions. Typically, the upper limit to take out life insurance is around 80. However, you may find others that are younger and older.
Here are five popular level term life insurance policies and their maximum age limits.
Life insurance companies put age limits on their policies because, for them, insurance is all about risk.
If you're 40 years old and taking out a 25-year term policy, the likelihood is high that you will live until you're 65 and the insurance provider will never have to pay out, all the while taking a monthly premium from you. They'll happily accept you because you're a low risk.
On the other hand, if you're in your late 70s or early 80s, you're much more likely to pass away before the term of your life insurance comes to an end, meaning your insurer will have to pay out. You're a higher risk and as such, you're unlikely to be able to get life insurance.
The older you are, the more susceptible you are to health issues such as heart attacks, strokes or dementia. Therefore, you're more likely to pass away during the term of your policy and the higher risk you are to your insurer.
However, most providers won't turn you down for insurance just because you're older. Instead, they'll reflect that risk in higher premiums.
Age is not the only factor that insurance companies use to determine your monthly premiums. Others include:
Insurance companies will be happy to offer you a policy if you're under 40. You're a low risk to the insurer, which will be reflected in lower premiums.
The majority of people in this age bracket don't take out life insurance at this time, as the likelihood of them passing away is very low. However, you never know what is around the corner.
Your 40s is a great time to get insurance as you're likely to be in good health, so your premiums won't be too high.
You're also more likely to get the full benefit of life insurance if you have children and a family that rely on your income.
As people get older, they're more likely to be swayed by the benefits of life insurance. While you're still very unlikely to pass away in your 50s, you're more likely to think about your loved ones and how they would be affected if the worst happens.
Unfortunately, it's around this age point that insurers begin to charge higher premiums for life cover. As you get older, you're more likely to suffer from health problems, from niggling pains to serious illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke. It's not nice to think about, but you're more likely than before to pass away during the term of a 20-30 year life insurance policy.
You'll still be able to get life cover, but your premiums will be more expensive than they were when you were younger.
Many insurers offer specialist over 50's life cover policies. The main benefit of these policies is that there is guaranteed acceptance, so you can get life insurance cover even if you have pre-existing medical conditions. In addition, they're whole-of-life policies, so the policy is guaranteed to pay out when you pass away. On the other hand, the cover amount tends to be quite low for these policies. In addition, you'll be paying premiums until you pass away.
Life insurance isn't a legal requirement. However, if you want to support your dependents after you've gone, it's a great thing to have, no matter your age.
Think about the special people in your life:
If something terrible happened and you passed away, how would they cope? How would they live without your income coming in? Would they be able to pay the mortgage or your household bills?
Life insurance can provide valuable financial protection to the special people in your life at a most difficult time. They could use it to pay off your outstanding mortgage or maintain a good family lifestyle. They could also use it to pay your funeral expenses.
But most of all, life insurance delivers peace of mind. When you purchase life insurance, you can sleep easy knowing you've done your best to look after your loved ones, even after you're no longer around.
Disclaimer: This information is general and what is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances. Please speak with a financial adviser or do your own research before making a decision.
There's no best age to get life insurance. It delivers valuable protection and peace of mind, whatever your age.
If you're over 40, have a partner, children or any household debt (such as a mortgage), you should seriously consider taking out life cover.
On the other hand, if you're in your 20s with no financial dependents, you may find there are better ways to safeguard your finances than life insurance, such as critical illness cover or income protection.
If you're under 40, you may think you don't need life cover. You're not in poor health. Also, you have other financial obligations to deal with. It's something you can deal with in later years.
Ignoring the fact that you never know what's around the corner, putting off sorting out life insurance can have a financial impact too.
The monthly cost of life insurance for a 45-year-old buying a term life policy is slightly more than double the monthly cost for a 35-year-old, all other things (cover amount, smoking status) being equal. - Source
The earlier you start your life insurance journey, the more affordable it will be.