Age needn't be a barrier to getting life insurance. Even people in their 60s and 70s are able to take advantage of life insurance for seniors. In this guide, we'll explain everything you need to know about getting life insurance in your later years, including some of the best-known senior life insurance policies available.
First, let's explain what life insurance actually is.
A life insurance policy means that if you pass away during the time period of your life insurance, your nominated beneficiaries will receive a lump sum payment called the death benefit. Your insurer will also pay out your policy if you contract a terminal illness with a life expectancy of 12 months or less.
All you need to do to receive this valuable benefit is to keep up with your premium payments while your policy is still active.
People buy life insurance for many reasons, such as:
However, for many, it's all about the peace of mind that having life insurance brings. It's a great feeling to know that you're looking after your loved ones if the worst happens and you pass away.
You can find out about life insurance in more detail in this article from MyTribe Insurance.
Senior life insurance works slightly differently from traditional life insurance. Here are some of the differences:
Over-50s life insurance aims to be as simple as possible. Take out your policy, pay your premiums and your beneficiaries receive a payment when you pass away. In the traditional life insurance industry, this is known as whole life cover.
However, there are still a few different types of senior life insurance to choose from.
Level cover is the most straightforward type of senior life insurance. The amount your beneficiaries receive remains the same from the first day of your policy until you pass away, as does the amount you pay in premiums.
It's easier to budget to pay your monthly premiums with level cover. However, the longer that time goes by, the less purchasing power your payout will have due to inflation.
Increasing cover aims to safeguard your life insurance lump sum against inflation.
Every year, the amount of cover on your life insurance rises (usually by the rate of inflation). The disadvantage is that you pay higher premiums to match.
Funeral cover is an optional add-on to your senior life insurance policy. It covers your funeral costs when you pass away. However, what is (and isn't) covered varies between providers, so check the terms and conditions of your policy.
Another optional add-on to your senior life insurance policy is critical illness cover.
If you take out this cover and you're diagnosed with a serious illness (as specified in the terms of your policy), your insurer pays out a portion of your cover amount. Conditions likely to be covered include:
Advantages of critical illness coverage include replacing your income if you cannot work while you recover. You can also use your payout to subsidise your medical costs if necessary.
However, unlike the life insurance part of your policy, insurers do not cover pre-existing conditions for critical illness cover.
No matter what age you are, life insurance delivers many significant benefits, including:
However, if you're older in age, there are some more benefits that are exclusive to you.
While most conventional life insurance requires you to fill in a medical history questionnaire or even take a medical exam before you are allowed to take out a policy, life insurance for seniors does not insist on this.
If you're aged between 50 and 80, you'll be able to get a policy and enjoy the benefits of life insurance.
As there is no set term for senior life policies, your life insurance policy runs for your entire life. This means your dependents are guaranteed a payout when you pass away.
Your dependents may use this payout to help meet their financial obligations and cover everyday bills. Alternatively, you could bequeath your life insurance payout as a legacy for your dependent children to maintain or upgrade their lifestyle.
Funerals are not cheap, so funeral insurance could allow you to get the send-off you've always wanted.
It's important to give your family an opportunity to celebrate your life and say their goodbyes. But is it fair to expect your surviving relatives to pay for your funeral after you pass away? (Especially if you have grand plans)
The great thing about life insurance for seniors is that you can have it 'written in trust'. This means that when you pass away, it's not considered part of your estate and not subject to inheritance tax.
It also means it's not subject to the probate process, so your beneficiaries should receive their payment sooner and with less administration.
But, inheritance tax can be complex and everyone's individual circumstances are different. Make sure you talk to a financial advisor before you make any decisions on trusts.
Many homeowners are still paying mortgage payments in their 50s and 60s, especially if they bought a house later in life or took out a mortgage with an extra-long term. If you're one of those people, have you thought about what would happen if you passed away unexpectedly?
Your over-50s life cover could be your family's safety net if the worst happens.
As well as the mortgage, your family will have other everyday payments they'll need to meet even after you're gone (household bills, council tax, subscriptions). Your life insurance could help cover those payments and provide valuable financial support.
While having life insurance is a great idea, whatever your age may be, a traditional increasing, decreasing or level term life insurance policy may be better for you. It all depends on your circumstances. Here are some drawbacks to senior life insurance which may mean a regular life insurance policy may work better:
As always, check the terms and conditions of any life insurance policy you buy to make sure you know what you're getting into. You should also talk to a financial adviser.
The range of options available to you when considering life insurance can be daunting. Here are seven pieces of advice for success:
Now, let's look at seven of the most popular life insurance policies for seniors. Each insurer works differently, so use our guide to find the right cover for you.
Aviva offers whole life cover for those over 50s, with no need for a medical.
Premiums range from between £5 and £100 per month, depending on the amount of cover you require and your personal circumstances.
Policyholders also get access to the Digicare+ smartphone app, which delivers health-related advice and information straight to their phones.
Aviva has a 4.4/5 rating on Trustpilot from more than 27,000 reviews.
Not all of these reviews are for life insurance. However, with such an impressive score, we can reasonably believe that Aviva customers are impressed with their services.
Seniors can get life cover from the Post Office. Post Office was awarded Best Life Insurance Provider for 2022 at the Your Money Awards. This was the 14th year in a row Post Office has won this award. What an achievement.
It's difficult to find customer reviews of the Post Office's over 50s life insurance. On TrustPilot, there is only one review page for every service it offers, including parcel delivery.
However, when giving out the Best Life Insurance Provider 2022 award, Your Money praised Post Office's reasonable pricing, sensitive customer service and high-quality products.
Legal & General offers high-quality cover over-50s life insurance, available in minutes.
Customers have access to wellbeing support from day one of their policy, including access to registered nurses over the phone. This feature is also available to the policyholder's partner and any children living at home.
Legal & General's life insurance service has a 4.7/5 rating from 159 reviews on Trustpilot.
Customers enjoy their cost-effective insurance products and friendly, professional staff.
SunLife promotes itself as the nation's favourite over-50s insurance company, supporting families for more than 200 years. More people go with SunLife than every other provider combined.
Premiums for over-50s at SunLife start at as little as £3.70 per month. There are also some great add-ons, including gift vouchers when you sign up.
SunLife has an excellent score of 4.6/5 on Trustpilot, based on more than 6000 reviews.
Customers appreciate SunLife's straightforward sign-up process and professional staff.
Many reviewers have also praised SunLife for their compassionate approach when the policyholder's loved one makes a claim on the life insurance policy. It makes a stressful time that little bit easier.
OneFamily is expert in financial help for the very young (through its Child Trust Funds) and seniors, through over 50s life cover.
From only £10 per month, you can access OneFamily's top-quality cover. Defaqto's experts rate OneFamily over 50s life insurance 5/5. OneFamily also won the Best Life Insurance Provider for Over 50s at the What Mortgage awards 2021.
On Trustpilot, One Family has an excellent rating of 4.6/5, based on more than 1800 reviews. Not all of these reviews are for life insurance. However, with such an impressive score, we can surmise that One Family customers are generally happy with their services.
As the name suggests, British Seniors is all about looking after senior citizens in the UK. Its over-50s life cover is designed to help with funeral costs, service debts and provide valuable peace of mind.
British Seniors offers life insurance for seniors for as little as £4.32 per month.
British Seniors has an excellent 4.8/5 rating on Trustpilot, based on more than 4,600 reviews. Customers are very impressed with British Seniors' friendly, helpful and professional staff.
AIG offers life insurance for seniors with guaranteed acceptance and no medical questions.
It offers protected benefits, so if your financial priorities change and you need to stop your monthly payments, you're still insured for a reduced amount. You don't lose all your money just because you stopped your premium payments.
AIG Life only has a 3.1/5 rating on Trustpilot. However, this is based on a small number of reviews. Also, the most recent reviews seem to be positive, so many they've ironed out their issues.
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.
Joint life insurance policies are easily available in the conventional style. However, joint policies for seniors are not typically available. Of course, there's nothing stopping you and your partner from taking out separate senior life policies. There are advantages to doing it this way, including both of you being able to leave payouts when you pass away, rather than just one of you.
Some insurance companies stop taking premiums from customers when they reach a specific age, such as 85 or 90. However, in most examples, you'll need to pay premiums until you pass away to guarantee coverage. This can be a challenge to budget for, especially if you're no longer working. But you need to keep up your premium payments, or you risk losing your coverage - and you don't get your premium money back.