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Life Insurance in Your 70s and Beyond

Your options will be more limited when looking for life insurance at 70 and beyond, but policies are still out there.

Life insurance companies generally stop selling 20-year term policies after age 70, but 15-year terms may be available until age 75, and 10-year terms may be available until age 80. Your term life insurance premiums will depend on your health and the size of the death benefit.

If you’d rather have coverage that’s guaranteed, permanent life insurance plans with smaller death benefits may still be an option, depending on your monthly budget.

Older people or people with health issues can purchase guaranteed-acceptance life insurance (sometimes called final expense insurance) when they can’t get approved for a fully underwritten plan. Death benefits for these policies usually top out at $25,000, sometimes less. There are no medical questions and no medical exam. These policies tend to be more expensive than other policies and are usually the last resort for consumers trying to find coverage.

6 things to consider about buying life insurance after 70:

  1. Buy now. Life insurance premiums typically rise as you age. The older you are, the more they will generally cost. Waiting even one year to buy a policy could end up costing you more in the long run, especially after age 70.

  2. When you’re over 70, some insurance companies will require you to take additional medical tests to qualify for term life insurance. In addition to the more common blood and urinalysis tests, applicants over 70 may have to take an electrocardiogram (EKG) and cognitive test before a company will accept an application.

  3. Many older people require just enough life insurance to cover their financial obligations after they die. You can avoid buying too much or too little by calculating your specific needs.

  4. If you’ve saved enough money, you may not actually need life insurance. If you want to cover your final expenses and maybe leave a little extra for your children, you may want to look into a guaranteed-acceptance plan, which offers a smaller death benefit than other types of life insurance.

  5. Pay attention to the different restrictions and exclusions included in your policy. Guaranteed-acceptance policies, for example, will only pay a graded death benefit if the insured dies within the first two years of the policy. Take advantage of the free-look period many insurance companies offer for up to 30 days after you purchase a policy. You can use this time to review the details of your plan, and you can back out with no penalty if you change your mind.

  6. Comparison shopping for life insurance can save you money at any age, but it’s especially important for people over 70. Insurance companies typically have stricter rules for older applicants, but each company is different. Getting quotes from multiple companies could end up saving you money in the long run.

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