Senior Life Insurance

Find out why getting life cover in your later years can be an affordable way to take care of the ones you love most.

Find out why getting life cover in your later years can be an affordable way to take care of the ones you love most.

Debbie Thompson
Life insurance expert
minute read
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Posted 14 FEBRUARY 2020

Is there an age limit for buying life insurance?

There isn’t a maximum age for taking out life insurance. However, insurance providers will set their own age limit – this typically tends to range from 75 to 80. You could still get a policy if you’re older, but it’s rare to find a policy if you’re over 85.

How does age affect the cost of life insurance?

As you get older, life insurance typically gets more expensive. That’s because as people age, they’re more likely to get ill and therefore more likely to claim on a policy. A provider passes on this added risk to a customer in the form of a higher premium.

There are many factors other than age that affect the cost of senior life insurance. Your health, weight and lifestyle – including if you smoke or not – all impact the cost of cover. There are steps you can take, such as improving your fitness, to reduce the cost of your premium.

What options are there for life insurance as I get older?

Your options for life insurance as you get older include:

  • Over 50s life cover – this type of cover, which is usually taken out between the ages of 50 and 80, pays out a lump sum to your dependants when you die. One advantage of an over-50s plan is that being accepted is guaranteed – you won’t need to pass a medical or answer any health-related questions.
  • Funeral cover – many providers offer pre-paid funeral plans. Some of these only cover the funeral director’s bill, while others could include the cost of a wake or a cemetery plot.
  • Level term insurance – this pays out a fixed lump sum, which is agreed when you take out the cover, if you die during the term of a policy. If you don’t die within the policy term, your family won’t receive a pay-out.

As well as life insurance, you might want to consider critical illness cover, which typically pays out if you’re diagnosed with an illness listed in the policy. A critical illness can include a stroke, heart attack and non-terminal cancer. A pay-out is made by a provider in the form of a lump sum, which can be tax-free. Read more about what is and isn’t covered by critical illness insurance. The type of policy that works for you depends on your individual circumstances.

Can I get life insurance for my parents?

You can, if you can show that you’d suffer financial loss if they died. For example, if a mortgage (or other debts) would be passed to you or if you’d have to pay the funeral costs. This is called having an ‘insurable interest’. It’s needed if you buy life insurance for someone else. Unsurprisingly, this can be a sensitive topic and you’ll need the full consent of your parent or parents before getting a policy.

Life insurance for over-65s

You may not need senior life insurance as an over 65 if you’re sure the estate you’re leaving will secure the financial future for your family, even after tax. But if you’re not confident about that, you might want to consider life insurance for the following reasons:

  • Passing on a legacy – If you’ve looked after your finances for many years, you might be well placed to consider leaving a legacy for your family. Life insurance for over 65s could be a way for you to provide that provision.
  • Cover for inheritance tax – Some people fear the impact inheritance tax will have on the legacy they leave to their family. For estates worth more than £325,000, a tax of 40% is applied to the remaining amount. For example, if your estate is worth £550,000, you could face a £90,000 inheritance tax bill.

Whatever the taxable sum is, you may want to take out a life insurance policy for over-65s, to cover the amount.

The types of policies that might be suitable for life insurance after 65 include:

  • Whole of life insurance – pays out when you die, irrespective of your age. It’s also referred to as whole life assurance. You select the payout amount at the outset, after which you pay a monthly premium. Providing you continue to pay your premiums, when you die the policy will deliver the payout to your family.
  • Over 50’s insurance – this is typically paid out as one single sum. It can be used to help your family cover financial costs when you die, including unpaid bills and funeral costs.

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