Life Insurance Guide for 55 year olds [Sample Rates]

Life insurance at 55 can be a little daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Even if your health isn’t as good as it was in your 30s, there are policies available to you.

We even show you the best ways to save money and make sure that you get a policy that both covers your family, and saves you money.

Why a 55-Year-Old Needs Life Insurance

Do you really need life insurance at 55?

Many people still do, even once the kids are grown. While many people take out term policies to provide for young children when they’re new parents in their 20s and 30s, people in their 50s still have financial dependents.

The question you should ask is if I passed away tomorrow, would anyone be in financial trouble?

If the answer to that is yes, getting a life insurance policy is a loving thing to do for them.

Common reasons for purchasing life insurance for 55-year-olds are to protect a spouse. Maybe the mortgage isn’t paid off or without your income retirement at 65 becomes a pipedream. Other people want to continue supporting their adult (or nearly adult) children.

Life insurance is just another way to care for your family. Yet it can also do other things. There are types of life insurance that are designed primarily to pay for funerals. Different types ensure there is liquid cash available to pay for any estate-related expenses.

It all boils down to your financial situation right now and what you expect it to be as you age.

Best Types of Life Insurance for 55 Year Olds

There are two common types of life insurance, term and permanent. These form the basis of what most people think of when they hear the phrase life insurance. But there is a third option that is rapidly gaining attention, burial insurance.

The type of life insurance that is right for you will depend on your reasons for getting life insurance at age 55.

Term Life Insurance

Term life is one of your cheapest options for life insurance. It lasts a set number of years, and once it expires, your contract is over. Once the term is up, many companies offer conversions to whole life or renewals for another term. The most common terms are 10, 20, or 30 years. Although you can get them

Term life insurance is best for reasons that won’t last forever. Making sure your spouse can retire is a big one at 55. Continuing to provide for young adult children financially is another. Paying off your mortgage that your spouse couldn’t afford on their own is a third.

Because so many people survive their terms, insurance companies can afford to offer this type of life insurance at a fraction of the price of permanent life insurance.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance covers you until you pass away. As long as you pay your premiums, the policy is there for you. It can get even easier with a 10-pay, or 20-pay policy, where you pay each month for a set number of years. That way you don’t have to worry about funding it indefinitely.

There are several types of permanent life insurance. Whole life is the most straightforward. Universal life and its sub-categories give you more options for your cash value and payment schedules.

Permanent policies are best for families who are covering end-of-life expenses or estate obligations. As strange is it sounds from a philosophical perspective, dying is expensive. Creditors come running for debts. There are often medical expenses, large or small. Even the burial or cremation can get up there in price.

You might get a permanent policy to fund a trust for a child or spouse to take care of them after you’re gone. If your married, second-to-die policies are a good option if you want to leave something for the kids.

Burial Insurance

Burial insurance is almost always permanent, although there are a few term burial policies out there. (We strongly recommend taking the permanent ones, because they’re nearly the same price and you aren’t gambling on when you will pass away.)

The average cost of a funeral and burial (which is the same as a funeral and cremation) is just under $8,000 in the United States today. With over half of Americans having less than $1,000 in savings, that can hit a family hard.

Sometimes saving up can be almost impossible. It seems that the second you start trying to save money, life happens and another surprise expense comes up. Burial insurance is a way to take care of your final expenses without passing on the financial burden to your family.

Term Life Insurance Rates for 55 Year Olds

Like we mentioned above, term life insurance is simple. It’s a straightforward policy that covers you for a set number of years. No frills. No gimmicks.

The critical thing to keep in mind when looking at health insurance is that each company has a different set of underwriting guidelines. They look at your health, family medical history, your driving record, and a dozen or so other factors to determine your health class. This health class determines how much you pay.

There are four primary health classes for most companies: preferred plus, preferred, regular plus, and regular. Preferred plus is for people in exceptional health. Regular covers people in average health for their age.

The sample rates below will show preferred and regular rates for non-smokers. If you currently smoke or have quit within the last year, your rates will be roughly 50% higher. Make sure to shop around and see which company will give you the best health class.

The monthly rates below are for a 55-year-old man in good health (preferred).

Preferred Males

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10-Year$22$24$51$92$163
20-Year$31$44$87$161$307
30-Year$63$81$165$323$638

Standard Males

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10-Year$30$37$81$149$277
20-Year$62$63$138$261$487
30-Year$63$90$212$415$800

Male Smokers

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10-Year$48$75$162$309$536
20-Year$86$122$358$514$1,001
30-YearN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Male Diabetics

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10-Year$38$62$110$148$277
20-Year$73$94$185$263$508
30-Year$106$141$406$614$1,198

Preferred Females

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10-Year$17$19$38$69$125
20-Year$23$31$62$113$218
30-Year$52$65$116$225$413

Standard Females 

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10-Year$22$28$56$22$192
20-Year$34$45$96$179$340
30-Year$52$86$169$330$650

Female Smokers

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10-Year$34$58$147$212$398
20-Year$52$90$216$363$698
30-YearN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Female Diabetics

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
10-Year$29$47$73$105$192
20-Year$49$70$151$180$341
30-Year$81$119$349$515$1,006

What is the Longest Term Life Policy You Can Get?

Most companies only offer 30-year terms on the high end. You may be able to find a company providing a non-traditional policy to customize the term length, but the cost of a non-traditional policy makes most people do a double take.

You can still get a 30-year term life insurance policy at age 55. That will last you a decade beyond the average life expectancy in this country. But if it is end-of-life expenses that you are looking to cover, you might consider a permanent or burial policy.

Whole Life Insurance Rates for 55 Year Olds

Whole life insurance is the least complicated of the permanent life insurance policies. It’s just the death benefit and a cash value accumulation component.

The cash value accumulation builds up as you pay your premiums. It is basically how much you have paid over the course of your policy, plus interest. You can borrow the cash value from your life insurance policy with low-interest rates to use for whatever you want. It can be a loan without the hassle of dealing with the bank.

If the idea of paying premiums until you pass away doesn’t appeal to you, ask about 20-pay policies. You will pay a little more each month, but there is an endpoint.

Preferred Health

The rates below are for non-smoking, 55-year-old men and women. We are showing rates for preferred (good health) and regular (average) health classes.

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Men$146$278$685$1,350$2,693
Women$133$248$611$1,203$2,399

Standard Health

The set below reflects what you might pay for a regular health class.

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Men$146$282$696$1,370$2,734
Women$133$256$630$1,241$2,475

The rates for the $50,000 benefit are the same for both health classes. It often happens at the lower end of the benefit range with many companies.

Diabetes 

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Men$406$814$1,419$2,189$4,048
Women$298$605$986$1,507$2,761

Smokers

$50,000$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
Men$542$1,023$2,516$4,213$8,261
Women$351$770$1,592$3,223$6,061

Tips on Getting the Best Life Insurance Rates for at Age 55

Like any purchase that isn’t on impulse, the best way to save money on life insurance is to shop around. Get quotes from several companies and compare them.

But it’s not enough to only do that. You need to know how that company will underwrite you. Therein lies the tricky part.

Most life insurance companies stay along similar guidelines. After all, it’s not that the average life expectancy changes depending on which company you choose for your life insurance. To find this variable, you need the help of an independent life insurance agent.

Independent life insurance agents work for their clients. They aren’t employed by any one insurance company. That gives them the ability to work with dozens of life insurance companies to choose the few that will work best for you.

When you call or email your independent agent for the first time, tell them about any medical history you have. It may feel weird emailing a complete stranger about something typically considered private, but it’s their job. Armed with this information, they can narrow down the best options for you.

The Best Life Insurance Companies for a 55 Year Olds

We picked these five companies as our general favorites for 55-year-olds. They all have their advantages. Remember that to get the best rates you have the find the company that has the best underwriting guidelines for you. The best few for your unique situation may differ from the list here.

We chose these five based on their financial stability, quality customer care, and affordability.

CompanyA.M. RatingCustomer Satisfaction
Phoenix LifeB4.0 / 5
TransamericaA+4.2 / 5
PrudentialA+4.3 / 5
SBLIA-4.1 / 5
ForestersA4.0 / 5

Phoenix Life

Phoenix is one of the most affordable companies you can find in the lower benefit ranges. For both men and women, Phoenix offers incredibly competitive rates under $250,000 benefit.

AM Best currently rates them at a B.

Transamerica

Transamerica has been around for decades, and we expect them to be around for decades more with an A+ rating from AM Best for superior financial standing.

They particularly excel in competitive rates on longer-term lengths for 55-year-olds.

Prudential

Prudential is an excellent life insurance company. They are particularly useful in high benefit term policies.

Excellent customer service combined with an A+ from AM Best makes them a solid choice.

SBLI

Like Prudential, both companies are neck and neck when it comes to offering affordable rates for high benefits.

SBLI comes in with an A- from AM Best.

Foresters

We adore the whole life policies from Foresters. They’re affordable. What’s better is that you can get a 20-pay option on their whole life policies. Only pay for 20 years, then you’re done.

AM Best gives them a solid A.

The Bottom Line

If you need life insurance, it will only get more expensive the longer you put it off. The first step is to figure out why you are looking into life insurance. That will tell you what type you need. If you’re unclear, your agent can help. You might even want to layer policies.

For example, you might combine a term life insurance policy with a burial insurance policy. The term will provide for your spouse’s ability to retire on time if something happens to you. The burial policy will make sure there is cash available to pay for your funeral.

When everything is said and done, what you are doing is noble. You are choosing to provide for someone else.

Speaking with an expert is a surefire way to get the professional insight you need to make the right decision for you and your family.

Give us a call today to speak with an independent life insurance agent who represents dozens of the best life insurance companies on the make, and who can help you find the best life insurance coverage for you and your family.

If you’re looking to compare rates, just use our easy life insurance quote tool to find the best life insurance rates for your age and health demographics.

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About Jeff Root

is the owner of rootfin.com. He's an independent life insurance agent who has helped 1,000's of consumers purchase life insurance online and over the phone.

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