Last Updated: June 2019
Life insurance for a 55-year-old doesn’t have to be costly, intimidating, and confusing. Even if your health isn’t as good as it was in your 30s, there are still affordable policies available to you.
Below, we will show you the best types of life insurance, sample rates, and companies for age 55. Then, we’ll make sure that you know how to find a policy that covers your family and saves you money.
- Why a 55-Year-Old Needs Life Insurance
- The Best Types of Life Insurance for a 55-Year-Old
- How Much is Life Insurance for a 55-Year-Old? – For Males | For Females
- The Best Life Insurance Companies for a 55-Year-Old
- How to Save on Life Insurance at Age 55
Why a 55-Year-Old Needs Life Insurance
Do you really need life insurance at age 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 need life insurance too, as they 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 include protecting a spouse. Maybe the mortgage isn’t paid off, or without your income, retirement at 65 becomes a pipedream. Many parents 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.
The Best Types of Life Insurance for a 55-Year-Old
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 insurance 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 for various other lengths.
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.
If it is end-of-life expenses that you are looking to cover, you might consider a permanent or burial policy.
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 insurance is the most straightforward. 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.
Universal life insurance 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 add up 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 you are married, second-to-die policies are a good option if you want to leave something for the kids.
Burial insurance is almost always permanent, although there are a few term burial policies out there.
Note: 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.
How Much is Life Insurance for a 55-year-old?
The cost of life insurance for a 55-year old depends on the type of policy you purchase, how much coverage you need, your health, and other factors.
- Term life insurance costs less than whole life insurance.
- Shorter terms and lower coverage amounts are cheaper.
- Healthier people will pay less for life insurance.
Term Life Insurance Rates for 55-year-old Males
The table below shows monthly rates for a 55-year-old male in good health who doesn’t smoke (preferred health class).
These sample rates in the table below are for a 55-year-old male in average health who doesn’t smoke (standard health class).
If you currently smoke or have quit within the last year, your rates will be roughly 50% higher. The table below shows sample rates for a 55-year-old male who smokes.
If you need life insurance with diabetes at age 55, your rates will be similar to the table below if you control your diabetes well.
Term Life Insurance Rates for 55-Year Old Females
The table below shows rates for a 55-year-old female in good health who doesn’t smoke (preferred health class).
These table below shows rates for a 55-year-old female with average health who doesn’t smoke (standard health class).
Women who smoke will have higher rates than women who do not smoke. The table below shows sample rates for a 55-year old female who smokes.
Women with diabetes can still find affordable life insurance rates if they manage their diabetes well. The table below has sample rates for a 55-year-old female with diabetes.
Whole Life Insurance Rates for a 55-Year-Old
The table below has monthly whole life insurance rates for non-smoking, 55-year-old men and women in good health (preferred health class).
The table below has monthly whole life insurance rates for non-smoking, 55-year-old men and women in average health (standard health class).
Note: 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.
This table shows monthly whole life insurance rates for 55-year-olds with diabetes.
The table below shows monthly whole life insurance rates for 55-year-old smokers.
The Best Life Insurance Companies for a 55-Year-Old
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 for your unique situation may differ from the list here.
We chose these five based on their financial stability, quality customer care, and affordability.
|Company||A.M. Rating||Customer Satisfaction|
|Phoenix Life||B||4.0 / 5|
|Transamerica||A+||4.2 / 5|
|Prudential||A+||4.3 / 5|
|SBLI||A-||4.1 / 5|
|Foresters||A||4.0 / 5|
Phoenix Life Insurance
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.
A.M. Best currently rates them at a “B”.
Transamerica has been around for decades, and we expect them to be around for decades more with an “A+” rating from A.M. Best for superior financial standing.
They particularly excel in competitive rates on longer-term lengths for 55-year-olds.
Prudential is an excellent life insurance company. They are particularly useful in high benefit term policies.
Excellent customer service combined with an “A+” from A.M. Best makes them a solid choice.
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 A.M. Best.
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.
A.M. Best gives them a solid “A”.
Compare Multiple Companies to Find the Best Policy
The critical thing to keep in mind when looking at life 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 – for people in exceptional health.
- Regular plus
- Regular – covers people in average health for their age.
Make sure to shop around and see which company will give you the best health class.
Most companies only offer up to 30-year terms, and at age 55, you can typically still get a 30-year term life insurance policy. That will last you a decade beyond the average life expectancy in the US.
How to Save on Life Insurance 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 use 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 specific 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 Easiest & Fastest Way to Apply
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.
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 market. We’ve helped 1000’s and can help you find the best life insurance coverage for you and your family at no charge.
If you’re looking to compare rates, just use our easy life insurance quote tool to find the best life insurance rates for a 55-year-old today!
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