Best Life Insurance for Seniors

How to choose the right life insurance for you

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The myth that life insurance isn’t for seniors is one that could cost you and your family. According to the Life Insurance Settlement Association, seniors allow an estimated $112 billion in life insurance policies to lapse on a yearly basis. Doing so—or failing to have life insurance altogether—could place an unexpected financial burden on your loved ones after your death. 

Life insurance policies come in a variety of options that can help the elderly accomplish financial goals, such as allowing loved ones to pay for funeral expenses or reducing the burden of estate taxes on their families. Many life insurance policies will offer their products specifically to seniors and even have protections called riders that allow you to receive money should you become ill or disabled

Because there are so many life insurance companies and policy types (like the term, whole, and universal), we reviewed more than 20 companies that offer policies to individuals and narrowed them down to categories that can help meet seniors’ specific life insurance needs. Each company selected is rated for financial stability and offers their policies to seniors, some up to those age 100 or older.

Best Life Insurance For Seniors

Best Overall : Pacific Life


Pacific Life

Pacific Life

Why we chose it: Pacific Life offers a wide variety of policies, including one that could provide long-term care benefits with senior-specific options that go up to age 121.

What We Like
  • Variety of available policy types that can extend up to age 121

  • “Sample Policy” available to review on website

What We Don't Like
  • Must speak to a broker to obtain a life insurance premium quote

  • Takes about one week to receive an underwriting decision

Pacific Life offers a wide variety of insurance products, including indexed universal, variable universal, universal, whole, and term life insurance policies. They also have a policy that caters to seniors called the PremierCare Advantage. This policy can provide long-term care benefits if you find care at a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospice. If you don’t require long-term care in your lifetime, their “Return of Premium” benefit will ensure your beneficiaries receive the funds you paid. 

You can purchase their term life policies up to age 75 with a 10-year benefit period. They also have a no-lapse “Guarantee Universal Life” policy that covers you up to age 121. In addition, they offer a “Maturity Extension Rider” in which you can request a policy after age 100—now that’s allowing for longevity. 

Besides offering a variety of life insurance products, we liked that Pacific Life offered a “Sample Policy” on their website. This 20-page sample featured a thorough explanation of benefits and critical definitions that gave us a clearer picture of what it would be like to select Pacific Life as an insurer. 

Financial rating company A. M. Best rates Pacific Life an A+ (Superior) rating for financial stability, a consideration important in the field of life insurance because the company must be stable enough to cover its policies. They offer policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, although all policies may not be available in some states. Some policies don’t require a medical exam to obtain but may require other assessments, including a personal history interview, cognitive assessment, and prescription report. 

Unfortunately (like many other life insurance companies), Pacific Life doesn’t include an estimated premium. You’ll have to apply for a quote to find out what you may expect to pay. A Pacific Life agent will contact you to explain available policies for your area and age.

Best for Term Life Policy : John Hancock


John Hancock

John Hancock 

Why we chose it: John Hancock offers term life policies with high potential limits, a range of durations, and an opportunity to earn 15 percent off your premium for healthy choices.

What We Like
  • Term policies have a high range of benefits, from $25,000 to $20 million

  • Vitality program helps life insurance enrollees save up to 15 percent on premiums

What We Don't Like
  • No whole life insurance policies offered

  • Must contact an agent for policy quotes

John Hancock offers term life policies ranging from 10, 15, 20, to 30 years with renewability through age 94. They offer several rider options to protect your policy, including total disability waiver, accelerated benefit rider, and unemployment protection rider. Requirements for medical exams may depend upon the amount of the policy you apply for. 

Cost and pricing were some of the additional benefits of John Hancock’s term life policy. The company offers a Vitality program, which offers rewards for health behaviors such as exercise, stopping smoking, and reading articles about enhancing health. You can save as much as 15 percent on your premium if you enroll in this program. 

We also liked that John Hancock has a guaranteed conversion feature for your term life policy. This means you can change your policy to a universal life up to age 70 if you choose. 

If you like John Hancock as a life insurance policy but are more interested in universal life coverage, they offer fixed, indexed, and variable universal policies. John Hancock does not offer whole life insurance policies. 

With an A. M. Best financial strength rating of A+ (superior), John Hancock has a demonstrated financial strength record. They report paying out $5.7 billion in claims on an annual basis. They operate in all states and the District of Columbia, but policy availability may vary.

Best for Whole Life Policy : Penn Mutual


Penn Mutual

Penn Mutual

Why we chose it: Penn Mutual offers two whole life insurance products with versatile payment options, easy-to-understand education about riders, and the potential to earn dividends.

What We Like
  • Two whole life insurance policy options with cash values guaranteed up to age 121

  • Versatile payment option means you can pay off policy in as little as five years

  • Mutual company pays dividends so you can earn on top of your policy’s interest rate

What We Don't Like
  • No online quote tool; you must speak to a financial adviser

  • Medical exam may be required for whole life insurance

Penn Mutual offers two whole life insurance options with some unique payment features and potential riders. As a mutual fund company, Penn Mutual pays dividends to its policyholders. This can maximize your whole life policy because you have the potential to earn money in addition to your guaranteed interest rate associated with your policy. 

Penn Mutual guarantees your premium rate, so you won’t have to worry that your premium will increase as you age. With this in mind, Penn Mutual offers an innovative payment option for whole life policyholders with their “Versatile Choice Whole Life” policy: You can choose to pay off your policy’s value in as little as five years or spread the policy premium out up to when you reach age 100. Penn Mutual will also guarantee the cash values up to age 121. They also offer a “Survivorship Choice Whole Life” policy, a two-person policy that can help cover estate taxes or charitable gifts. The maximum issue age for this policy is age 85. 

We also liked Penn Mutual’s educational tools, particularly those surrounding their available whole life riders. They would give scenarios where a particular rider may be helpful to add on, such as “building more cash value” or “protecting the policy if you are disabled.” Unfortunately, they don’t have a quote tool online; you’ll have to contact an adviser to find out about policy costs. Depending upon your policy’s potential cost, you’ll have to submit information for their underwriting process, which may include a medical exam. 

In addition to their whole life policy, Penn Mutual does offer other products including universal life and an indexed universal life option. They also offer a term life insurance policy that does not require a medical exam. They are A.M. Best rated A+ (Superior) for their financial stability and offer their products in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Best for Estate Planning : Northwestern Mutual


Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual

Why we chose it: Northwestern Mutual offered some of the widest variety of policies, coordinated estate planning through their advisor network, and plans specific to survivorship.

What We Like
  • More than 15 highly customizable life insurance policies offered

  • Survivorship/second-to-die policy helps plan funds for your heir

What We Don't Like
  • Must obtain a quote through a financial advisor and underwriting can take time

  • Does not offer guaranteed-issue policies

Estate planning can be a daunting task—not only do you face your own mortality, but you must also contact several professionals (attorneys, accountants, etc.) to set up an estate. Northwestern Mutual offers estate planning as part of their services (which includes life insurance and advisement) to help you set up an estate that minimizes costs when possible and maximizes benefits for your loved ones. 

We liked Northwestern Mutual for estate planning because they offer one of the widest varieties of life insurance plans (more than 15) that include whole, term, and universal life coverage. Because they rely so heavily on their financial advisors, their life insurance plans are more customizable, which helps you add riders and your desired value amounts more efficiently. 

We particularly liked their “Survivorship” whole life policy, which allows two people to be on one policy, making it easier for your heirs to inherit funds. These are also known as “second-to-die” plans, and not every life insurance company offers them. 

Northwestern Mutual relies on its more than 6,400 financial advisors to provide planning advice and provide you with policy quotes—which can take some time as they do not offer guaranteed-issue policies. Their company is a relationship business, so if you are looking to establish a person to work with more long-term for your estate, the company is a good option. If you are a “just business” type, you may wish to look at a company that uses more online tools. 

Northwestern Mutual earned A. M. Best’s A++ (highest possible) rating for financial stability, a promising sign for policyholders looking to ensure their loved ones receive payouts. As a mutual company, they pay dividends to their shareholders. Their policies are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Best for Final Expenses : AIG


AIG

 AIG

Why we chose it: AIG offers a guaranteed-issue final expenses policy for up to $25,000 with a streamlined application process that takes about 15 minutes to complete.

What We Like
  • Senior-specific final expense policy for those up to age 85

  • Guaranteed-issue policy takes less than 15 minutes to apply for

What We Don't Like
  • Must provide personal information to obtain a quote for all policy types

  • Final expense policy has a two-year graded death benefit

AIG advertises several policies it offers to those ages 60 and older. Final expense insurance is one of these. This policy traditionally has a smaller benefit than other policies yet can help pay for key expenses, such as funeral costs. AIG offers these benefits up to $100,000 (with the medical exam) and a guaranteed-issue policy ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for final expense insurance that requires no medical exam. AIG will issue this policy to those ranging in ages from 50 to 85 years old. They advertise their application process takes 15 minutes, and you can receive your policy number instantly once submitted. The ease of application and availability of guaranteed-issue benefits was why we selected AIG as the best for final expenses. 

As with several other final expense policies we reviewed, the policy has a two-year graded death benefit. This means if you die within the first two years of having the policy, your beneficiaries will receive the premiums you paid, plus 10 percent of the death benefit. They won’t get the full death benefit until you’ve had the policy for more than two years. 

Final expense insurance isn’t the only policy AIG offers to seniors. They also offer guaranteed issue, term, whole life, and quality of life insurance, which provides benefits to you while living if you should experience a chronic or critical illness. 

You must provide personal information, including height, weight, phone, and e-mail address, to obtain a personalized life insurance quote. However, according to their website, their policies start at $14 per month for $250,000 of term life insurance; this figure does not have a starting age assigned to it. 

AIG received an overall credit rating of “A” (Excellent) in August 2020. They offer insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, a separate company besides American General Life Insurance underwrites policies written in New York State.

Best for Indexed Life : Transamerica


Transamerica

 Transamerica

Why we chose it: Transamerica offers an indexed life policy with face amounts that can exceed $500,000, more than 10 customizable rider options, and your choice of investment account type.

What We Like
  • Highly customizable index life policy with options for investments and riders

  • Guaranteed minimum interest rates and no-lapse guarantee on index life policy

What We Don't Like
  • Online quotes aren’t available; you’ll have to speak with an agent

  • Medical exams are required if policy exceeds a certain amount (company did not name the amount)

Indexed life insurance policies provide both a death benefit and have a cash value component. Through their Financial Foundation Indexed Universal Life (FFIUL) policy, Transamerica offers three account types you can choose to accumulate interest rates in; an S&P Index Account, Global Index Account, or a Basic Interest Account, which allows you to determine the amount of risk you’re comfortable with. To add additional security, Transamerica offers a guaranteed minimum interest rate you’ll earn on the policy.  The policy’s face amount can range from $25,000 to $500,000 or more, and the issue age is up to 85. 

In return, you have living benefits that include the ability to withdraw or take a tax-free loan from your policy. Transamerica also offers a Terminal Illness Accelerated Death Benefit Rider, which allows you to access a portion of your death benefit while you are alive. They offer an additional 10 “Concierge Planning” rider variations for their indexed life policy, which is one of the reasons their policies came out on top. They also offer a no-lapse guarantee with their policy. As long as you maintain your monthly payments, you will keep your policy, interest rates, and premiums. 

Transamerica requires you to complete their paperwork and answer some initial medical questions, such as whether you smoke or have certain chronic conditions. If you apply for a higher-dollar policy, the company may ask you to complete a medical exam. 

In addition to their indexed policy, Transamerica offers whole and term life insurance policies. Their term life policy extends up to $10 million. Their whole life insurance policy pays up to age 100, and they offer preferred rates for non-tobacco users. 

Transamerica has an A. M. Best rating of A (Excellent). They offer policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, although the policies and their maximums are subject to availability and state regulations.

Best for Full Death Benefits : New York Life


New York Life

New York Life 

Why we chose it: New York Life features a face value death benefit payable to beneficiaries as well as three death benefit rider options, many of which are free.

What We Like
  • Death benefit rider options can increase death benefit beyond face value

  • Offers a policy for seniors up to age 90

  • Multiple coverage plans available

What We Don't Like
  • Must speak with a financial professional to plan the policy

  • No estimate of monthly premiums available on their website

We chose New York Life as the best company for full death benefits because they offer policies that feature customizable options regarding your death benefits. They do so through their “Universal Life” policy with a guaranteed versus adjustable death benefit option, which has three other choices. 

For example, you can opt for a death benefit that includes the face amount of the policy and the policy’s cash value. Another option consists of the adjusted total premiums you paid into the policy, plus the policy’s face value. They also offer a “Chronic Care Rider,” which allows you to tap into your death benefits on a tax-free basis should you experience a chronic illness (note, this option is not available in California). 

Their “Protection Up to Age 90” Universal LIfe policy option provides at least $1 million in coverage for those who need significant life insurance protection, which they advertise for senior business owners to protect their companies. They also offer a no-medical exam policy for AARP members that provides $10,000 to $100,000 to protect those up to age 80 (you still must answer some health questions before approval). 

New York Life also has whole and term life insurance policies with term life periods, usually about 10 to 20 years, per their website. Signing up involves providing personal information (such as driver’s license and Social Security number), a current list of prescription medications, and some health information. A medical exam is “not always” part of the application process but may be needed.

New York Mutual offers its policies up to those who are 90 years of age. The company operates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They also have an A.M. Best rating of A++ (the highest possible), reflecting their financial stability and ability to pay out death benefits to their customers. 

You must speak to a New York Life financial professional to secure coverage, which may be done in-person, over the phone, or via a “TeleApp” visit. As such, there aren’t premium or coverage estimates available on the company’s website. You’ll have to provide your contact information to obtain a more specific quote catered to your needs, which can extend the time it will take to sign up for coverage.

Best for Poor Health : Mutual of Omaha


Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

Why we chose it: Mutual of Omaha offers a guaranteed-issue policy of up to $25,000 (most other policies we saw were up to $20,000 only) that requires no medical exam.

What We Like
  • Offer a guaranteed whole life insurance policy with no medical exam

  • Can obtain a quote online for policies worth $25,000 or less

What We Don't Like
  • Must speak to an agent if you want coverage beyond whole life or more than $25,000

  • Graded death benefit if you choose a no-medical exam policy

While Mutual of Omaha has many stand-out policies, they offer a whole life insurance policy that requires no medical exam (guaranteed-issue) for those up to age 85. If you are in poor health, this policy could provide peace of mind that your loved ones could receive some supportive funds. 

Their Guaranteed Whole Life Insurance policy offers a benefit that ranges from $2,000 to $25,000 with no medical exam required. You can get a quote for this policy online by entering your gender, zip code, date of birth, and desired coverage amount. For a female who is 80 years old and wants a $25,000 whole life insurance policy, we were quoted a price of $347.25 per month. An 80-year-old male would pay $34 a month for a whole life insurance policy that provides $2,000 in coverage. 

However, it’s important to note for this policy that if you die from natural causes in the first two years, you hold the policy. Your beneficiaries will receive the amount of the premiums you paid, plus 10 percent. They won’t get the full policy value until two years after you purchased it. Insurance companies call this a “graded death benefit.” 

Mutual of Omaha has many other policies that may require a medical work-up. The “Get a Quote” life insurance portion of their website allows you to enter your information by age range. They offer whole life policies up to an issue age of 85 and term life of up to 80 with terms that range from 10 to 30 years. If you would like a universal life quote or a policy quote for greater than $25,000, you’ll need to contact an agent.  

In terms of financial stability, Mutual of Omaha has an A+ (superior) rating from A. M. Best. They offer policies in all states and the District of Columbia, although policy availability may vary by location.

Compare Providers

Best Life Insurance for Seniors
Insurance Company Why We Picked It Maximum Coverage Age
Pacific Life Best Overall Age 121
John Hancock Best for Term Life Policy Age 94
Penn Mutual Best for Whole Life Policy Age 121
Northwestern Mutual Best for Estate Planning Age 80 for issue-age
AIG Best for Final Expenses Age 85
Transamerica Best for Indexed Life Age 85 for Index Life, Age 100 for Whole Life
New York Life Best for Full Death Benefits Age 90
Mutual of Omaha Best for Poor Health Age 85 for their guaranteed-issue policy

FAQs

What Is Life Insurance for Seniors?

Life insurance is an insurance policy for which a person pays a premium to an insurance company. Upon their death, the life insurance policy pays the person’s beneficiaries an agreed-upon amount. 

While different life insurance policy types exist, there are two significant life insurance components: a death benefit and a premium. Each impacts the other. 

A death benefit is what an insurance company will pay when the policyholder dies. This amount is subject to underwriting, which is a process where an insurance company evaluates its risk. Some of the underwriting considerations may include a person’s age, overall health, pre-existing conditions, and if the person has a job or engages in activities that may be hazardous (such as scuba diving or flying planes). 

A premium is the amount of money a person pays monthly for their insurance policy. As a general rule, a policy’s premium will be higher when a person has more pre-existing health conditions, or the policy pays out a higher amount. 

When a senior secures a life insurance policy, they will designate one or more beneficiaries. These are the people to whom the life insurance company will pay in the event of a person’s death

Is It Easy to Get Life Insurance as a Senior? 

While there aren’t some firm statistics on ease of acquisition, there are some aspects of securing life insurance that can make purchasing a policy more difficult (but not impossible) for seniors:

  • Medical exams and pre-existing health conditions: A life insurance policy is essentially a company’s best guess as to how long you will pay for your policy versus how much they payout. As a result, they will usually conduct a medical exam or take into consideration pre-existing conditions. Because a senior is more likely to have chronic health conditions or have a shorter life expectancy, getting life insurance may be more difficult. 
  • Costs: Traditionally, life insurance is going to be cheaper for younger individuals. Sometimes, securing a life insurance policy may be cost-prohibitive for seniors; the policy’s premium may be so much that it doesn’t make financial sense for an individual. 
  • Payout: Life insurance policies usually involve paying over a longer amount of time for a higher payoff amount. Because a senior’s life expectancy isn’t as long as a younger individual, they may have greater difficulty securing a high-enough payout to make the policy worthwhile. 

Some life insurance companies may not offer policies to older individuals because they view them as too high-risk to insure. However, some companies will offer these policies to seniors. 

How Much Coverage Is Available for Seniors? 

The amount of life insurance coverage for seniors varies based on the company, a person’s age, and a person’s health. A company will use these and other factors to determine available product offerings. They will then help a person balance how much coverage the company can offer versus how much a person wants to pay. 

In our research, we saw policies that reached upwards of $20 million. However, you would have to have the health, financial stability, and ability to pay higher premiums to secure these policies. 

Is Life Insurance Attainable for Those in Poor Health? 

Life insurance providers often consider your overall health when determining if they will offer you a policy as well as how much you will pay for a policy. If you aren’t in good health, securing a policy can be understandably more difficult. 

Examples of conditions a life insurance policy company commonly examine include:

  • Cancer 
  • Heart disease 
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol 
  • Obesity 
  • Smoking/COPD 

If you have these or other pre-existing conditions, this may make securing a life insurance policy more difficult. You also may have to pay a higher monthly premium for your policy. 

It’s essential to be as upfront as possible about your pre-existing conditions with your insurance company. You can also describe how you manage your conditions, such as how often you see a doctor, the medications you take, and other ways you take care of your health. 

How Much Does Life Insurance for Seniors Cost? 

Life insurance costs can vary by company, policy type, individual health factors, and seniors’ age applying for the coverage. In our reviews for the best life insurance for seniors, we reviewed costs based on coverage, elimination periods, and customization of policies. For an accurate representation of cost, it is best to contact each provider individually.

What Is the Difference Between Term and Whole Life Insurance? 

Term and whole life insurance are two different policy types. 

Term life insurance is a policy that extends for a specific amount of time, such as 10 to 30 years. The policy doesn’t have a cash value, and therefore is usually less expensive compared to whole life insurance. 

Whole life insurance is a policy that provides insurance coverage for your entire life. They also may have a cash value assigned to them that would allow you to withdraw some funds if desired (but it will reduce the potential payout later). 

The best policy for you may depend upon your goals for life insurance, the available terms, and what policy type you can afford. 

Why Should Seniors Consider Getting Life Insurance? 

Traditionally, life insurance is for younger individuals in the unlikely event of their death to help provide financial support to a spouse or children. 

However, there are some times when life insurance for seniors may be a good pursuit. Examples of these times include:

  • When an elderly parent has a special-needs adult child: A life insurance policy may be able to secure additional financial support. 
  • When an adult child has been the primary caretaker for an elderly parent and may need financial support if the parent passes away
  • When a family may need help paying for estate taxes, funeral, or burial expenses upon a seniors’ passing

How We Chose the Best Life Insurance for Seniors  


We reviewed 20 life insurance companies that offered policies to individuals and evaluated the companies with seniors in mind, focusing on the presence of guaranteed-acceptance policies, optional riders, and diversity of policy options. Each company had to offer policies to those ages 60 and older, and all companies must have had an A. M. Best rating of an A or higher to indicate financial stability for payouts. Also, we chose companies that offer life insurance policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to ensure the greatest range of coverage.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Life Insurance Settlement Association. “$22 billion is left on the table annually that could be used for long-term care.”