Best life insurance for people over 50 in 2024

Best life insurance for people over 50 in 2024

Entering into a different life stage where kids are grown, businesses are taking off and parents are aging means those who are older than 50 may want to evaluate their life insurance needs. Life insurance has many benefits, whether for paying off a mortgage, covering outstanding debts, financing a funeral and burial or just planning for beneficiaries to have the same standard of living. Read on to discover the best life insurance for those over 50 and what to know about obtaining insurance at this stage.

Methodology



To find the best life insurance companies for people over 50, we consulted more than two dozen primary sources to generate more than 200 data points we used to rate the 12 companies in our analysis. Our scoring is based on eight categories. We chose our winners based on data and editorial judgment. Read our full methodology here.

Penn Mutual

Best permanent life policies

Penn Mutual

Why we picked it

Penn Mutual’s combined score for its five Veralytic permanent life insurance ratings — cost competitiveness, historical performance, accurate policy value predictions, access to your policy’s cash value account and the insurer’s financial strength — was higher than all 11 other companies in our study.

Pros

  • Top-rated company in our rankings
  • Above 90% in four of five Veralytic categories
  • Tied for second-lowest rate for a 20-year term policy

Cons

  • Veralytic cash value access score is lower than other top companies

Who should use it

Those over 50 who are considering a permanent life insurance policy, including a guaranteed issue whole life policy.

Pacific Life

Best for customer service

Pacific Life

Why we picked it

Pacific Life had the highest scores for the two customer areas we scored: the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) index and J.D. Power ratings. A company’s NAIC index reflects how many complaints consumers filed with their state insurance department in relation to how big the company is, while an insurer’s J.D. Power score reflects how customers rated it across five categories: communication; interaction; price; product offerings; and statements.
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That being said, Pacific Life doesn’t offer whole life policies and you have to apply for a policy through an agent.

Pros

  • Best NAIC complaint index score
  • Best J.D. Power score
  • Policy details are online

Cons

  • No online quotes
  • Must apply through an agent
  • No whole life product available

Who should use it

Those who want a company that has a high probability of treating them well based on feedback from other consumers.

Protective

Protective

Why we picked it

Protective has the lowest 20-year term rates in the group for 50-year-olds. With a rate of $1,733 quoted for a 50-year-old consumer, its term policy rates were around $100 lower than the group average. That difference presents important value for those in retirement and living on a fixed income.
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While Protective scored well for term life policies, it scored below the industry average for overall customer satisfaction and for access to cash value for its permanent policies. It also did not offer final expense or guaranteed issue policies.

Pros

  • Competitive term rates
  • Above-average financial strength score
  • 100% score for historical performance

Cons

  • Below-industry-average customer satisfaction ratings
  • Below-average score for access to cash value
  • No final expense or guaranteed issue policies

Who should use it

Those looking for a term policy later in life.

Principal

Most accurate policy performance predictions

Principal

Why we picked it

Principal is our choice for most accurate policy performance predictions, which is a rating of how well an insurer’s policy illustrations (documents an insurer shows you to explain how much your policy will be worth over time) reflect a policy’s actual performance.
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Although Principal is rated highly for illustration reliability, it scored below average for historical performance. Those worried about their policy’s cash value returns over time may want to consider this.

Pros

  • Low NAIC complaint index score
  • Fourth-lowest rates for a 20-year term policy compared to competitors
  • Second-highest financial strength score

Cons

  • Below-average historical performance for permanent life policies
  • No whole life product available

Who should use it

Those looking for more predictability and transparency between what they are being shown and how the policy will perform.

Midland National

Midland National

Why we picked it

As the only company to score 100% on Veralytic ratings for cost competitiveness, Midland National is our choice for best value. Veralytic’s cost-competitiveness rating is based on the company’s overall cost structure and rates compared to an average but competitively priced product benchmark. Evaluating a company’s cost competitiveness for Veralytic includes funding strategy, pricing strategy and premium cost. Simply put, Midland National’s policies provide excellent bang for the buck.
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Although Midland National ranks high for cost competitiveness, it is below average for overall customer satisfaction according to J.D. Power, and its average term policy rate was slightly higher than the group average.

Pros

  • Scored 100% in cost competitiveness
  • Second-best score for cash value access
  • Low rate of customer complaints

Cons

  • No online quotes
  • Must apply through an agent
  • Below-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction score

Who should use it

Those interested in a company offering a lot of value for their premium.

John Hancock

Excellent for financial strength

John Hancock

Why we picked it

John Hancock earned an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best, which ranks companies based on their ability to meet the financial obligations to their policyholders. John Hancock’s excellent AM Best score means that the company’s chance of defaulting (not being able to pay your policy benefits when needed) is considerably low. John Hancock scored well with ratings agencies Fitch and Moody’s, too, which indicates an industry-wide sense that the company is on solid financial footing.
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On the downside, John Hancock scored below the average in cost competitiveness, policy performance prediction accuracy and historical performance.

Pros

  • Earned a 100% from Veralytic for its financial strength
  • Better-than-average score for how easy it is to access your permanent life policy’s cash value
  • Far fewer complaints than expected

Cons

  • Score for historical performance was slightly below the group average
  • Term rate was slightly higher than group average
  • J.D. Power customer service score was lower than average

Who should use it

Those who want to buy a life insurance policy issued by a company with a strong financial outlook

Securian

Best for whole life policies

Securian

Why we picked it

Securian’s overall Veralytic ranking for permanent life policies was among the best in the group, and the company earned the top overall score in our rankings of the best whole life insurance companies.

Pros

  • Highest score in our analysis of whole life insurance companies
  • Earned 100% Veralytic scores for financial strength and policy illustrations
  • Excellent score for value

Cons

  • More complaints than expected for a company of its size
  • Lower-than-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction score
  • High average rates for a 20-year term policy

Who should use it

Those over 50 who are interested in buying a whole life insurance policy.

Our picks at a glance

Do people over 50 need life insurance?

  • Funeral and burial financing: Life insurance after 50 can help pay for funeral and burial arrangements, whether traditional burial, cremation or another preferred option.
  • Education and standard of living planning: Those in their 50s and above may have children or grandchildren for whom they wish to pay college expenses. They also may have families that rely on their income.
  • Business continuity plan: Having a life insurance policy can help ensure that your business stays afloat after you’ve passed and can protect the business from loss.
  • Help take care of debt: Whether from credit cards, a mortgage, hospital bills or other expenses, a life insurance death benefit can reduce financial strain during an already stressful time by helping pay off debts.

How to choose the best life insurance for people over 50

For those looking for life insurance after 50, price and availability will be essential factors to consider. Those with health issues may be more limited regarding which insurance companies will insure them, and older age and health issues will likely increase rates.

For those who are retired and on a fixed income, getting the coverage you need within a budget that works will be of utmost importance. Be sure to compare several options to ensure you’re getting the coverage you need at an affordable price.

How much is life insurance for people over 50?

According to our research, a 20-year term policy for a 50-year-old can be $1,733 to $2,040 a year. How much your rates are will depend on various factors, including whether the policy is term or permanent, how old you are, your health and where you live.

Why is life insurance more expensive for people over 50?

The older a person gets, the more likely they are to develop health issues or die. Because of the added risk of old age and declining health, insurance companies must charge more to cover the risk of insuring this population.

What type of life insurance is best for a 50-year-old?

The right type of life insurance will depend on your priorities, budget and projected lifespan. Those in good health who want insurance to last their lifetime should consider looking at the best whole life for over 50 policies. However, those who know they only want insurance for a set amount of time should look into finding the best term life insurance for over 50.

How much life insurance should a 50-year-old have?

The amount of life insurance appropriate for a 50-year-old will depend on various liabilities and if any loved ones rely on their income. They may wish to include funeral and burial arrangements, debt payoff funds and additional life-sustaining income for their loved ones.

Methodology

Our examination of the top-12 insurance companies for people over 50 included an analysis of hundreds of data points across eight scoring categories:

Cost competitiveness (15%)

For cost competitiveness, we used data from Veralytic, which calculates a policy’s fees and costs per $1 of death benefit. It then compares a company’s aggregate and individual expenses to industry averages.

Historical performance (15%)

We used Veralytic ratings to judge a company’s historical performance. The ratings measure the average return for the past five years in an insurer’s cash value policies compared to the average returns of other insurers. Although past results don’t guarantee future performance, a life insurance company with a history of assets that have performed well can be a positive sign for policyholders.

Illustration reliability (15%)

An insurer’s illustration is a document that shows you all the important metrics you need to know about your policy, including the benefits your policy offers, your rates, expenses you’ll pay through your premium, how long you’ll pay premiums and the policy’s projected death benefit and cash value. Because illustrations are critical to your buying decision, we’ve included a score for them. The score is based on a policy accuracy analysis from Veralytic, which scores a company based on how accurate its illustrations’ cash value and death benefit predictions are. The policy expenses and cost of insurance included in a policy illustration must be based on actual claims and operating experience according to the disclosures in the policy illustration for it to rank high in this category.

Access to cash value (15%)

Building cash value is part of the appeal of a permanent life policy, but a policy can be frustrating if your options for accessing your cash value are limited. For this category, we used Veralytic data that rated companies higher if their cash values were higher and had greater liquidity than what’s typical for the industry.

Financial strength (15%)

Because whole life policies are designed to last your entire life, a company’s ability to pay out your claim decades from now is a key point of trust. We used Veralytic scoring for financial strength, which compares an insurer’s ratings from AM Best, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s to other insurers. Each agency’s ratings reflect the rated company’s ability to fulfill its financial obligations and weather economic turbulence.

Term life insurance rates (15%)

Term life insurance policies can be a popular choice for those over 50 because they offer short-term coverage at rates that tend to be much lower than permanent life policies with similar death benefits. Rates are based on a $500,000, 20-year level term policy for a 50-year-old non-smoking woman in Jacksonville, Florida, with average health. Companies with lower term rates earned higher scores.

J.D. Power score (5%)

J.D. Power scores insurance providers based on feedback from customers about five key factors of the customer experience: communication, interaction, price, product offerings and statements. We include J.D. Power ratings in our scores because they help you gauge what an insurer’s typical customer experience is like.

NAIC index (5%)

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) calculates an index for insurance companies based on the company’s share of premiums and complaints filed with the NAIC. An index of 1.00 indicates the insurer received the expected number of complaints for a company of its size. An index below 1.00 means the company received fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size and vice versa. We took the average index for each company from the past three years.

What didn’t make the cut

Several well-known insurers failed to make our list of best life insurance companies for people over 50. Transamerica, Equitable, Nationwide and Guardian had scores above our three-star threshold for winner consideration, but none of them stood out in any category enough to win. Ameritas scored well below our three-star minimum, eliminating it from consideration.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Those with younger children or business owners will benefit from life insurance at an older age.

Being able to provide for children as they grow and leave a legacy behind on a personal and professional level can be taken care of with life insurance.

Yes, in many cases. Those with significant health issues may find better options through simplified or guaranteed issue policies, requiring no health exam.

Some factors to consider when comparing life insurance policies for those over 50 are whether they want a term or permanent policy, how long they want to be covered, how much a policy costs and which customer friendly tools an insurer provides.

Yes. Fifty is a great age to reassess life insurance needs that may have changed since first purchasing a policy. While you typically can’t add years onto an existing term policy, you may have a policy that can be converted to permanent insurance, or you may want to apply for a term policy with more years than what is left on an existing policy. While the rates will likely be higher because you’re older, this can help ensure there is coverage for as long as you need it.