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How does age affect life insurance?

Your age is one of the biggest factors in determining your life insurance eligibility and your premiums. Whether you are looking for a term or whole life insurance policy, the younger you are, the less you are likely to pay. The reason for this is obvious: younger people have longer life expectancies than do older people.

Read on to find out more about which types of life insurance policies are best for each age group.


The best life insurance policy type by age

In general, younger individuals in good health are better off with a term life policy. These types of policies offer coverage over a specified period of time. If the cost of life insurance is on your mind, you can lock in your current rates with a 5-, 10- or even 20-year term life insurance policy. 

For individuals approaching 40 (or older), whole life policies could be a good option. This form of permanent life insurance has a cash value component along with death benefits and could provide another avenue for retirement savings. While you can technically get a whole life insurance policy at a younger age, the higher premiums rarely make it a good option for younger adults.

Discover more about life insurance by age group below.

ZEBRA TIP: Buy term life insurance when you are younger


When you’re young, your life insurance rates are likely to be cheaper. Getting a term life insurance policy when you are younger will allow you to lock in more affordable rates during your policy’s term length. 


Age and life insurance eligibility

Certain types of life insurance become less feasible over time. Those approaching retirement age, for instance, are less likely to benefit from a term life policy, as policies may be harder to qualify for and will be more expensive.

As a part of the underwriting process of any new policy, you will face a number of questions about your health history, including pre-existing conditions and whether or not you are a smoker. Depending on your age or the amount of coverage that you choose, you are likely to be required to take a medical exam. This can limit your options and impact the amount of coverage you are able to purchase.


Age considerations when buying life insurance

Life insurance coverage can give you peace of mind by allowing you to provide for your loved ones after your passing. To find out more about life insurance and the types of policies available, consult The Zebra's guide to life insurance.

If you are interested in finding a term life policy, get life insurance quotes from our partners at Ethos.


Ross Martin
Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross researches and writes insurance content intended to help users make informed decisions.

Ross's background is in writing and education. He holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, Investopedia, The Simple DollarThe BalanceCar and Driver and Fox Business. He has been quoted by CNET, I Drive Safely and Kin Insurance

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

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