Life Insurance

Term life insurance age limit: why it's never too late!

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Life insurance is a helpful addition to your family's financial security, no matter your age. Whether you're young, old, or somewhere in-between, there are strategic ways to use life insurance in your financial planning.

However, depending on your age, situation, and goals, there's significant nuance as to how to implement these strategies. There's no official life insurance age limit. However, providers often have age restrictions for different types of policies.

For instance, in some cases, you may find it isn't feasible to use term life insurance. Instead, you may consider a form of permanent life insurance. 

How old is too old for life insurance?

If you've been wondering, "When is it too late to get life insurance?" you may be relieved to learn that it's seldom too late. That said, life insurance policies tend to become more expensive the older you are when you start them. 

The impact of age on your premium rate can be a significant consideration with term policies. As you reach 70 to 90 years of age, or if you have a severe medical condition, it can become harder to qualify for some plans. Ethos, for example, offers term plans for people up to age 65.

But even into your 70s and 80s, it's often possible to find some form of life insurance. Ethos offers whole life insurance for those ages 66-85, for example. If you're unfamiliar with how these policies work, it can help to review some life insurance basics.

How much life insurance do I need?
To make it easier, we created an online life insurance calculator you can use to help assess your individual needs.

Term life insurance rates by age

Typically, the younger you are when you begin a term life policy, the better your rates will be. In many cases, term policies have fixed (or level) rates, which means that the initial cost of premiums will stay the same throughout the term of the policy. 

If you choose to renew your term policy after the duration is up, be aware that rates often go up during renewal. A significant part of that rate increase is that the applicant is older during the renewal period than when they first took out the policy. 

For a detailed view of how rates increase with age, check out our life insurance rates by age chart. For instance, if you're trying to determine "How much is life insurance for a 70-year-old?" this chart can help provide a baseline. 

Is there an age limit on term life insurance? 

There's no industry-standard age limit for term life insurance policies. However, many individual insurers have their own criteria for applying to their various insurance products. Age is a standard metric used to determine who is eligible for what. 

While it's not a rule, insurers commonly restrict term policies by age. As a result, term policies often aren't an available option for senior life insurance.

Ethos Life offers term policies to applicants between the ages of 20 and 65. However, permanent senior life insurance is still available in many cases. Ethos offers whole life insurance policies to applicants between the ages of 66 and 85. Whole life policies are one of the more popular types of life insurance for people over 60.

Senior life insurance

Depending on the applicant and the insurer, senior life insurance plans can include term policies. However, insurance types like guaranteed issue whole life are more common. This is partly because not all insurers will sell term policies to seniors past a certain age. Instead, certain types of permanent life insurance are often recommended, like whole life policies. 

Even these policies often become restricted for applicants around 90-plus years old. While people may hesitate to apply for life insurance as they get older, the reality can be more accessible and less daunting than they may expect

When should I get life insurance?

The answer depends on you and your circumstances, but it's rarely too early or late to get life insurance. With term life policies, it's often better to start sooner, so you can secure and maintain lower rates. 

Still, a term life policy can be beneficial at nearly any age, because they come in different term lengths or durations. The younger you are when you take out the policy, the longer you may want the term to be. That's especially true with fixed-rate policies. Taking out a policy when you're young for a longer duration—say, 30 years—can secure a lower rate for a more extended period. 

If you're thinking about life insurance but unsure how much you need, consider using our web tool to calculate your needs.

Term life insurance policies with Ethos

Ethos offers online term life insurance policies to qualifying applicants between the ages of 20 and 65. A medical exam isn't necessary —simply answer a few health-related questions. 

Ethos term policies have flexible coverage options and term durations. Coverage starts as low as $20,000 and goes up to $2 million. Terms can be chosen from 10, 15, 20, and 30 years. Ethos term life insurance policies use level premiums, also known as fixed rates, which means your monthly premiums never increase during the policy's duration.