Ron Attias is a licensed insurance broker. He has no particular loyalty to any one insurance company, so he is able to shop all major insurance carriers. This means that you always get the BEST plan at the LOWEST price. Each plan can be customized to fit your specific healthcare needs and budget.

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Written by Ron Attias
Licensed Insurance Broker Ron Attias

Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Reviewed by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier

UPDATED: Jun 24, 2022

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What is the best life insurance policy for a 40-year-old? Ask 40 different agents, and you’ll get 40 contradictory answers—which makes it even more daunting for you to purchase a policy.

Your circumstances, overall health, liabilities, and income are some of the variables you should consider before picking the type of life insurance policy best for you. In this post, I will present the rates and plans you can purchase in your forties.

Should I Get Life Insurance If I’m 40?

I’m not sure this is the right question to ask. Age or timing has no bearing on whether you should take a policy. Age (among many others underwriting criteria) is merely an indicator of how much you could pay for a life insurance policy.

A better question to ask would be: Who in my intimate circle is financially dependent on my income and could face economic catastrophe if I’m gone tomorrow? Here are a few suggestions:

  • People with young children
  • Married couples or soon to be hitched
  • Business owner or key employees
  • Single person who supports elderly parents or young siblings
  • Person who lost his group coverage and is looking for a short-term life insurance

Here Are Where Life Insurance Proceeds Can Be Used

  • Pay burial or final expense bills
  • Maintain your family lifestyle (income replacement)
  • Protect mortgage so they can keep the home
  • Pay off your debts (car loans, credit cards, etc.)
  • Pay for college tuition for your children

I’m Only 40. I Have Plenty of Years Ahead

You probably do, which can also be a ground to get the best rates now instead of waiting for something to happen and then getting a policy. I realize that most 40-year-olds (myself included) don’t contemplate their death often. After all, who wants to do that? According to, a 40-year-old male has 0.23% chance of dying in the next year, 1.43% in the next five years, 3.35% in the next 10 years, or 23.40% in the next 30 years.

The last thing you want to do is to be urged into buying life insurance due to a specific event such as heart attack or being diagnosed with cancer. At that point, it might be too late to qualify for coverage.

You have a much better chance to acquire the best rates while you are young and healthy. Buying life insurance is not about predicting when or if you will die in the next few years. It’s about being prepared should something happen. In other words, how much would you pay for peace of mind?

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A Death Benefit Isn’t the Only Reason to Buy Life Insurance

What if I told you that you can be your own life insurance beneficiary?

Many life insurance policies today come with living benefit rider at no additional cost. This allows the insured to access a portion of the death benefit while he is still alive. Of course, the circumstances aren’t ideal because, for this to happen, he must be diagnosed with a terminal, chronic, or critical illness.

The point is that some people don’t see a use for life insurance because they pay for something they can’t use. Arguably, the goal of life insurance is for others to use it, but one may see a personal reason to pursue protection.

Dying is seldom a quick process. Sometimes it takes years of chemotherapy, which brings devastation for both the patient, their family and loved ones who are the direct caregiver. By having life insurance with living benefits, you will be able to withdraw 50% or more of the death benefit (depending on the carrier) and reduce the financial burden for your family while going through this horrific time.

Also note, this doesn’t have to be death or none. Many policies allow you to accelerate the death benefit if you experience critical illness events such as stroke, paralysis, heart attack, or organ transplant.

Best Types of Life Insurance in Your 40s

First and foremost, you will need to figure out the reasons you need a policy in the first place and the required amount. Yes, the primary purpose of all life insurance is to pay death benefit proceeds. However, some are intended only to pay burial expenses while others can leave a legacy.

Not all people are the same. We all have various goals that we try to achieve, and consequently, no life insurance policy should be identical for everyone. There are two main categories of life insurance: permanent and temporary coverage. I’ll go over the benefits and uses for both.

1. Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is temporary protection that lasts for a specific period, typically between 5 and 30 years with a 20-year term to be the most popular. Since term life has no cash value accumulation or investment component attached to the plan, it is not only the most cost-effective coverage you can get but also the most straightforward product to understand.

In essence, term life offers “pure protection” without the bells and whistles other policies have. For example, if you buy a 30-year term life insurance, your premiums and death benefit remain level (fixed) for the 30-year length. If you died during that contract’s duration, the life insurance company would pay the death benefit amount (also known as face value) to your designated beneficiaries.

If you outlive your term, you can drop the coverage, convert it to permanent coverage (without going through underwriting process or getting exam), or renew it annually until you reach a certain age, usually 95 years.

30-Year Level Term Male

 AGE $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1,0000,000
 40 $18.26 $29.41 $51.66 $97.56
 41 $19.28 $32.49 $57.44 $106.36
 42 $20.38 $35.26 $63.91 $115.77
 43 $21.56 $37.99 $68.54 $126.88
 44 $22.84 $40.85 $74.13 $135.85
 45 $24.21 $44.29 $80.54 $152.53
 46 $26.35 $47.73 $87.89 $167.92
 47 $28.55 $51.38 $94.77 $184.17
 48 $30.96 $58.66 $104.83 $205.54
 49 $33.71 $64.07 $114.72 $227.77
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30-Year Level Term Female

 AGE $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1,0000,000
 40 $15.88 $24.49 $42.44 $77.14
 41 $16.56 $26.38 $45.88 $84.02
 42 $17.28 $28.31 $49.49 $91.59
 43 $18.04 $30.46 $53.79 $99.85
 44 $18.85 $32.75 $58.21 $108.70
 45 $19.71 $35.17 $62.95 $118.16
 46 $21.33 $38.14 $68.59 $129.36
 47 $23.13 $41.35 $74.52 $141.18
 48 $24.85 $44.90 $81.03 $154.18
 49 $26.92 $48.74 $86.19 $164.50
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2. Term Life Insurance with No Medical Exam

This is another common choice among 40-year-old applicants. It has the same benefits as the traditional term without the need for you to undertake the exam as part of the underwriting process. The underwriting process will include a phone interview and public database searches such as prescription history, Medical Information Bureau (MIB), and Motor Vehicle Report (MVR).

The policy can be issued within a few minutes to days, depending on the company you apply to and your overall health. It’s worth noting that if you are looking for the best price, you should avoid no-exam life insurance and opt for taking the exam.

After all, you are the one who pays for the practicality of skipping the exam. Lastly, those with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart attack, or prior cancer most likely will not qualify for no-exam life insurance and will need to undergo the fully underwritten route (take the exam).

30-Year Level Term No Exam Male

 AGE $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
 40 $19.07 $29.28 $51.65
 41 $20.13 $32.29 $58.58
 42 $21.18 $36.38 $64.60
 43 $22.59 $40.04 $69.73
 44 $24.36 $43.37 $75.42
 45 $25.47 $44.28 $81.26
 46 $27.42 $50.87 $93.95
 47 $29.62 $54.77 $101.67
 48 $32.10 $59.81 $111.83
 49 $34.92 $66.26 $123.98
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30-Year Level Term No Exam Female

 AGE $100,000 $250,000 $500,000
 40 $17.11 $24.37 $42.34
 41 $17.81 $26.36 $45.95
 42 $18.39 $28.49 $49.49
 43 $19.16 $30.83 $53.82
 44 $20.12 $33.26 $58.21
 45 $20.36 $35.64 $62.67
 46 $21.93 $41.66 $70.00
 47 $23.59 $44.73 $76.12
 48 $25.78 $48.30 $82.68
 49 $28.06 $52.02 $90.56
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3. Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL)

Guaranteed Universal Life is also called “Secondary Guarantee Universal Life (SGUL)”, “GUL”, or “no lapse”. If you hate the thought of outliving your term period but despise the exorbitant costs of whole life insurance, you may want to purchase a guaranteed universal life insurance policy.

With GUL policies, the policy owner chooses the coverage based on a specific age rather than a distinct length or contract. For instance, if you are 40 years old and bought a 30-year term, your policy will last until the age of 70. With GUL, you could you can purchase coverage up to age 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, or 121 years.

With GUL, the death benefit and the premiums are guaranteed to stay the same regardless of the policy’s cash value, assuming required premiums have been paid.

GUL to 100 Male

 AGE $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1,0000,000
 40 $65.24 $134.03 $268.07 $484.82
 41 $67.78 $139.06 $278.12 $502.38
 42 $70.40 $144.27 $288.53 $520.58
 43 $73.18 $149.77 $299.53 $539.81
 44 $76.10 $155.55 $311.09 $560.03
 45 $78.73 $161.62 $323.23 $581.26
 46 $82.07 $168.60 $337.19 $608.98
 47 $85.54 $175.92 $351.84 $638.07
 48 $89.11 $183.66 $367.32 $668.80
 49 $92.83 $191.72 $383.43 $700.81
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GUL to 100 Female

 AGE $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1,0000,000
 40 $53.48 $119.77 $229.93 $419.74
 41 $55.53 $122.21 $238.53 $433.87
 42 $57.63 $124.53 $247.36 $448.68
 43 $59.75 $126.95 $253.90 $464.19
 44 $61.88 $129.52 $259.03 $480.57
 45 $63.99 $132.22 $264.43 $497.79
 46 $67.41 $138.43 $276.86 $524.52
 47 $70.95 $144.99 $289.97 $552.70
 48 $74.57 $151.94 $308.87 $582.59
 49 $78.29 $159.24 $318.48 $614.00
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*All rates quoted on this page are for a super-preferred healthy individual who does not use tobacco. Monthly rates are updated as of Jan 2019 and are subject to underwriting approval.*

The Permanent Solution

For some, they prefer the assurance permanent life insurance can offer with the tax-deferred cash accumulation and guaranteed death benefit payment. I had a potential client over the phone last week telling me, “Forget the nonsense with the term insurance. I need something that pays the death benefit.” I replied, “Fine. Are you willing to pay for it about 20 times as much?” He said, “Can we get back to the term rates, please?”

Whole life insurance is needed for unique circumstances and isn’t a good option for most, not only because prices are very high for individuals, but also that most financial obligations (mortgage, college tuition, income replacement) aren’t permanent in nature. The children will leave the house one day and wouldn’t depend on my income.

While I agree with the notion that you can’t predict the timing of your death, but this isn’t a good reason to by whole life just because you don’t know when your card will be pulled. That said, there are a few options if you still consider permanent coverage:

  1. Whole Life: Provides guaranteed premium payments, cash accumulation, and death benefit amount to be paid upon your death.
  2. Universal Life: Offers guaranteed death benefit with the flexibility to increase or decrease your death benefit or premium payments.
  3. Indexed Universal Life: The cash value in the account grows according to the equity index account such as the S&P 500 or the NASDAQ 100.
  4. Variable Universal Life: Has the greatest potential for tax-deferred cash accumulation because the cash portion in your policy is invested directly in the stock market.

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Bottom Line

Life insurance isn’t a priority until it becomes one. Don’t let this be your case, especially if you are a healthy individual age 40, because the premiums are still very affordable.

If you choose to get term life insurance, consider going with 30 years instead of the 10 or 20. You will pay a bit more now instead of shopping for new coverage when you reach 60 years old. You can always drop the policy if you win the lottery and no longer need it, but you get the guaranteed fixed premium for 30 years.

If you are looking for affordable life insurance rates for 40 years old, use our instant life insurance quote engine on the right-hand side to view all the prices.