While age alone should never play a role in whether you should own life insurance, most people wake up when they turn 50 and are more inclined to take a policy than when they were in their 20s or 30s.

However, does life insurance in your 50s make any sense? Well, that depends.

If somebody still relies on your income to survive, you have an outstanding mortgage loan, or just had your current term life expired, it may be a good reason for you to shop for new term life coverage.

In this post, I will cover some of the reasons you should get term life insurance in your 50s, and the rates you should expect to pay.

Related: Best no-exam life insurance rates for 50-year-olds

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Why a 50-Year-Old Needs Term Life Insurance

Some individuals tend to buy insurance when they get older or their health deteriorates. Honestly, this wouldn’t get you reasonable rates or coverage at all.

Since life insurance prices are calculated based on the overall risk you pose to the insurer, the lower the risk, the lower your rates will be and vice versa. However, for some, there are valid grounds to purchase a policy in their 50s.

Let’s take a look.

  • Expired term policy: If you bought a term policy in your 20s or 30s and your policy is ending
  • Life’s events: You just got married, divorced, or moved to a new house and need extra protection
  • New business: You may have started a new venture and are looking for income replacement or key person life policy

Here Is When You Don’t Need Life Insurance in Your 50s

  • Your mortgage is paid off
  • The kids are out of the house and don’t depend on you financially
  • You don’t carry a significant debt which can put your spouse in financial jeopardy
  • You have enough money to pay for burial expenses whenever that time arrives
  • You are single and nobody relies on your income

Takeaway: We call these people “self-insured” because they are financially independent and can afford to die without making a loved one accountable for their debts.

Term Life Insurance for 50-Year-Olds

For those who aren’t familiar with term life insurance, I thought I’d start by establishing a common understanding before I dive in so that you can see if term life suits you.

As the name implies, term life insurance is temporary protection which generally lasts for a set period of 5–30 years. The longer the chosen initial period, the more expensive your premiums will be, meaning a 20-year period costs less than a 30-year.

Term life insurance is the most cost-effective plan as long as you are in good health. Should you die during that term period, your beneficiary will receive the death benefit amount tax-free.

If you outlive your term, you may convert your policy to permanent coverage before the age of 70, pay annually until the age of 95, or drop it.

What Is the Maximum Term Length 50-Year-Olds Can Get?

I get this question often when a 50-year-old calls our office for life insurance quotes.

With most companies, you will be able to get up to 30-year term if you are between the ages of 50–58. If you are over the age of 58, your choices are limited to even fewer companies who offer the same length.

Should you need a longer duration than 30 years, you may consider guaranteed universal life (GUL) which provides coverage based on age rather than a term. You can buy coverage up to the age of 90, 95, 100, and even 121.

Lastly, you should not try to predict how long you’ll live and attempt to buy insurance for that particular point. Instead, buy a policy that reflects your needs.

For instance, if you have 15 years left on your mortgage, then buy a 15-year term. If you are looking for an income replacement solution until you retire, then get term life for those years until you retire. Buy what you need—at a price you can afford—and nothing extra.

What Is the Maximum Death Benefit I Can Get in My 50s?

The maximum amount you can qualify for must reflect your “true value of life.” In other words, you can’t just acquire any amount you aspire because you can pay for it.

Life insurance aims to prevent financial devastation to your heirs by replacing your monetary value if you pass away. The face value must reflect your earned income, assets, and liabilities.

Insurance companies use this factor to make sure you are not over-insuring yourself. The younger you are, the higher the death benefit you can buy. When you get older, many of your financial obligations are diminished, so the need for protection isn’t as high as when you were in your prime.

The maximum amount you can buy in your 50s is your yearly income times 15. If you earn $50,000 per year, the maximum amount you can buy is a $750,00 life policy.

maximum death benefit 50 years old

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

This, of course, has to do with the purpose of the insurance. For instance, if you are seeking to protect your mortgage balance, the amount you buy must match the debt.

If your goal is income replacement, then 7–10 times your yearly amount is a good starting point. Do your due diligence and come up with a number—but make sure you can afford it.

After all, if you can’t afford it, there is no point in getting it in the first place. If you buy term life for 20 years and struggle to pay for it, the odds are the policy will lapse in the future when you may need it.

What Should Term Life Insurance Be Used For?

Here are a few ways term life can help:

  • Funeral or burial expenses: Those who seek final expense type of insurance generally buy a small permanent coverage (up to $25,000), though some prefer to purchase a larger amount than $25,000 and opt for term life.
  • Income replacement: If you are still working and planning to work for the next 15 or 20 years, term life insurance can be a great solution. Just get a 15- or 20-year term that safeguards your family’s future should you unexpectedly die and can no longer provide.
  • Estate taxes: Life insurance can provide the liquidity needed for your beneficiaries to pay off estate taxes so they can keep the property, family business, or other assets in your family for generations. Since life insurance proceeds are paid tax-free, your family can use it to offset the tax obligations.
  • Key person in a business: If you have a business and need to insure yourself or another key main employee, term life can help.

Do I Need to Take an Exam?

You don’t have to. Surprisingly enough, the rates for no-exam life insurance in your 50s are 10%–20% higher than a fully underwritten term policy, provided you are in good health.

However, keep in mind that the maximum amount is generally up to $500,000 for a no-exam policy in your fifties, and if you need more than that, you will need to buy a traditional policy that requires the exam.

Lastly, some think that no-exam coverage will guarantee their acceptance. The insurance company will use third-party sources such as MIB, prescription database, and a phone interview to estimate the risk and calculate your rates. Nothing is hidden from an insurance carrier.

How Affordable Are the Rates for People in Their 50s?

Below, you’ll find monthly rates for term life insurance. Keep in mind the rates are for those in the preferred class who don’t smoke.

10-Year Level Term Male

 AGE$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
 50$14.39$24.18$41.70$73.18
 51$15.30$26.35$46.07$81.94
 52$16.29$28.74$50.97$91.50
 53$17.38$31.39$56.32$102.25
 54$18.61$34.34$62.48$113.77
 55$19.94$37.54$69.32$127.47
 56$21.46$41.16$76.23$140.46
 57$23.12$45.10$83.70$154.91
 58$25.00$49.53$91.62$170.30
 59$26.99$54.27$101.34$189.85

10-Year Level Term Female

 AGE$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
 50$12.65$20.76$33.88$61.04
 51$13.38$22.06$35.54$64.68
 52$14.11$23.67$38.72$70.84
 53$15.12$25.31$41.36$76.12
 54$16.11$27.10$45.32$84.04
 55$17.43$29.04$51.75$93.05
 56$18.48$31.11$55.44$100.39
 57$19.63$33.35$59.64$108.16
 58$20.92$35.85$63.08$115.90
 59$22.32$38.58$68.66$126.86

20-Year Level Term Male

 AGE$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
 50$21.92$40.16$72.76$136.46
 51$23.61$43.99$80.08$149.56
 52$25.46$47.83$87.66$165.06
 53$27.38$52.30$96.41$182.76
 54$29.79$57.25$106.26$201.86
 55$33.18$62.48$117.31$224.65
 56$36.36$69.78$130.51$250.46
 57$39.83$77.70$145.01$277.96
 58$43.72$87.91$161.71$309.26
 59$47.90$98.02$181.21$346.06

20-Year Level Term Female

 AGE$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
 50$17.31$30.52$55.24$99.78
 51$18.44$33.63$60.56$110.33
 52$19.87$36.94$66.24$121.63
 53$21.41$39.50$71.38$134.04
 54$23.14$42.69$78.26$147.58
 55$24.71$46.18$85.49$162.32
 56$26.64$50.87$94.56$179.56
 57$28.72$56.11$103.16$198.39
 58$31.05$63.05$114.81$219.31
 59$33.60$69.72$126.62$242.25

30-Year Level Term Male

 AGE$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
 50$36.76$69.00$129.02$248.64
 51$41.67$78.56$145.41$283.20
 52$47.73$89.25$163.98$320.33
 53$54.95$98.99$186.83$365.93
 54$61.49$110.72$210.96$414.25
 55$68.63$123.63$238.27$468.86
 56$78.95$175.01$288.96$711.22
 57$88.49$196.51$324.22$798.94
 58$96.75$222.10$366.79$904.72
 59NANANANA

30-Year Level Term Female

 AGE$100,000$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
 50$28.57$52.97$94.60$180.09
 51$31.39$58.86$105.43$200.04
 52$35.69$66.24$119.58$224.14
 53$39.84$74.23$135.19$264.99
 54$45.03$81.91$152.69$299.52
 55$50.22$90.52$171.66$337.94
 56$66.48$145.77$268.75$424.84
 57$74.73$164.91$304.44$481.60
 58$82.90$183.83$339.70$537.50
 59NANANANA

*All rates quoted on this page are for a super-preferred healthy individual who does not use tobacco. Monthly rates are updated as of May 2019 and are subject to underwriting approval.*

What to Do Next?

If you have decided that you need life insurance, don’t procrastinate. You established the need, and now it’s the time to follow through. Not only can waiting cause an increase in rates as you get older, but you may develop health issues which could prevent you from getting a policy or force you to pay extra for it.

You can start by comparing the prices on this page. The form on the right-hand side will provide instant term life insurance quotes from top-rated companies.

If, however, you have a pre-existing condition or would rather talk to a licensed broker, give us a call at 866-326-3053, and one of our brokers will be able to guide you through the process.

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