July 19, 2024

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Best Life Insurance Companies for Seniors 2022

Best Life Insurance Companies for Seniors 2022

Some people may wonder whether life insurance is necessary for seniors since their family home is likely paid off and their children are likely no longer financially dependent on them.

However, some seniors may still have mortgages or other debt. They may also worry about the financial security of their spouses and/or dependents.

Life insurance goes up in price as you age. However, it might still be possible to get affordable coverage. Here’s what you need to know about how (and whether) to buy life insurance in your golden years.

AIG »

3.9 out of 5

AM Best Rating A
Max Issue Age Up to 80
Types of Policies Available Term, Whole, Universal
See Review »

Company

AM Best Rating

Max Issue Age

Types of Policies Available

Learn More

Northwestern Mutual »

4.2 out of 5

A++ Up to 85 Term, Whole, Universal See Review »
Mutual of Omaha »

4.0 out of 5

A+ Up to 85 Term, Whole, Universal Compare Quotes »
Transamerica »

4.0 out of 5

A Up to 85 Term, Whole, Universal Compare Quotes »
AIG »

3.9 out of 5

A Up to 80 Term, Whole, Universal See Review »
New York Life »

3.8 out of 5

A++ N/A Term, Whole, Universal See Review »
AIG »

3.9 out of 5

Company

A AM Best Rating
Up to 80 Max Issue Age
Term, Whole, Universal Types of Policies Available
See Review »
Learn More
State Farm »

3.7 out of 5

Company

A++ AM Best Rating
Up to 90 Max Issue Age
Term, Whole, Universal Types of Policies Available
See Review »
Learn More
MassMutual »

3.6 out of 5

Company

A++ AM Best Rating
Up to 90 Max Issue Age
Term, Whole, Universal, Survivorship Types of Policies Available
Compare Quotes »
Learn More
USAA »

3.5 out of 5

Company

A++ AM Best Rating
Up to 85 Max Issue Age
Term, Whole, Universal Types of Policies Available
See Review »
Learn More

Company

AM Best Rating

Max Issue Age

Types of Policies Available

Learn More

Northwestern Mutual »

4.2 out of 5

A++ Up to 85 Term, Whole, Universal See Review »
Mutual of Omaha »

4.0 out of 5

A+ Up to 85 Term, Whole, Universal Compare Quotes »
Transamerica »

4.0 out of 5

A Up to 85 Term, Whole, Universal Compare Quotes »
AIG »

3.9 out of 5

A Up to 80 Term, Whole, Universal See Review »
New York Life »

3.8 out of 5

A++ N/A Term, Whole, Universal See Review »
Banner Life »

3.8 out of 5

A+ Up to 85 Term, Universal Compare Quotes »
State Farm »

3.7 out of 5

A++ Up to 90 Term, Whole, Universal See Review »
MassMutual »

3.6 out of 5

A++ Up to 90 Term, Whole, Universal, Survivorship Compare Quotes »
USAA »

3.5 out of 5

A++ Up to 85 Term, Whole, Universal See Review »

Pros

  • Offers term, whole, and universal policies

  • Whole life policies can earn dividends

Cons

  • Not many questions answered upfront on website

  • Must work with a Northwestern financial advisor to begin application process

Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual offers term, whole, and universal life insurance policies, although not all products are available in all states. Most policies can be customized with riders.

To apply, you’ll need to undergo a medical exam. Northwestern Mutual may issue policies to applicants as old as 85 (70 for term life insurance). Insurance coverage options start at $50,000. It’s possible to convert a term life policy to a permanent one without paying a fee or taking a medical exam.

Northwestern’s whole life policies can earn dividends, although these are not guaranteed.

You must work with a Northwestern Mutual financial advisor to determine your level of coverage, although you might be able to get an estimate for some kinds of policies on the company website. Once you’re insured, you can set up automatic premium payments and contact customer service online.

Pros

  • Offers term, whole, and universal policies

  • Guaranteed issue policies are available 

Cons

  • Must be purchased through an agent

  • Fewer online resources than other insurers

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha ties for No. 2 in our Best Life Insurance for Seniors rating, with a score of 4.0 out of a possible 5.

The company has a wide variety of insurance options, including term, whole, and universal policies. One of the options available is a guaranteed issue whole life policy for people between the ages of 45 and 85 (50 and 85 in New York) with coverage up to $25,000.

Only a few Mutual of Omaha life insurance products give online estimates, but you can pay your premiums online. All policies must be purchased through an agent.

Pros

  • Offers term, whole, and universal life

  • Certain policies can be issued to applicants up to age 80 or 85

Cons

  • No online applications; must work with an agent

  • Products may not be available in all states

Transamerica

Founded as a bank in 1904, Transamerica has branched out to offer life insurance, annuities, and other financial services.

The company sells term, whole, and universal life insurance options. One of its whole life options is a final expense policy that can cover expenses related to the deceased’s end-of-life expenses, such as his/her burial. Transamerica’s Trendsetter Super Series term life option is available for customers as old as 80 and its index universal life option can be issued to applicants up to age 85.

You cannot apply for Transamerica life insurance online, but you can find a local agent using its website. The company does offer online estimates, document delivery, customer service, and automatic payments.

AIG  »

AIG

AM best rating
A

Online Tools
Available for all policies

Pros

  • Offers a guaranteed issue policy up to age 80

Cons

AIG

In our rating of the Best Life Insurance for Seniors, AIG is ranked No. 4 with a score of 3.9 out of 5.

AIG offers term, universal life, and guaranteed issue whole life insurance policies. The latter could be of particular interest to seniors, as acceptance is guaranteed between the ages of 50 and 80 and no health questionnaire or medical exam is required. Available in coverage amounts of $5,000 to $25,000, the guaranteed issue policy is designed to help with final expenses, such as funeral costs or debts.

The company lets you manage your policy online, including bill pay, information updates and e-messaging with customer service representatives.

Pros

  • Offers term, whole, and universal life options

  • Whole life policies can earn dividends

Cons

  • No guarantee issue policies

New York Life

New York Life ties for the No. 5 spot in our Best Life Insurance for Seniors rating with a score of 3.8 out of 5. It offers term, whole, and universal policies.

Its three term policies can be converted to a permanent life insurance policy, although the company website doesn’t specify what type of permanent policy options the policies may convert to.

Its whole life policies can also earn dividends, and while the company touts that it has paid dividends continuously since 1854, this is not guaranteed.

Pros

  • Offers term and universal life policies

  • Accelerated death benefit rider included in term life policies

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer whole life policies

Banner Life

Banner Life’s parent company is Legal & General America, which also owns the William Penn Life Insurance Company. Banner offers term and universal policies.

Its term life policies automatically include the accelerated death benefit rider. This lets you access your death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a qualified terminal illness. You can use this however you want. Banner’s universal life policy may be issued to qualified applicants up to age 85.

Do Seniors Need Life Insurance?

Pros

  • If your house is mortgaged, insurance could help your beneficiary cover the remaining debt.

  • An insurance policy could cover living expenses for a loved one.

  • Even a modest life insurance policy could cover final expenses.

Cons

  • Life insurance costs more when you’re older.

  • People with serious health issues might not be able to pass the medical exam.

Do seniors need life insurance? There’s no right answer since every person’s situation is different. Someone who is debt-free and has the savings to cover any final expenses may not need a policy.

Compare that to a 60-something who still has minor children or other dependents. They may need to consider covering their dependent’s living expenses when they die.

Even someone whose kids are grown and living on their own might want to look into insurance if, for example, there’s still a hefty mortgage on the home. A life insurance policy could leave the surviving spouse less burdened.

A possible downside is that taking out a life insurance policy as an older adult can be quite expensive. The money that would go towards making premium payments might be better set aside in a savings account or invested. A certified financial planner could help in weighing the pros and cons of taking out a life insurance policy later in life.

What Should Seniors Look For in a Life Insurance Policy?

Start by clearly identifying the purpose of the insurance policy. For example, if it’s to ensure your survivors can pay off a mortgage, then a term policy could be the right fit. Before you buy permanent life insurance, make sure to do the math.

Jeff Rose, a certified financial planner in Nashville, indicated he has had retired clients who wanted to leave a nice inheritance for the kids and grandkids, “but when they learned the cost of the insurance and realized how it would affect how they lived during their retirement, they decided against it,” Rose says.

Understand that insurance for seniors costs more. “How many months of premium payments would it take to reach the death benefit amount? It may be better to save the amount you would have paid towards the life insurance premium,” says Niv Persaud, a certified financial planner with Transition Planning & Guidance in Atlanta. She suggests looking into a long-term care rider, since Medicare doesn’t cover that kind of care: “It’s the expense that depletes one’s savings.”

How Much Does Life Insurance for Seniors Cost?

For a 65-year-old female in the Standard Plus Risk category with a $1 million, 20-year term policy, the prices range from $435 per month with USAA up to almost $1,700 per month with New York Life. Keep in mind that many companies may not issue or offer a 20-year term policy to someone who is 65 years old.

Some of the factors that can affect life insurance premiums include, but are not limited to:

  • Age. The older you are the more likely you are to have higher premiums.
  • Health. If you are in poor health, or have multiple health conditions, you are generally going to have higher premiums than someone in good health.
  • Gender. Females generally have lower insurance premiums than males.
  • Policy type. Policies that generate a cash value, such as whole or universal policies, are generally more expensive than those that don’t.

Find the best life insurance for you

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Best Life Insurance Companies of 2022

If someone depends on you for some (or all) of his/her financial support, you likely need life insurance. Four in 10 Americans have no life insurance or insufficient life insurance, according to a 2021 study from LIMRA. More than half the people surveyed by LIMRA assumed that life insurance costs three times more than it actually does.

Other Life Insurance Companies to Consider

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Other Ratings From 360 Reviews

Why You Can Trust Us: 19 Life Insurance Companies Researched

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. Our 360 Reviews team draws on this same unbiased approach to rate the products that you use every day. To build our ratings, we researched more than 19 life insurance companies and agencies and analyzed 11 reviews. Our 360 Reviews team does not take samples, gifts, or loans of products or services we review. In addition, we maintain a separate business team that has no influence over our methodology or recommendations.

The following describes our 360 approach to researching and analyzing life insurance companies to provide guidance to prospective consumers.

1. We researched the companies and products people care most about.

U.S. News analyzed and compared a variety of publicly available data to determine which life insurance companies and agencies readers are most interested in.

Using volume of searches and consumer research, we found 19 providers that stood out for further evaluation. After conducting a comprehensive analysis, we were able to condense the initial list to the 9 best life insurance companies for seniors.

We compared available coverages and packages from top life insurance companies across several criteria, including policy features, types of policies offered, and availability of online tools. Research shows that these criteria are among the most important considerations to people shopping for life insurance for seniors.

2. We created objective 360 Overall Ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews.

U.S. News’ 360 Reviews team applied an unbiased methodology that includes opinions from independent life insurance experts and third-party reviews.

Our scoring methodology is based on a composite analysis of the ratings and reviews published by credible third-party professional and consumer review sources. The ratings are not based on personal opinions or experiences of U.S. News. To calculate the ratings:

(a) We compiled two types of third-party ratings and reviews:

  • Professional Ratings and Reviews. Many independent life insurance evaluating sources have published their assessments of life insurance companies and products online. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well-researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
  • Consumer Ratings and Reviews. U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of life insurance providers. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.

Please note that not all professional and consumer rating sources met our criteria for objectivity. Therefore, some sources were excluded from our model.
(b) We standardized the inputs to create a common scale.

The third-party review source data were collected in a variety of forms, including ratings, recommendations and accolades. Before including each third-party data point into our scoring equation, we had to standardize it so that it could be compared accurately with data points from other review sources. We used the scoring methodology described below to convert these systems to a comparable scale.

The 360 scoring process first converted each third-party rating into a common 0 to 5 scale. To balance the distribution of scores within each source’s scale, we used a standard deviation (or Z-Score) calculation to determine how each company that a source rated was scored in comparison to the source’s mean score. We then used the Z-Score to create a standardized U.S. News score using the method outlined below:

  • Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point’s relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it’s above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it’s equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the company’s rating from the mean and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
  • Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
  • Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.

(c) We calculated the 360 Overall Score based on a weighted-average model.
We assigned “source weights” to each source used in the consensus scoring model based on our assessment of how much the source is trusted and recognized by consumers and how much its published review process indicates that it is both comprehensive and editorially independent. The source weights are assigned on a 1-5 scale. Any source with an assigned weight less than two was excluded from the consensus scoring model.

Finally, we combined the converted third-party data points using a weighted average formula based on source weight. This formula calculated the consensus score for each product, which we call the 360 Overall Rating.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.