COVID has had a direct impact on the senior citizen community, and many are wondering how they can protect their family from untimely death. A good number of families were under the belief they had more time before having to worry about finding the best life insurance for seniors.
However, COVID has revealed that anything can happen at any time so everyone, no matter their age, should look for good life insurance coverage. Life insurance can be acquired at any age and with the right guidance, seniors can purchase insurance without breaking the bank.
Why Seniors Should Consider Life Insurance
Not everyone needs to purchase a life insurance policy, but it doesn’t hurt for everyone to buy one. Essentially, life insurance is a safety measure that people can take to replace their income after they pass as a way to protect loved ones.
For example, if they’re the sole provider for their spouse and children (or at least a major contributor to their livelihood), purchasing a life insurance policy to replace their income after their death can keep a roof over their head after they die.
Some seniors don’t need to purchase a life insurance policy because, at this age, they no longer have dependents or others who depend on them financially. By now, they may be surviving off a retirement fund, and if they have a spouse, that fund will still be around to continue providing for them.
Even if a senior still has dependents, they can have enough savings and assets built up to take care of those whom they take care of when they pass away. Whether a senior needs a life insurance policy depends on their specific life situation. They should consider life insurance if:
- They have an unpaid debt. If seniors have debts that they co-signed with a spouse or another loved one, an insurance policy can help them pay off the remaining balance after their time. This prevents them from being hurt financially.
- They have dependents. Though seniors usually are at an age where their children are independent adults, some may have people who depend on their income still. A life insurance policy could protect those individuals financially should they die.
- Funeral and medical expenses need to be covered. Funerals can be expensive and without savings put aside to cover it, families can be left scrambling for funds to put their loved ones to rest. Alternatively, if they need extenuating medical care at the end of their life, a life insurance policy could keep the family from going into medical debt when they are gone.
- Leaving an inheritance is a goal. Some seniors do not have any assets or they don’t have large enough savings to leave money behind for their kids and grandchildren. Life insurance is tax-free money that can be gifted to children as an inheritance.
What should I look for in a senior life insurance policy?
Experts talk about Americans’ ability to return to everyday activities in due time but returning to how things were before COVID doesn’t change the reasons a senior would need to purchase a life insurance policy.
After deciding to purchase a policy, seniors should calculate how much life insurance they will need and determine what type of policy is right for them.
Being that life insurance is more expensive for people who are at an older age, deciding on the amount of coverage they need can make or break their ability to purchase a policy. Premiums for a regular policy can be expensive or offer smaller death benefits with more restrictions.
After weighing the factors that affect the amount of insurance they will need (income, dependents, debts, etc.), seniors can weigh their insurance options out to decide which type of policy is best for them.
Types of Life Insurance Available for Seniors
Seniors can purchase the same type of insurance policies as younger people, like whole and term life insurance, but they can be more expensive. This is why other policies are available because it allows people older in age to have end-of-life benefits without going bankrupt.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance, also known as permanent life insurance, pays out benefits when the person insured dies, no matter when they die. As long as the policy is active at the time of death, beneficiaries can receive a death benefit.
Whole-life policies last the entirety of the policyholder’s life and do not expire or require renewal. Some policies even have a cash value that can be used while the policyholder is still alive.
As long as the policy is maintained and paid on time, the premium and payout amount doesn’t change. The only downside to this type of policy is the cost. If it was purchased while the policyholder was younger, there is a chance they could have a lower premium.
However, buying whole life insurance at an older age can be more expensive. A healthy senior male can expect to pay anywhere between $1,000 to $2,500 per month for a death benefit of $250,000. A healthy senior woman can expect to pay anywhere between $900 and $1,900 for whole life insurance.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is like whole life insurance except there are no cash benefits while the policyholder is alive and the policy only remains active from anywhere between one to 30 years. They have to renew the policy to keep it.
For a $200,000 death benefit in a 10-year term life policy, a healthy senior man may pay between $120 and $450 a month and a healthy senior woman can pay $60 to $200 per month.
Final Expense Insurance
Paying for a term or whole life insurance policy can be too expensive for some seniors, so they also have the option of purchasing final expense insurance. This type of insurance is a whole life insurance policy that has a smaller death benefit and is easier to get approved for.
This type of insurance usually only covers burial and funeral expenses.
Simplified-issue life insurance is a policy with low coverage amounts that are intended to provide beneficiaries with enough money to pay for funeral costs. This form of insurance is a variation of final expense insurance.
The coverage amounts range from $2,000 to $40,000 and the average monthly premium for seniors can be as low as $40 and as high as $100.
Another variation to final expense insurance is guaranteed-issue life insurance. It is similar to simplified-issue insurance except it doesn’t require a medical exam, nor does it require the applicant to fill out a medical questionnaire.
With simplified-issue life, seniors have to only fill out a medical questionnaire to potentially be approved for coverage. They may have to inform the insurance provider about any terminal illness with guaranteed-issue life insurance, but anyone can be approved.
These premiums are higher, ranging from $50 to $215 for seniors, and the benefit amount taps at around $25,000.
Is it worth it to get life insurance for seniors?
With all states having expanded COVID vaccine eligibility to those 16 and up, some people may be second-guessing the need to buy life insurance. In general, life insurance is only worth the expense if a senior has dependents or outstanding debts.
It can also be beneficial if they want to leave an inheritance for their children or grandchildren. Ultimately, the decision is the senior’s and relies solely on their needs. If they only want to cover burial and funeral expenses, purchasing a final expense life insurance is more ideal than buying a term or whole life policy.
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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Daily Pune journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.