UPDATED: Dec 21, 2011

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Daniel WalkerUPDATED: Dec 21, 2011Fact Checked

In most cases, you can certainly expect to be able to buy life insurance at the age of 60. However, as you might have guessed, the premiums are much higher than those you would be paying had you initially purchased life insurance at a younger age.

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In fact, if you expect to live until at least 80, you might find that the premiums threaten to equal, if not cost more, than the compensation. Furthermore, factors such as dangerous lifestyle habits (like smoking and drinking or severe illness) can also cause premiums to skyrocket. If your situation is considered exceptionally risky, then life insurance can even be denied.

When considering purchasing life insurance at age 60 with the intention to provide for loved ones in the future, you should think carefully. It is a good idea to evaluate all possible options. If you decide to go ahead then make sure that you examine offers from several different companies. Acting on impulse or accepting the first policy put in front of you is unlikely to secure you the best possible deal.

Life insurance policies are complex documents, filled with detailed information and, occasionally, hidden clauses. If you are seeking total peace of mind, then make sure that you are informed and satisfied when it comes to settling upon a particular company.

How does my health affect my eligibility for life insurance?

Even if you have suffered from an illness, it is likely that you are still a candidate for insurance. Some people imagine that they will not qualify, perhaps because of their age or because they have endured an accident or sickness. However, as time goes on, insurers become more flexible in this regard.

This is partly due to advances in medicine, science, and technology. Today’s 20 year olds can are three times as likely to live to 100 years of age in comparison to their grandparents. They also are at least two times more likely than their parents to reach that age. Of the children coming into the world in 2011, one-third of the girls and one-quarter of the boys will probably live until the age of 100.

Medicine is constantly coming up with new ways to increase longevity – by developing cures for previously untreatable diseases and finding methods to help those with terminal illnesses to live more comfortably and survive longer. Therefore, twenty years ago, if you had survived cancer, you would have had to wait ten years before you could reasonably expect to be able to buy life insurance. These days, you can buy it after a year, in many cases. However, this is not always true. It does depend on:

  • The severity of the disease
  • Your subsequent state of health
  • What caused the problem in the first place?

If you are over 60 and have endured a serious condition that is likely to repeat itself in the future with life-threatening consequences, this reduces the possibility of you being able to buy life insurance. Furthermore, if you are able to purchase a policy, you can expect the premiums to be immense.

How can I improve my chances of finding affordable life insurance at age 60?

Therefore, you can maximize your chances of finding a good deal by improving your health and reducing risk factors. At any age, but especially once you are over 60, life insurance companies take into account all the various factors that might affect your longevity when working out a policy to offer you. Your premiums will be affected by such factors as

  • Smoking
  • Drinking heavily
  • Lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes

The more effort you make to decrease high-risk activities and behaviors, the more money you can hope to save. A reasonably priced life insurance premium is all about keeping you alive. So, before you approach an insurance company, make sure that:

  • You are eating well
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Making appointments to see your doctor frequently
  • Taking your medication

You want to appear as though you are going to be paying that company for many years to come!

What kind of policy should I buy?

Life insurance companies offer an overwhelming array of products, but the two major kinds of life insurance available are term and permanent. When you buy term life insurance, you agree that you will receive compensation only if you pass away within a particular period. If you survive beyond the set date, you do not receive any payout, but then again, you’ll still be breathing, so you probably won’t be too disappointed! Term life insurance is cheap and usually reasonably easy to get.

Permanent life insurance provides you with both life insurance as well as savings. You can keep paying your permanent life insurance until you pass away or you can choose to access some of the money that you have invested while you are still alive. The catch is that you can expect to pay two or three times the amount for permanent than you do for term.

In addition, once you are over 60, it can be a good idea to hunt down an insurance company that offers guaranteed issue policies. Just make sure that you check their terms and conditions. You can’t really go wrong being obsessive about the small print when it comes to life insurance.

Furthermore, find out if there are any ways of reducing payments. Does it make a difference if you pay every three months, bi-annually or annually?

Is it worth getting life insurance now that I am over 60? What are my other options?

Depending on your situation, it might be useful to keep in mind that there are alternatives to life insurance when it comes to looking after your family, friends and loved ones. If you already have assets and money saved and if none of those close to you are financially dependent on you, then you might be able to leave an impressive and helpful legacy without buying a life insurance policy. Make sure that you consider all possible options, as your money might be of greater benefit if spent or invested, elsewhere.

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent Daniel Walker