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Age is one of the biggest factors in determining whether you will be approved for life insurance and what you will pay. This is because age is the primary determinant in calculating mortality risk. Mortality risk is essentially how great your chances of dying are. And your resistance to disease and injury weakens as time passes. Let’s discuss how age affects life insurance rates.

How Life Insurance Risk Is Determined

Life insurance companies employ actuaries to help decide how to price their products. These actuaries use their knowledge of statistical and data analytics to determine how much risk the company can take on and still remain financially stable.

For example, if a life insurance company’s primary customers are elderly individuals, the premiums they set will need to be quite high in order to keep servicing their customers. The older a life insurance applicant is, the higher the probability the insurance company will be writing out a large death benefit check.

In the life insurance industry, your risk classification determines your premium. Age is the primary basis for classifying risk. But within each age group, mortality risk is higher in some than in others because of a variety of factors such as physical condition and occupation. For example, let’s say two 60 year olds are applying for life insurance. One is an executive at a hedge fund company. This high stress job triggered a heart attack five years ago. The other applicant is a yoga instructor. Who do you think will be paying higher premiums? If you answered the hedge fund executive, you’re correct.

The Cost of Risk on a Life Insurance Policy

Traditional life insurance risk classes are shown in the table below. Those who use tobacco products have their own classification. They pay substantially higher premiums compared to those who don’t use tobacco.

Risk ClassesTobacco Risk Classes
Preferred PlusPreferred Tobacco
PreferredStandard Tobacco
Standard Plusn/a
Standardn/a

For price comparison, below is a table that shows the difference in monthly premiums across men’s ages. Women’s pricing would be similar but slightly less because statistically women have longer life expectancies. The premiums below are for a mostly-healthy individual (risk class is Preferred) for a 10-year $250,000 term life insurance policy.

Age:354045505560657075
Monthly Premium:$13.33$17.71$22.10$32.90$45.94$75.68$122.90$210.11$397.42

Keep in mind that as you age, the likelihood that you will develop a medical condition is higher. If you’re applying for life insurance as a 65, 70, or 75 year old, it may not be realistic to think you will qualify for Preferred risk classes.

For price comparison, below is a table that shows the difference in monthly premiums across men’s ages and risk classes. The premiums are for a 10-year $250,000 term life insurance policy.

Age:354045505560657075
Preferred Plus:$11.73$15.05$19.44$30.74$40.20$65.14$104.27$181.41$346.22
Preferred:$13.33$17.71$22.10$32.90$45.94$75.68$122.90$210.11$397.42
Standard Plus:$15.18$20.84$27.05$38.96$59.28$91.58$152.18$264.08$481.30
Standard:$18.70$25.37$30.74$45.31$69.69$109.00$187.62$313.75$611.17
Preferred Tobacco:$32.03$47.94$69.34$99.44$147.90$236.25$374.91$574.12$986.44
Standard Tobacco:$43.00$62.35$94.60$133.37$205.83$307.69$497.85$749.06$1256.62

By looking at the table, you can see why it’s important to buy life insurance early on. The younger and healthier you are, the lower the cost of your life insurance policy. And keep in mind that these premiums are fixed. If you buy that 10-year $250,000 term policy at age 35 for $13.33 per month, that’s what your premium will be the entire term of that policy. Your premiums will not increase as you age or even if you develop a health condition.

Age is the primary basis for classifying risk. But within each age group, mortality risk is higher in some than in others because of a variety of factors such as physical condition and occupation.

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Buying life insurance is easy through Quotacy. Run as many term life insurance quotes as you like without even providing any contact information. Compare prices between the nation’s top rated life insurance companies instantly.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

When you’re ready to apply, the online application only takes a few minutes to complete. After you submit it, you’re assigned a dedicated Quotacy agent who has two main jobs 1) to keep you updated every step of the way as your application moves through the buying process and 2) to ensure you’re matched with the life insurance company that will give you the best price.

Not all life insurance companies evaluate risk factors in the same way. Some are more lenient with certain lifestyle and medical issues than others. As an independent life insurance broker, Quotacy isn’t tied to one company. We’re able to shop your case around to ensure you get the best price possible.

For example, let’s say you apply to Company XYZ and when reviewing your application, your Quotacy agent notices you take two types of prescription medication for depression. We have an in-house underwriter who knows the ins-and-outs of each life insurance company we work with and therefore we know Company XYZ is strict when it comes to this particular health factor. Company XYZ wouldn’t approve you higher than a Standard risk class based on this one factor alone, but Company ABC is more lenient. In this case, your Quotacy agent would reach out and offer the option to switch your application to Company ABC. You can choose to stay with Company XYZ if you’d prefer, but we want to be sure you know all of your options.

After you officially submit a life insurance application, you will then need to do a phone interview with the insurance company to verify your identity and the information you provided on your application.

Then you will most likely need to get a life insurance medical exam. The life insurance medical exam is free for you and the examiner will come to your home or office at a time that is convenient for you. The exam itself will consist of a measurement of your height and weight, and a saliva, blood, and urine test. Older applicants may be required to take additional tests like an EKG and, in some cases, cognitive testing for dementia.

On average, the life insurance buying process takes four to six weeks from start to finish. It could take longer if you have multiple health issues because of all the medical records that may need to be ordered and reviewed by the insurance company.

Don’t wait to buy life insurance. While some life insurance companies will offer coverage to individuals in their 80s, these products will be very expensive. Younger people likely have more to financially protect anyway, and can do so at a far more affordable cost. Young families have dependent children, mortgages, college tuition to save for, etc. Term life insurance is an affordable way to protect your family’s standard of living and goals.

» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator

 

About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Natasha Cornelius

Marketing Content Manager

Natasha is a writer and content editor at Quotacy. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. She can't get enough of life insurance and outside of work is also working toward her Chartered Life Underwriter designation. Connect with her on LinkedIn.