The older we get, the more we begin to think about the legacy we will leave behind. For many of us, this can mean utilizing a life insurance policy to provide for our loved ones or support a charitable cause that’s close to our hearts. That’s why, even at age 70, buying a life insurance policy might still be on your mind.
So, what does buying coverage at this age look like? Well, you’ll run into a few limitations that weren’t there only a few decades earlier. You can also expect to pay more in premiums than your younger counterparts. However, buying a policy might still be a very smart financial move, and even at age 70, finding the perfect coverage isn’t as difficult as you may think.
Let’s take a look at what life insurance looks like at this point in life, what is required of you, and how much you can expect to pay.
Life Changes Around Age 70
Your life at age 70 is likely to look very different than it did at age 40 or even 50. Your children are grown up and living their own lives, and you may even have grandchildren. You’ve likely paid off your home and cars. You’re probably retired.
You don’t have people relying on your income as heavily as they did in the past (if at all), which is one of the primary considerations for buying life insurance coverage. This doesn’t mean that a policy can’t still be an important financial decision at this age, though.
Whether you’re retired or not, have grown children or not, or even whether your retirement accounts are sufficient for the rest of your (and your spouse’s) life, you may want to still consider life insurance.
Why to Buy Coverage at 70
Even if your children are grown, you can still use a life insurance policy to provide for their needs. Perhaps you want to pay off any remaining student loans that they may have, or even the balance on their home’s mortgage. You could also establish a trust for your life insurance proceeds, to cover important things like your grandchildren’s college education expenses.
If you have an adult child with special needs or a disability – or even an aging parent – who relies on you for their daily care, life insurance benefits can help provide for them in your absence.
If you’re retired, you no longer have a true income. You are likely relying on government benefits (like Social Security), a pension, or your retirement savings to cover your monthly expenses. However, you can still have a need for life insurance.
Your policy could be used to cover any end of life expenses, so your spouse or loved ones aren’t left footing the bill. If you still have a mortgage on your own home, expenses related to your own small business, or if you are carrying around debt that would eat into the estate you leave behind, you should at least look at purchasing a policy to cover those.
Lastly, a life insurance policy can be a great way to leave behind a legacy long after you’re gone. If there’s a charitable cause organization about which you are passionate, you can direct your life insurance benefits to go toward their mission. You could even establish a scholarship fund for students who have similar passions or paths in life as you.
What to Buy
Once you reach age 70, it makes little sense to buy a whole life policy. While these can often be a good idea in your younger years, the cost outweighs the benefit as you age.
When you buy a whole life policy, you are paying a premium for the benefit of a policy that builds up a cash value. Over time, this cash value can be borrowed against, used to pay future premiums, and even earns interest. This makes it a possible accumulation account for some, and a great way to lock in lifelong premiums and coverage for others.
However, the difference in cost between term and whole life insurance can sometimes be significant. The security and cash value of whole life may make it worth buying when you’re younger, but for some people, it doesn’t hold nearly as much appeal as you get older.
You could instead buy a term policy, save the difference in premiums each month, and invest it. If you earned only a 4% return each year, it would take about 15 or 20 years before the whole life policy’s cash value would have caught up to your investment savings. That’s a long time to wait!
If you’re already 70 years-old or older, buying a term life policy makes the most financial sense. You can get cheaper premiums than if you bought a whole life policy with the same coverage, and can even have the flexibility to save or invest the difference.
What the Search is Like
If you’re looking for life insurance in your 70s, you may run into a few roadblocks. The biggest one, for instance, is finding a life insurance company that will offer you coverage.
Some companies may cut off certain term lengths at specific ages. At age 70, you can expect to encounter many 10-year policies, but may have trouble finding 15- or 20-year terms. You certainly won’t find anyone offering a 30-year term at this age. There is also the option of a whole life product - many guaranteed universal life products can cover you up to age 121, but these do often come with higher price tags.
There will also be additional hurdles to jump in the application process.
Whether you’re 37 or 73, your life insurance application is the same in the beginning. You’ll call an agent or visit a website to get a quote. This will involve a series of basic questions: your age, state of residence, height and weight, gender, and whether you’re a tobacco-user. Some may also ask you questions about traffic citations and risky hobbies.
Then, you’ll need to pick the amount of coverage you desire and your preferred duration. Then, you’ll often be given a baseline quote.
Once you’ve gotten a quote you like, you can continue with the actual application process. This usually entails filling out a lengthy questionnaire about your health, family history, and lifestyle, to get a better idea of your particular factors.
After that, it’s time for the medical exam to be scheduled. This involves checking your BMI, confirming answers from the questionnaire, drawing blood, and checking your blood pressure. When you’re 70 years-old, though, the medical exam will almost always also include an EKG.
This added medical test is to determine the health of your heart. Since studies have found that as many as 75% of adults in their 70s have some form of cardiovascular disease, it’s important that the insurance companies know the risk that your policy will pose. Depending on the results of the EKG (and the other medical tests conducted), your application will either be approved or denied, and your originally-quoted premiums will either rise or stay the same.
How Much You Can Expect to Spend
Your health history, lifestyle, family history, age, and even your location will all play a role in your premiums. Beyond that, of course, your rate will be impacted by how much coverage you need and how long of a term you want to purchase.
All of this means that it’s impossible to simply answer how much life insurance will cost at age 70.
To give you a general idea, though, let’s look at what Leap Life offers. If you’re a 70-year old non-smoking male in good health, living in California and wanting a $100,000 term policy for 10 years, you can expect to pay around $97 a month in premiums ($1,164 annually). If you need less coverage, you could get 10 years of $50,000 in life insurance for only $52 a month ($624 annually).
Determining your needs at 70 is the first step in finding the right life insurance. Everyone’s lives and financial situations are different, and while buying coverage might be more limited at this stage in your life, it’s certainly not impossible (or financially limiting).
If you want to learn more about your life insurance options, or how much coverage you can buy at this age, give Leap Life a call. We have licensed life insurance agents who are ready to help walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have, free of charge.