As we reach adulthood, we will have certain ‘Aha’ moments that make us realize we are finally growing up. For me, one of the biggest was the day I purchased life insurance, at age 31.
By that point, I already had children, a mortgage, and a number of other financial obligations – to be honest, I should have purchased coverage years earlier than I did. But like many young adults, buying life insurance just doesn’t seem necessary until I was much older.
Thankfully, I figured out that the best time to buy life insurance is actually long before you think you need it. Not only can you then ensure that your family’s needs will be met in your absence, but you can also lock in rates that are lower than they will ever be in your lifetime.
Here’s a look at buying life insurance coverage around 30, why this age is likely to be your “sweet spot,” and how the process will go.
Why You Need It
The primary reason for buying life insurance coverage is to replace lost income, were we to pass away. Our spouse, children, or anyone else who relies on us financially would be impacted by our sudden death, and life insurance can help ease the financial burden. This is actually the biggest reason that you should buy a policy in your younger years; to neglect purchasing coverage is to risk leaving your loved ones struggling, were you to pass away suddenly.
What if you are still unmarried and don’t have children by the time you hit your 30s? Is life insurance coverage still important then, or should you wait a few more years to think about buying coverage?
Well, there are actually many other reasons that life insurance is a good move – imperative, even. Plus, if you want to be smart, you should still consider buying a policy while you are young and healthy, even if you don’t think that you need it just yet.
For example, if you are still paying off your co-signed college student loans, you should think about buying a policy that would at least cover the balance owed. While federal loans are typically discharged if the student passes away, this is not the case for private loans. Instead, your cosigner will be responsible for the full balance of your private student loans, and your death could even trigger a default, making the balance due immediately in full. This would likely leave your parents (or whoever co-signed for you) in a bad financial situation.
Age 30 is near the time that many of us buy our first home. If this is the case for you and you want to protect your hard-earned asset, life insurance can be a great decision. Even if you’re still single, you can buy coverage that would pay off the remaining mortgage balance. This would allow your family to keep your home after your passing.
There are numerous signs that it’s the right time to buy life insurance. Many of them just happen to occur near our thirties, making this a great time to buy life insurance.
Why to Buy at 30
Aside from the logistical factors that make age 30 an ideal time to consider life insurance coverage, this is also the ideal time from a financial standpoint.
The younger you are, the less expensive your life insurance premiums will be. The cost of coverage is based on many factors, including our life expectancy (which we creep closer toward each year, making premiums go up as the years go on). It’s also based on our health, which makes our 20s and 30s the perfect time to start thinking about buying.
As we get older, we are more at risk for injuries, diseases, and age-related health concerns. Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are all things that can (and will!) raise our insurance premiums. Even a blood test that shows the early stages of these issues can result in a higher life insurance price tag.
It’s best to buy when you’re still young and relatively healthy. Plus, if you buy a whole life insurance policy, you can lock in a lower rate now that will follow you the rest of your life.
What to Buy
If this is your first go-round at shopping for life insurance, the options may be a bit confusing. What kind of policy should you buy, and how much coverage do you really need in the end?
The answers will depend on your specific situation. If you have a mountain of student loans, two kids, a mortgage, and a hefty credit card balance, you’ll need a lot more coverage than a single 32-year-old with a paid-off car and a modest condo. Take some time to sit down and calculate the amount of life insurance that you need, so you can be sure to buy the perfect policy for your loved ones.
Then, it’s time to compare term coverage and whole life policies. Term coverage, as the name implies, is a lower-cost insurance product that covers you for a period of time (or term). If you haven’t passed by the time the policy term is up, coverage will need to be renewed (often at a higher rate) and the premiums you have already paid are essentially lost.
Whole life, on the other hand, is a lifelong insurance product. You will choose a coverage amount that suits you, then pay premiums for that coverage at a set rate… for the rest of your life. You never need to worry about renewing coverage or dealing with denials due to health concerns; once you lock it in, you can “set it and forget it.” It also builds up a cash value over time, which you can later borrow against or even use to pay your monthly premiums.
The flipside of whole life coverage, of course, is the cost. This product is significantly more expensive than its term counterpart, making it a less accessible product for many – especially those in their 30s who are still trying to get on firm financial footing with their careers and families.
It’s important that you take the time to think about your current and future needs (such as a child with disabilities or health concerns down the line) when comparing term and whole life insurance. Then, choose the type of coverage that best suits you and your loved ones. Whether you lock in a whole life premium now, which will follow you for the rest of your life, or just buy a few decades’ worth of term coverage, you will certainly pay less at age 30 than you will later on down the line.
The Application Process
The process for buying life insurance is much easier at age 30 than in your later years, but you can still expect to invest some time into buying a policy.
Your first step is to get a quote for coverage. You can often do this online in a matter of minutes, to get a baseline for how much you can expect to pay for the coverage and term of your choosing. If you like the price you see, it’s time to move forward with the application.
The application will involve a lot of questions about you, your past, your health, and your family history. The company will want to know the doctors you’ve seen, surgeries you’ve had, and any medications you’re currently taking. If your parents, siblings, or grandparents have had any number of serious diseases or illnesses, the company will want to know – this can impact your premiums, too.
Following the questionnaire and accepted application, the insurance company will usually want to schedule a medical exam. During this exam, they will take blood and urine samples, measure your BMI, confirm the answers you gave in your questionnaire, and take your blood pressure. All of this combined will give them a more complete view of your current and potential future health.
How Much You’ll Pay
The cost you can expect to pay for life insurance coverage depends on many factors. These include:
- Whether you choose term or whole life
- Your age
- Your health history
- Whether you use tobacco
- Your family’s health history
- Any high-risk activities or hobbies you may have
- The amount of coverage chosen
- The policy length chosen (if going the term life route)
However, if you’re in good health, you can generally find very affordable life insurance at age 30.
For instance, if you’re a 30-year-old male who doesn’t smoke and is in good health, you can expect to pay about $16 a month for $250,000 in coverage for 20 years, through LeapLife. That’s only $192 a year, but will protect your loved ones with a quarter-million dollars in coverage, through age 50.
Want to be protected for even longer? You can get the same amount of coverage for 30 years – protecting your family until you’re 60-years-old, for only a few extra dollars a month.
That’s $250,000 in term coverage for only $264 a year in premiums. If you were to wait until your 40s or 50s to buy a policy – when you think you actually need to buy it – you’ll pay considerably more each month and over the life of the policy, for the same amount of coverage.
Buying life insurance is one of those things you hope to never use. However, it would often be catastrophic for those left behind if you didn’t have it in place.
The younger you are when you buy a policy, the better rates and options you’ll have available to you. Whether you are married with children or single, renting an apartment or a brand new homeowner, there is merit to buying a life insurance policy at age 30. Not only can you protect your loved ones and the assets you’re building, but you’ll lock in much lower rates by buying when you’re young and healthy.
If you want to learn more about your life insurance options and the amount of coverage you should buy, give us a call. Our licensed life insurance agents are available to answer your questions and help you find the coverage that best suits your life.