Watch CBS News

Life insurance for seniors: Pros and cons to know now

Darren Baker/Getty Images

Life insurance offers valuable financial protection and peace of mind for policyholders of all ages, ranging from younger generations to new parents to even older adults and seniors

That latter group, however, will need to be judicious with the policy types they choose and the premiums they agree to pay. Since many seniors are tied to a limited budget made up of retirement savings and Social Security, it behooves this group to be careful with what they spend their money on. That noted, life insurance can be a smart part of financial planning for seniors and it doesn't need to be exorbitant to be valuable, either.

Below, we'll break down a series of important pros and cons for seniors to know about life insurance now. If you're considering a life insurance policy then start by getting a free price estimate here now.

Life insurance for seniors: Pros and cons to know now

Here are three pros and three cons seniors considering life insurance should understand now.

Pro: It doesn't need to be expensive

Despite the conventional wisdom, life insurance for seniors doesn't need to be expensive. Qualified seniors may even be able to secure a term life policy for less than $100 a month. That said, the longer seniors wait to apply for a policy, the more likely the corresponding cost will rise. So it makes sense to apply as early as possible to improve your chances of securing a low premium. 

Get started here today.

Con: It may not be comprehensive

That sub-$100 price tag, however, will almost certainly come with less comprehensive coverage and a lower payout. The above quote is for a plan worth $150,000. While that's still a good amount, policies can easily rise past the $1 million mark. But seniors may be limited on what they can secure (unless they're willing to pay extravagantly to get it).

Pro: It can pay for some important expenses

Life insurance for seniors can pay for items like outstanding debt and end-of-life expenses but it can also serve as an inheritance policyholders can leave for their beneficiaries. It may be impossible for seniors to pay for the full price of end-of-life expenses, for example, by themselves. But a robust life insurance policy can adequately cover the costs of a wake, funeral and burial and potentially still leave enough money for loved ones to use as they see fit. 

Con: It may not be robust enough to cover major debt

Senior life insurance policies, however, are likely to fall far short compared to the coverage options younger applicants can secure. So don't expect a policy to be strong enough to cover major debt like a home mortgage with hundreds of thousands remaining on the loan. While a policy can cover the aforementioned items with relative ease, it will likely be insufficient to cover major debt. 

Pro: You can skip the medical exam

While many life insurance companies make a preliminary medical exam an integral part of the application process, it doesn't always have to be mandatory. There are many life insurance policies, for example, that offer seniors the option to skip the medical exam. So, if you're worried about the results of a medical exam, potentially eliminating your coverage options in full, don't be. No-exam life insurance can help.

Con: You'll pay more without the exam

The counterpoint to skipping the medical exam is that applicants will then be likely to pay more for coverage. A medical exam that emphasizes your good health can go a long way to reducing premiums. Without that official confirmation, then, insurance providers are more inclined to raise your costs to buffer them against what they deem a riskier applicant. 

Learn more about your no-exam life insurance options here today.

The bottom line

Life insurance can be cost-effective and worthwhile, even for seniors. This group, however, arguably needs to be more informed about the life insurance pros and cons than other groups. To that end, seniors should know that life insurance doesn't need to be expensive and that it can pay for a multitude of important expenses. And it can be secured even if the applicant wants to bypass the traditional medical exam. On the other hand, coverage and payouts are likely to be much smaller than younger applicants could secure, thus limiting the amount of expenses or debt it can potentially cover. And if senior applicants do skip the medical exam they're more likely to pay more for a plan than if they had taken it and performed well.

Have more questions? Learn more about your life insurance options online today.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.