At What Age Should You Get Life Insurance?

Life insurance is an excellent way to make sure your loved ones are financially supported in the event of your death.
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At What Age Should You Get Life Insurance?

Written by Brian Greenberg

Last updated: November 25th, 2022

Reviewed by Rebecca Thrift

While there’s no perfect age for obtaining coverage, there are plenty of reasons why purchasing life insurance as early as you can is a smart move.

What Is the Right Age to Get Life Insurance?

As a general rule, when it comes to life insurance, the sooner you can get it, the better. Younger people are usually healthier, giving them an advantage during the life insurance underwriting process. Of course, many other factors determine your premium costs, but it’s almost always a good idea to obtain coverage when you’re young.

Here are the average costs of a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy by age and gender for preferred individuals:

What Is the Right Age to Get Life Insurance?

AgeAverage Annual Premiums for MenAverage Annual Premiums for Women
30$225$190
40$340$285
50$830$645
60$2,360$1,670
70$9,300$8,235

Should You Get Life Insurance in Your 20s?

All things considered, your ’20s are likely the ideal time to purchase life insurance. Assuming you’re in good health and don’t smoke, your premiums should be quite low. For example, the average cost of a $250,000 term life insurance policy for a 25-year-old male is just under $15 a month. This number jumps to $55 a month for a 55-year-old male. Remember, life insurance premiums only go up as you age, even if you stay in good health, so it’s in your best financial interest to obtain a policy as early as possible.

What Is the Benefit of Getting Life Insurance at a Younger Age?

Most 20-somethings just starting out don’t have a lot of extra money lying around, but life insurance should be seen as a worthwhile investment. While you might not have anyone else depending on your income as a young person, a life insurance policy can still help your loved ones by covering any outstanding debt and costs related to your final expenses.

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What Is the Drawback of Getting Life Insurance at a Younger Age?

Although your premiums will be lower due to your age, life insurance is still an extra expense you’ll need to factor into your budget. As such, there may be opportunity costs to putting money toward a life insurance policy as opposed to something else, such as a savings or investment account.

Term life insurance is a popular choice, but you run the risk of the policy expiring before you need it if you obtain coverage at a younger age. This could require you to purchase another, more expensive policy later to maintain coverage.

When Should You Purchase Term Life Insurance?

Term life insurance provides coverage for a predefined period, usually 10-30 years, after which the policy expires with no cash value or benefit payout. It’s usually less expensive than permanent life insurance, but you’re much more likely to outlive your policy as a result. Because of these factors, it might be prudent to wait until you’re a little older to purchase term life insurance to get the most out of your policy.

However, a benefit to term life insurance policies is that they can often be converted to permanent policies in the future to extend coverage.

When Should You Purchase Permanent Life Insurance?

Permanent life insurance differs from term life insurance in that policies never expire, but the premiums are more expensive. Your coverage lasts your entire life, and permanent life insurance policies usually accumulate cash value that can be withdrawn from in the future.

Purchasing permanent life insurance at an earlier age ensures your premiums remain low and that your policy has ample time to build cash value.

Should You Get Life Insurance as Soon as You Get Married?

Although there are many relational and economic benefits to pooling your money together, one thing to consider is how debt factors into your financial situation. Depending on your circumstances and state laws, your spouse may be liable for your debt in the event of your death. Life insurance is a great way to ensure your spouse can manage your financial obligations and replace your lost income if you die prematurely.

Another advantage to purchasing life insurance soon after marriage is that a policy that builds cash value over time can be helpful if you and your spouse need to tap into the funds for a major expense in the future, such as buying a home or starting a business.

Should You Get Life Insurance as Soon as You Start a Family?

With the average cost of raising a child from birth through 18 years old topping $300,000, it’s important that your family can meet its financial needs and maintain its standard of living if you pass away. Starting a family is a great incentive to obtain life insurance to provide for your children even after you’re gone. Additionally, life insurance is especially imperative if you’re the sole income earner for your family.

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Key Takeaways About the Right Age to Get Life Insurance

  • There’s no right age to get life insurance, but obtaining coverage at a younger age can save you money on premiums
  • Purchasing life insurance at a younger age is more cost-effective yet can result in expired policies
  • Term life insurance makes sense as you get older, while permanent life insurance is a good choice for younger people
  • Getting married and starting a family are major events that should provide an incentive to purchase life insurance

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