What Life Insurance Options Do Seniors Over 80 Have?

Most life insurance companies offer final expense insurance for seniors over 80. If you are exactly 80 years old (it cannot be 81+), some companies offer term life insurance, but you will be required to take a medical exam. To qualify for a universal life insurance policy over 80, expect to take a medical exam.

  • Final expense insurance (aka “burial or funeral insurance”): A small death benefit (usually $50K and less) whole life policy that accepts applicants with prior medical conditions and no medical exam is required. The payout money is primarily meant for funeral costs, but your loved ones can spend it on medical bills or credit card debts.
  • Guaranteed acceptance: A guaranteed issue life insurance policy does not require you to complete a medical exam or answer health questions. You’re guaranteed approval, hence the name. Because there is no underwriting, these policies always have a two-year waiting period and are typically the most costly. The coverage options typically range from $2K to $25K.
  • Traditional whole life insurance: Traditional whole life insurance policies have large death benefit minimums and maximums. Usually, you’ll have to buy at least $50,000 in coverage, and if you’re 81+, expect to complete a medical exam to qualify, regardless of how much coverage you want. Whole life policies build cash value and offer guaranteed lifetime coverage that won’t decrease in value. Plus, the price remains the same forever.
  • Term life insurance: A temporary life insurance policy that will terminate after a specific period of time. After the policy ends, the insurer keeps your money, and you’re uninsured. If you’re 80 and medically qualify for term insurance (few do at this age), ten years is the longest it could possibly last. If you buy a 10-year term at age 80, it will terminate at age 90, leaving you uninsured. It’s only advisable to buy a term life insurance policy at this age if you need to cover a temporary liability such as financial debt. Once you turn 81, you will not be able to get a term policy.
  • Universal life insurance: A type of permanent life insurance policy where the cash value earns interest based on various investment classes chosen by the insurer. If the investments underperform, your premiums may rise, or the policy may lapse. These plans also offer payment and cash value flexibility. However, if you pay too little or withdraw too much cash value, your premiums may greatly rise, or the policy may prematurely terminate.
If you’re in poor health or have health conditions such as a history of cancer, past heart attacks or strokes, diabetes, COPD, or other chronic illnesses, a final expense policy is likely going to be the only type of policy that you can qualify for.


How Much Does Burial Insurance For Seniors Over 80 Cost?

Seniors over can expect to pay $100-$200 monthly for a $10,000-$20,000 final expense policy. If you’re 80 (not ≥ 81), a $100,000 10-year term policy will cost roughly $200-$300 per month. Remember that the exact price depends on your age, gender, the amount of coverage you want, and your health.

See the whole life rate table below for sample monthly final expense life insurance quotes for the older adults over 80.

Age & Gender$10,000$25,000
Female age 80$98$241
Male age 80$135$332
Female age 81$106$261
Male age 81$143$353
Female age 82$114$280
Male age 82$153$376
Female age 83$121$298
Male age 83$162$400
Female age 84$129$317
Male age 84$171$423
Female age 85$136$335
Male age 85$178$440
Female age 86$171$423
Male age 86$236$585
Female age 87$206$510
Male age 87$277$686
Female age 88$239$596
Male age 88$317$788
Female age 89$260$683
Male age 89$357$888
Source for monthly prices: Choice Mutual quote calculator. Rates valid as of 05/18/2024.


Can Seniors Over 80 Get Life Insurance With No Waiting Period?

Senior citizens over 80 can get a life insurance plan with no waiting period that would immediately pay the full death benefit for natural or accidental death. In fact, dozens of companies offer “first-day” coverage policies to applicants who are 80 and older.

Keep in mind that to obtain the peace of mind that comes with no waiting period coverage, you must apply with an insurance company where you answer health questions. You don’t have to take a medical exam, but you must complete a health questionnaire in the application process.

Any policy not asking about your health history will always have a two-year waiting period.

Understand that some websites will mislead you about this issue to get you to click on an advertisement or call them.

Those fraudulent websites only lie to you because they make money when you click on certain parts of their website.


Best Life Insurance Companies For Seniors Over 80

Our pick for immediate coverage: Mutual of Omaha
Our pick for seniors over 85: Aetna
Our pick for guaranteed acceptance: AAA
Our pick for smokers: American Amicable
Our pick for pre-existing conditions: Royal Neighbors of America

Before choosing any company, consider factors such as the insurance price, the insurer’s financial strength, their A.M. Best rating, benefit riders, if there is a waiting period, and coverage limits.


Life Insurance Offers To Avoid

Be wary of these “offers” because much better options are available.

  • Colonial Penn: Most people are familiar with Colonial Penn because they featured Alex Trebek in their commercials (now they feature Jonathan Lawson). Sadly, just because Colonial Penn is well known does not mean they have superior life insurance products. For seniors over 80, the Colonial Penn 995 plan has two significant drawbacks. First, there is a mandatory two-year waiting period for all applicants. Second, their insurance is very costly compared to other life insurance companies (see Colonial Penn life insurance rates as proof).
  • Lincoln Heritage: Lincoln Heritage is one of the USA’s largest final expense insurance companies. While they have done an excellent job selling a lot of insurance, it’s not because they have the best policy. You should avoid them for two main reasons if you’re trying to find life insurance for someone aged 80 or older. First, even for people in good health, their coverage costs roughly 25-30% more than other insurers (see quotes to verify). Secondly, Many seniors with common health issues only qualify for their modified plan, which has a two-year waiting period and a significantly higher cost. Check out the full Lincoln Heritage review if you want further proof.
  • AARP: The New York Life AARP life insurance program is only available to seniors up to 80. Once you turn 81, they will not offer coverage. But even if you are 80 or younger, you can get cheaper rates (learn more about AARP life insurance rates) and coverage without a waiting period from other providers.
  • TruStage: TruStage life insurance products are good sometimes, but not for seniors above 80. Above the age of 80, TruStage only offers up to $25,000 in coverage, and their prices aren’t very competitive. For example, an 82-year-old female will pay $159.40 monthly for a $10,000 policy with TruStage. That same woman would only pay $113.96 with Mutual of Omaha. In addition, TruStage does not accept applicants who are 86 or older. You can check out the full TruStage life insurance review for more information about their life insurance products.
  • Anything through the mail: Anyone aged 50 and up will receive offers via mail to buy life insurance where your acceptance is guaranteed. While buying through the mail sounds convenient and hassle-free, it comes at a high cost. If you buy a life policy for someone over 80 via mail, there will always be a two-year waiting period. Also, it will almost certainly cost much more than buying a policy through a licensed agent. Be particularly wary of any mail that appears to offer “state regulated life insurance”. There’s no such thing as government burial insurance. No local, state, or federal program pays all burial expenses or provides free final expense insurance.
  • Contacting the insurance company directly: Most products you can buy directly from the insurance company are guaranteed acceptance policies with a two-year waiting period. For example, if you call Mutual of Omaha’s home office, they can only offer you a policy with no health questions. It has a waiting period and is more expensive than compared to what a Mutual of Omaha insurance agent can offer. If you call a Mutual of Omaha agency (such as Choice Mutual), there would be no waiting period, and the cost would be lower. For example, $10,000 in coverage for a 65-year-old male will cost $50.00 monthly with a two-year waiting period if you call Mutual of Omaha directly. Conversely, it would be only $41.01 with no waiting period if you deal with a Mutual of Omaha agency. While buying online directly from the insurance company sounds convenient, it comes at the cost of a higher premium and a two-year waiting period.


Can You Get Life Insurance For Seniors Over 85?

In all states except New York, you can get life insurance for someone older than 85. However, the options are significantly different compared to ages 80-85.

To get coverage at 86+, you won’t have to take a medical exam, but you must answer health questions. There are no guaranteed acceptance plans above 85.

Below is a breakdown of companies that offer life insurance for seniors over 85. Use this quotes calculator to see free quotes from these providers.

Insurance CompanyCoverage Options & Max Age For New ApplicantsPolicy Type & Waiting Period
Aetna company logoAge: 89
Coverage: $2K-$25K
• Whole Life Insurance
• No waiting period
american home life company logoAge: 89
Coverage: $2K-$25K
• Whole Life Insurance
• No waiting period
Security National Life company logoAge: 89
Coverage: $2K-$15K
• Whole Life Insurance
• No waiting period
Security National Life company logoAge: 89
Coverage: $2,500-$10K
• Whole Life Insurance
• No waiting period
Guarantee Trust Life company logoAge: 90
Coverage: $2K-$10K
• Whole Life Insurance
• Refund of premiums in first 12 months, 50% payout in 2nd year, then full benefits after 2 years


Frequently Asked Questions

Usually, burial life insurance is the best option for senior citizens in their 80s. Most seniors only need a smaller policy to cover funeral expenses or provide financial support to a surviving spouse. If you have dire health issues such as congestive heart failure, dementia, or liver disease, guaranteed issue policies will likely be the best option because eligibility is not based on your health.

Some life insurance coverage has a waiting period at this age, and some do not. You’ll need to qualify to get one without a waiting period, which entails answering questions about your health history (no medical exam is required). Most seniors who are 80+ can get a policy without a waiting period.

If you want less than $100,000 in coverage, seniors over 80 can get no exam life insurance. Commonly referred to as “simplified issue“, you only have to answer health questions to qualify. But if you want a policy with a death benefit higher than 100K, you will probably need to complete an exam.

In most cases, seniors over 80 can easily qualify for up to $100,000 in coverage without any pushback. If you want more than $100K, it will depend on your age and health and potentially require a medical exam.

Term life for seniors over 80 is only available at age 80. Due to the average life expectancy of a U.S. citizen, it’s not possible for seniors 81+. It’s just too risky for a life insurance company to offer term life insurance options beyond 80. Whole life is the most common financial protection available at this age.

Yes, you can purchase life insurance for your parents. In fact, it is common for people to buy life insurance for their mom or dad. Remember, however, that to get coverage on any family member, they must consent to the policy. You can be the owner, payer, and beneficiary, but they must sign the application verbally, electronically, or physically. Also, if you have power of attorney over one of your parents, you will not be entitled to buy coverage for them without their involvement. Life insurance companies do not acknowledge POA. They always require the insured (your mom or dad) to sign the application.

80 is the maximum age that AARP offers life insurance. AARP does not provide life insurance to seniors 81 and older.

Choice Mutual often cites third-party websites to provide context and verification for specific claims made in our work. We only link to authoritative websites that are known to provide accurate information. You can learn more about our editorial standards, which guides our mission of delivering factual and impartial content.

  1. life expectancy of a U.S. citizen. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_life_expectancy