Ok here’s the truth of it.
It’s absolutely possible to get a new life insurance policy for someone who is over 85, and we can help you do it!
Hard to believe right?
This isn’t click bait, and we aren’t putting you on. We are serious.
In this article, you’ll find out which companies are available, the cost, and the qualification requirements.
Click a link below to jump to a specific section of the article or keep on reading.
Very Important Heads Up: If you are 85 or younger, go to this article. Your options are substantially different & better compared to someone who is 86+.
Article Quick Navigation Links
- Coverage Options After 85
- Is There A Waiting Period?
- States Where Coverage Is Not Available
- Qualification Requirements
- Companies To Choose From & Quotes
- Application Process
- What You Can Do When Insurance Isn’t An Option
For anyone in their 80’s, let alone for those above 85, there is only one kind of life insurance policy available- whole life insurance.
As you may or may not know, life insurance is very broad term. There are many different kinds of life insurance (dozens actually). All other types are no longer an option due to your age.
There is no term life insurance for seniors over 85, universal life, or accidental death life coverage. None of that.
Not to beat a dead horse anymore than necessary, but just know: Only whole life insurance is available in this age range.
Here’s the deal
The way a whole life insurance plan works is incredibly simple. Here’s how they function…
- Monthly premiums cannot increase
- Coverage cannot decrease
- Policy cannot expire due to age (it will remain in force forever)
Because it’s life insurance, the policy will merely pay out a tax-free cash benefit directly to the beneficiary(s).
There’s no restrictions how the money is used. For that reason, if there was money leftover after final expenses had been paid, that money would simply stay with your family.
That’s seriously all there is to it in regard to how these plans work. You don’t need to worry there’s some fine print somewhere that will come back to haunt you.
What About “Burial Insurance”, “Funeral Insurance”, Or “Final Expense Insurance”?
We get this question a lot, so let’s set the record straight on this issue.
First, burial insurance is the same thing as funeral insurance which is the same thing as final expense insurance.
All three of these terms mean the same thing. It’s like saying the word “dozen” or “twelve”.
Second, these three names are merely marketing labels that have existed for decades. At the end of the day, they are all referring to a specific type of life insurance.
That’s right; final expense insurance, burial insurance, and funeral insurance is life insurance! Again, it’s just a certain kind of life insurance.
You might be wondering…so what kind of life insurance is it?
When you hear any of these names used, a company is simply referring to a whole life insurance plan that has very lenient underwriting so folks with health issues can still qualify. In addition, the face value options are incredibly small. Many of these whole life funeral insurance companies will sell you as little as $2,000 in coverage if that’s all you want.
In case you aren’t aware of this, some life insurance plans have a waiting period that will last two years.
During this time, if the insured were to pass away for non-accidental reasons, the insurance company will not payout the death benefit.
Instead, they would simply return all premiums paid into the policy plus interest. It’s usually 10% interest with most companies.
Here’s the bottom line.
Life insurance for elderly over 85 will either have immediate day one life coverage or there won’t be any coverage at all. To be ultra clear, there will not be a waiting period if your policy is issued.
At this age bracket, they either accept you for the immediate benefit or they outright decline you. There is no middle ground.
The Contestability Clause Explained
All life insurance plans regardless of which type or which insurance company issues the policy will have what’s called the incontestability clause.
This clause entitles the insurance company to investigate any death that occurs during the first two years of the policy (in some states it’s only 1).
Again, you cannot buy life insurance in the USA from ANY company where this clause is not a provision in the policy.
Basically, if the insured passes during the first two years, the insurance company will merely order copies of their physician records. Their goal is to determine whether or not the applicant misrepresented their health in some way.
If they find no evidence of health misrepresentation, they by law have to and will pay the full death claim. This is true even if you only had the policy for two days.
However, if they do find evidence of misrepresentation, intentional or not, they will rescind the policy and not pay any of the death benefit. Instead, they would refund all premiums that had been paid thus far.
In addition, the agency that sold the policy would also have to pay back any commissions they received.
Here’s the bottom line
If you are honest on your application, you have nothing to worry about. Your policy will pay out in full even if it were only in force for two hours.
Again, if death occurs during the first two years they will investigate to ensure they weren’t defrauded. Once they find out you didn’t defraud them, they will pay out. It’s just going to take a little time for them to do their investigation.
The only states where you cannot get life insurance over 85 are:
- District of Columbia
- New York
If you live in any U.S. state other than those listed above, it is possible to get coverage.
Now if you live in New York or one of those other states, you might be wondering why you are excluded.
It’s a valid question.
The reason is simple. The insurance companies that offer coverage to people who are 86 and older are not licensed to sell that particular product in those states.
They may sell other insurance products in those states, but not their life insurance for over 85.
If you’re in a state that’s on that list, we’re sorry but there’s nothing you can do ☹️.
Since there are no guaranteed acceptance plans (plans with no health questions or medical underwriting) available between 86-90, you will have to medically qualify for coverage when you are above 85.
Fortunately, life insurance over 85 requires no medical exam. You just have to answer health questions.
If you are trying to find parents life insurance coverage, you can rest easy knowing they won’t need to endure a full medical exam to qualify.
Assuming you live in one of the states where coverage is indeed available, you’ll need to be able to answer no to all the following health questions.
Unfortunately, if you have any of these conditions, you will not medically qualify. At this age, it’s either an accept or reject and any yes answer would result in an auto decline.
1) Right now are you:
- In a hospital, nursing home, hospice or other medical facility?
- Confined to a bed?
- Using oxygen?
- Have an aneurysm that hasn’t been fixed via surgery?
2) Have you ever had:
- Been advised to have a stem cell, bone marrow or organ transplant?
- Had dialysis from renal disease?
- Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease,
- A mental incapacity?
- Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)?
- Been told you have 12 months or less left to live?
- AIDS, HIV, or any AIDS related complex?
- Diabetes prior to age 40?
- Diabetes along with a heart condition or circulatory condition (excluding high blood pressure)?
- Used more than 40 units of insulin daily?
- Parkinson’s disease?
- Congestive heart failure?
- Permanent paralysis of any part of your body?
- Part of your body amputated due to a disease?
- Require a mechanical mobility device or wheelchair?
3) In the last 12 months have you had:
- Stroke or mini stroke (TIA attack), valve disorder, blockage, or heart attack?
- Used a nebulizer for any lung condition?
- A lung condition while still using tobacco
- Any form of internal or external cancer (excluding basal cell), systemic lupus SLE, hepatitis, cirrhosis, or chronic pancreatitis?
- Treatment or counseling for the abuse of drugs or alcohol?
- Pending surgeries, diagnostic test or other procedures that haven’t yet been completed?
4) In the last 24 months have you had:
- Circulatory disorder, stroke or mini stroke, aneurysm or heart attack?
- COPD, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema?
- Any form of internal or external cancer (except basal cell)?
- Neurological conditions such as, but not limited to, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy?
- Connective tissue conditions such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis?
They Also Check Your Medications
In addition to asking the health questions, the insurance company will electronically analyze your prescription history. Their goal is to validate what health issues you may have.
For example, if you say no to the question about dementia, but you have previously filled a prescription for a dementia related drug, you will get declined.
They know what every medication is used for, and they will take that into account as part of the qualification process.
Ultimately, if you say no to all those questions, and you’ve not taken any drugs (within the time frames mentioned in the questions) to treat those conditions, you’ll qualify.
Insurance for over 85 year olds is incredibly limited to say the least.
Essentially, you have only two insurance companies that will offer coverage to people at this age and they don’t offer more than $10,000 in coverage.
1) American Continental Life Insurance Company
- Age Availability: 45-89
- State Availability: All States Except AK, CA, CT, HI, MD, ME, DC, NY, VT, & WA
- Face Amount Range Over 85: $3,000-$10,000
- 2 Year Waiting Period: No (subject to underwriting approval)
- How To Apply: Through agencies such as Choice Mutual. It’s not sold direct.
The first company is called American Continental Life Insurance Company which is a subsidiary company of Aetna.
If you are between 89 or younger, we can help you apply with Aetna. Call us at 1-800-644-2926.
2) Security National Life
- Age Availability: 40-90
- State Availability: All States Except CT, DC, DE, ME, MA, MT, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, PA, RI, SD, VT, WA, WV
- Face Amount Range Over 85: $2,500-$10,000
- 2 Year Waiting Period: No (subject to underwriting approval)
- How To Apply: Through independent agencies. It’s not sold direct.
Although not a household name, Security National Life is a very financially stable insurance company based out of Utah.
Unfortunately, we do not work with them, so if you want to apply with them you’ll need to contact them directly. They would arrange to have an agent meet with you to fill out an application.
Very Important Note: If you are 90 years old, you’ll need to contact SNL. Aetna stops at offering new policies at 89.
Life Insurance Over Age 85 Quotes
Of the two companies available, Aetna is less expensive. It’s not by much, but they do cost less.
For that reason, all these burial life quotes are from Aetna. They will always be cheaper.
Please keep in mind the following as you view these quotes:
- You can have face amounts other than what’s shown here. However, you cannot buy more than $10,000 in final expense insurance for seniors over 85.
- In Montana, females will always pay the same rate as males.
- These rates are subject to underwriting approval.
Female Non Tobacco
$95.00 $150.00 $186.67
88 $61.83 $100.83 $159.33 $198.33
89 $65.58 $107.08 $169.33 $210.83
Male Non Tobacco
AGE $3,000 $5,000 $8,000 $10,000
AGE $3,000 $5,000 $8,000 $10,000
AGE $3,000 $5,000 $8,000 $10,000
First, we can only help you apply with Aetna.
Having said that, here’s what to expect.
- We will collect all the information from you to completely fill out the application.
- We’ll then email/fax/snail mail you a completed application for you to sign and return.
- Once we get it back, the insured will complete a brief phone interview with Aetna. Basically, they’ll just ask you the health questions on a recorded line.
- Then we wait for underwriting to do it’s thing. Generally, it takes anywhere from 2-5 business days before we hear back from underwriting.
If you’re approved, the policy will fully cover you on whatever day you set up the payments to start. You would get a printed policy in the mail in less than two weeks.
In the event of a decline, everything stops there. Your agent would call you to give you the bad news and you would get written correspondence via regular mail.
In case you didn’t notice it, at no point will you need to have someone come into your home. We can completely assist you while you maintain your privacy.
Applying with Security national life
If you choose to go with Security National Life because you are either 90 or reside in one of the states where they operate that Aetna does not, here’s what you should expect.
An agent will need to physically meet you at your residence to complete the application.
They’ll fill out the application with you and have you sign in their presence.
At that point, they’ll turn it in for processing where you’ll eventually get a decision. Your agent would call you once underwriting either approved or declined your application.
Just like with Aetna, your policy would fully cover you on whatever day your payments begin. In addition, you would get a paper policy within a few weeks.
Sadly, they cannot help you remotely the way Aetna allows us to. You have to meet an agent in your home or at some other location.
There are many reasons why you may not be able to get insurance. This especially true when it comes to life insurance for people over 85.
You may not be able to get insurance because you don’t medically qualify, you’re over 90, the state you’re in is one where no companies are available at your age, or it’s just too expensive for your budget.
Regardless of the reason, the big question is… what can you do when you can’t get insurance?
You essentially have three choices.
- Religiously put money aside each and every month to save up as much as you can.
- Do a pre-planning arrangement with a funeral home. Basically, you pick everything out down to the last detail. You can either pay cash up front if you can. If you can’t pay cash, you can elect to make money payments to chip away at the balance. Understand this option is not insurance. You are merely paying down a balance. It’s good though because you’re doing something, and you have the pre planning done too which is important.
- Rely on your estate to pay for funeral expenses. This option isn’t the greatest since it can take many many months for your loved ones to access your estate. Even then, they have to liquidate it as well which takes even more time.