sponsored by: BMO Life Insurance for Canadians

Buying Life Insurance Over 50

When you’re over 50, you still have financial obligations you want taken care of when you’re gone. You want to leave assets to your loved ones and be sure that funeral expenses are taken care of. While your options are not as plentiful as life insurance at 30, there are still plenty of choices for buying life insurance over the age of 50.

What factors affect my life insurance rates and approval?

  • Age: The most obvious. The older you are, the more likely it is that you’ll pass away within your term, which limits your options. For example, a person at age 50 will be a lesser risk than a person at age 70; buying a longer term life insurance policy over 50 will be quite expensive because of this.
  • Coverage amount: The more coverage you want, the more you’ll pay.
  • Smoking: This drastically increases your premiums and can even increase your chances of being denied coverage when paired with other conditions.
  • Health/Illness: Chronic illness like cancer or heart disease, as well as unhealthy behaviour—obesity, regular consumption of alcohol, etc.—can both be challenging when applying for life insurance. This is especially true over 50, as it can be more difficult to overcome and is more of a liability to the insurance provider. Risk rates increase around age 50, therefore your risk to the insurer also increases.
  • Maximum enrolment age: Most life insurance products have maximum enrolment ages, so be sure to look into the fine print before you decide on a policy.

What types of life insurance are available over 50?

Depending on your personal circumstances, you have a few different options:

  • Term life insurance: There are many term life insurance policies that are available for those over 50, like specific policies for those up to 55, 65, or 75. The downside is that the older you are, the more expensive the premiums can be.
  • Permanent life insurance: In your 50s, if you’re in good health, a permanent life insurance policy like whole life insurance or universal life insurance could be an option. They both have investment portions that could grow significantly if you’re to live into your 80s or beyond.
  • Guaranteed life insurance: Likely the most common type of insurance for people over 50, guaranteed life insurance is a lower payout amount with higher premiums, but it avoids the need for an extensive interview. There is no medical examination, so you’re guaranteed to be approved as long as you’re within the plan’s enrolment age (typically up to age 75). This is best for people who don’t have other options due to persistent conditions, age restrictions, and medical complications.
  • No Medical Life Insurance and Insurance for people with pre-existing conditions: Similar to guaranteed, no medical life insurance is exactly that: a type of life insurance that has no medical examination. Insurance for people with pre-existing conditions is specifically for those with conditions like HIV/AIDS who would be declined for most types of life insurance. Some companies offer these instead of guaranteed