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Best Life Insurance for Seniors in 2019

Our experts have researched 10 life insurance providers and recommend 10 of the best options for seniors.

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10 Best Life Insurance Companies for Seniors in 2019

Many things improve with age, but not life insurance rates! Even so, seniors have many worthwhile plans to choose from. Here we name the ten best life insurance companies for seniors in 2019. Each company below has a credit rating of “Very Strong” to “Excellent.” That’s important because obviously your life insurance company should outlive you. Our list also reflects a consideration of life insurance rates for seniors, customer service, application age limits and other factors. Read on for summaries and links to top life insurance companies for seniors. A guide to jargon such as term life insurance, whole-life insurance and permanent insurance is also posted below.
  • AIG - AIG (American International Group) was founded in 1917 and has headquarters in New York City. They insure most Fortune Global 500 companies, and in 2008 the US government deemed AIG “too big to fail.” In 2019 Standard and Poor’s gave AIG an A+ credit rating. AIG offers term life insurance for 10 to 35 years; whole-life insurance with guaranteed acceptance up to age 85; permanent life insurance with fixed or variable premiums; and quality of life insurance. The maximum death benefit, or payout to beneficiaries, is $2 million.
  • Haven Life - Haven Life offers term life insurance for ten to 30 years with the option to renew. Coverage from $100K to $3 million is available with fixed premiums. Policies are backed by MassMutual, a company rated A++ by AM Best. We like Haven’s easy online application process with instant feedback. Sometimes Haven requires a follow-up medical exam for acceptance.
  • Bestow - Bestow is a term life insurance company with two-year, 10-year and 20-year policies. Their maximum coverage is $1,000,000. Bestow’s two-year option (max value $500K) can serve as small employer insurance or as a trial for their longer-term life insurance. Medical exams aren’t required for Bestow life insurance. However, policies aren’t automatically renewable and some people are denied coverage. Bestow life insurance is backed by an A+ insurance carrier as rated by AM Best.
  • MassMutual - MassMutual is a comprehensive life insurance provider dating back to 1851. They have an A++ credit rating and are a mutual company; policyowners share ownership and may receive dividends. MassMutual sells term life and whole-life insurance for seniors, and you can choose from universal life and variable universal life policies. Some products have online applications but you’ll need a medical exam to finalize insurance rates.
  • Prudential - Prudential is an international insurance company founded in 1875. They sell term life insurance with renewable 10-year, 20-year and 30-year plans. Coverage ends, however, at age 95. Prudential may offer some of the market’s best insurance rates for seniors who use tobacco, are diabetic or have other above-average health risks. The company is also notable for being the first to offer long-term life insurance for people with HIV. Recently they received an A- credit rating from AM Best.
  • New York Life - New York Life dates back to the 1840s, making it America’s oldest mutual insurance company. They offer short-term and long-term, whole-life, universal and variable universal life insurance. NY Life term insurance policyholders may convert to permanent insurance. Also, the Spouse’s Paid Up option lets your spouse obtain life insurance without an exam if you pass away first. New York Life has A++ ratings from Moody’s and other financial services companies.
  • American General - American General has been in business for over a century. They offer term life insurance through AIG Direct. AIG Direct’s options include 10-year, 20-year and 30-year terms with guaranteed death benefits. Acceptance is also guaranteed, and no medical exam is required. A downside of this company, however, may be poor customer service.
  • Transamerica - TransAmerica is a top life insurance company for seniors 70 and up. They offer term life, whole life, universal life, index universal life and final expense insurance. Medical exams are required, but TransAmerica is known to offer affordable rates even with not-so-great cholesterol ratios and other substandard scores. This life insurance company is rated A+ for financial stability in 2019.
  • Colonial Penn - A co-founder of AARP established Colonial Penn in 1968. Colonial Penn sells renewable term life insurance, whole-life and living insurance with a 50% payout in case of serious illness. Seniors up to age 85 have guaranteed life insurance acceptance in most US states and Puerto Rico. However, coverage may end at age 90. Colonial Penn credit ratings range from “Strong” to “Excellent” for 2019.
  • MetLife - MetLife is an international leader in life insurance and other financial products. They feature term life and whole-life policies without medical exams. Many employers offer MetLife life insurance plans with discounted group rates, and some products can be purchased outside of the workplace. Recently Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s rated MetLife AA- or “Very Strong.”

How We Chose Our Top List

There are seemingly countless life insurance options for seniors. So our experts researched the best insurance providers and plans, and distilled it down to the top 10 best life insurance for seniors in 2019. We considered everything from rates and benefits, to age limits, customer service, customer reviews, and more. If you’re on the market for a life insurance plan for yourself or a loved one, our top 10 list is dressed to impress.

10
Providers considered
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Experts consulted
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Providers selected
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Hours of research
1. AIG
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

Overview

AIG life insurance for seniors includes these categories:

  • Term life
  • Whole life
  • Universal life
  • Variable universal life
  • Quality of life

Term life insurance from AIG is available with 18 term lengths:

  • 10 years
  • Any number of years from 15 to 30
  • 35 years

All term life insurance from AIG is convertible to permanent coverage anytime during the term. Maximum coverage is $2 million.

The basic term plan is called Select-a-Term life insurance. A more robust plan called Qol Flex Term adds the option for early payout in case of critical illness.

As for whole life insurance, AIG guarantees $5,000 to $25,000 plans for applicants ages 50 to 85. Also for permanent coverage they have universal, variable universal and index universal plans.

A caution about AIG is a high number of customer complaints, even for a large company. In 2017 AIG announced it would enhance customer service and update its software to improve satisfaction.

Pros
  •  Variety
  • Term life convertible to whole-life
  • Guaranteed whole-life acceptance to age 85
  • Accelerated death benefit
  • A+ credit rating
Cons
  • Customer service

Pricing

Sample AIG life insurance rates are posted at the company website, but for 40-year-olds only. You can get a customized quote online or by calling AIG Direct.

The Bottom Line

AIG has a wide range of life insurance products for seniors worldwide. Up to age 85 they guarantee one version of whole-life coverage without an exam, though the maximum is just $25,000. Other AIG life insurance policies with health questions have $2 million limits. Customer service is reportedly improving.

2. Haven Life
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

Overview

Haven Life specializes in term life insurance. For many online applicants no medical exam is required; artificial intelligence arrives at a quick yes/no decision! Coverage can be effective right away.

Term lengths for Haven Life insurance are:

  • 10 years
  • 15 years
  • 20 years
  • 30 years

All Haven Life insurance plans have fixed premiums and the option to renew. However, the cut-off age for application is 64… and applying before your 60th birthday is best!

  • From ages 18 to 59 healthy applicants can get up to $3 million in term life insurance.
  • From ages 60 to 64 coverage is $1 million maximum.
Pros
  • Up to $3 million coverage
  • Guaranteed renewability rider
  • Accelerated death benefit
  • Instant online decision for immediate coverage
  • Medical exams not always required
  • Great customer service
  • A++ credit rating
Cons
  • No whole-life insurance
  • Application age limit 64

Pricing

A favorite life insurance company for seniors, Haven makes it easy to get a quote online. You don’t need to provide a name, email address or other personal information.

Prices vary a lot! Tobacco use has a huge impact on rates. Age, sex and state of residence are also factored into Haven Life insurance calculations. Thus for $1 million in coverage one senior might pay less than $200/month while another pays more than $2,000. Get your quote at HavenLife.com.

The Bottom Line

Haven Life is a top option for term life insurance with a renewability rider, and you can apply online. The cutoff age for initial application is 64. The most coverage is available for those applying before age 59.

3. Bestow
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

Overview

Bestow sells term life insurance online. They don’t require medical tests, but they deny some applicants. Some factors in the Bestow algorithm are:

  • An estimate of your BMI (height vs weight)
  • Criminal history
  • Driving record
  • Tobacco use
  • Deep-ocean diving plans
  • Physical and mental health treatments

For senior life insurance the choices with Bestow are:

  • 2 years, up to $500,000
  • 10 years, up to $1,000,000

They also sell 20-year insurance policies with application age cutoffs of 43 and 45.

Bestow life insurance policies aren’t renewable.

Pros
  • Online application
  • No medical exam
  • $1 million maximum
  • A+ credit rating
Cons
  • Must apply by age 64
  • Non-renewable term policies
  • No whole-life
  • Company is young

Pricing

Bestow term life insurance for seniors can be affordable, even though exam-free life insurance is typically expensive.  For pricing you’ll need to apply online. The application takes about 10 minutes to complete.

The Bottom Line

Bestow makes it easy to buy term life insurance online. They’re proud to be test-free! Policies are valued at up to $1,000,000. However, the maximum term for senior applicants is 10 years. Bestow term life insurance policies aren’t renewable or convertible to permanent coverage.

4. MassMutual
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

MassMutual kept its LTC premium rates down for longer than many other insurance companies. In 2018, however, the company got approval to raise many of its premiums by 77 percent, and consumers experienced sticker shock. Because of this, MassMutual is dealing with more recent “bad press” for increasing rates. However, the company is much more realistic now about the considerations that go into paying for long-term care. Future premium increases should not be as steep.

MassMutual offers the SignatureCare 500 policy and has transitioned in some jurisdictions to the SignatureCare 600 policy. Not much is known about 600, so this section focuses on 500.

MassMutual also offers a combined long-term care and life insurance policy. Look into this option if you have a significant amount of wealth you’d like to preserve for your heirs if long-term care ends up not being necessary.

In any case, the standalone LTC 500 product comes in a base version and a comprehensive version. The base policy covers only facility services such as assisted living. The comprehensive policy covers home care as well.

Pros
  • Standard benefits with the comprehensive policy include premium waiver, community-based services, caregiver training, ambulance services, emergency response, respite care, alternative plan of care and some coverage outside of the United States
  • Optional riders for inflation protection, shared care, waiver of premium for covered partner, paid-up survivor benefit, home and community-based services elimination of period, home and community-based services monthly benefit, enhanced elimination period
  • Once initial elimination period is satisfied, no future period is required (if inside United States)
  • Benefit periods of two, three, four, five or six years
  • 30% partner discount if both people in a couple get insured; 15% discount if one person in a married couple gets insured; 5% discount on LTC premiums each year if you have life insurance, disability insurance or some annuity contracts at MassMutual
Cons
  • Elimination periods of 30, 60, 90 or 180 days (although there’s a rider to waive the period for home and community-based services)
  • No reimbursement for care provided by family and friends
  • Not much information on company’s website regarding pricing
  • You must talk with a MassMutual advisor to get information relevant to your situation

Pricing

Like with many other insurers, rates are gender-distinct. MassMutual prefers that you pay premiums annually or semiannually. You get a charge if you opt to pay monthly or quarterly (this is typical with many insurers). MassMutual may credit your policy with dividends that reduce the premiums you pay and expands the pool of benefits. You generally must have had your policy for at least 11 years to begin receiving dividends, and they are never guaranteed.

Daily benefit amounts for your care range from $50 to $400 a day and increase in $10 increments.

The Bottom Line

If you’d like to be covered for as long as possible, look into MassMutual for its six-year period. Otherwise, the company has good options such as the restoration of benefits rider. Your benefits can be restored more than once as long as you haven’t depleted your total benefit amount.

In addition, the enhanced elimination period rider may save money in the long run. For example, using services just one day in a seven-day period gets the full week counted toward the elimination period. This rider can be especially helpful if paying for services during the elimination period worries you.

5. Prudential
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

Overview

Prudential sells term and permanent life insurance. For many seniors Prudential is favored for price, plus some don’t need medical exams for coverage. A possible drawback is coverage ending at age 95.

Term life insurance from Prudential is renewable until the age limit. Choices with up to $500,000 include:

  • 10 years
  • 20 years
  • 30 years

Riders available with Prudential term life are worth checking out. For instance, a rider can return the premium if you outlive the plan.

Permanent life insurance products from Prudential include:

  • Universal life
  • Indexed universal life
  • Variable universal life
  • Survivorship universal and variable universal life

Prudential’s variable policies let owners choose the underlying investments.

Pros
  • Can insure two people with one term life plan
  • Rider for payout if you outlive the policy
  • Can accumulate cash value
  • Strong credit rating
  •  
Cons
  • Coverage ends at age 95

Pricing

Personalized quotes are available at the Prudential website.

The Bottom Line

Prudential is a well-established insurer with many products for seniors. You can apply online for an instant quote. Keep in mind though that coverage ends at age 95.

6. New York Life
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

In 2018, New York Life rolled out NYL My Care to simplify long-term care choices alongside its 2016 NYL Secure Care product. There’s also a combination life insurance product.

The language of NYL My Care is similar to that of health insurance and may be easier for consumers to understand. For example, NYL My Care carries a one-time deductible, and it is much clearer that you draw from a pool of money instead of time periods such as two years or five years. You do still have monthly maximum benefits, and your monthly reimbursement rate is 80%. In effect, you’re paying 20% of costs yourself like you would in coinsurance. On the other hand, NYL Secure Care is traditionally designed long-term care insurance.

New York Life is a mutual insurer like MassMutual, and dividends may lead to eventual savings. New York Life says that a client enrolled in NYL Secure Care becomes eligible for dividends by year 11. After your retirement in 20 to 30 years, the dividends may actually result in no out-of-pocket premiums.

Pros
  • 25% first-year discount for couples; 10% discount for one person in a married couple who gets insurance
  • Four package options for NYL My Care to simplify the process (bronze, silver, gold and platinum); customized design also available
  • Policy riders offer inflation protection, waiver of premium, legacy benefit, shared care and other benefits
  • Reimbursement options for family and friends providing in-home care
Cons
  • 20% “coinsurance” under NYL My Care means taking a risk on expenses and perhaps doing more financial planning than you would rather undertake

Pricing

In 2018, New York Life gave pricing quotes for a 55-year-old married male covered under each of the four NYL My Care programs. In Bronze, he’d pay a monthly premium of $24.93. For Silver, it would be $49.86, and for Gold, $84.65. For Platinum, he’d pay $119.45. These figures don’t include inflation protection, and the 25% partner’s discount has been applied.

The Bottom Line

Through NYL My Care, New York Life gives consumers long-term care insurance options presented in a way that may make more sense to them.

As for the 20% coinsurance that consumers will have to pay while receiving care, there are two ways to look at it. One is that you’re already paying for out-of-pocket expenses, and what’s a few hundred dollars more a month? Another perspective is that it’s grating to have paid monthly premiums for years. Now you’re paying out-of-pocket expenses and coinsurance.

If you seek financial peace of mind that you won’t be caught by surprises, consider NYL Secure Care.

7. American General
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

Overview

American General sells term life insurance backed by AIG. When calculating rates, they might be kinder than others if you have health risks such as diabetes or sleep apnea. In 2019 seniors can choose from:

  • 10-year term life
  • 20-year term life
  • 30-year term life

Rates are constant for all American General life insurance plans; premiums shouldn’t increase. Term life policies are valued from $100,000 to $2,000,000.

Pros
  • Coverage up to $2 million
  • Competitive rates for those with health problems
  •  
  •  
Cons
  • Term life only
  • Customer service may be below average

Pricing

American General provides quick quotes online. The only health questions asked involve your BMI (height and weight) and nicotine use. However, a medical exam and lifestyle check are then needed to lock in your rate.

Some factors that influence American General life insurance prices are risky behaviors such as skydiving, driving record, cholesterol ratio and amount of tobacco use.

The Bottom Line

American General sells term-life insurance backed by AIG. Quotes are given online but medical tests might be required. This insurance company offers high coverage but may have slow customer service.

8. Transamerica
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

The long-term care policy from Transamerica is called TransCare III. It comes with many standard benefits and optional riders. In that respect, it’s similar to the offering from Mutual of Omaha. However, the process of getting premium estimates online is more difficult.

Pros
  •  
  • Standard benefits include cash, remain at home, home care, respite care, adult day care, long term care facility, waiver of premium (in cases such as long term care facility after the elimination period), three-year rate guarantee, return of premium upon death before age 67, accident, alternate plan of care with coordinator approval, hospice care
  • Optional riders such as various benefit increase options to keep pace with inflation, shared care, monthly benefit (for charges exceeding maximum daily benefits), elimination period credit, joint waiver of premium, return of premium upon death, nonforfeiture, one-time full restoration of benefits
  • Elimination periods of 0 days, or 30, 60, 90, 180 or 365 days
  • Couples discount of up to 30%; 15% discount if married but partner isn’t applying; 10% preferred health discount
  • Pool of money ranges from $18,250 to $1,095,000, and maximum daily benefit ranges from $50 to $500 (pay more in premiums for a higher pool of money and higher maximum daily benefit)
Cons
  • Rates in California are particularly high
  • Shared care option may not save married couples as much money as they’d save at another insurer
  •  

Pricing

Transamerica does not have an online estimator and asks that you contact an agent for pricing information. That aside, premium rates vary by gender, as is typical. Because women live longer, they incur higher long-term care expenses.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance does list three TransCare III pricing estimates. A married couple, ages 61 and 60, who choose a benefit amount of $162,000 each would pay a yearly premium of $2,242. Meanwhile, a 57-year-old single male pays $989, and a 57-year-old single female pays $1,507. All three estimates are with no inflation protection.

The Bottom Line

Transamerica offers relatively affordable policies with various options. Although you can’t get a quote from its website (at least not yet), the estimates above give you some idea of what you could expect to pay.

9. Colonial Penn
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

Overview

Colonial Penn focuses on life insurance for seniors. Main products are:

  • Term life insurance
  • Whole life insurance

Term life insurance from Colonial Penn is available to applicants up to 75 years old. No medical exam is needed but maximum coverage is just $50,000.

Colonial Penn rates increase when you reach a different age band (e.g., 51 to 55 years, or 56 to 60 years). Policies are renewable but not beyond age 89.

Living insurance from Colonial Penn gives a 50% payout in case of serious illness.

Whole life insurance products from Colonial Penn have flat premiums; rates will not increase. Guaranteed acceptance with a $20K limit is for applicants up to age 85. A $50K maximum is offered up to age 75.

Pros
  • Guaranteed acceptance for term and whole-life insurance
  • No medical exams
Cons
  • Plans expire at age 90
  • Maximum $50,000 coverage

Pricing

Colonial Penn issues insurance as units. You can purchase one to eight units for different levels of coverage. Instant quotes are given online.

The Bottom Line

Colonial Penn makes it easy for seniors to buy insurance online without medical tests. However, the coverage is low. Healthy adults could likely find more coverage for the same cost elsewhere.

10. MetLife
Ease of use Excellent
Service & Response Excellent
Features & Tech Excellent
Pricing

MetLife spinoff Brighthouse Financial currently handles long-term care insurance. Policyholders who purchased their policy from MetLife itself can still check up on their policies here.

Brighthouse Financial doesn’t have a standalone long-term care insurance option. Rather, its offering is a hybrid policy called Brighthouse SmartCare. It combines an indexed universal life (IUI) policy with protection against long-term care costs.

Pros
  • Multi-pay plans—you can pay your premium just once or over a period as long as five years
  • Monthly benefit payments may be greater than your actual care expenses, meaning more money left over for personal expenses and the like
  • Options include indexed long-term care, fixed-growth and level
  • Care payout period ranges from four to six years
  • Available for clients 40 to 75 years old, and policies have face values up to $1 million
Cons
  • 90-day elimination period

Pricing

Click “Get Started” on this page to run through various pricing scenarios. For example, take a 60-year-old nonsmoking female who pays $100,000 for the policy in a single payment.

She chooses indexed growth and a four-year LTC benefit period. At age 80, she’d receive a LTC benefit of $10,074 a month, translating to $120,889 a year. It pays to ask questions, though, because this model indicates that she gets no LTC benefit at age 85. If you click on, “Download Basic Illustration,” you do see that there are payouts at age 85 and beyond.

If you choose indexed growth, your policy is linked to major stock market indices, and you can lock in your benefit amount at any policy anniversary. Choosing indexed growth may feel risky, but based on past market performance, it’s a pretty safe risk.

The Bottom Line

You must have many thousands of dollars to invest in this type of long-term care insurance. If you do have that money, it’s a great vehicle for wealth preservation. Do take a look at life insurance/long-term care options from other companies, and compare prices and benefits.

Life Insurance Terms to Know

Ease your search by learning a basic vocabulary of life insurance.

Death Benefit

The death benefit is the amount of money that beneficiaries will receive when the policyholder dies. It’s also called the “face value” of an insurance policy.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance provides coverage for a set period of time. Some common term lengths are one year, ten years, 20 years and 30 years. Some of these policies have flat rates. With others, your premiums could increase or decrease over the years.

A term life insurance policy remains in effect for as long as the policy term, as long as you pay the premiums. If you die during the term, then your beneficiaries should receive payouts. However, beware of sneaky policies that won’t provide any payment if you happen to die soon after signup. The death benefit can vary with time.

If you die after a term life policy expires, then generally no funds are available. Obviously this can be a drawback for many families, so many of the leading companies offer renewable term life policies. Keep in mind though that premiums will likely increase, and renewability might stop at a specified age such as 80 or 90 years.

Even better for many seniors, many term life insurance providers let you convert to a whole-life policy anytime before the policy expiration. It’s impossible to know what your family’s expenses will be in five, ten or twenty years… so choosing a term life policy that’s guaranteed renewable and/or convertible can bring peace of mind.

Obviously everyone’s situation is unique. In general though, term life insurance is best suited to younger adults. It could bring diminishing returns as you age.

Whole-Life and Permanent Insurance

Whole-life insurance provides coverage lifelong, as long as you pay your premiums. Some whole-life plans let you pay off a plan early to avoid the hassles of premiums when you’re older. In any case your beneficiaries will generally receive a set payment amount. This is in stark contrast to most term life plans that provide nothing in exchange for your premiums if you fortunately outlive the policy.

Standard whole-life plans are just one type of permanent insurance. Other permanent options called universal life, indexed universal life and variable universal life add cash-growth from interest or investments. The value of your portfolio will fluctuate, but your insurer will specify a minimum guaranteed rate of growth. Accrued funds can be applied to your premiums. You can also borrow against the account’s cash value, and you can withdraw the cash even if you cancel your life insurance policy. Beneficiaries will not be eligible to receive those funds though; only the death benefit portion of the policy is distributed to heirs.

Universal life insurance can draw cash from interest. Indexed universal life insurance is tied to the stock market but does not include a risk of loss. Variable universal life insurance involves stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

Along with the chance for tax-free cash growth, a main benefit of permanent life insurance plans may be extra flexibility, such as the option to increase your death benefit.

Downsides may be variable premiums and risk of loss. Also, it’s important to ensure that a minimum death benefit is guaranteed; without a rider, this benefit could be lost. This sort of life insurance should only be chosen as part of a well-rounded financial plan by someone who understands investments. Generally it’s best to open such a policy when you’re young, as this gives a chance for significant cash growth.

Guaranteed Acceptance & Final Expense Insurance

Insurance companies advertise guaranteed acceptance insurance for adults in specific age groups such as 50 to 85. These policies are offered without medical exams or health questions. However, the maximum coverage is typically $25,000. The coverage is generally meant to help with final expenses, not to help maintain a family’s mortgage, college tuition and so forth.

 Final expense insurance is a similar option that may have lower rates, but medical history is considered when you apply.