Am I Too Old to Qualify for Life Insurance in California?

older caucasian man on laptop

You’re thinking about life insurance, but wondering if it’s a waste of time. You might feel you are “too old.” Aren’t there significant life insurance age restrictions? 

The chances are good that you can buy coverage, regardless of your birth year. For many, the bigger consideration will be cost. Let’s look at the subject in greater detail. 

How Old Is Too Old for Life Insurance? 

The short answer is that it’s possible for Californians to find life insurance coverage even into their eighties, in some cases. But it takes some shopping. That’s because not every insurer will offer affordable life insurance for older Californians. 

If you’re in your fifties or sixties and thinking you might be too old, you could be pleasantly surprised at how wrong you are. 

Really, the final word on whether you should seek coverage often comes down to cost. As you get older, the premiums you pay start to escalate. There’s not that much difference in rates in your twenties, thirties, and forties. But as you get older, not only do the rates increase, but they do so at a larger percentage from year to year. 

How Life Insurance Rates Are Determined 

It sounds cold, but life insurance is a bet. Your insurer is wagering that you’ll stay alive long enough to pay enough premiums for the company to make money by the time you expire. 

As a result, insurance companies are especially welcoming to non-smoking young people who are healthy and don’t have high-risk jobs or lifestyles. That’s because they assume these young’uns will live (and pay premiums) for several decades more. The insurance company will invest those premiums and turn a profit by the time it must pay your beneficiaries a death benefit. 

If, however, you are older and in relatively poor health, the cold calculation is that the insurer might have to pay your death benefit long before breaking even. So it will either charge you very high monthly premiums or not offer coverage at any price. 

How to Maximize Your Odds of Buying Affordable Life Insurance as an Older Californian 

Don’t give up on the idea of getting affordable life insurance online or while sitting across from a knowledgeable broker, no matter your age. Here are five tips for getting the best possible coverage at the most affordable rates at the age you are now. 

1. Don’t Smoke if You Want to Buy Life Insurance 

Granted, this advice might be a little late if you’re a chain smoker, but it should boost your confidence if you’re a non-smoker or kicked the habit long ago. 

In many older age categories, smokers can pay three times the monthly premium that non-smokers are charged. Insurance underwriters figure that a 65-year-old smoker might have had the habit for half a century, so they’ll be very hesitant to extend coverage ⁠— and make you pay dearly if they do. 

2. Life Insurance Prices are Lower if You are Healthy  

Older applicants for life insurance will almost always be required to first pass a physical. Not every medical condition can be avoided, but by eating right, watching your weight, and exercising regularly, you can stay in optimal health longer⁠—and earn more affordable coverage. 

3. Adjust Your Life Insurance Death Benefit Expectations 

There’s an insurance industry rule of thumb that recommends buying a policy with a death benefit of about seven to ten times annual income. So if you make $60,000 a year, you’d buy life insurance with a death benefit (also called the face value) of somewhere between about $400,000 and $600,000. 

While that amount might be ideal in terms of what you’d like to leave your loved ones, maybe it’s not realistic from a cost basis if you’re older. Try downscaling your expectations and finding a face value that’s more affordable and available. 

4. See If You Can Buy More Group Life Insurance 

If you’re still working, your employer might have provided you with a free term life policy of a modest amount⁠—perhaps as little as $10,000. Your company can easily do this because it was able to obtain this coverage very affordably, especially if it has a large workforce. 

A term policy of this type only covers policyholders while employed at that company. Since a majority of people in the workforce are relatively young and healthy, insurers are eager to offer this low-cost coverage. 

Some companies allow employees to purchase additional coverage on their group plan. If you’re in your fifties, sixties, or older, and still employed, this strategy could protect your loved ones if you should die unexpectedly. Ask your HR director for guidance. 

5. Consult an Independent Life Insurance Agent 

The key word here is independent. While many insurance agents work for only one company, independent brokers do business with numerous major life insurance carriers. They can shop from multiple brands for the best rates regardless of your age or other coverage challenges. 

You’ll always have more options for affordable life insurance when dealing with an independent agent. 

life insurance agent sitting down with elderly client

Get Affordable Life Insurance in California No Matter Your Age 

You’ll never be younger than you are now. Contact a Cost-U-Less independent life insurance agent and see what we can do for you, no matter your age. Call us at (800) 390-4071 or go online to get a quick life insurance quote. You can also find a Cost-U-Less location near you