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When you buy life insurance after 50, there are certain things you’ll need to consider that you don’t have to in your 20s and 30s. Life insurance premiums increase with age, so the longer you wait to get a policy, the higher your rate will be. Also, if you have pre-existing health conditions, they can limit the types of policies you are eligible for.
To help you find the best life insurance company for people over 50, we compared dozens of life insurance companies and focused on features such as maximum issue age, no-medical-exam policy options, available riders, financial strength, and customer satisfaction ratings.
Best Overall : Nationwide
High customer satisfaction rating
Few complaints for its size
Offers no-medical-exam coverage
Most policies include a trio of living benefits riders
Credit cards accepted
Must be a current customer to buy simplified issue whole life insurance
Men older than 50 can’t get a 30-year term policy
Based on our research, Nationwide is the best overall life insurance company for people over 50. The company received few customer complaints, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), has a good financial strength rating, and earned the second-highest J.D. Power rating for overall customer satisfaction among major insurance companies.
Individuals over 50 can choose from a variety of different life insurance policies from Nationwide. You may qualify for a no-medical-exam policy depending on your health history—if you’re between 51 and 60, the maximum coverage limit to be accelerated without medical underwriting is $1 million. We also like that most of Nationwide’s policies include several living benefits riders at no upfront cost for additional protection.
However, Nationwide has a few policy restrictions that are important to point out. If you want to purchase final expense insurance, you should know that Nationwide’s simplified issue whole life policy is only available to existing customers with an auto or home insurance policy. In addition, men over 50 can’t qualify for a 30-year term life policy.
Learn more in our Nationwide Insurance review.
Best for Financial Stability : Guardian
Highest financial strength score among top companies
Very few complaints for its size
Dividend-paying whole life insurance
Coverage available to 90-year-old applicants
No online application or online claims
Guardian has the best financial strength rating from AM Best (along with MassMutual), earning its top score of A++ (Superior). This shows that Guardian is financially stable and is highly likely to meet policyholder obligations, such as paying claims.
Guardian issues new life insurance policies through age 90, which is the highest issue age we found during our review of 91 life insurance companies. The company offers a handful of different types of life insurance, including dividend-paying whole life. Guardian recently announced that it would pay $1.13 billion in dividends to eligible policyholders in 2022, more than it’s ever paid in the company’s history.
Guardian also does well when it comes to customer complaints. According to the NAIC Complaint Index, the company has very few complaints for a company of its size. On the other hand, J.D. Power rates Guardian slightly below-average for customer satisfaction.
Best for Term Insurance : Protective
Cheapest term life premiums out of our top picks
Accepts credit cards for premium payments
Coverage available until age 85
Poor customer satisfaction rating
Low coverage limits for no-medical-exam policies
We chose Protective as the best term life insurance company for people over 50. Out of the providers we reviewed, Protective has the cheapest premiums for term life insurance, making it a good option if you’re looking for affordable short-term coverage. Plus, Protective offers 35-year terms for applicants who are 50 (most providers cap available terms at 30 years).
In addition, we like that Protective offers life insurance policies for applicants up to age 85. However, if you want to get a no-medical-exam policy, keep in mind that the coverage is somewhat limited: up to $500,000 if you’re older than 45.
Protective makes it easy to get a life insurance policy online, with online quotes and an online application process for term coverage. However, the company didn’t fare well in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance study. It came in 16th out of 21 life insurers, which suggests that policyholders aren’t entirely happy with the company’s customer service.
Best for Dividends : MassMutual
Whole life policies eligible for dividends
Superior financial strength
Few customer complaints
Policies available to 90-year-old applicants
Does not accept online credit card payments
If you want a whole life insurance policy that pays dividends, MassMutual is an excellent choice (along with Guardian). The company has a very strong dividend payment history and recently announced that it would pay almost $1.85 billion in dividends to eligible customers, the highest payout in MassMutual’s history.
MassMutual is highly rated, with strong third-party reviews across the board. It has an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, fewer complaints than expected for its size, and does better than the industry average when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study.
Another thing we like about MassMutual is that new policies are available to applicants up to age 90. Besides Guardian, it’s the only other provider on this list that sells coverage to people older than 85.
Best for Final Expense : Mutual of Omaha
Policies issued to applicants up to 85 years old
Free accelerated benefits riders available on some policies
Superior financial strength
Option to apply online
Can get a policy without a graded benefit
More complaints relative to other top companies
Mutual of Omaha is a solid option for final expense policies for people over 50. You can purchase final expense insurance until age 85 (or age 75 in New York) and choose coverage limits between $2,000 and $25,000 ($5,000 minimum in Washington). A medical exam is not required for approval.
Mutual of Omaha is a good provider to consider if you’re looking for a policy with accelerated death benefits, too. Some policies include terminal illness, critical illness, and chronic illness riders at no upfront cost. The company also offers various riders that can be added to your policy for a fee.
Another advantage of Mutual of Omaha is that you can get a quote and apply for its final expense policies online, without calling an agent. Keep in mind that the company has a higher complaint rate than other top insurance companies. It received about the expected number of complaints for a company of its size.
Learn more in our Mutual of Omaha review.
Best for No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance : Penn Mutual
Very high coverage limits for no-med-exam policies
Whole life insurance available with dividends
Few customer complaints for its size
Affordable term life coverage for people over 50
Website is lacking policy information
Can’t get a quote or apply online
Based on our review, Penn Mutual is the best life insurance provider for no-medical-exam policies if you are over 50. Penn Mutual offers extremely generous coverage limits—up to $7.5 million without requiring a medical exam. The maximum issue age for no-med-exam policies is 65 years old.
If you’re looking for dividend-paying whole life insurance, Penn Mutual is also a good provider to consider. Looking back at the last 20 years, Penn Mutual has a very strong dividend-paying history. It has paid dividends consistently for almost 175 years. The company announced that it would pay $123 million to eligible policyholders in 2022.
Although Penn Mutual is a strong provider in many areas, its online features lag behind some of its competitors. You can’t get a quote or apply through the website. In addition, we found that Penn Mutual’s site lacks detailed information about its policies and riders.
After reviewing 91 different life insurance providers, we determined that Nationwide is the best life insurance provider for people over 50. Nationwide pairs superior financial strength with high customer satisfaction and offers a range of options for applicants 50 and older. Plus, many of its policies include multiple living benefits riders for free.
However, if you’re in the market for a term life policy, Protective or Penn Mutual might be a better option. If you’re in the market for a dividend-paying policy, consider MassMutual, Guardian, and Penn Mutual. For final expense or burial insurance, check out Mutual of Omaha.
At What Age Can You No Longer Buy Life Insurance?
Life insurance companies stop issuing life insurance policies at a certain age. The maximum issue age depends on the provider, as well as the specific life insurance product.
In general, most providers have a lower issue age for term life insurance and a higher maximum issue age for permanent policies. For example, MassMutual offers new permanent policies to applicants up to age 90. However, MassMutual only makes its term policies available to applicants up to 75 years old.
How Do I Get Life Insurance When I’m Over 50?
There are a few ways to get life insurance if you’re over 50. Depending on your age, current health, and past medical history, you might need to take a medical exam if you want a policy with more than $50,000 in coverage.
However, if you have a history of health problems, or if you have been denied life insurance in the past, you can consider a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, which is a type of final expense coverage that provides a small death benefit and guarantees approval. With a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, a medical exam is never required and everyone who applies gets approved, regardless of their health.
In terms of cost, a guaranteed issue policy is the most expensive option. Simplified issue policies (which ask a handful of health questions) are more affordable. Though approval isn’t guaranteed, the underwriting process is not as stringent as more traditional types of underwriting. However, the premiums are still much higher than a policy that uses accelerated underwriting or medical underwriting. In addition, guaranteed issue and simplified issue policies have lower coverage limits than fully underwritten policies.
How We Chose the Best Life Insurance Companies
We developed a comprehensive life insurance methodology to put together our review of the best life insurance companies for people over 50. To start, we researched what consumers want from life insurance companies, and for that, we looked to third-party consumer studies, including J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Life Insurance New Business Study and the 2021 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA.
We recorded that information, then gathered more than 50 data points on 91 life insurance companies, including ratings for:
- Financial strength
- Policy types and features
- Available riders
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer complaints
- Years in business
- Online tools
- No-exam options
Our review process gave preference to companies with top ratings from AM Best, a customer complaint rate that was lower than expected, and a robust suite of products and resources. In particular, we valued online quoting and application tools, transparent pricing, and no-exam policy options. We gave companies a boost in their rating if customer service was accessible via features like live chat. To rank the companies we researched, we applied the following weights to each category:
- Customer education, application, and online service features: 32%
- Policy types, features, and riders: 29%
- Financial stability: 17%
- Customer satisfaction ratings: 15%
- Cost: 8%
To get a better sense of each company's individual offerings, we delved into product specifics, including maximum issue ages, maximum coverage amounts, riders, and product-specific application processes. We used this research to determine the best companies for different products and consumer groups such as term-life policies and people over 50.
The companies that scored the highest in our rankings had the greatest financial stability, fewest complaints, lowest cost, and most generous no-medical-exam options, as we believe these companies are best positioned to help customers secure the life insurance coverage they need.