Imagine living until the average life expectancy of 78.7 years without financial backing. What would your loved ones do? How would they take care of your final arrangements? Are you leaving behind debts and other unmet financial needs?
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Life insurance is a real need for everyone, not just the young and healthy. According to the Survey of Consumer Finances, 60 percent of senior households (65 years and older) have debt, and the median amount of debt is $31,300.
In addition, the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported that 1 in 4 seniors approach bankruptcy due to average medical expenses of $38,000 in the last five years preceding death. Why take a chance?
Now that you realize the importance of life insurance for seniors, it’s time to learn how to save on your policies.
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How to Save on Life Insurance for Seniors?
Now that you know you need life insurance, what’s the best way to save? The two most important factors are your timing and lifestyle.
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Remember when you were in your 20s and 30s and were constantly pushed to consider life insurance? It’s for a good reason. On average, premiums increase 8% – 10% per year.
Let’s take a basic policy premium of $800 that you could get when you were 20-years old. Now let’s say you waited until you were 40-years old to take out the policy. You could be looking at double the annual premium just because you waited.
If you think you need life insurance now and are over 60 years old, act fast. The quicker you buy your policy, the lower premiums you may obtain.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
According to the CDC, 21.7 percent of older adults are in fair or poor health. Fair or poor health causes life insurance premiums to skyrocket, increasing the risk of the insurance company’s liability. Most insurance companies require medical exams, which include blood samples and urine tests, so there’s no getting around the issues. However, if you lead a healthy lifestyle, it can help in more ways than one.
A few examples include the following:
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- Eat a healthy diet that provides plenty of fiber, as it helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer. It helps lower your blood pressure, which insurance companies evaluate when determining your premiums.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Water flushes the toxins out of your body, which helps your body operate optimally.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. You don’t have to do strenuous exercises, just activities that get your heart rate going, such as brisk walking. You don’t have to do all 30 minutes at once. Break it into 10-minute increments if you have to; just ensure you get enough time each day.
- Don’t drink or smoke. Drinkers and smokers pay as much as 100 percent to 300 percent more than non-smokers and those that don’t drink.
Consider Second-to-Die Life Insurance
Consider second-to-die life insurance if you’re in a high-risk category and find life insurance rates too high.
As the name suggests, second-to-die life insurance only pays out when the second person dies. This usually pertains to married couples. Life insurance doesn’t pay out to the beneficiaries until both parties die. This is a common policy for parents that want to cover the estate taxes or estate settlement costs their children will incur upon the passing of both parents, for parents of a special needs child, or those that want to leave behind a legacy to a charity or other organization.
You may save significantly on the premiums when you only have one policy rather than two. You pay two premiums if you and your spouse have individual policies. With second-to-die insurance, you pay one premium, and it’s based on the likelihood of BOTH parties dying, not just one.
Don’t Overbuy Insurance
While millions of people realize they don’t have enough insurance, many end up overbuying, especially seniors. As you age, your need for life insurance may decrease (but not dissipate).
Think about your debts and current needs. What are you leaving behind? Who needs to cover the expenses? Who will cover the cost of your final arrangements? If you’re over 60 years old, the chances are that your kids are out of the house or close to it, so consider that.
Ask yourself the following:
- How much debt do you have?
- How much debt do you see yourself having in the coming years?
- Do you have money set aside to cover your final arrangements?
- Do you want to leave money for your children?
Most importantly, you must shop around. Don’t jump at the first policy an insurance company offers you. Know your options, including the premium amount and the coverage type. Read the fine print and know what you’re paying for and how it will affect and/or help your loved ones upon your passing.
As you shop around, consider riders you may want to include, such as an accidental death rider or long-term care rider. These riders will add to the premium, but it may be worth it if you need/want the coverage.
Seniors have just as high of a need for life insurance as the younger generations. With life expectancies increasing thanks to lower rates of cancer and overdose deaths, it’s becoming more important for even those over 60 to carry the proper insurance.
Know your needs and find the agency that offers them at the most affordable rate. Ensure you know a company’s financial strength and read its reviews to understand its operations. Paying for life insurance now will help your loved ones upon your passing, allowing them to grieve correctly without the pressure of financial issues.