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Life insurance over 60

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This is a guest article from award-winning life insurance broker Reassured

People are living longer than ever before. Life expectancy in the UK is now 79.5 years for males and 83.1 years for females. To put this into context, in the 70s, our average life expectancy was 71.

“Average life expectancy has increased steadily in England in recent decades. In the UK there are now half a million people in their 90s, more than two and half times the number in 1985.” – Source: www.gov.uk

This welcomed rise in life expectancy has led to more and more of us looking into life insurance in our 60s and provisioning for a longer life.

Life cover options for over 60s

If 60 or older, you’re probably well aware of how hard it can be securing term-based life insurance at a reasonable price. But why?

Put simply, the higher the risk, the higher your monthly premium. Unfortunately, as you get older, in the eyes of the insurer, you also become a bigger risk.

However, it’s important to remember that whatever your age, most can still qualify for some form of life insurance. It’s a case of what option best suits your specific needs:

  • Over 50s plan
  • Whole of life insurance
  • Term-based life insurance
  • Prepaid funeral plan.

You need to think carefully about what it is you want to protect and how much cover you require?

For example, you may want to leave behind some money for your loved ones. Maybe you want to use the pay out to cover funeral costs, (which now average over £4,000 in the UK).

Over 50s plan

A very popular method of provisioning for the future for those in their 60s is to take out a guaranteed over 50s plan. SunLife, Royal London and British Seniors all offer over 50s policies.

The majority of insurers guarantee acceptance if you’re aged between 50 – 85 and are a UK resident. Like all life insurance, a cash lump sum is paid out to your beneficiaries when you pass away.

Regarded as the affordable and accessible option, it’s worth noting that with over 50s plans, you need to have held the policy for a minimum of 1 or 2 years before your loved ones can benefit. This is known as the ‘waiting’ or ‘qualifying’ period.

However, if you do die during the waiting period, the premiums you have paid in will usually be returned to your beneficiaries.

Unlike traditional life insurance, the main benefit of an over 50s plan is that there’s no need for a medical. Plus, it’s possible to secure an over 50s premium for as little as £4-a month.

As a result, over 50s plans can be an excellent option if you’re in poor health, or previously suffered a medical condition, such as a heart attack.

In contrast to term-based policies, an over 50s plan is a form of life ‘assurance’ and therefore guarantees to pay out when you die.

It’s important to remember though that there’s a possibility you could pay more in than your loved ones would ever receive back.

Over 50s plans:

  • Guaranteed acceptance between 50 – 85 years
  • Easy application process
  • Guarantees to pay out
  • No medical exam required or health questions
  • Some plans offer free cover after you turn 90
  • Premiums start from as little as £4-a-month
  • No cash-in value.

Whole of life insurance

Whole of life insurance is much less well known than its big brother the over 50s plan, but it could prove a better option for many in their 50s or 60s.

Whilst taking out an over 50s plan is beneficial for many, if you’re in your 50s or early 60s, fit and healthy you may find that a whole of life policy provides a greater level of protection, for a similarly priced monthly premium.

Like an over 50s plan, whole of life cover is a form of life assurance, as a pay out is ‘assured’ when you die.

Yet, the difference between a whole of life insurance plan and an over 50s plan is more than guaranteed acceptance and the monthly cost of premiums.

A whole of life policy could provide you with at least 40% more coverage than a guaranteed over 50 plan.

That said, there’s still very much a place for over 50s plans. If you want affordable cover, with a quick and easy application process that doesn’t require a medical exam, then an over 50s plan is for you.

Whole of life in summary:

  • Guarantees to pay out
  • Pay premiums for as long as you live
  • Hard to get affordable cover if you’re older or had/have health problems
  • Lengthier application process, (compared to over 50s plans)
  • Application involves health questions and/or medical exam
  • Greater sum assured, (compare to over 50s plans)
  • No cash-in value, (non-investment WOL policies).

Term-based life insurance for over 60s

It’s possible to secure a term-based life insurance policy when you’re in your 60s, although for many the costs simply don’t stack up.

Firstly, insurers are likely to only insure you on a short policy term. What’s more, the premiums are likely to be very expensive because you’ll be regarded as high risk.

A term-based policy will only pay out if you pass away during the policy term and therefore doesn’t guarantee to pay out. It’s a form of life ‘insurance’, (not life ‘assurance’).

As a result, over 50s plans and whole of life cover tend to be much more popular options for most over 60s.

Term-based life insurance in summary:

  • Cover can become expensive as you age
  • The insurer will probably only insure you for a short-term
  • Pay out not guaranteed
  • Only pay premiums during the policy term
  • Greater sum assured, (compare to over 50s plans)
  • Often used to cover a mortgage debt
  • No cash-in value.

Prepaid funeral plans

According to research from SunLife, the average cost of a funeral has risen by 112% over the last 13 years. The average cost of a funeral is now £4,078 and is forecast to rise to nearly £5,000 by 2022 – source: sunlife.co.uk

As a result, many people in their 60s are now looking to beat the rising costs of funerals by planning ahead. A prepaid funeral plan allows you to choose your preferred funeral plan and pay for the funeral director’s services, locking in today’s price.

However, with monthly premiums available for as little as £4-a month, many find that an over 50s plan provides greater protection and covers more than just the funeral costs.

A prepaid funeral plan, as the name suggested, covers just the cost of your funeral and the associated costs. In contrast, an over 50s or a whole of life policy could cover funeral costs, as well as provide an inheritance or pay off any outstanding debts.

It comes down to the level of cover you need, your available budget and what it is you want to protect.

Funeral plans:

  • Guaranteed acceptance
  • Lock in today’s funeral cost
  • Save your loved ones the burden of planning your funeral
  • Ensures you get the funeral you desire
  • Option of paying in full, or in instalments
  • Won’t cover anything other than a funeral.

The benefits of taking out life cover in your 60s

Whether you’re in your 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s and regardless of which cover option best suits your specific needs, there are some common benefits:

  • Clear any outstanding debts
  • Help meet future living costs of loved ones
  • Maintain standard of living of dependants
  • Provision for rising funeral costs
  • Leave a lump sum inheritance for family members.

With many of us living longer than ever before, it’s never too late to secure the financial future of loved ones.

Plus, there’s a great range of over 50 plans available that don’t require a medical or any health questions and can cost as little as just £4-a-month.

If you don’t currently have any life insurance in place, what are you waiting for? Seize the day.

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