Every day, clients call us searching for affordable whole life insurance to provide a tax-free inheritance for their loved ones, or to leave something behind to help with their burial costs and final expenses.
With all the options floating around on TV, the internet, and by mail, how do you know which whole life insurance policy is the best value for your money?
Are there more affordable whole life insurance options?
The truth is, there are hundreds of companies offering whole life coverage, but not all whole life insurance policies are the same.
This article will focus on common “non-cash accumulating” life insurance options. Cash accumulating, often referred to as “cash value” life insurance policies, include: Universal Life Insurance and Variable Life Insurance. Premiums charged are higher than a Term or standard Whole Life policy, since you’re combining life insurance with an investment.
The cash portion can usually be borrowed against – however, if you don’t pay the loan back it can result in your death benefit being reduced, a balloon payment later, or eventual cancellation of your policy. For these reasons, most financial advisers recommend keeping your life insurance separate from investments. You’ll retain more flexibility and pay less in fees, likely ending up with affordable life insurance and superior investment returns.
Quick Article Guide:
1. Final Expense Life Insurance
2. Whole Life Insurance for Inheritance and Estate Tax Purposes
3. Guaranteed Universal Life Sample Rates
4. Gerber Guaranteed Issue Sample Rates
5. How Term Life Advice Can Help
Most people we speak to assume “final expense” life insurance is meant for burial, and “whole life” insurance is meant for incidentals, but this isn’t always the case. Many products in the marketplace are renewable term policies, expiring at specific ages.
Popular “guaranteed acceptance” (no health questions asked) policies sold through AARP (New York Life is the insurance company) fall into this category. They sell final expense policies which increase in cost every 5 years (the 5 year renewable term), with coverage ending at age 80. “Guaranteed acceptance/guaranteed issue” policies provide immediate coverage for death due to an accident, however, almost all have a minimum 2 year waiting period before death due to a medical condition is covered. Therefore, you have a window of coverage from 2 years after purchase to age 80 to receive a death benefit a reason other than accidental death.
We recommend Gerber’s “Guaranteed Life” policy to clients seeking $5,000 to $25,000 death benefits while providing a minimum of health information. The policies are a little more costly than AARP’s product, however, rates are fixed for life….not to age 80.
If your health is such that you’ll likely live 2 years, but unlikely to live to age 80, then the AARP product would be a lower cost option.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Family member’s often call us seeking these policies. Be advised that life insurance must be applied for by the person being insured. If that personal is unwilling or unable to understand a contract and sign a contract, then you can’t buy insurance for them – even if you’re the one who’d be paying for it and/or have power of attorney.
These are the questions that you should ask about a “whole life” insurance policy before buying it:
Q: What age does the policy cancel?
A: A good number of companies offering “whole life” insurance on TV and via mail are actually selling a form of term life insurance with coverage expiring at a specific age.
Q: Will the rates ever increase?
A: Be cautious of policies offering to start your coverage with low teaser rates (some as low as $1). Some increase dramatically with age to the point where they are un-affordable. It’s better to find a policy which will remain affordable through your life, particularly at a time you’re on a fixed income.
Q: When does full coverage begin?
A: Ask when you’ll be fully covered for death by any reason. Many policies pitched on TV and direct mail start with “conditional coverage”. You’re not fully protected for the first 2 years you’re paying premiums. We’re contacted time to time by people who are surprised they mistakenly purchased “accidental death” coverage. If you see a death benefit of $100,000 or more without asking health questions, that’s a warning sign! No one is “giving away” money.
We are frequently asked about whole life policies with death benefits of $100,000 to $5,000,000 by clients who like the lower price of term life, but are afraid of outliving the coverage. Term life insurance usually won’t cover men past age 80, and women beyond age 85. To learn more about the pros and cons of each type of coverage, please read term life vs. universal life insurance.
These larger policies will generally require an applicant completing a free in-home/in-office medical exam. Term Life Advice’s agents are experts at pre-qualification underwriting, so we will match you to highly rated life insurance companies best for your current and past medical history, age, and lifestyle.
There are also financial underwriting components. To put it simply, you can’t be worth more dead than alive. Explain your life insurance need and situation to your TLA agent and they’ll determine your most affordable whole life insurance options and “go to” companies.
The End of Traditional Whole Life Insurance?
As mentioned earlier, clients needing life insurance for their whole lives are often torn between the low cost of term insurance which they’re afraid of outliving, and whole life policies which provide that security but at a very high cost.
A few years ago, Guaranteed Universal Life insurance (“GUL”) stepped into this void.
Whereas term life insurance provides policy cost guarantees for a specific number of years, Guaranteed Universal Life insurance locks in rates to a specific age. You can choose a policy rate guarantee to age 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 120, even 121!
What’s pretty amazing is we see many instances where rate guarantees into 90’s are competitive with term policies ending for men and women in their 80’s. Scroll down for real world examples.
NOTE: Many of our clients refer to the US Government’s Social Security website to help determine lifetime expectancy. Typically we recommend rounding up to the next 5-10 year increment; it seems strange to say it, but advances in health care are always on the horizon. Though, with the obesity epidemic in America and rising diabetes rates, life expectancy is falling in some areas of the country.
Please note the rates displayed below are not for “Superman” or “Wonder Woman” – they are at “Standard” risk class, which equates to average health within a person’s age group. You may be able to qualify for these rates even if you have health issues including: well-controlled, diabetes, elevated blood pressure, 50 lbs overweight, or even cancer history. If you are in very good to excellent health, Term Life Advice will likely find lower rates for your life insurance.
A free in-home health screening exam is required to qualify for this type of coverage, and coverage can be guaranteed to age 90 or beyond.
Sample GUL Insurance Rates – $50,000 to Age 90 or Later
|Current Age||Until Age 90||Until Age 95||Until Age 100||Until Age 90||Until Age 95||Until Age 100|
*Rates are accurate as of 03/01/2018 and are provided for illustrative purposes only.
NOTE: After the age of 65, a medical exam is required in order to qualify for $50,000 or more fully medically underwritten life insurance. If you’re younger, and unable or unwilling to take a medical exam, you will still have “whole life” insurance options available for up to $50,000 of coverage. However, the convenience of avoiding an exam comes an increased cost.
Life insurance companies want to know who they are insuring. A small vial of blood and urine provides your insurer with the ability to take a “snapshot” of your health when you apply. It also allows the insurance company to rule out any serious health issues, tobacco use, alcoholism, or illicit drug use.
Is There an Option for Permanent Life Insurance Without an Exam?
A handful of highly-rated life insurance companies offer permanent life insurance coverage that does not require an exam for approval. Also known as traditional whole life insurance, these policies do not have a two-year waiting period, but they are lot more expensive than other permanent policies like GUL insurance that require an exam.
Instead of requiring an exam, most whole life insurers will ask you a few health questions, verify your MIB (Medical Information Bureau) records, and prescription history before approving your application. In the following table we’ve provided sample rates for $50,000 of coverage with guaranteed rates until the age of 100.
No Exam Whole Life Insurance Rates – $50,000 to Age 100
|Current Age||Monthly Cost for a Male to Age 100||Monthly Cost for a Female to Age 100|
*Rates are accurate as of 03/01/2018 and are provided for illustrative purposes only.
Comparison: If you’re a 55 year old male in good health, shopping for a $50,000 policy with coverage until age 100, you could purchase a policy requiring a medical exam for $97.50 each month, or a policy without an exam for $162.62 per month. A medical exam may seem like a hassle, but to save $65.12 a month or $781.44 per year for life seems like the better choice.
Do you have serious health issues or have you been declined before?
If you have serious health issues and/or permanently disabled, you’ll likely be limited to the Guaranteed Issue life insurance covered earlier in this article. Guaranteed Issue Life insurance does not require an exam or health questions and almost everyone is guaranteed to be accepted.
These policies offer up to $25,000 of coverage, but they DO NOT offer full health coverage for the first 2 years if the policy. If you pass away during the first 2 years of your policy, from a health condition, your beneficiary or family with receive all of the money you have paid into the policy plus 10% interest. If you pass away from an accident during the first 2 years, the entire $25,000 is paid out. One the 2 year waiting period is satisfied, your beneficiary will receive a tax-free payout of $25,000 regardless of your cause of death.
If you are unsure which type of coverage you can qualify for or which policies would be your best fit, please feel free to call us, toll-free at (855) 902-6494. We’re here to help!
Gerber offers their guaranteed issue policies to all U.S. residents with the exception of Montana. The minimum issue age for these policies is 50 and they maximum issue age is 80. These policies do not require a phone interview for approval, but they not available to applicants who reside in nursing home, assisted care facility, or anybody who is receiving hospice care.
Monthly Rates for Guaranteed Acceptance Insurance from Gerber
|Current Age||Until Age 100||Until Age 100|
*Rates are accurate as of 03/01/18 and are provided for illustrative purposes only.
To learn more about this type of coverage, please read our Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance article.
Not Sure Where to Begin?
Give us a call or submit a quote request on our site. Our agents are expert “matchmakers”, with multiple years of experience and over 60 companies to choose from. We’ll find your best rate in minutes, all in one phone call, saving you time and money! Call us Toll Free 855-902-6494.
*Please note, not all of the life insurance products on this page may be offered in your home state. Your actual life insurance rates vary by age, health, lifestyle, etc.