elderly couple reading prescription labels

What is the Best Life Insurance for a Senior in Poor Health?

It’s often believed that seniors who are no longer working or whose families have grown no longer need life insurance. However, in many cases, this is not true.

The death benefit of a life insurance policy can be beneficial for covering major end-of-life expenses such as funeral costs, medical bills, and outstanding debt. 

However, once a person is 60 years or older, there’s a very good chance that they may no longer be in the best health and potentially even develop a medical condition that would prevent them from qualifying for a traditional permanent or term life insurance policy.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few alternative types of life insurance to consider.

elderly couple reading life insurance contract

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

A simplified issue life insurance policy offers the same coverage as a traditional one. However, the major difference is that you do not have to take a medical exam. For this reason, you’ll often hear it associated with a larger category of “no exam” life insurance products.

Applicants only need to fill out a health questionnaire to determine eligibility. This streamlines the process and can result in much faster approval.

Simplified issue life insurance can be either term or permanent. Regardless of your choice, the premiums will most likely be higher and the death benefit will be lower since the life insurance company is taking a bigger risk.

Remember that if you decide to go with a term policy, it won’t last forever. Term life insurance can be purchased for 10 to 30 years of coverage.

Therefore, if your budget allows, it’s generally best to get the longest term you can afford because your health could change and you might not pass the questionnaire again. If you’d like to avoid this issue entirely, then go with a permanent option.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed Issue life insurance is another type of no-exam life insurance where applicants can skip the health questionnaire. Essentially, you can’t be denied coverage as long as you can afford the premiums.

Guaranteed Issue life insurance can be very helpful for applicants who’ve been previously denied or whose condition is so bad that they won’t qualify for Simplified Issue life insurance.

Additionally, since these policies are permanent, they should last the rest of the applicant’s life as long as the premiums are paid up to date.

However, this does mean higher premiums than Simplified Issue life insurance. Also, the death benefits will be even more limited.

Final Expense Life Insurance

Applicants looking for just enough life insurance to cover their end-of-life costs may find a Final Expense life insurance policy to be the answer.

Similar to Guaranteed Issue life insurance, this permanent life insurance policy does not require a medical exam or health questionnaire. Anyone who can pay the premiums is eligible.

The major difference from Guaranteed Issue life insurance is that the death benefit is significantly smaller. It’s designed to be just enough to cover the cost of a funeral (which is why it’s sometimes called funeral insurance or burial Insurance). However, this will help make the premiums more affordable. 

The Bottom Line

Just because you’re a senior whose health isn’t what it used to be doesn’t mean you can’t purchase life insurance.

Simplified Issue allows you to skip out on the medical exam and just answer a health questionnaire. Alternatively, Guaranteed Issue and Final Expense life insurance is available to anyone regardless of health as long as they can pay the premiums.