Best Life Insurance for Seniors: Best Policies and Companies (2023)

In This Article

The best life insurance for seniors is generally:

  • Term life insurance if you want flexible coverage
  • Whole life insurance if you have complex estate planning needs
  • No medical or guaranteed life insurance as a last resort if you’ve been denied by traditional life insurance providers

The best life insurance companies in Canada for seniors is either PolicyMe, Manulife or Canada Protection Plan.

  • PolicyMe is best for term life insurance
  • Manulife is best for whole life insurance
  • Canada Protection Plan is best for no medical or guaranteed issue life insurance

The best life insurance policies for seniors in Canada

The best type of life insurance policy for seniors will depend on coverage priorities.

We recommend that you start the process by applying for a term policy, then try simplified issue as a second option and then try guaranteed issue as a final resort. 

Here’s a primer on the best life insurance in Canada for seniors, with pointers on whether a certain type of life insurance might be right for you.

Term life insurance for seniors: best for flexible coverage

Term life insurance provides coverage over a set period of time based on your specific needs. You can choose how long you want your policy to last, but the most popular term length to get is 20 years. 

Term is usually the cheapest life insurance choice for seniors. But there may be some age restrictions around the term you can qualify for. 

Term life insurance is best if… You have debts or obligations you anticipate being able to pay off some time in the future, such as a mortgage or loan. If you pass away during the term, your family will receive a payout they can apply towards the debt. 

PolicyMe has some of the most affordable term premiums in Canada and friendly Canada-based licensed advisors available  7 days a week.

Afraid you won't be approved? A customer recently told us in this review: "I never thought I would ever get insurance at my age, but this company made it amazingly easy and affordable."

Whole life insurance for seniors: best for complex estate planning

Whole life insurance provides coverage for your lifetime; as long as you continue paying the premiums, it’ll remain active. 

A percentage of these payments are set aside in a savings or investment portion, so these plans can have a cash value component. But whole life insurance for seniors can be expensive and restrictive – there are a lot of rules when it comes to accessing the cash portion. 

Whole life insurance is best if… You want to take care of your end-of-life expenses because there’s no risk that you’ll outlive your coverage. There’s a guaranteed payout, so It’s also suitable for permanent financial obligations, like providing for a disabled child after you’re gone.

No medical life insurance for seniors: best used as a “Plan B” 

No medical life insurance, also known as simplified issue life insurance provides coverage without a medical examination. You may be asked a few short medical questions about your health, but that’s about the extent of it. 

However, you’ll pay for this convenience – premiums for no medical life insurance for seniors in Canada can be very high.

No medical life insurance is best if… you’ve been denied by traditional life insurance providers and need coverage for your situation. Think of these types of policies as a “Plan B."

Guaranteed issue life insurance for seniors: best used as a last resort

Guaranteed issue life insurance provides coverage to almost everyone, regardless of age or health. However, because approval is guaranteed, premiums for guaranteed life insurance for seniors are the most expensive and provide the least amount of coverage. 

Guaranteed issue life insurance is best if… you have been denied both by traditional insurers and no medical options. Guaranteed issue policies offer small payouts and have a waiting period of at least two years. If you pass away before the waiting period is up, a payout will not be issued, but the premiums paid will be returned to your estate.

Below is a quick summary of how term, no medical and guaranteed issue life insurance policies stack up.

Best Life Insurance for Seniors: Table comparing no medical life insurance vs term life insurance

Best life insurance companies for seniors in Canada

Have a better idea about what type of life insurance you need, but still not sure where to start looking? Here are a few of the top insurers out there based on the type of policy you’re looking for.

Life insurance type Company Rating Recommended reading
Term PolicyMe score: ★★★★★ (4.84) PolicyMe reviews
Whole/permanent Manulife InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (2.4) Manulife life insurance review
No medical Canada Protection Plan InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (1.5) Canada Protection Plan review
Guaranteed issue Canada Protection Plan InsurEye score: ★★☆☆☆ (1.5) Best no medical life insurance reviews

Worried you won't be approved for a term policy now that you’re over 60? Or that you'll need to pay a prince's sum? You don’t have to be.

Get a no-obligation quote online from PolicyMe, then call us at +1 (866) 999-7457 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, seven days a week if you want us to help walk you through the application process or answer questions about your quote.

Our licensed advisors are based in Ontario. We provide services to all provinces and territories except Quebec and Newfoundland.

How much does life insurance for seniors cost?

The cost of Canadian life insurance for seniors and elderly parents will vary based on your age, gender, term length and health.

For a 65-year-old, non-smoking woman, a 20 year policy with $250,000 of coverage would cost $240 per month at PolicyMe. For the same policy, it would cost a man $357 per month.

Below is a summary of how age influences life insurance cost. As you can see, premiums go up as we grow up, so it’s wise to lock in your rate sooner than later.

cost of life insurance for seniors

You might be older, but there are still plenty of life insurance options that will meet your needs at a reasonable cost. 

As a senior, you might not need as much coverage or a long policy term compared to someone younger. This means your monthly life insurance premiums could be comparable to those in their 30s or 40s. 

Some types of life insurance and term lengths may be restricted to those under a certain age (i.e. you may not be able to purchase a 30-year term in your 80s).

If you’re wondering who has the cheapest life insurance for seniors in Canada, PolicyMe offers some of the most competitive rates when it comes to term life insurance quotes

What determines life insurance rates for seniors?

Life insurance rates for seniors are determined by your age, coverage amount, smoking status and health. These are the key characteristics that factor into the cost of your monthly premium. 

Hint: they’re the same factors that determine life insurance rates when you’re younger, too.

1. Age 

You’re more likely to pass when you’re older than when you’re younger. So you might have to shell out more for a life insurance policy if you buy it when you’re 60 instead of when you’re 40.

2. Coverage amount

Having a higher coverage amount means that your insurer will have to give your beneficiary more money if you pass. Not sure how much coverage you need? Our life insurance calculator gives you an estimate in minutes. 

3. Smoking status

Being a smoker automatically makes you riskier to insure in the eyes of your insurance company. Be prepared to pay higher premiums if you’re looking for smoker life insurance

4. Health

If you have pre-existing medical conditions or illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, or heart disease, you’re riskier to insure. As a result, your insurer will charge you more for coverage and may even deny your application. 

How to get the best life insurance for seniors

To get the best life insurance as a senior, you’ll need to do some research. Here are some things to consider:

1. The cost of a life insurance policy in Canada. 

Finding the right balance between your coverage needs and the cost of your monthly premiums. Your policy term, amount of coverage and other features, like convertibility or guaranteed issue, will all impact the cost of life insurance.

2. The amount of life insurance coverage you need. 

Generally, your need for life insurance decreases as you get older. If everything has gone according to plan, you’ve paid off your biggest debts while your assets have had a chance to grow. But if you’re likely to leave behind debts or have family members dependent on your income for their daily expenses, then it’s necessary to have a life insurance policy in place for their protection.

3. The life insurance provider’s background.

 Find a reliable life insurance provider that can get you approved and covered. For example, PolicyMe is backed by Canadian Premier, an insurer that covers over 2 million Canadians and has been in operation for more than 60 years, so you can rest assured that you’re getting trustworthy protection. 

What is senior life insurance?

Senior life insurance in Canada is for those who are 50 and over. While it’s not a separate type of life insurance policy, it refers to the policies that seniors are eligible for.

Not sure if it's worth it for seniors? Here’s when you might need it. (We’ll go into which types are optimal for each reason in the next section).

  • Final expenses:  Money to cover medical and burial costs, as well as other expenses required to settle your estate
  • Income replacement:  Funds for a spouse or dependent who relies on your salary, pension or annuity for daily expenses.
  • Special needs child: Money to start a trust for a dependent who will need financial support for their lifetime.
  • Debts:  Money to pay off significant debts such as a mortgage or loan. 
  • Estate taxes: Funds to cover any possible estate taxes liability for your heirs.
  • Inheritance: A tax-free financial death benefit to your beneficiaries after you pass
  • Liquidity: A cash payout for an estate with non-cash assets, such as real estate or locked-in investments. 
  • Charitable bequest: A one-time donation to support a non-profit that’s near and dear to your heart.

Bottom line: seniors have options for life insurance 

If you’re a senior looking for life insurance, there’s no need to worry. There’s usually a way to get insured and protect your family at a reasonable cost.

Seniors can best use life insurance coverage for:

  • Outstanding debts or financial obligations that your family members will need to pay off when you pass away
  • Covering your end-of-life expenses, including medical and funeral costs
  • Living expenses for loved ones who are dependent on your income
  • Managing financial assets that you’d like to leave behind as an inheritance.

FAQ: best life insurance for seniors

Can I get a life insurance policy for my parents?

Yes, you can get a life insurance policy for your parents, but under two conditions. Firstly, if they passed, you would need to experience a negative financial impact (called insurable interest). Some insurance companies will ask you to prove this before they’ll allow you to take out a policy for your parents. A life insurance policy would help offset any losses you’d experience if your parents passed away. 

Secondly, life insurance companies will usually request medical information before extending coverage. In some cases, they may even require a medical exam. If your parents don’t agree to the process, you won’t be able to purchase coverage on their behalf.

Is life insurance worth it for seniors? 

Life insurance is worth it for seniors if you need it. Like all financial products, it serves a need - to cover outstanding debts, provide financial security for your family if you pass away, or assist with your estate planning.

If you don’t have any financial obligations and have already made other, more appropriate arrangements to leave an inheritance (if applicable), you may not need life insurance as a senior. 

What is the maximum issue age for life insurance? 

In most cases, the maximum issue age for term life insurance is 75 years old. However, other types of life insurance, such as whole life or guaranteed issue policies, may cover you at 75 or above. 

You can speak with an insurance broker or representative to explore your options if you need life insurance as an older senior.

Can seniors get convertible life insurance? 

Seniors can get convertible life insurance, but there are usually some age restrictions around when you can convert. If you’re not sure what convertible life insurance is, it’s a type of policy that allows you to start off with term coverage, but exchange for permanent coverage at a later date. 

For some people, it can be a good choice – you can pay the affordable premiums of a term life plan and have the option of converting your coverage to a permanent policy in the future. In Canada, most convertible plans allow holders to convert their coverage up until 70 to 75, depending on the policy. Speak to your life insurance company if you’re interested in convertible life plans to determine their age limits. 

Is there life insurance meant specifically for seniors? 

While there are no life insurance options meant specifically for seniors (in other words, seniors can purchase the same plans as anyone else), some features may make some plans more attractive to those in the 50+ demographic. 

For example, if you’ve had trouble finding coverage in the past, a no-medical policy could be right for you. Alternatively, if you’re relatively healthy and looking for an affordable life insurance policy to help cover your remaining debts, a term life plan could be best for you. 

Is term or whole life insurance better for seniors?

Whether term or whole life insurance is better for seniors (or anyone, for that matter) depends on your situation. Traditional term life insurance is a highly affordable option and could be a good choice for seniors on a budget looking to get coverage for their debts. However, there may be age restrictions or other limitations that would prevent a senior from getting term life coverage. And you could outlive the term of your plan. 

There’s no risk of outliving your coverage with whole life insurance. With lifelong coverage, your beneficiaries will get a payout no matter when you pass away, making it a good option to cover your final expenses or leave some money behind for your loved ones. But your monthly premiums are likely to be very expensive. 

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

About the Author

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