How much does life insurance cost?

According to eFinancial, the cost of a 10-year, $250,000 term life insurance policy is typically between $21 and $29 per month for a healthy 20 to 40-year-old.* While a few uncontrollable factors like your age and gender can increase or decrease your rate, the average cost of life insurance can generally be affordable. Other controllable factors, such as whether you smoke or avoid certain risky activities, may also affect your life insurance price.

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What affects the cost of life insurance?

The life insurance cost factors you can't control

Two of the biggest influences on life insurance rates are also the ones you can't control: age and sex. Generally, younger people pay less than older people because they're less likely to have health problems. And the cost of life insurance tends to be more for males because they have shorter lifespans and are more likely to have dangerous jobs or lifestyles, making them riskier to insure overall.

Term life insurance rates by age and sex

The life insurance rates by age chart below provides examples of the average term life insurance costs for males and females, 20 to 60 years old, quoting a 10-year term policy through eFinancial. As you can see, the average life insurance rate per month is generally higher for men than women. Plus, the average rates for 20- and 30-year-olds are nearly the same, while those for 40-year-olds skew higher as a result of increasing risk.

AgeCoverage amount: $250,000
20 years oldCoverage amount: $250,000Male: $16.10 | Female: $14.79
30 years oldCoverage amount: $250,000Male: $16.10 | Female: $15.01
40 years oldCoverage amount: $250,000Male: $18.92 | Female: $17.84
50 years oldCoverage amount: $250,000Male: $35.45 | Female: $31.97
60 years oldCoverage amount: $250,000Male: $77.43 | Female: $59.60

Note: Quoted life insurance rates are based on actual monthly rates for male and female non-tobacco users for Fidelity Association's 10-year RAPIDecision Life policies with a face amount of $250,000, as of June 26, 2023. RAPIDecision Life is available to people who are between the ages of 18 and 65.

LIFE INSURANCE IS CHEAPER THAN YOU THINK

According to the 2023 Insurance Barometer Study conducted by LIMRA, a 20-year, $250,000 term life insurance policy for a healthy 30-year-old costs under $200 per year on average. Yet more than half of survey participants guessed that such a policy would cost over $500 per year. If you think life insurance is too expensive, get a quote and see for yourself how affordable it can be.

Whole life insurance rates by age and sex

The following chart compares the average rates for final expense insurance (a type of whole life insurance) for males and females, ages 50 to 70, at $35,000 in coverage. Since this final expense policy is only available starting at age 50 when health risks are already higher, you'll see that the potential rates can increase with each year.

AgeCoverage amount: $35,000
50 years oldCoverage amount: $35,000Male: $125.18 | Female: $94.54
60 years oldCoverage amount: $35,000Male: $174.17 | Female: $135.68
70 years oldCoverage amount: $35,000Male: $263.42 | Female: $209.16

Note: Quotes based on actual monthly rates for male and female non-tobacco users for Fidelity Association's RAPIDecision Final Expense policies for a face amount of $35,000, as of June 26, 2023. Rates and products available may vary by state. All policies are subject to underwriting approval. RAPIDecision Final Expense is available to people who are between the ages of 50 and 85.

Does whole life insurance cost more than term life?

In general, yes. Since whole life insurance lasts for the policyholder's entire life and includes a cash value component that builds over time, it usually costs more than term life insurance. But keep in mind that there are many different factors that determine your life insurance rate besides the type of policy you buy. Learn more about the difference between term and permanent life insurance.

The life insurance cost factors you can usually control

  • Your health: Insurers typically look at your height, weight, and medical history — especially any chronic or serious illnesses you've experienced. Standard policies require a medical exam before determining your eligibility, though there are some life insurance policies that don't require a medical exam.
  • Tobacco use: Life insurance for smokers usually comes with higher rates than for non-smokers due to the number of medical conditions associated with smoking, including cancer.
  • Hobbies: If you sky-dive or partake in amateur stock car racing, you might have higher premiums than someone who collects stamps. However, the activities insurers consider risky vary by company.
  • Criminal history: DUIs, previous arrests, and other criminal convictions may affect your rate or even disqualify you from coverage with some insurers. Learn more about life insurance for those with felonies or criminal records.
  • Occupation: As with hobbies, the riskier your job, the more you could pay for life insurance. Police officer, firefighter, pilot, and construction worker are just a few of the occupations that may see higher life insurance rates.
  • Financial history: Your actual credit score won't affect your premium, but any bankruptcies or other risk factors identified in your credit report may. Long periods of unemployment may also affect your rate or ability to get coverage.
  • Coverage amount: As you'd expect, the amount of coverage you select will change your life insurance rate — more coverage means higher rates.

What's the right amount of life insurance for me?

You want enough life insurance to pay off your mortgage and any other debts, as well as enough to replace your income for however many years your family would need support. If you have kids, you should also factor in the total cost of their tuition, whether it's for college or private K-12 school. Finally, calculate your potential funeral expenses to get a rough idea of how much life insurance you need. Then use our life insurance calculator to tally everything up for a better coverage estimate.

Have questions about the actual process of buying life insurance? Learn more about applying for and buying a life insurance policy.

How can I lower my life insurance rate?

There are several ways to lower your life insurance rate, most of which center on maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

  • Keep a healthy weight: Being overweight is linked to medical conditions with higher mortality rates, such as heart disease. Staying within a healthy weight range can make you less risky to insurers. Learn more about how being overweight can impact life insurance.
  • Manage your medical conditions: If you have an ongoing medical condition, such as asthma, high blood pressure, or diabetes, make sure you're following up with your doctor and sticking to your treatment plan. Learn about life insurance for diabetics.
  • Stop smoking: This includes using e-cigarettes, which most insurers view the same as smoking. The longer you go without smoking, the better your rate could be.
  • Avoid high-risk hobbies: The less frequently you engage in high-risk activities, the lower your rate could be. So you can still go sky-diving, as long as it's only occasionally.
  • Apply early: The cost of a term life insurance policy is typically higher for someone who applies in their 40s or 50s, compared to someone who takes out a policy in their 20s or 30s. Learn more about when to get life insurance.

If you've stopped smoking or made other positive lifestyle changes, contact your life insurance company or quote around to see if you could get a lower rate.

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Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. Read our editorial standards for Answers content. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.