What is the best age to get life insurance?

6 min Read Published: 01 Nov 2021
What is the best age to get life insurance?

Although age will determine the cost of your life insurance and the life insurance options that are available to you, the particulars of your life are more likely to be a larger consideration for when it is best to get life insurance. In this article, we will explain the best age to get life insurance and who needs it.

What is life insurance?

There are a number of different types of life insurance which we talk about in more detail in our article 'How long should I get life insurance for', but broadly speaking, the term “life insurance” refers to a policy typically taken out over a fixed term and if you die within that term the policy pays out. Most policies will run for a term of between 5 and 20 years (although this can be longer) and if you die within that term the insurance company will pay out the lump sum amount that was agreed at the start of the policy term (called the “sum assured”). The most popular reason to buy a life insurance policy is to provide a lump sum of money, in the event of the policyholder's death, to your family (via Level Term Insurance) or alternatively to cover and pay off a debt, such as a Mortgage (via Decreasing Term Insurance or Mortgage Protection Insurance).

Do I need to buy life insurance?

The question you need to ask yourself is whether in the event of your death will someone be financially worse off? Does anyone rely on you financially? Do they rely on your income? Do you care for children or other dependents who would require paid care if you died? Have you got debts, such as a loan or mortgage? If your children, partner or other family members rely on you financially then it is likely that your family will benefit from you having a life insurance policy in place to offer peace of mind with financial protection. If you do not have any debts or financial dependants it may be better to look at Income Protection insurance or Critical Illness insurance which are policies designed to pay you in the event of you being unable to work or upon diagnosis of a particular illness. Under both policies, you personally benefit from any payout which can help you maintain a good quality of life.

Should I get life insurance in my 20’s?

You need to be 18 in order to purchase life insurance in the UK and you will also need a UK bank account so that you can pay the monthly or annual premiums. Life insurance is a policy that is designed to pay out to cover financial loss should someone die. While it is possible that someone under 18 may be working and also have debts, most people under the age of 18 have relatively small amounts of debt (if any) and are likely to still be in full-time education. A student loan is not payable if you die before it is repaid.

The financial impact therefore of someone dying while under the age of 18 is relatively low. When you are in your twenties there is an increased likelihood that you will have children or own a property which means that there is a greater possibility that you will require life insurance. Even with such responsibilities, some people at a very young age may choose to put off buying life insurance as death can seem like a very unlikely event but there is great merit in buying life insurance when you are young as, besides being cheaper, you are less likely to have medical conditions that may make it more expensive to buy life insurance when you eventually decide you need it. Higher premiums for life insurance are to be expected when you get older and if you suffer poor health.

Is there a maximum age at which you can buy life insurance?

Most insurers will have an upper age limit, typically around 80 years of age and most will also have a maximum term, usually around 40 years. Life insurance is priced so that it is more expensive to buy the older you are. That is because the older you are the more likely you are to die within the agreed term meaning that the life insurance company would have to pay out the sum assured. However, there are other factors that also affect the cost of term life insurance such as your health, occupation, medical history and whether you engage in any hazardous pursuits. If you are older and have a complex medical history then you may be better off looking at over 50s life insurance.

Do I need life insurance advice?

The amount of life insurance you need will depend on your own personal circumstances. Things you will need to consider when working out the amount of cover you need are any loans you have (including your mortgage), the cost of a funeral and the cost of replacing your income. You need to consider how many children you have and how old they are in order to work out the approximate amount of income you would need to replace and the best policy term. We recommend that you read our article 'How much life insurance do you need?' which gives you a step by a step guide on how to calculate the right amount of life insurance to take out.

Once you know how much life insurance you need, the next thing you need to do is shop around to get the best value life insurance quotes. You can do this via price comparison websites but the life insurance cost you see will almost certainly not be the one you would receive once you apply. That's because the insurer will assess your health and personal circumstances before setting the premium. Therefore some insurers will be more accommodating and therefore cheaper for someone with your particular circumstances. For example, an insurer may offer lower premiums to customers with a certain pre-existing medical condition than others.  Unfortunately, you can not find this information online or via a price comparison site. Therefore it is almost always best to speak to a life insurance specialist who can offer free advice and find you the best deal. The reason that they can offer their advice for free is that they are paid a commission by insurance companies if you decide to take out a policy. However, the commission should not impact the advice that they give. We have partnered with a protection specialist, whose service we have personally vetted who are independent and can find the best life insurance policy for you and your circumstances. Just complete this form* and they will be in touch but there is no obligation on your part whatsoever. However, if you do buy your life insurance this way, you'll receive up to £100 cashback as a Money to the Masses reader.

Who offers the best life insurance policy?

Life insurance is a simple product to understand in that it pays out in the event of death. So long as you are honest on the application form and you have paid your premiums to date then you can be confident that the policy will pay out. It is key therefore to get advice and shop around (via the link above) in order to get the best value policy.

Top Tips

Is the cheapest life insurance always the best?

You’ve heard the phrase cheapest isn’t always best, well with life insurance, so long as you have a quote from a reputable firm with a good claims history, then cheapest more than often can be the best.

Do I need cover if I don't earn an income?

You should always consider taking out life insurance, even if you are a non-working parent. Just because you do not earn an income doesn’t mean that your family won’t be financially worse off should you die. The likelihood is that if a non-working parent dies the working parent will either have to give up work to take care of the children or employ someone to take on that role.

I already have life insurance, should I get a new quote?

If you already have life insurance, then it is always worth getting a new quote to see if it is cheaper now. Life insurance rates are constantly monitored and amended by the insurers and if your circumstances have changed, such as you have lost weight or given up smoking, then it is likely that you can make significant savings on your life insurance.


If you are young and have little or no debt, consider putting your money into savings or perhaps purchasing a different type of insurance such as income protection insurance or critical illness cover.

If you are older and have a complex medical history, consider over 50s life insurance.

When purchasing life insurance make sure you shop around because every insurer offers the same product and therefore cheapest is usually best.

Even if you currently have life insurance it is worth speaking to an independent expert that we have personally vetted by filling in this form* to get a new quote based on your current circumstances. Life insurance rates are regularly amended and a change in your own circumstances can mean that a new policy will be significantly cheaper.



If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses and do not wish to qualify for the cashback referred to in the article - LifeSearch