Life insurance might not sound like something you need to think about until you are an older adult, but is that true? At what age should you get life insurance and is there an upper age limit? In this article, we’ll cover exactly what this type of insurance is, why you might need it as soon as you enter adulthood, as well as why the pandemic has prompted millions more UK citizens to take out a policy.
What is life insurance and why are millions more UK citizens suddenly buying policies?
According to The Financial Times, the pandemic has prompted 5.8 million more Brits to consider life insurance. However, they point out that 63 per cent of adults in the UK are still without a policy.
The pandemic has certainly proven the reasons why it’s so important. No one ever knows what is around the corner when it comes to health, disease and viruses. Illness or death can literally strike anyone of us at any given moment. This is why it’s critical you have a policy in place to protect your loved ones that depend on you financially should the worst happen.
The industry has seen a record number of claims and payouts over the past two years, further proving the need to ensure you have adequate cover in place. As Future Proof Insurance point out “According to the ABI in 2020, a record £6.2 billion was paid to individuals or families an increase of more than £438m compared to the previous year. Being covered means that you and your family can relax and enjoy life today, knowing that if something goes wrong tomorrow, money won’t necessarily be a concern. Having protection cannot reduce the odds of something happening to you, but it can make life a lot easier if it does.”
So what exactly is it and why might you need it? Life insurance is a contract between an individual and an insurance company. The contract guarantees that the company will pay out a certain sum of money to the insured person's beneficiary in the event of death.
The main purpose is to protect you and your family from financial hardship in the event of your death. If you die, your children could be left without any means to support themselves. You may have a mortgage or other debts that need to be paid off. Your funeral expenses could cost thousands of pounds, which can be difficult for your family to afford on their own. Insurance provides a lump sum payment that can help cover these costs and allow your loved ones some time to recover without financial worries before they go back to work.
So, at what age should you get life insurance?
The age of a person when they need to get life insurance is dependent on the individual’s situation.
For example, if you are a freelancer who has no dependents, no debt and no mortgage, and you have a substantial emergency fund, then it may not be necessary for you to get a policy at this point.
However, once you are a parent, then it is highly recommended for you to get cover as soon as possible. The death of your spouse, or vice-versa, could mean a loss in income and childcare, leaving the surviving party with increased childcare responsibilities, reduced working hours, reduced income and higher living costs. A suitable policy will ensure a lump sum can be left to help ease any financial burdens or extra childcare costs.
It is also important to consider life insurance once you have a mortgage, no matter what age you are when you first buy a house. Many mortgage providers will actually request to see proof of your policy, or your conveyancer solicitor may check your insurance certificate and documents to confirm. This requirement is simply to ensure the mortgage can be paid back to the lender in the event of the death of a borrower.
You can get life insurance from as young as 18 years old
As we’ve explained, life insurance is a great way to protect your loved ones in the event of your death. If you have a mortgage, debt or dependants then it doesn’t matter how young you are, it is recommended and sometimes even required as part of a mortgage agreement.
Arranging a suitable policy can be a sensible option from age 18 and through your 20s if the following apply to you:
You have children
Someone depends on you financially
You have a mortgage
The younger you are, the less expensive you’ll find getting a policy is. If you can afford it, it makes sense to get covered as early as possible. There are many reasons why it might be important to consider at an early age:
You may not be able to afford it later on in life
Prices increase with age
Your health may decrease with age
You may have more dependents at an older age
Investopedia explain why younger is better: “When it comes to timing, the younger you are when you buy life insurance, the better. This is because at a younger age, you'll qualify for lower premiums. And as you get older, you could develop health problems that make insurance more expensive or even disqualify you from purchasing a plan.”
What is the maximum age for life insurance? Is there an age limit?
This will vary between providers, but many will only offer ‘term life insurance’ up to an upper age limit of around 75 to 80 years old. Some policies will only last for a maximum 40-year term, thus needing to be renewed, if possible, at the end of the term. This will result in higher monthly premiums due to the policyholder’s increased age and any health complaints that have developed with age.
There is a type called ‘whole-of-life insurance’ which lasts until the policyholder dies, no matter what age, but it will be considerably more expensive than a term only policy as the insurance provider knows they will have to pay out at some point. For this type, there is not an upper age limit, but the premiums will always need to be paid in full and on time to qualify for the payout.
Guaranteed life insurance may be needed for those with certain medical conditions.
Conclusion: At what age should you get life insurance?
In conclusion, life insurance is an important process to consider when looking for financial security. This can help you plan for your future and the future of your family.
It is never too early to get cover, but it does depend on your own personal circumstances. The age of getting a life insurance policy does vary from one person to the other, however, the earlier you get it, the cheaper it will be.
I recommend that you take the time to research your options to find the best rates, coverage, and company for you.
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