How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?

How much your life insurance costs vary, depending on the type of policy you choose, your age, health and other factors. Yet more than 50% of Americans estimate life insurance costs to be over three times the actual amount, according to LIMRA’s Life Insurance Barometer Study. To help you get a general idea of life insurance costs, RetireGuide’s editorial team compiled a list of average quotes from different life insurance companies based on the policy type, coverage amount and age.

  • Written by
    Lindsey Crossmier

    Lindsey Crossmier

    Financial Writer

    Lindsey Crossmier is an accomplished writer with experience working for The Florida Review and Bookstar PR. As a financial writer, she covers Medicare, life insurance and dental insurance topics for RetireGuide. Research-based data drives her work.

    Read More
  • Edited By
    Lamia Chowdhury
    Lamia Chowdhury, editor for RetireGuide.com

    Lamia Chowdhury

    Financial Editor

    Lamia Chowdhury is a financial content editor for RetireGuide and has over three years of marketing experience in the finance industry. She has written copy for both digital and print pieces ranging from blogs, radio scripts and search ads to billboards, brochures, mailers and more.

    Read More
  • Reviewed By
    Eric Estevez
    Eric Estevez, Independent Licensed Life Insurance Agent

    Eric Estevez

    Owner of HLC Insurance Broker, LLC

    Eric Estevez is a duly licensed independent insurance broker and a former financial institution auditor with more than a decade of professional experience. He has specialized in federal, state and local compliance for both large and small businesses.

    Read More
  • Published: May 21, 2020
  • Updated: July 6, 2023
  • 7 min read time
  • This page features 9 Cited Research Articles
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A qualified expert reviewed the content on this page to ensure it is factually accurate, meets current industry standards and helps readers achieve a better understanding of retirement topics.

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How to Cite RetireGuide.com's Article

APA Crossmier, L. (2023, July 6). How Much Does Life Insurance Cost? RetireGuide.com. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from https://www.retireguide.com/life-insurance/cost/

MLA Crossmier, Lindsey. "How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?" RetireGuide.com, 6 Jul 2023, https://www.retireguide.com/life-insurance/cost/.

Chicago Crossmier, Lindsey. "How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?" RetireGuide.com. Last modified July 6, 2023. https://www.retireguide.com/life-insurance/cost/.

Key Takeaways
  • The younger and healthier you are, the more affordable your life insurance premiums will be.
  • Term life insurance is the most affordable life insurance, with average monthly premiums between $20 to $40 if you’re healthy and under 50 years old.
  • Permanent life insurance has more benefits and lifelong coverage, so you can typically expect average monthly premiums to surpass $100.

What Factors Impact the Cost of Your Life Insurance Premium?

Your age is the most important factor affecting the cost of your life insurance premium, according to the Farm Bureau Financial Services. The older you are, the more expensive your premium will be.

Although buying life insurance when you’re young is the key to affordable life insurance coverage, there are other factors that affect costs.

7 Factors That Affect Life Insurance Premiums
Health
If you’re in poor health or have a family history of chronic diseases or medical conditions, your premiums will likely be affected.
Sex
The average life expectancy is 79 years for women and 72 years for men, according to the Population Reference Bureau. Because women live longer, they typically pay less than men for life insurance coverage. For example, with State Farm, a 10-term term policy with $250,000 of coverage is quoted at $31.97 a month for a 50-year-old woman. The same policy amount and type is $35.89 for a 50-year-old man.
Smoking
If you smoke or vape, you’ll have higher life insurance premiums due to potential health risks. If you smoke marijuana, you could still receive low quotes, as long as marijuana is legal in your state and you have a medical card.
Hobbies
If you have a dangerous hobby, the issuer is taking on more risk to insure you. Therefore, you can expect higher premiums.
Occupation
Some jobs, like commercial pilots or tree trimmers, have high mortality rates. Having a life-threatening occupation can affect your life insurance premiums.
Policy Type and Coverage
Different types of life insurance policies have higher premiums than others. Term policies are known to have the most affordable premiums. However, no matter what type of policy you have, the more coverage you need, the higher your premiums will be. Note that riders will also increase your premiums.
Age
Each year you wait to get coverage, your life insurance cost increases by 8% to 10%.
Disclaimer: While RetireGuide always strives for gender inclusivity in our work, much of the financial industry’s existing data is classified by traditional gender binaries. We make every effort to use inclusive language in our reporting; however, our resources may at times be limited to the available population data.

If you’re nonbinary, refer to your sex assigned at birth when estimating life insurance costs. If you’re transgender, reach out to the life insurance company to confirm their process. Some issuers honor your actual gender when estimating costs, while others may ask for your sex assigned at birth.
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Average Life Insurance Cost

There isn’t a singular average monthly life insurance cost. The seven factors listed above — age, health, sex, smoking habits, hobbies, occupation and policy details — all have an important part to play in life insurance costs.

To help you get a better idea of average life insurance costs, compare quotes for several policies based on different ages and sexes.

Quotes for a 10-Year Term Policy With $250,000 Coverage

Age

Sex

Average Premium Cost

20

Male

$12.04

Female

$11.83

40

Male

$16.56

Female

$15.27

60

Male

$74.18

Female

$52.46

Source: Mutual of Omaha
*Quotes were pulled for individuals in good health.

If you wanted more coverage, your life insurance premium would increase. For example, a 10-year term policy from Mutual of Omaha with $950,000 in coverage is quoted at $36.42 for a healthy 40-year-old woman. This is quite a jump from the $15.27 quote for $250,000 in coverage – for the same policy type and age.

If you’re under 30 years old and considering a 20-year term option, consider a 30-year term option instead. The cost may not increase dramatically and you’ll have coverage later in life.
Life Insurance Calculator: Estimate Your Needed Coverage

Costs by Type of Life Insurance Policy

There are two main types of life insurance: term and permanent. Term policies are more affordable since they offer temporary coverage.

Permanent policies are more expensive since they have lifelong coverage with additional benefits, like a cash value component. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the most common type of permanent life insurance is a whole-life policy.

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How Much Does Term Life Insurance Cost?

Term life insurance has average monthly premiums between $20 to $40 for healthy individuals under 50 years old. Due to their affordability, term policies are the most popular type of life insurance in 2023, according to CNN.

If you manage to get a term policy in your 20s, you’ll likely pay under $20 a month for substantial coverage.

RetireGuide’s editorial team compiled a list of term life insurance quotes from highly-rated life insurance companies to help you understand the average costs for term policies in 2023.

Life Insurance Quote Comparison
Company Monthly Premium Quote for a 10-Year Term Policy
Corebridge Financial (AIG)$21.12
Mutual of Omaha$24.08
Prudential$24.08
State Farm$31.97
Nationwide$25.70
*Quotes were pulled in June 2023 and based off a healthy 50-year-old woman looking for $250,000 of coverage in Florida.

How Much Does Whole Life Insurance Cost?

Whole life insurance costs vary, depending on if you’re considering traditional whole life insurance or a burial whole life policy. It’s important to note that in either scenario, whole life insurance is typically known as the most expensive type of life insurance.

Whole Life Policy Cost Examples
Traditional Whole Life Policy
According to CNN, whole life policies can cost up to 10 times more than a term policy with the same amount of coverage. You can expect to spend hundreds – or even over a thousand – on monthly whole-life insurance premiums. To secure the lowest premium possible, try to get coverage as soon as possible.
Burial Insurance
Burial insurance is a type of whole-life policy. Burial insurance offers minimal coverage, typically for final expense costs, for a higher premium. State Farm quoted a healthy 50-year-old woman looking for $15,000 of burial insurance coverage at $49.18 a month.

Ways To Lower Your Monthly Premium

There are several ways to lower the cost of your monthly life insurance policy; they may require you to purchase a policy soon or change your lifestyle to improve your chances of living longer.

How To Lower Your Monthly Life Insurance Premium
Buy While You Are YoungThe younger you are, the healthier and less likely you are to die. This is the main factor that keeps your premium costs low.
Stay HealthyMaintaining a healthy weight, low cholesterol and low blood pressure can help you qualify for lower rates.
Quit Smoking or Don’t StartSmokers are generally charged much higher premiums than nonsmokers. Insurers typically only offer lower rates after you’ve quit smoking for at least one to two years.

Participating in extreme sports may also cause you to pay higher premiums, and some insurers won’t even sell policies to people who take part in them. Still, other insurers may sell you a policy that won’t pay out your benefit if your death results from an extreme sport – or what insurers call a “hazardous avocation.”

Activities That Can Increase Your Life Insurance Costs:
  • Base jumping
  • Big wave surfing
  • Bungee jumping
  • Cliff diving
  • Flying small aircraft
  • Free running
  • Heli-skiing (skiing from sites accessible only by helicopter)
  • Ice climbing
  • Luging
  • Mountain climbing
  • Rock climbing
  • Scuba diving (at depths of 200 feet or more)
  • Skydiving

Generally if you take up a hazardous avocation after the contestability period on your policy expires — which is usually one to two years — your death would be covered if you die from an extreme activity.

Editor Malori Malone contributed to this article.

Last Modified: July 6, 2023
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9 Cited Research Articles

  1. Johnson, H. (2023, March 1). What Is Term Life Insurance? Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/money/what-is-term-life-insurance
  2. Johnson, H. (2023, March 1). Term Life Insurance vs. Whole Life Insurance: Which Is Best for You? Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/money/term-life-insurance-vs-whole-life
  3. Insurance Information Institute. (2023). What Are the Different Types of Permanent Life Insurance Policies? Retrieved from https://www.iii.org/article/what-are-different-types-permanent-life-insurance-policies
  4. Progressive Life Insurance. (2023). Life Insurance for Smokers and Tobacco Users. Retrieved from https://www.progressive.com/answers/life-insurance-for-smokers/
  5. LIMRA. (2022, November 31). Top Misconceptions About Life Insurance. Retrieved from https://www.limra.com/siteassets/newsroom/help-protect-our-families/2022/sept/hpof-misconceptions-flyer-redesign_infographic_final.pdf
  6. Population Reference Bureau. (2022). Around the Globe, Women Outlive Men. Retrieved https://www.prb.org/resources/around-the-globe-women-outlive-men/
  7. New York Life. (2022). Whole Life vs. Universal Life Insurance. Retrieved from https://www.newyorklife.com/articles/whole-life-vs-universal-life-insurance
  8. Farm Bureau Financial Services. (2021, February 5). How Does Age Affect Life Insurance? Retrieved from https://www.fbfs.com/learning-center/age-factor-into-life-insurance
  9. Farm Bureau Financial Services. (2020, August 4). 8 Factors That Can Affect Life Insurance Premiums. Retrieved from https://www.fbfs.com/learning-center/8-factors-that-can-affect-life-insurance-premiums