If you’re looking for life insurance, you have dozens of companies, term lengths and coverage amounts to choose from.
Price will no doubt factor into your decision and may even determine what type of policy you choose. To give you a snapshot of those prices, NerdWallet compared average life insurance rates for men and women at different ages and health tiers, across multiple coverage options.
How much is life insurance?
The average cost of life insurance is $26 a month. This is based on data provided by Quotacy for a 20-year term life policy, which is the most common term length sold. But life insurance rates can vary dramatically among applicants, insurers and policy types.
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How life insurance rates are determined
Life insurance premiums are based primarily on life expectancy, so many factors help determine rates, including gender, age, health and whether you smoke.
In general, the healthier you are, the cheaper your premiums. Insurers typically class applicants using terms like super preferred, preferred and standard, with super preferred being the healthiest category. Insurers then calculate premiums based on your risk class.
Your age can also significantly impact premium costs. That’s why it’s wise to buy life insurance as early as possible; the longer you wait, the more your rates will increase based solely on age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy in the United States is 81.2 years for women and 76.2 years for men. So a woman will always pay less for life insurance compared with a man of the same age and health with similar risk factors.
Waiting to buy a policy will always be more expensive. For example, consider a 30-year-old who waits 10 years to buy a policy at age 40:
- A 20-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy will cost about $100 more per year.
- By waiting 20 years until age 50, rates for a 20-year, $500,000 term life policy will more than triple.
Average annual cost of life insurance by age and gender
The following life insurance rates are based on a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy for super preferred applicants.
|Age||Average annual rate for men||Average annual rate for women|
Average annual cost of life insurance by policy type
The following life insurance rates are based on a $500,000 policy for super preferred applicants.
|20-year term life||Whole life|
|Age||Average annual rate for men||Average annual rate for women||Average annual rate for men||Average annual rate for women|
Average cost of life insurance by health
The following life insurance rates are based on a $500,000, 20-year term life policy.
Average cost of life insurance by term length
The following life insurance rates are based on a $500,000 term life policy for a 40-year-old applicant in the super preferred class.
|Term length||Average annual rate for men||Average annual rate for women|
Average annual life insurance spend per household, per state
Below are the average amounts U.S. households from each state spend on life insurance premiums per year, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence and Claritas collected in 2019.
|State||Average annual premium|
|Sources: S&P Global Market Intelligence; Claritas Pop-Facts®. Data based on ordinary premiums within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners regulatory statements.|