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Over 50 life insurance

We don't currently compare specialist over 50s life insurance policies, but here's some information about them.

What our life insurance expert says

"If you want to leave a something behind after you’ve died, an over-50 policy is perfect. You’re guaranteed to be accepted if you’re between 50 and 80, with no medical questions asked. And you’re covered until the day you die."

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
Home & lifestyle insurance expert Confused.com logo

What is over 50 life insurance?

Over 50s life insurance works like a standard life insurance policy – you pay a monthly premium, and your policy pays out a cash lump sum when you die.

Unlike standard life insurance, you’re guaranteed to be accepted for an over 50 plan up to age 80 with no questions asked.

You’re also covered until the day you die – whether that’s in 5 years or 50. With ordinary life insurance, you’ll only be covered for a fixed term.

As over-50s policies can run for so long, it’s possible to pay more into your policy than your chosen beneficiaries would get as a payout.

But with some over 50s plans, you won't need to carry on making payments once you reach a certain age.

Why choose over 50 life insurance?

If you’re over 50, there are a few benefits to choosing over 50s life cover instead of buying a standard life insurance policy:

  • Guaranteed acceptance as long as you’re between 50 and 80. This isn’t the case with standard life insurance.
  • No medical, no health questions. You won't be asked to share your medical history, disclose whether you have any pre-existing conditions, or answer any questions about your general state of health. Even if you have a serious health condition, you can still buy cover.
  • Covered until you die as long as you keep paying your premiums. Your loved ones should get a payout, no matter when you die. Normal life insurance policies only pay out if you die during the cover period.

After a certain number of years you can stop paying premiums. When this happens, you're still covered. You still get a payout when you die too, you just stop paying anything else towards your policy.

The age at which you can stop paying differs from insurer to insurer, so it’s worth checking when this is before buying a policy.

Are there any disadvantages to over 50 life insurance?

There are a few drawbacks to over 50s life cover:

  • You could pay more in premiums than you get back in your payout. Say you pay £20 a month for 20 years, that’s £4,800 in total. If your payout is less than that, you’re technically losing out.
  • The payout for an over 50s life insurance policy is typically lower than with standard life cover. You can choose how big you want your payout to be, but with most policies the pay out is around £20,000. Ordinary life insurance pay outs can exceed £350,000. Bear in mind, that getting that level of cover after age 50 isn't cheap.

Most people take out over 50s cover simply to leave something behind after they’re gone, or to help with funeral costs. Most over-50s have cleared their mortgage. They might also have fewer dependents than younger policy holders. So £20,000 is often enough to meet their needs. If this isn’t the case for you, talk to your insurer and see what your options are.

Am I guaranteed to be accepted?

Yes, over 50s life insurance policies almost always offer guaranteed acceptance..

As long as you’re within the age bracket – this is normally between 50 and 80 – you're offered cover, no questions asked. 

As with any policy, over 60 life insurance is likely to be more costly than over 50 life insurance. Over 70 policies are usually pricier again. 

Some policies even offer you cover after 80, you may just need to answer a few health-related questions first. With other life insurance policies, you may be denied cover after a certain age.

When might my over 50s life insurance policy not pay out?

In most cases, your policy pays out. But in certain circumstances your cover could be voided, for example if you miss a payment.

Even if you do miss a payment, you're insurer should give you extra time to pay it and keep your cover. If you don't pay after this time, you lose your cover, along with any money you’ve already paid in premiums.

You usually won’t get a payout if you die at the start of your policy. This is because most policies have a waiting period, also known as a qualification period or moratorium. These usually last 1 to 2 years. If you pass away during this time, you won’t get a payout.

Some policies offer a return of premium where you get back some, or all, of what you’ve paid into your policy if you die during the waiting period. But this isn’t included as standard, so check with your insurer if it’s something you’re interested in.

If you pass away any time after the waiting period, you’re be eligible for your full payout.

There are a few other exclusions that can void your policy too, which typically include death by:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Suicide
  • A reckless act, or gross negligence on your part

So it's worth checking with your insurer what exclusions they have in place.

Can I get over 50 life insurance if I have a pre-existing condition?

Yes, even if you have a pre-existing condition, you can still get an over 50 plan.

Pre-existing conditions are illnesses or injuries you’ve been diagnosed with before taking out a policy.

Unlike standard life insurance, where monthly premiums are usually higher if you have one, they’re not counted with over 50s plans.

You won’t even be asked about your medical history, so no matter what state of health you’re in, you can find a policy.

Can I take out over 50 life insurance if I'm terminally ill?

You can buy over 50s life insurance if you're terminally ill.

But, most over 50s plans have a waiting period of 1 or 2 years and if you died during this period you might not get your pay out.

Some plans return all or part of your premiums if you die before the end of the waiting period. So if you have a terminal illness, it's important to check this before you sign up to any over 50 plan.

What can my over 50 life cover payout be used for?

You and your chosen beneficiaries can use your payout for anything you like. This payout is sometimes called the benefit amount.

Most people use their over 50s plan payout to cover:

  • Inheritance to ensure they leave something behind for their loved ones
  • Funeral costs to help with the costs of the funeral
  • Debts to pay off any outstanding debts they don't want to leave behind
  • Living costs to help support their family after they're gone

Over 50 policies tend to come with smaller payouts than standard life insurance. So the amount your loved ones receive may not be enough to pay off your mortgage.

Mortgage life insurance is specifically designed to clear your mortgage after you die. As the amount you owe goes down, so does your pay out, and so do your premiums.

This might be a better option if you want to ensure your mortgage is paid after you die. You might also decide to take out both a mortgage policy and an over 50s one.

Need more help?

Can I take out standard life insurance if I’m over 50?

Yes, you should be able to take out standard life insurance up until about 65.

But it’s often pricey and only covers you for a short period. If you're alive after this period, this might be as little as 10 years, you don't get a payout when you die. You're not able to get back what you’ve paid in either.

Over 50 policies cover you until the day you die. Take out a policy at 50, and as long as you pay your premiums, you get a payout whether you live to 55 or 105.

Standard life policies also ask for your full medical history. They may even require you to have a medical check. if you’re not in the best of health, you could pay much higher premiums than you would for an over 50s policy. Or they might not offer you a policy at all.

See our guide on how your medical history affects your life insurance premiums for more information.

But, if you’re in your early 50s, are fit, healthy and have no pre-existing medical conditions, you can often get a fairly good deal on standard life insurance. You won’t be covered for as long as you would with an over 50s policy, but the payout your loved ones would receive is likely to be higher.

You can read about this in our guide on how life insurance premiums are calculated.

Is over 50 life insurance the same as an over 50 funeral plan?

No, a funeral plan is a policy taken out specifically to cover the cost of your funeral. The payout can't be used for anything else.

The main benefit of a funeral plan is that it’s guaranteed to cover the cost of your agreed funeral. This applies even if inflation means it costs more than it would have at the start of your policy.

The payout from your over 50 policy can still be used to cover the costs of your funeral, it’s just not guaranteed to meet the cost in the same way a funeral plan is.

The average cost of a funeral in the UK is around £4,000 before flowers and catering, according to SunLife. So if you want to ensure you can have the funeral you want, and you have money to spare, you could take out a dedicated funeral plan alongside your over 50 life insurance.

Is my over 50 life cover payout taxable?

Yes, life insurance is taxable if your estate is valued over a certain amount.

Generally, your beneficiaries don't pay inheritance tax if:

  • You leave your estate to your spouse, civil partner or a charity
  • Your estate amounts to less than £325,000, even after your payout

Writing your life insurance in trust allows you to avoid tax, even if your estate exceeds £325,000. It also means your beneficaries get their money quicker. GOV.co.uk have more rules on inhertiance tax.

Can I get my payout before I die?

No, your benefit amount is usually paid after you die. But there are other options available.

Critical illness cover allows you to access your payout if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness or are severely injured. It can then be used to cover any costs you incur or support you while you’re unwell. This cover can even support your family if you’re unable to work.

Income protection insurance pays out up to 70% of your salary if you’re unable to work due to illness or disability.

Health insurance is another option and covers the cost of any private treatment you need. Depending on your policy, this could be everything from tests to treatments that are unavailable on the NHS.

Some policies also pay out if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness. If you’re given a life expectancy of fewer than 12 months, you may be able to access your payout before you die. Check with your insurer to see whether they offer a terminal illness payout option.

Will inflation affect my over 50 life cover payout?

It could do. Over 50 life insurance covers you for a long time. By the time your lump sum is paid, it may not be worth as much as when you took out your policy.

An increasing term policy can help with this. Here, your payout increases as the years go on, meaning it keeps its value. The downside is that your premiums also increase over time.

If you want your payout to cover something specific, increasing term policies can be a good idea. However, they don’t come as standard, so ask your insurer if they provide them.

Another option is a standard level term life insurance policy. You pay the same amount each month and you also get the same payout today as you would in 30 years.

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