Life insurance provides money for burial expenses, as well as financial security for loved ones who may depend on your income to live. Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific period of time, such as 10 years. The cost of life insurance tends to rise as we age; however, senior citizens can still qualify for and find affordable term life insurance.
Improve Your Health
One of the major factors affecting your life insurance premiums is your health. Nonsmokers who exercise and maintain a healthy weight can save as much as 50 percent on their insurance, according to AARP. If you buy insurance and your health improves, ask for a re-evaluation of your rates. If you quit smoking, some companies will consider you to be a nonsmoker as soon as six months after your last cigarette; others will wait as long as five years. Likewise, if you lose a few pounds or lower your blood pressure a few points, you can save several hundred dollars in premiums.
Another key to saving on your insurance is to shop around. Research companies online and locally, comparing rates from at least five to 10 companies. Choose two reputable companies with good rates and apply to both of them. The rate you were quoted can change based upon results of your health exam. If one company tries to increase your rate during the underwriting process, you have more bargaining power if you've applied to multiple companies, says Life Insurance Insider.
Pay in Full or Annually
If you can afford to prepay your full 10-or-15-year term, you may be able to negotiate a substantial discount. Even if you can only afford to pay annually, you'll qualify for a discount over monthly billing. Allowing the company to directly debit your checking account also may qualify you for discounts. You also can save money through a technique known as laddering, according to Life Insurance Insider. Instead of buying one large policy, buy two smaller ones with different terms; for example, buy two policies for $250,000 -- one for a 20-year-term and one for 10 years. Not only will you save money, but you can drop one while retaining the other if your budget becomes tight.
Avoid policies that advertise guaranteed acceptance without a health exam, if possible. The death benefit often is lower than the premiums you've paid. While physicals are time-consuming, you generally will qualify for lower rates by having one even if your health isn't perfect. Policies that return your premiums if you don't die during the term of the policy also tend to be more expensive. Be wary of salespeople whose pay is directly related to the amount of insurance you buy. In the long run, you may be better off paying a fee to an adviser who will help you find lower-cost options.
Randi Hicks Rowe is a former journalist, public relations professional and executive in a Fortune 500 company, and currently a formation minister in the Episcopal Church. She has been published in Security Management, American Indian Report and Tech Republic.She has a bachelor's in communications, a master of arts in Christian education and a master of business administration.