Is it less expensive to buy life insurance when I’m young?
It’s tempting to put off buying life insurance when you’re young, especially if you’re just starting out and money is tight. If you’re young and healthy, you might feel that you can get life insurance later on, maybe in ten or fifteen years. But there are two good reasons to buy life insurance now instead of waiting. The first is that, if you have loved ones who count on you for their financial support, life insurance could help protect them in the event of your unexpected death. The second is price.
As a rule, life insurance is cheaper when you’re young and healthy
If you take out a life insurance policy today, in most cases the amount you’ll pay for the policy (your “premium”) will be lower than if you wait five, ten or fifteen years. Premiums generally go up as you get older. So, if you’re young, in good health, and you don’t smoke, you may be able to save no matter what kind of policy you get. Often, if you choose what’s known as “permanent life insurance" (which can also be called “whole life insurance” or “variable life insurance” or “universal life”), your premiums remain the same for the entire time you’re covered by the policy—once you “lock in” at a lower premium, it stays low. So, the earlier you purchase the policy, the more you’ll save in the long run.
“Term life insurance” is a little different. Unlike permanent life insurance, which is designed to cover you no matter how long you live, term life is designed to cover you for a period of time (a term) and then end. Term life premiums generally increase over time. But it’s still generally true that getting a term life policy when you’re younger may cost you less than if you wait.
But don’t let health issues keep you from considering insurance
If you’re young and healthy, buying life insurance as soon as possible is nearly always your best choice. That’s also the case if you are young and at high risk for a serious medical condition (for example, if you have a family history of cancer). Certain conditions could make it too expensive or even impossible to get life insurance when you’re older. By applying while you’re young, you may have a better chance of getting an affordable life policy that will help protect your loved ones financially if they lose you.
Finally, remember that some policies allow you to change them and increase the amount of coverage in the future if you meet the insurance company's qualifications at that time (through what's known as "underwriting"). So, don’t let the fact that right now you can’t afford all the coverage you need keep you from getting at least a basic amount of life insurance. If you have people who count on you for financial support, it’s generally better to have a small policy, designed to fit your budget, than no coverage at all.