life insurance for 55 year olds

Best Life Insurance Rates for 55 Year Olds

Let’s talk about heart health for a second; specifically, how your heart can prevent your from getting life insurance, particularly as you reach further into your fifties. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, with over 11.5% of adults experiencing heart disease in some form. Generally speaking, the risk for cardiovascular disease climbs the older you get. 

According to, a website developed by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) and dedicated to promoting heart health, heart disease risk for men begins to increase at age 45, with an estimated 1 in 100 individuals diagnoses. By age 55, this risk doubles to 2.1 in every 100 men. The risk for women also increases with age, but generally begins in the late fifties and early 60s. 

In this article, we will take a look at a few types of different heart diseases and their risk factors, as well as the proactive measures you can take to prevent and manage heart disease. 

Types of Heart Disease and Risk Factors

There are many types of heart disease, and most insurance companies will assess your risk on a n individual, case-by-case basis. Underwriting is a complicated process, and is made even more complex by the presence of disease, so you should always try to speak to an agent before searching for life insurance. 

Some of the most common types of heart diseases are: 

  • Coronary artery disease: damage to the heart’s major blood vessels
  • High blood pressure: the force of blood against the artery walls is too high
  • Congestive heart failure: a chronic condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood effectively
  • Arrhythmia: irregular heartbeat
  • Stroke: a disease in which the brain is damaged due to lack or interruption of blood supply
  • Congenital heart disease: a heart abnormality, developed before birth

Heart disease is caused by damage to the inner walls or lining of the heart, often due to plaque buildup. With the exception of congenital heart disease, risk factors include:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Infection
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor diet

Life Insurance With Heart Disease

Generally speaking, life insurance is based on four risk classes: Preferred, Standard, Substandard and Declined. All of these risk classes are assessed by comparing an individual’s expected mortality to that of the average American. Most premiums are set around a “standard” risk rating, either increasing or decreasing based on the risk of your health, hobbies and occupation. If a risk is considered too high for an insurer to cover, you may be declined for coverage.

Declines are not always the case for those with an over-average risk, particularly due to diseases. Thanks to breakthroughs in technology and the way we treat, diagnose and understand diseases, some insurance companies are willing to take on clients with higher risks – for an extra fee. This type of insurance is called “high risk life insurance.”

If you have a history of heart disease, you will most likely be considered a “high risk” client. This means that you can, reasonably, expect to pay more for your life insurance premiums. 

Let’s take a look at some premiums for 55-year-olds given “Preferred” and “Standard” ratings for comparison:

Life Insurance rates for a 55 year old Male Preferred Non-Smoker (with exam):

Face Amount 10 year 15 year 20 year

$250k $46 $63 $78

$500k $83 $119 $148

$750k $125 $177 $221

$1 million $150 $228       $283

Life Insurance rates for a 55 year old Male Standard Non-Smoker (with exam):

Face Amount 10 year 15 year 20 year

$250k $73 $96 $127

$500k $135 $184 $242

$750k $204 $276 $363

$1 million $256 $341 $467

Life Insurance rates for a 55 year old Female Preferred Non-Smoker (with exam)

Face Amount 10 year 15 year 20 year

$250k $34 $44 $56

$500k $63 $80 $104

$750k $91 $117 $156

$1 million $112 $152 $200

Life Insurance rates for a 55 year old Female Standard Non-Smoker (with exam)

Face Amount 10 year 15 year 20 year

$250k $52 $66 $87

$500k $95 $125 $166

$750k $139 $185 $249

$1 million $181 $232 $315

Someone with heart disease could potentially pay these premiums, plus something called a flat extra

A flat extra is an additional fee per every $1,000 of your life insurance policy. For those with heart disease or a history of heart complications, these fees can be permanent, meaning you’ll pay them for the duration of your policy, or temporary. A temporary flat extra will be tacked on to your policy for a waiting period, usually after surgery or a drastic change in your health.  

These waiting periods can range anywhere between one and ten years, and will be evaluated based on frequent health screenings. 

For example, a Standard 55-year-old-female with a flat extra of $5 dollars per every $1,000 could wind up paying an extra $1,250/year for a $250k policy with a flat extra. 

You may also be directed to a “table rating” based on the severity of your heart disease. A table rating is an additional charge added to Standard life insurance rates. Most table ratings are roughly 25% of a Standard rating. For example, a Table 2 rating would add an additional 50% to Standard ratings. 

For a Standard 55-year-old male, a Table 2 rating for a $250k policy could mean an extra $63.5 (50% of $127) for a 20-year-term policy. 

It is important to note here that these rates will vary by company, so be sure to speak to your agent about your options and what you can reasonably expect from your carrier.

Improving Your Heart’s Health

The good news is that, because each heart disease case is looked at on an individual basis by insurance companies, there are steps you can take to improve your heart health and your life insurance premium!

For certain surgical treatment methods, you may be required to undergo a waiting period before coverage. Often, these postponement periods are imposed to see if your condition improves or worsens. 

If this applies to you, please give us a call today so that we can direct you to alternative means of coverage. 

If your insurer will cover you with a flat extra or a Table rating, the first premium quote you get may be subject to change. The key is providing your company with consistently updated medical records and tests. These include:

  • Frequent stress test results
  • EKG results
  • Changes in weight
  • Dosage and adjustments to medications

A physician-approved exercise and diet regimen, as well as the cessation of smoking and the incorporation of healthy life choices can drastically improve your heart health. 

For some cases, you may have to reapply; however, a skilled agent will be able to provide your carrier with a detailed cover letter every time you show improvement in your health. It is possible to be re-evaluated and given a better rating if you take proactive measures and your prognosis improves! Talk to an agent today to see what your carrier will look for.

Heart disease doesn’t have to make finding insurance impossible. Give us a call today to see how we can help.