Most of the time, you need life insurance if other people depend on your income or if your debts will still need to be paid after you die. But life insurance gets more expensive as you get older. Because of this, buying life insurance when you are younger is usually better, especially if you can lock in a low rate. If you wait too long to buy life insurance, not only will it cost you more, but it may also be harder for an insurance underwriter to approve the policy.

The best time to buy life insurance depends on the person, their family, and their finances. If you want to buy a permanent insurance policy with a cash value, you need to keep it long enough for the cash value account to grow. If you get a term life policy, it only lasts for a certain number of years and doesn't have a cash value. This means that the best time to buy a policy may be different for each person.


  • When other people depend on your money or you have a lot of debt, you need life insurance.
  • As time goes on, life insurance gets more expensive, so the sooner you buy it, the lower your rate will be.
  • A term life policy is less expensive, but it only lasts as long as the policy term (for example, 20 years) and doesn't build cash value.
  • Cash value is a part of permanent life insurance. When you keep the policy for longer, the cash value grows.

What is insurance on your life?

Why Most of the Time, Younger is Better

When it comes to when to buy life insurance, the younger you are, the cheaper it will be. This is because if you buy insurance when you're younger, your premiums will be less. And as you get older, you might get health problems that make insurance more expensive or even keep you from getting a plan.

But younger people who have mortgages, car payments, and student loan debt are less likely to buy life insurance. Paying off current debt is important, but not buying life insurance when you're young has a big effect on your finances, just like putting off saving for retirement. It's best to buy it as soon as possible.

In some situations, you might not need life insurance. For example, if you don't plan to have children, a life partner, or a mortgage, and your estate can be settled with the assets you have when you die, you might not need life insurance. But if you think any of these things could happen to you, it can still be a good idea to get life insurance even if you don't think you need it.

When deciding if you need life insurance, keep in mind that the balance between paying lower premiums for more years as a younger policy holder and having to pay higher premiums if you start a policy later in life will depend on when you buy it.

When Should You Buy Term Insurance?

Term life insurance protects you as long as the policy is in effect. Even though it's better to start at a younger age, you may also want to think about when other people will be depending on your income. You will want the policy to last as long as your family will need your money. Usually, this means until their kids are grown up.

People in couples who own a home together may want to be covered until their mortgage is paid off. If both people in a couple have jobs that are important to the family, they should both be covered. Parents who don't make money might also want to get coverage since their unpaid work (like taking care of their kids) might need to be replaced by paid services (like daycare) if they die.

Even if you don't have anyone who depends on you, you might want to get life insurance if you have unsecured debt like credit card balances or some private student loans. For example, credit card companies want all unpaid balances to be paid off when the cardholder dies.

When to buy life insurance that lasts forever

With a permanent plan, the cash value grows without having to pay taxes on it. Whole life policies bought at a young age can build up a lot of value over time because the premiums are usually the same for the whole life of the policy.

You can even use cash value as a down payment on your first home. If you save for long enough, what you get may be able to help pay for your retirement. But the money needs time to grow, so it's best to start early.

A lump sum can be used to pay for a child's whole life insurance policy, even if the child is an infant. When the minor turns 18, the policy can be given to the insured, who can then add more money to it or cash it in if it has any value.

The Price of Waiting

It can be expensive to put off buying life insurance at a young age. For a healthy 25-year-old man, a 20-year level term policy with a face amount of $250,000 costs about $205 per year on average. On the other hand, a 45-year-old man's premium is about $421 per year. In this case, putting off the purchase for 20 years will cost about $4,320 over the life of the policy.

Also, waiting to buy life insurance can have a bigger effect on an attempt to buy a policy. As a person gets older, they are more likely to have health problems. If a serious medical condition comes up, the life underwriter can "rate" the policy. This could mean that the premiums go up or that the application for coverage is denied outright.

When is the best time to buy life insurance?

A life insurance policy will cost less if you are younger and in better health. If you want to start a family, it is often a good idea to buy life insurance at that time or even a few years before, so that it will be cheaper in the long run.

When I have a baby, what kind of life insurance should I get?

If you have children, life insurance can help them get the money they need if you die too soon. In terms of money, the death benefit should be enough to pay off all of your debts and obligations, replace your income for as long as your children still need you, and pay for things like college.

How do I know when to buy term life insurance?

Term life insurance can be cheaper if you only need the death benefit for a certain number of years and not for the rest of your life until you die. Getting term life insurance could be a good idea if you have debts or people who depend on you, or even if you're just thinking about them. Talk to a broker or insurance agent to help you decide what to do.

When should I buy my child's life insurance?

Children can get life insurance policies as soon as they are born. Permanent life insurance for a young child will have a premium that is much lower than when that child is an adult. When the child turns 18, you can give them the insurance policy so they are covered from then on.

Should a young, single person buy life insurance?

It depends on whether or not you plan to have children in the future. If so, it's best to get insurance when you're younger because it will be cheaper. Whether you're single or not, you may also want life insurance to set up an estate, give to charity, or pay off debts and obligations after your death.

In conclusion

The cost of life insurance goes up the longer you wait to buy it. Also, if you wait, your health could get worse, which could make your rates go up even more or make you ineligible for some types of life insurance. When you should get life insurance will depend on your personal and family situation, as well as your finances and obligations. But in general, when you are young, life insurance costs less.

When money is tight, a term life insurance policy can give your family a financial safety net. If you buy permanent life insurance and keep it for a long time, the cash value part of the policy will have time to grow.

Questions That Are Typically Asked (FAQs)

When you reach your 50s, is it too late to acquire life insurance?

You should still be able to obtain life insurance even if you are in your 50s if there are people who are financially dependent on you to provide for their security. If you want to receive a cheaper premium, you'll need to be in great health, but even if you have some health problems, you should still be able to locate insurance coverage that meets your needs.

Which is better: whole life insurance or term life insurance?

Term life insurance is the type of policy you should have if your primary goal in purchasing it is to provide financial security for your loved ones in the event of your passing. 

The premiums are typically far more affordable than those for whole life insurance, and they offer protection for your family. Whole life insurance is an option to take into consideration if you are interested in purchasing life insurance as a form of investment.

Should I get life insurance for my child even if they are still a minor?

The purpose of life insurance is to compensate for the loss of a breadwinner's income in the event of their passing. You do not need to purchase life insurance in the names of your children because it is quite likely that they will not be financially dependent on you. 

There are a few reasons why some people choose to purchase a life insurance policy in the name of a child. These reasons include later insurability, financial support while coping with such a loss, or cash value in the future in the case of whole life insurance. In addition, some people choose to purchase a life insurance policy in the name of a child because they want to.


Katheryn is a corporate attorney and finance specialist, conducting research daily to get you closer to financial security and freedom (even if you're just getting started). Her +600 articles published in Collaborative Research Group have already helped thousands of readers on the internet. .

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