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The average life insurance rate by age, sex, and coverage type

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Life insurance is surprisingly affordable, but the cost varies based on the specific type of life insurance. The average cost for a single policy per month ranges from $40 for a variable life policy to $55 for a universal life policy.

There are a variety of types available, from guaranteed-to-pay-out whole life policies to cheaper, temporary term life policies.

But, life insurance isn't one-size-fits-all. While an average amount can give you an idea of what you'll pay, there are many factors that go into life insurance on top of the type of coverage, like age, where you live, and other personal factors. 

Compare life insurance rates with Sproutt »

Average permanent vs. term life insurance rates

There are two main types of life insurance: permanent life insurance (which includes whole, universal, and variable life insurance) and term life insurance. Each type grows and pays out differently, and have very different costs associated with them. Here are the differences between each type, along with the average cost according to data from S&P Global: 

Whole life insurance

  • Average cost per month: $52 

Whole life insurance is a permanent policy that will remain in place and pay out when you die, no matter when that is. This type of policy is guaranteed to pay out eventually, and premiums will always stay the same. It's typically used to leave inheritances, but it can be pricey. 

Universal life insurance

  • Average cost per month: $55

This type of permanent life insurance is more flexible than whole life insurance. It allows you to change the benefit amount and monthly payment to fit your needs over time. And, like whole life, it's guaranteed to pay out and has cash value.

Variable life insurance

  • Average cost per month: $40 

Like universal and whole life insurance, this type of permanent life insurance also offers cash value. But, this insurance is invested in the stock market, so it's slightly more risky than the other types of permanent life insurance.

Term life insurance 

  • Average cost per month: $53 

The cheaper option that's usually recommended for young parents who just want to pay the bills for their family should they die (not use this product to borrow against or leave an inheritance), this life insurance provides enough coverage for a given timeframe, generally between 10 and 30 years. After the years are up, the policy expires. 

Average life insurance cost by sex

Sex plays a big role in life insurance rate. For the same insurance policy, a female and male will pay different amounts for coverage each month. 

Here's how this difference stacks up between two 35-year-old, nonsmoking California residents of different sexes for the same 30-year, $250,000 term life policy:

Life insurance company35-year-old female quote35-year-old male quote
RiverSource$22.09/month$24.72/month
State Farm$28.07/month$30.02/month
Nationwide$20.34/month$23.63/month
Mutual of Omaha$21.29/month$24.51/month
Average cost$22.95/month$25.72/month

On average, life insurance for the same policy from these quotes would cost $2.80 more per month for a male. Over the full 30-year term, this adds up to $997 more than a female's policy. 

Average life insurance cost by age

Life insurance changes depending on your age. The price you'll pay each month for coverage generally increases with each passing year. 

Business Insider obtained quotes from four large insurance companies for people seeking $250,000 worth of term life coverage for a 30-year term, both in excellent health. The average of these four quotes is listed below for each age range:

AgeAverage female quoteAverage male quote
25$18.59/month$22.67/month
30$19.79/month$23.49/month
35$22.95/month$25.72/month
40$29.63/month$34.74/month
45$41.75/month$51.42/month
50$60.68/month$81.23/month

The most noticeable difference is in the older ages of the sample premiums — after age 40, premiums go up significantly. The sooner you get your coverage, the less you could pay each month. Waiting for life insurance coverage won't make it any cheaper, as the data above shows. 

How much do people pay for life insurance?

Below are average annual premiums for term life insurance throughout the United States.

StateAverage Annual Life Insurance PremiumAverage Monthly Premium
Alabama$602$50
Alaska$655$55
Arizona$615$51
Arkansas$584$49
California$668$56
Colorado$645$54
Connecticut$724$60
Delaware$657$55
District of Columbia$636$53
Florida$627$52
Georgia$630$53
Hawaii$687$57
Idaho$597$50
Illinois$631$53
Indiana$593$49
Iowa$601$50
Kansas$601$50
Kentucky$599$50
Louisiana$597$50
Maine$641$53
Maryland$712$59
Massachusetts$718$60
Michigan$610$51
Minnesota$639$53
Mississippi$581$48
Missouri$590$49
Montana$601$50
Nebraska$603$50
Nevada$607$51
New Hampshire$708$59
New Jersey$732$61
New Mexico$588$49
New York$675$56
North Carolina$617$51
North Dakota$603$50
Ohio$599$50
Oklahoma$598$50
Oregon$627$52
Pennsylvania$658$55
Rhode Island$660$55
South Carolina$615$51
South Dakota$591$49
Tennessee$609$51
Texas$633$53
Utah$636$53
Vermont$655$55
Virginia$682$57
Washington$655$55
West Virginia$590$49
Wisconsin$607$51
Wyoming$601$50

The above data was obtained from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Data shows estimated average annual premium of term life insurance policies per household.

Other factors that can influence life insurance rates

More than just age, sex, and type of insurance can influence your rates. Your lifestyle and health history could also determine the price you pay. Here are a few things that could make your coverage more expensive than someone else your age. 

Smoking history

Smoking can increase life insurance rates quite a bit. Insurance company Protective Life research shows that life insurance is 100 to 300 times more expensive for smokers. According to its data, a 45-year old male smoker with a 20-year, $500,000 policy would pay $289 per month for coverage, while a nonsmoker would pay about $52.

A history of risky activities

Avid skydivers, scuba divers, or travelers could find that their insurance rates are higher than others. It's not uncommon for insurers to ask about your history with these activities, your travel history, and your future plans. A bad driving record could also add to the cost of life insurance. 

Health history and medications

Life insurance companies can check your health history and medication history through two ways: a medical records database and your medical exam (although it's possible to get life insurance without a medical exam). Like health insurance, the rate you pay could be influenced by pre-existing conditions. 

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