Young woman calculating her budget for permanent life insurance while looking at receipts and tax returns

How much does permanent life insurance cost? Asking that question is a bit like asking how much a car costs – it depends on a lot of factors. First, life insurance pricing depends on your age, sex, and health history, among other things. Plus, there are different types of permanent life insurance that differ in cost. We’ll explain how policies are priced, show you some sample rates, and compare those rates to term policies.

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How Life Insurance Policies Are Priced

Life insurance doesn’t have one single price for everyone – it’s priced based on specific details about you that tell the insurer how much of a risk you might be to insure. Here are some of the factors they need to know about you before they’ll offer you coverage and a rate:

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  • Age. The younger you are, the longer you’re likely to live – making you cheaper to insure! Every year that passes, your life insurance cost will increase. That’s a great reason to take action now and avoid higher costs later.
  • Sex. Statistically, women tend to outlive men, so their quoted prices often reflect a small price break.
  • Tobacco use. Do you smoke or use any other form of tobacco? If so, you’re going to pay for more life insurance, no matter your age or health.
  • Health history. Are you on any prescription medication? Do you have any major health issues? If so, are you under a doctor’s care? The insurance company needs to know about your current and past health to evaluate how long you’re likely to live, and when they may need to make a payout on your behalf.
  • Family health history. Are your parents and siblings still alive? If not, did they have any illnesses that may be genetic and affect you at some point? If so, the insurance company will take this into consideration when offering you a rate.
  • Lifestyle. Do you have a dangerous job or hobbies? Things like scuba diving, race car driving, or piloting a plane can be dangerous. If that’s in your job description or your favorite pastime, the insurer is going to charge you more based on the increased likelihood that they’ll need to pay out on your behalf.

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How Much Does Permanent Life Insurance Cost?

That depends! There are multiple types of permanent coverage, all of which will have different rates. The good news? Every type will grow cash value, which is like a savings account attached to your policy. You can borrow against this or withdraw money from it later, once it’s had time to grow.

Instead of covering you for a term, permanent coverage lasts until the policy matures. Most maturation dates are very far into the future: when you turn 80, 90, 100, 110, or 120. If you pass away before you reach the date the policy matures, the insurance company will pay the death benefit to your beneficiary(ies). If you’re still alive when the policy matures, they’ll pay you the money and it’s up to you to distribute it how you see fit.

Below, we’ll give you a quick summary of the different types, then some sample rates for the most affordable type, universal life.

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  • Universal life. Covers you until the policy matures (often at age 100) and provides flexibility in your payment amount, payment due date, and even the death benefit amount. Universal life builds cash value at a variable rate of interest set by your insurer. It’s great for people with fluctuating income who might be able to pay more at certain times and less at others. Take a look at the sample rates below to get an idea of the cost.
  • Whole life. Expect whole life to cost almost double what universal life costs. That’s because whole life’s cash value grows at a fixed rate of interest and is guaranteed for the life of the policy. That guarantee is valuable, and wealthy clients often use whole life policies as a place to store extra cash, counting on that guaranteed rate of interest and the ability to borrow against that cash value later in life.
  • Variable universal life. Costs about as much as whole life, but the cash value component of your policy can actually be invested in stock and bond options provided by your insurer. That means the cash value growth depends on the choices you make. Good choices will grow your cash value faster, but poor investments could reduce it.

Sample Universal Life Rates

M/F Age State Health Tobacco Policy Matures Face Value Cost as low as
M 20 Nevada Best Class No Age 100 $500,000 $125/month
M 30 Georgia Best Class No Age 90 $350,000 $124/month
M 40 New Hampshire Best Class No Age 90 $250,000 $122/month
M 50 Delaware Best Class No Age 90 $200,000 $163/month
F 20 Nebraska Best Class No Age 100 $750,000 $169/month
F 30 Wyoming Best Class No Age 95 $500,000 $144/month
F 40 New Mexico Best Class No Age 90 $250,000 $108/month
F 50 California Best Class No Age 90 $300,000 $142/month

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Permanent Life Insurance Cost vs. Term Life Cost

A common question we get is: should I buy a permanent policy or go with a cheaper term life policy?

That’s a question only you can answer, based on your budget and your family’s needs. In general, permanent policies will cost you 5 – 10 times more than a term policy. Keep in mind that’s a just rule of thumb; your costs may differ based on the factors we listed above.

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First, let’s take a quick look at some price comparisons between term life and universal life. All of the sample rates below were quoted using best health class and no tobacco usage.

M/F Age State Face Value Term Sample Term Cost UL Policy Matures Sample UL Cost
M 20 Michigan $500,000 30 years $28/month Age 121 $130/month
M 30 Iowa $350,000 25 years $19/month Age 110 $140/month
M 40 Missouri $250,000 20 years $18/month Age 105 $135/month
M 50 Delaware $200,000 20 years $35/month Age 100 $194/month
F 20 Virginia $500,000 30 years $22/month Age 121 $118/month
F 30 Idaho $350,000 25 years $16/month Age 110 $122/month
F 40 Montana $250,000 20 years $16/month age 105 $122/month
F 50 Hawaii $200,000 20 years $28/month Age 100 $169/month

There are considerations other than price, though. You need to decide if the benefits of a permanent policy are worth the extra cost. Cash value and lifelong coverage are benefits you’ll get with any type of permanent policy, for example. We have some articles that go over the benefits of permanent coverage, as well as explain more about the different types of coverage available:

➡️ Rather talk to a real person about permanent life insurance cost and benefits? We’d love to help! Call us at (800) 823-4852 or click the button below to request a free quote!

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Quoted rates valid as of 10/13/23. Preferred best health class, no tobacco. Universal life rates quoted from Protective, American National, Nationwide, Pacific Life, American General, North American, and Cincinnati Life. Term life rates quoted from SBLI, Banner Life, Pacific Life, Protective, American General, Pacific Life, Transamerica, Symetra, Haven Life, and Cincinnati Life. Your actual term life insurance premium can only be determined by a full application and the carrier's underwriting process, which may include some medical testing at their expense. Depending on the carrier, premiums can be paid on an annual, semi-annual, quarterly or monthly basis. Monthly premium rates may be available via EFT (electronic funds transfer). Not all carrier policies are available at all durations for all ages in all states.