A guide to life insurance for the over 40s

8 minutes

It’s never too early or too late to think about life insurance, this includes when you’re in your 40s. After all, you’re probably thinking about how best to financially look after your family in the future. However, knowing what the best choices are can be tricky to understand, especially with so many products on the market.

At LV=, we recognise that these decisions can be difficult. That’s why we’ve created this guide to support you in making the right choice for you and your family. You’ll find everything you need to know, from policy types to how long you are covered for.

The information on this page should not be considered as financial advice. If you are unsure what’s right for you, please make sure you speak to a Financial adviser.

Why is life insurance important for the over 40s?

As well as offering future security for you and your loved ones, life insurance can also help cover costs, including debts. Ultimately, it can be a lifeline for surviving family members or close loved ones in the event of your death.

Taking out a life insurance policy is beneficial at any age, but for the over 40s it allows for contingency plans to be put in place. It gives you and your family a ‘just in case’ option. Life insurance can also be used to pay for expenses that your beneficiaries naturally inherit when you pass away. This includes:

  • Costs to support a surviving spouse or partner.
  • Costs to support any children, including those unborn.
  • Any outstanding debt or financial agreements that must be paid.
  • Contributions to living expenses, such as mortgage repayments, childcare or household bills
  • Paying towards your funeral.
  • Using life insurance to pay off any inheritance tax.

Depending on the type of cover you choose, you can pay premiums throughout your life or pay premiums for a fixed number of years, after which your cover will end.

What types of life insurance are available for the over 40s?

You’ll normally have a great selection of choices when it comes to life insurance, giving you the flexibility to pick the best option for you. Life insurance broadly falls into two categories: whole of life or term insurance. Choosing the right one for you will depend on your current circumstances and the provider. For example, at LV=, we can cover you up until the day before your 90th birthday with a term life insurance policy. 

Whole of life insurance

For those over 40 looking for whole of life insurance, you may only need to purchase life insurance once. Essentially, there is no end date on the policy and as long as payments are consistently made and your premiums are up to date, the policy will end after you’ve passed away. Any beneficiaries will then receive a payment from the policy provider.


  • As long as you consistently pay your premiums on time, you’re always protected.
  • As you’ll be covered for the whole of your life, you won’t be forced to take out another policy when you’re older, if a previous policy comes to an end.
  • Death benefits remain unchanged and do not decrease over time.
  • You are not locked into a contract and can cancel your policy.


  • It can be costly to keep up with payments. The longer you live, the more you pay.
  • The policy can be more affordable if you take it out when you’re younger. Those in their 40s could be priced out.
  • Premiums can be more expensive than term life insurance policies.

Please note that LV= no longer offers whole of life insurance policies.

Term life insurance

Unlike whole of life insurance, term life insurance covers you for a set period of time. After the policy ends, individuals are no longer covered. However, term life insurance is often ideal for those over 40, especially as it guarantees more flexibility with payment. Despite term life insurance having an end date, certain products could be available for between five to 50* years, dependent on the provider. 

* Please note, with LV= those aged 40 can receive cover for up to 49 years. As the maximum age at the end of the policy is 89 years, the years of cover available decrease as you get older.


  • You can choose how long you want your insurance to last, perhaps to match the length of your mortgage, or until when you plan to retire. 
  • You’ll pay much lower premiums the younger you are.
  • Your beneficiaries could receive a much higher death benefit payout for the same monthly cost compared to whole of life insurance.


  • Term life only offers temporary coverage, even if you select the maximum term (e.g. 50 years), there’s a chance you could outlive your policy.
  • If the term expires, you may need to reapply as your personal circumstances may also have changed, meaning the policy and coverage might differ, and you may find you’re unable to get a new policy.
  • If you outlive your policy end date, your policy will expire, and any beneficiaries will not receive the death benefit from this insurance. This type of insurance is not a savings policy and has no cash value unless a claim is paid.

What term life insurance is available for those over 40?

Term life insurance gives you the flexibility to choose the amount of cover you want but you can also decide the end date for your policy (subject to a provider’s maximum limits, which vary depending on the provider).

Level cover

Level cover life insurance ensures all premiums and the amount of cover stay at the same during a policy term. This product allows you to choose a term typically between five and 50 years and can be used to help your family after you pass.

What does level cover life insurance offer?

  • Consistent cover amount, even if a claim is made early in the policy.
  • Premiums are fixed for the term.
  • The same payment each month and amount to claim.
  • Possible benefits of inflation.

Decreasing cover

Decreasing cover is specifically designed to cover a capital and interest repayment mortgage. The amount of cover reduces over time as the amount you owe on your mortgage decreases. This product is usually also available for between five and 50 years (depending on the provider chosen) but may not be ideal for those who are looking for a mortgage that allows them to increase and decrease their mortgage repayment amounts regularly.

What does decreasing cover life insurance offer?

  • Suitable option for those paying fixed term mortgages.
  • Fixed premiums throughout the term of the policy.
  • Cover reduces in line with the remaining amount owed on the mortgage, reducing the amount you are covered by each year.

Increasing cover

Increasing cover, also known as index-linked or inflation-linked, ensures that your cover isn’t affected negatively by inflation. Instead, usually each year, your cover amount, and the cost of your policy go up by an amount linked to the rate of inflation. This means the amount you pay will increase as time goes on.

Increasing life insurance can be more expensive than other types of life insurance, so it might not be suitable for everyone.

What does level increasing life insurance offer?

  • The cover amount goes up in line with inflation, to help maintain the real value of your cover amount over time. 
  • Premiums also goes up as your cover increases, but they may increase at a different rate (depending on the provider).
  • The total amount you pay isn’t fixed, so you can’t be sure how much you’ll be in total over your policy term.

At LV= we don’t offer this type of cover directly however if you’d like to find out more, you can speak to a Financial adviser at LifeSearch who will offer independent advice on what might be best for you.

Single life

Single life insurance policies can include either level cover or decreasing cover. These are designed for individuals looking to take out a life insurance policy that is separate from their significant other’s. This could mean you pay more over the life of both policies, but it could provide family members with greater cover in the long run.

What does single life insurance offer?

  • Ensures individual cover for each partner.
  • Choice of level or decreasing cover for one person.
  • With LV= we offer between five to 49 years of coverage for an individual. This may differ depending on the provider.
  • A partner, spouse or beneficiary can also take out their own single life insurance.

Joint life

Joint life insurance policies also offer both either level or decreasing cover but allow two individuals to be protected on one policy. 'Typically, joint life insurance tends to be cheaper than two single life policies, so it could be a better option for those on a budget. The downside is that a surviving partner will not be covered any longer after the other partner has passed, so a new single policy might be necessary.

What does joint life insurance offer?

  • When one partner passes away, the other usually receives the death benefit.
  • With LV= we offer cover between five and 50 years under one policy. This may differ depending on the provider.
  • Choice of level or decreasing cover for both people.
  • One monthly payment covering both people.

Considering life insurance?

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What’s the maximum amount of life insurance coverage that over 40s can receive?

With LV=, the maximum cover amount of life insurance cover is up to £1,200,000. Your cover amount is then spread over a period (term) of your choosing, between five and 50 years.

Choosing a high amount of cover later in life could make monthly payments expensive, which is why purchasing life insurance in your 40s is a sensible option. It’s also important to remember that the older you are, the less time you have on your term insurance.

As soon as you hit 40, with LV= you’ll be able to receive maximum coverage of 49 years and for each year you get older, your possible term decreases.

How much does life insurance cost for the over 40s?

How much your life insurance will cost depends on multiple factors, including your age and current lifestyle. After you’ve supplied various details about your lifestyle and medical history, an insurance provider will be able to give you a more accurate cost. Some of the factors that affect the cost of life insurance include:

  • Who the provider is
  • The types of insurance they offer
  • Your age
  • Your current occupation
  • Your health and lifestyle, including whether you smoke
  • The length of the term, if choosing term life insurance
  • The total amount of coverage you need

Can you get critical illness cover?

Critical illness cover can be added when you take out a life insurance policy, offering you extra peace of mind for the future. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use it, but if you do, it can protect you and your family financially. At LV=, we’ll cover the following illnesses.

What is the best age to buy life insurance with LV=?

The best time to purchase life insurance will depend on multiple factors, such as current financial status, health, and age. Whilst it can be beneficial to purchase life insurance in your 20s and 30s, especially as premiums are normally cheaper, you do run the risk of a 50-year term expiring before you pass.

As you move through your 40s, you won’t be able to take out the maximum 50-year term as the policy must end before you turn 90. However, depending on the amount of cover you’re looking for, you might end up paying more in premiums than you would in your 20s and 30s. On the upside, by the time you reach 40, the majority of your financial needs should be well managed, putting you in a good position to plan savings and retirement funds.

What happens if you outlive your term life insurance policy?

Even if you purchase your life insurance policy in your 40s, there’s still a chance you might outlive it. After all, over 600,000 people in the UK are 90 or older. If you outlive your life insurance policy then it will simply end and you’ll no longer be covered. You won’t get back any of the money you’ve paid for it.

However, your reasons for taking out a policy may have drastically changed, meaning you have no further need for it.

Most people consider a policy to offer their family and beneficiaries some financial support if they pass away during their term. When you’re in your late 80s and 90s, it’s likely that any children are fully grown, financially independent and any financial agreements, such as mortgages, are long taken care of.

Even if your insurance expires in your 70s or early 80s, it’s always worth considering if you need another policy. It can be more expensive to do this later in life, but not impossible. You can still purchase life insurance with LV= up until the age of 84 where you’ll have a maximum policy term of five years.

Does LV= offer life insurance for the over 40s?

At LV=, there isn’t a specific life insurance product for the over 40s, but there are term policies available for anyone aged 40 or over to take out. 

What do I do if I’m unsure and need some advice?

We’ve partnered with LifeSearch to offer you independent advice about our products and what might be right for you.