When Is the Perfect Time to Buy Life Insurance?

This is not an easily answered question, other than 'when you're the youngest and healthiest you can be.' Your occupation, habits and extracurricular activities will also affect your premium.

A young husband and wife smile and laugh as they look at a laptop at the kitchen table while their toddler is in the woman's lap.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You love your insurance company as much as the next person, and paying premiums to it is right up there with paying your taxes. I’m frequently asked by clients when is the right time to buy life insurance; they don’t want to pay premiums longer than is absolutely necessary. I hear this from twentysomethings, thirtysomethings, 40, 50, even folks in their 70s and 80s. My answer is always the same: The best time to purchase life insurance is before you die.

I may be oversimplifying to some extent since some life insurance policies are meant to be acquired early in life, as they provide living benefits, savings, tax benefits and all sorts of other perks. At its core, life insurance is structured to pay a lump sum of moola when you shuffle off your mortal coil. So if we’re just looking for that result — a death benefit when you die — when do you buy?

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This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

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President, Susman Insurance Agency; President, Expert Witness Professionals; Radio Talk Show Host, Insurance Hour

Karl Susman is an insurance agency owner, insurance expert witness in state, federal and criminal courts, and radio talk show host. For more than 30 years, Karl has helped consumers understand the complex world of insurance. He provides actionable advice and distills complex insurance concepts into understandable options. He appears regularly in the media, offering commentary and analysis of insurance industry news, and advises lawmakers on legislation, programs and policies.