Many people shun the idea of taking out life assurance, often put off by the potential cost of cover or the prospect of having to go through a medical underwriting process.

However, life insurance for over 50 year olds is widely available and it may not be as expensive as you think.

Reasons to buy a life insurance over 50 policy

There are three main reasons to buy a 'life assurance over 50' policy.

Firstly, you may still have a mortgage or other debts that you'd like repaid in the event of your death. Even if it is just a small mortgage or credit card balance you may want to ensure that there is a lump sum available to clear these when you die.

Secondly, an over 50 life assurance policy is perfect for meeting the costs of your funeral expenses when you die.

Thirdly, you may want a policy to pay out a lump sum that you can bequeath to your family or dependents in the event of your death.

What to look for when you undertake an over 50 life cover comparison

There are differences between the leading policies and it's important that you compare over 50 life insurance plans before you buy.

Firstly, you should carefully check the terms and conditions of any life insurance over 50 policy you are considering. For example, policies will differ in the maximum amount of cover that they will pay out, some will reduce the cover year by year, some will link the payout to investments, while some will guarantee a sum that will be paid out in the event of your death.

Some insurers will restrict when a policy will pay a claim (some won't pay in the first 12 months, for example) and most will place some restrictions on the instances that it will and won't pay out.

You should also check any maximum ages for the policy. Some life insurance for over 50 contracts have a maximum upper age limit at which you can take out a policy.

It is also worth checking the underwriting criteria for life assurance over 50 policies. Some offer guaranteed acceptance for people in a certain age range while others will ask medical or health questions when you apply.

Finally, you should compare the cost of cover. The best over 50 life insurance quotes are those that offer excellent benefits in return for a competitive monthly premium.