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Life insurance companies use several factors when determining the premium for a policy. Some of these are your current health status, your medical history, tobacco/nicotine use, gender and age. Age seems like an easy factor to figure, right? After all, your age is what the calendar says it is. Unfortunately, most life insurance companies see it differently.

Calculating Your Age

Life insurance companies use one of two methods to determine your life insurance age.

1. Actual Age

The first method is called Actual Age, but it’s sometimes referred to as Age Last Birthday as well. This method calculates your life insurance age based on your last birthday. Basically, it’s your true age on any given day. If you asked me today how old I am, I’d give you an answer without having to give it much thought.

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Your Life Insurance Age Today 55

In our first example, you just turned 55 yesterday. In the second, you will turn 55 tomorrow. The Actual Age calculation method is very straightforward as it is simply a measure of an applicant’s calendar age on any given date.

2. Age Nearest Birthday

The second method of age calculation is called Age Nearest Birthday. This method calculates your life insurance age based on your nearest birthday, which could be either your last birthday or your next. Here’s how it works:


Our first example is similar to the Actual Age method. Since you just turned 55 yesterday, and you are closer to your last birthday than you are to your next birthday, your life insurance age is 55.

However, example 2 shows us the significance of the Age Nearest Birthday calculation method. Because you turned 55 over eight months ago, you are actually closer to your next birthday than you are to your last. Therefore, your life insurance age is 56. So even though you have not yet turned 56 by the calendar, this method of calculation determines your life insurance age to be 56. This will happen every year on the day you move to within six months of your next birthday.

Most life insurance companies use the Age Nearest Birthday method for age determination. But you don’t have to worry about knowing which method to use or doing any math. We’ve done it all for you. Our quoting system provides an accurate quote based on your date of birth, taking into account each individual company’s quoting method. This is why we ask for your date of birth and not your age on the Quote Questionnaire.

Handling “Surprise” Birthdays

Your life insurance age could change while your application is in underwriting if you have a birthday or you move to within six months of your next birthday. If this happens, we can usually ask the life insurance company to backdate your policy to keep your life insurance age down.

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