The vast majority of life insurance and critical illness claims are made for people between the age 40 and 60, Moneywise has learnt.
Some 61% of life insurance claims are made for people who died during those three decades of their life, while 70% of critical illness claims are also made by individuals of the same age.
Just under a third (31%) of life insurance claims are made for people who died after the age of 60, but 8% are for those who died aged between 25 and 39 – a higher proportion than expected by some experts.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of critical illness claims were made by people aged between 25 and 39, but just 5% of claims were for individuals over the age of 60 – perhaps unsurprising, given that fewer people in this age bracket take out critical illness cover.
Commenting on the figures from re-insurer RGA, Phil Jeynes from PruProtect, said: "This data shows us the importance of putting cover in place as early in life as possible. Policies such as serious illness cover pay out on diagnosis of even early stage cancers or less severe heart attacks.
"Conditions such as these can affect people of any age and cover is usually cheaper for younger people."
For example, £100,000 of life insurance with critical illness cover costs a 30-year-old non-smoker £22.18 a month with Scottish Provident, while a 40-year- old pays £45.49 with Legal & General and a 50-year-old £119.90 with Aviva.
"The cost of cover also increases with age and while we hope policyholders don't ever need to claim, many thousands can be saved in premiums through buying cover at an earlier age," said Tom Baigrie, chief executive of LifeSearch - which compared the costs for Moneywise.