Term Life Insurance: What It Is, Different Types, Pros and Cons

Term Life Insurance: What It Is, Different Types, Pros and Cons

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance, commonly referred to as pure life insurance, provides death benefits to the beneficiaries of the policyholder for a fixed term.

The policyholder has three options after the term has ended: they can choose to convert their term life insurance policy to permanent insurance, renew it for another term, or let it lapse.


  • If the insured individual passes away within a predetermined term, term life insurance ensures payment of a defined death benefit to the insured’s beneficiaries.
  • These policies lack the savings element included in whole life insurance products and have no value other than the guaranteed death payout.
  • Age, health, and life expectancy are all factors that affect the cost of term life insurance.
  • It can be possible to convert term life insurance to whole life insurance, depending on the insurer.
  • Term life insurance policies with terms of 10, 15, or 20 years are available.

Term Life Insurance how it Works

When you purchase term life insurance, the insurance provider establishes the premium based on your age, gender, and health as well as the value of the policy (the payment amount).

Occasionally, a medical examination could be necessary. Your driving history, current medications, smoking status, occupation, interests, and family history may all be questioned by the insurance provider.

Credit life insurance: Understand what it is, benefits and if it’s worth it!

The insurer will pay your beneficiaries the face value of the insurance if you pass away within the policy period. Beneficiaries may use this cash benefit to pay for your funeral and medical expenses, consumer debt, or mortgage debt, among other things. It is generally not taxable.

There will be no reimbursement if the coverage expires before your passing. When a term policy expires, you might be able to renew it, but the premiums will be recalculated depending on your age at that time.

whole life Insurance Vs Term life Insurance

Term life insurance products are only worthwhile for the assured death reward. The savings element present in a whole life insurance package is absent.

Because it only delivers a death benefit and has a limited benefit period, term life insurance is typically the least expensive option. For instance, as of 2021, a 35-year-old healthy non-smoker might purchase whole life insurance with a benefit of $500,000 for an average monthly cost of $28. The monthly premium would increase to $71 at age 50.

Purchasing a whole life equivalent would have substantially higher premiums, perhaps $200 to $300 per month or more, depending on the provider.

The majority of term life insurance contracts end without disbursing a death payment. When compared to a permanent life insurance policy, this reduces the insurer’s overall risk. Because of the lesser risk, insurers can set cheaper premiums.

Premiums can also be impacted by interest rates, the insurance company’s financial health, and state requirements. At the “breakpoint” coverage levels of $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000, businesses typically provide better rates.

Top-Rated Term Life Insurance Companies



Best For Our Rating AM Best Rating
Protective Best Overall  4.6  A+
Banner/Legal & General Lowest Cost  4.2  A+
Nationwide Customer Satisfaction  4.7  A+
Mutual of Omaha Living Benefits  4.4  A+
Haven Life Same-Day Coverage  4.0  A++
MassMutual Financial Stability  4.5 A++



A Term Life Insurance Example

George, 30, wishes to safeguard his family in the improbable case that he passes away too soon. He pays a $50 monthly payment for a 10-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy.

The insurance plan will give George’s beneficiary $500,000 if he passes away within the policy’s ten-year term. If he passes away after turning 40, after the policy has ended, his beneficiary won’t be compensated. If he decides to renew the insurance, the premiums will be more expensive because they will be calculated using his current age of 40 rather than his original age of 30.

George probably won’t be qualified to renew the policy when it expires if he receives a terminal diagnosis during the first policy term. Certain insurance policies provide assured re-insurability (without requiring proof of insurability), however these features are more expensive when they are offered.

Term life insurance Types

Term life insurance comes in a variety of forms. Your unique situation will determine which one is best.

Level-Premium or Level-Term Insurance

These offer protection for a time frame of 10 to 30 years. The death benefit as well as the premium are both set.

The premium is comparatively more expensive than that of annual renewable term life insurance since actuaries must take into consideration the rising expenses of insurance during the course of the policy’s effectiveness.

The YRT Policy (Yearly Renewable Term)

Annually renewable term (YRT) plans have no set duration but are renewable annually without the need for proof of insurability.

As the insured person gets older, the rates go up every year. There is no set term, but as the policyholder ages, the premiums may become unaffordable, making the policy.

The Policy for Decreasing Terms

The death benefit of these plans decreases annually in accordance with a predetermined timetable. For the length of the insurance, the policyholder pays a constant, flat premium.

Mortgages and decreasing term policies are frequently used together, with the policyholder matching the insurance payout to the decreasing principle of the mortgage.

Term Life Insurance Benefits

Term life insurance appeals to young families with kids. The parents can get comprehensive coverage for a reasonable price. The family can count on the dividend to make up for any lost income if it becomes necessary.

Additionally, those with expanding families would benefit from these measures. They can foresee the need for coverage up to, instance, the time when their kids are grown up and capable of supporting themselves.

Naturally, an older surviving spouse may find the term life benefit valuable as well. However, considering the increased premium costs for senior policyholders, other options for supporting a surviving spouse could be better.

The maximum age for term life insurance coverage is decided by insurance companies. This is about 80 and 90 years old.

Term Life Insurance or Permanent Life Insurance: Which do I Need

The period of the policy, the development of a cash value, and the price are the primary distinctions between a term life insurance policy and a permanent insurance policy, such as universal life insurance. Depending on your needs, you’ll have to make the best decision. Here are a few things to think about.

Fees for Premiums
Term life insurance is the best option for those seeking affordable, comprehensive coverage.

Whole life insurance policyholders pay more premiums for a smaller amount of coverage, but they are comfortable knowing they will always be covered.

Unless they have the misfortune to pass away before the term finishes, people who purchase term life insurance are paying premiums for an extended period of time with no benefit in exchange. Additionally, the cost of term life insurance rises with age.

Accordingly, term life insurance premiums may end up costing more over time than permanent life insurance rates would have.

Coverage Availability

When a term policy’s term is up, the insurer can decline to renew coverage if the policyholder got sick, unless the policy provides guaranteed renewal. For as long as the premiums are paid, permanent insurance offers lifetime protection.

Investment Value

Because permanent life insurance policies can include an investment or savings vehicle, some consumers choose them. Each premium payment includes a part that goes toward the cash value, and growth is guaranteed. Some plans offer payouts that can either be distributed or deposited inside the policy.

The cash value growth may eventually be enough to cover the policy’s premiums. A number of special tax advantages are also present, including tax-deferred cash value growth and tax-free access to the cash part.

Financial counselors caution that compared to other financial products, such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, a policy with cash value’s growth rate is frequently pitifully slow (ETFs). Additionally, significant administrative costs frequently reduce the rate of return.

Other Elements

  • Evidently, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the argument between term and permanent insurance. Other things to think about are:
  • Is the rate of return on investments compelling enough?
  • Is there a loan provision and other characteristics in the permanent policy?
  • Does the policyholder currently operate or plan to operate a business that requires insurance?
  • Will life insurance help to tax-shelter a substantial estate?

Term Life Insurance vs. Convertible Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance with a conversion rider is referred to as convertible term life insurance. The rider ensures the right to change a term policy that is currently in effect or about to expire into a permanent plan without undergoing underwriting or demonstrating insurability. The conversion rider ought to give you unrestricted conversion to any permanent policy that the insurance provider provides.

The main characteristics of the rider are choosing when and how much of the coverage to convert, as well as keeping the term policy’s initial health rating upon conversion, even if you later develop health problems or lose your ability to be insured. Your age at conversion serves as the foundation for the new permanent policy’s premium.

Naturally, since whole life insurance is more expensive than term life insurance, overall premiums will rise dramatically. The benefit is the assurance of acceptance without a medical examination. Health issues that arise during the term life period cannot raise rates. However, if you wish to add other riders to the new policy, such a long-term care rider, the firm can want limited or full underwriting.

Whole Life Insurance or Term Life Insurance: which is better

Depending on what your family requires. If something were to happen to you, term life insurance is a reasonably priced method to leave your family with a lump sum. It can be an excellent alternative if you are young, healthy, and provide for a family.

Monthly rates for whole life insurance are significantly greater. It is intended to be renewed indefinitely, and as the coverage ages, the policy’s value increases and the policyholder is free to withdraw money for any reason. As a result, it can be used as both an investment instrument and an insurance policy.

Can an Older Person Purchase Term Life Insurance?

For term life insurance plans, the insurance companies set an upper age limit. This often ranges in age from 80 to 90.

A person who is 60 or 70 will pay significantly more than someone who is decades younger because the premium also increases with age.

The Verdict

Term life insurance is a smart choice for those who are unable or unable to pay the whole life insurance’s significantly higher monthly costs.

It is comparable to auto insurance. It’s statistically rare that you’ll require it, and if you don’t, the premiums are a waste of money. However, you have it in case the worst does occur.


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