What Is Term Life Insurance?
Term insurance covers a fixed span of time – or term – and is generally considered temporary insurance. The term can last as little as one year, and you can scale it from there depending on the provider. The average span of a term life insurance policy is between 10 and 20 years, but the term can also cover someone until they reach a specified age.
These policies generally pay the death benefit if you pass during the term of the policy. But if the policy expires before you pass, the insurer will not pay the death benefit. In other words, when you buy term life insurance, you are only covered for the period of time that you pay the premiums.
If the term of the policy ends before you pass, then the policy typically expires and the insurer won’t pay a death benefit. Fortunately, some term insurance policies are more flexible:
Renewable term – A renewable policy typically allows you to renew for a set period of time when the policy expires.
Convertible term – A convertible policy typically allows you to convert the insurance to a different plan.
To qualify for term life insurance, you may have to take a medical exam. Medical exams are often required because the coverage amounts are high. Because term life insurance is straightforward and doesn’t accumulate cash value, the premiums are relatively low (depending on your age and overall health) compared to whole life insurance.
The reason you can find lower premiums for term life insurance policies is that the coverage is only good for a specific period of time. But term life insurance premiums depend on several factors. For instance, they will vary depending on whether you are a smoker or non-smoker, your age, and any pre-existing health conditions you may have.