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How does term life insurance work?

Term life insurance works by offering pure insurance protection for a set amount of time, such as 10 years, 20 years, or even 30 years. Because of its affordability, this type of life insurance can provide you with ample protection, typically at a low premium. It may be possible to “customize” a life insurance policy with a variety of different riders.

Term insurance definition

With a term policy, a lump sum death benefit will be paid out to the policy’s beneficiary if the insured dies while the plan is in force. There is no cash value component with this type of life insurance.

Cost of term life insurance

There are several rating factors that go into the cost of term life insurance. These criteria typically include the following:

  • Age
  • State
  • Gender
  • Tobacco Usage
  • Product Types
  • Face Amount
  • Health Condition
  • Family History
  • Height and weight
  • Financial History
  • Criminal Record
  • Medication History
  • Insurance Company
  • Length of Term Plan

Different types of term life insurance?

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Level Term Insurance

A level term life insurance policy has death benefit coverage that remains the same throughout the life of the policy. Usually, the amount of the premium will also remain the same during the time that the policy is in force.

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Annual Renewable Term

With annual renewable term, the policy can be renewed by the insured after each time period, or “term,” has elapsed.  The policyholder can do so without the need to complete a new application for coverage or to pass a physical exam.

Although the policyholder is allowed to renew the policy, however, the premium on the plan will likely increase at each renewal. This is due to the insured’s older age and possible adverse health conditions.

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Return of Premium Term

A return of premium term life policy will give back all of the premiums that were paid into the policy if the insured survives the term length. Typically, the amount of premium for this type of policy will be higher than that of a term life plan without the return of premium option.

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Common Term Lengths

There are a variety of policy lengths that may be chosen with a level term insurance policy. These include:

Many life insurance companies also offer a one-year annual renewable term life option. Not all 1-year term policies are annual renewable.

Pros & Cons of Term Insurance

  • Term Insurance Pros

One of the biggest pros of a term life insurance policy is its affordable premium. This is particularly the case if the insured is in good health at the time of application. Another one of the pros of a term policy, given its set length of coverage, a term policy may be a good option for those who are covering “temporary” needs, such as the payoff of a home mortgage.

  • Term Insurance Cons

Some of the cons of term life insurance include its set time period, which means that the coverage has a specific end date, as well as the fact that the premium will generally go up if the policy is renewed. One of the biggest cons of a term policy is the fact that you can outlive your coverage.

What term life insurance won’t offer

Although term life offers a great way to secure protection at an affordable price, there are some things that this type of policy won’t offer. For example, term insurance offers only death benefit protection, without any cash value. So, for those who are seeking a way to build savings on a tax-deferred basis within a life insurance plan, a permanent form of coverage may be the better alternative.

In addition to no cash value, term life insurance will typically not offer:

  • Guaranteed coverage for life
  • Level premiums for life
  • The ability to withdraw or borrow money from the policy

See who made our best term carriers list.

At Insurance Geek, we work with the best term life insurance carriers in the industry today. Every individual is different and not one company is best. here are many great term carriers the trick is figuring out which carrier is best for you. This is something we specialize in.


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