Narrow down life insurance companies by coverage levels, riders offered, medical exam requirements and more to get a quote for a 15-year term life insurance policy.
A term life insurance policy ensures your loved ones are covered financially when you die. Choosing how long your coverage should last depends on the length of your financial obligations, for many people, that’s a 15-year term. It’s budget-friendly, and your premium doesn’t change during the life of the policy — even if your circumstances do.
Cost of 15-year term life insurance policy
When setting your rates, underwriters consider your age, health, lifestyle, medical history and occupation. The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper your rate will be — simply because you’re less of a risk for the insurer. When you sign off on a term life insurance policy, the coverage is set.
Sample monthly rates for $250,000, 15-year term life policies
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*Sample rates provided by Policygenius and are valid as of August 2019
How a 15-year term life insurance policy works
Term life insurance gives you protection for a time period, usually for 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. If you die during the term, your beneficiary gets a tax-free payment called a guaranteed death benefit. However, if you outlive the 15-year term, there’s no payout for your beneficiary.
Typically, term life insurance policies are the cheapest option and you may not need a medical exam to qualify, depending on the insurer. If you realize you need more coverage or find that you can afford additional protection, you typically can’t increase the death benefit on your term policy. However, if you realize you need more coverage, you can ladder policies by purchasing an additional one.
Term life insurance isn’t a financial asset for policyholders. While it provides protection for your loved ones, they can’t access the funds while you’re alive and you can’t get a refund if you outlive the term policy.
When to consider a 15-year term life insurance policy
Ideally, your life insurance policy should be as long as your longest financial obligation. If you fit these scenarios, you might need a 15-year term policy:
You have children
If your kids are 10 and 12 years old, a 15-year policy will provide protection until they’re 25 and 27. At that stage, they’ve probably graduated from college and are climbing the career ladder, so you may not need as much coverage. On the flipside, if your children are much younger, you might want to look at a longer term length.
You have debt
For temporary financial needs, like a mortgage, term life insurance is a good option. If you’re taking out a 15-year mortgage on your home, or have 15 years left on your loan, it’s worth considering a 15-year term policy. This gives you the opportunity to pay down your debt while you’re alive, and gives you the peace of mind knowing that your family won’t be responsible for those payments if you die. The same principle applies to other debts, like student and car loans. You’ll want a term length that’ll pay off those debts.
You’re a decade away from retirement
Many people purchase a policy that takes them up until their retirement, so 15-year policies are popular among those in their late 40s and early 50s. Usually, the last 15 years prior to retirement are crucial earning and saving years. You’re probably well established in your career, earning a solid salary and funneling money into your 401(k) to prepare for your own retirement. You’ve likely paid off a good chunk of your debts and seen your kids through college. If you die during the term, your policy kicks in to offer your loved ones a source of income.
You can afford a little more than a 10-year policy
While you’re relatively young and healthy, the price difference between 10 and 15 years of protection and adding 50% more coverage to your policy can be as little as a few dollars a month. Many people see the value and affordability in more coverage and opt for the extra five years. This means their beneficiaries receive a higher death benefit if they die, for a small investment on their part.
Who shouldn’t get a 15-year term policy?
Consider a different term if:
- You don’t have much debt. If you’re a careful saver who’s paid off most, if not all, of your debts, you can probably choose a shorter term life policy, like a 10-year term, for the simple purpose of income replacement.
- Your children are less than 5 years old. If your children are very young and won’t be working adults in 15 years, you may want to go with a longer policy, such as a 20-year term or 30-year term. Ideally, your term life insurance policy should cover your kids through college and possibly the start of their career.
What happens after the 15-year term is up?
If your term policy expires, that’s a positive thing: It means you’re alive and kicking. There are a few options available to you:
- Renew the policy. If you’re younger than 70, you can apply for another term life policy before it expires. Your rate will be higher to reflect your age and health, and you’ll likely take another medical exam. The reasoning behind this is simple: You’re older now, so there’s a higher risk of your life insurance company paying out a death benefit. If you’re in good health, you may qualify for the amount of coverage you want at a reasonable rate.
- Convert the policy. Still need coverage? Most term policies come with a conversion feature allowing you to switch to a permanent whole life or universal life policy. Typically, you can convert without another medical exam or bloodwork. Permanent policies are much more expensive, but they offer lifelong protection and peace of mind. They also have an investment portion, making them a popular option for policyholders who want to boost the role of life insurance in their financial and estate planning.
- Let the policy lapse. If you decide you no longer want or need life insurance after 15 years of coverage, you don’t have to do anything. Just allow your policy to end.
For many people, a 15-year policy aligns with their longest financial obligations, such as a mortgage, and offers their family a sense of financial security and a source of income if they pass away.
No one can predict the future, but if you believe you have 15 years of financial responsibilities and loved ones relying on you, this length of coverage may suit you. To make an informed decision, check out our guide to life insurance.
Exclusions are the conditions under which your life insurance carrier won’t pay out the death benefit — and the added cash value benefit if you’ve opted for a permanent policy.
The exclusions are listed on your life insurance policy. Typically, providers stipulate they won’t cover self harm or suicide within the first 13 months of your policy’s start date. Reckless behavior while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is another common exclusion. Some carriers also restrict travel to certain countries, such as those in the middle of a war. If you die while traveling to those countries, your beneficiaries won’t get the death benefit.
To find out the restrictions that apply to you, read the fine print of your policy.
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