Pay the same amount for premiums for coverage that doesn’t change, month after month.
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Term life insurance can ease the financial burden on your family when you’re gone for as low as $15 a month. You’ll find coverage amounts from $20,000 to $10 million. The best term life insurance policy covers everything you pay for now and can expect to pay for in the future, from everyday expenses to a mortgage or college tuition.
To help you compare, our life insurance experts spent over 500 hours researching 100+ companies, highlighting the top options for the coverage, term length and riders you may need.
Instant term life insurance quotes
Get free term life insurance quotes online starting at $15 per month.
Average term life insurance quotes
The average term life policy costs $70.61 a month with a 20-year, $250,000 policy for a healthy person between ages 18 to 70. We compared quotes across over a dozen companies to give you an idea of your rates:
Your premium may differ from this cost table based on your age, coverage and health factors.
How to compare term life insurance quotes
Follow these steps to find the right term life policy from a strong company:
- Get quotes from multiple life insurance companies.
- Compare your coverage, looking at each policy’s features, death benefit amounts and available riders.
- Weigh the cost against the coverage you’d receive, compared to other companies.
- Factor in customer satisfaction from customer and expert reviews as well as well-known rating sites like J.D. Power.
- Apply for the right insurer. Fill out a health questionnaire with personal details, lifestyle and family medical history. You may need a medical exam.
How much term life insurance do I need?
The amount of term life coverage you need depends on your annual income, assets and responsibilities, which is similar to buying other types of life insurance.
You can buy term life insurance with death benefits valued anywhere from $10,000 to $10 million. General steps for deciding how much coverage:
- Tally your expenses, including daily expenses and long-term responsibilities like your mortgage
- Decide how long you need coverage, such as until your kids graduate college
- Think about how much you want to leave, such as enough to replace your income for ten years
- Widen coverage with riders, like for critical illness or long-term care
- Balance the coverage and premiums with what your monthly budget can afford
Is term life insurance worth it?
Term life insurance is the best choice for most people in the market for life insurance. It offers temporary coverage for the years you need it most, like when you’re paying off a mortgage or raising children. It works to replace your income and help your family financially if you die.
Thanks to its affordable, fixed premiums, it’s easier to fit life insurance in your budget more easily than other policy types.
What term length should I choose?
The rule of thumb is to choose a term length that matches your longest financial responsibility, like your mortgage or kids’ college tuition.
Common term lengths are 20 or 30 years, but you may choose a different term based on:
- The length of your mortgage or other responsibilities
- How many years you want to provide income for loved ones
- When your children’s needs will be the highest
- Your household income needs if one parent is working less to take care of children
How does term life insurance work?
Term life insurance offers protection for a set time like 30 years. If you die during your term, your loved ones get a one-time payment, called the guaranteed death benefit.
The process looks like this:
- You take out a 20-year, $250,000 term life policy.
- If you die with the policy in force, your beneficiaries file a life insurance claim. Your beneficiaries are those you designated to receive your death benefit.
- After approval, your insurer divides the $250,000 tax-free among your beneficiaries.
The basics of term life insurance
Watch our video to find out the basics in under two minutes.
Who should consider term life insurance?
Term life is the simplest and cheapest form of life insurance, a solid fit if you:
- Are a parent and want to get your kids through college
- Have a lot of financial responsibility left for your mortgage or student loans
- Are the sole breadwinner of your family
- Take care of kids or an elderly or disabled family member
- Have a limited budget but need a large amount of life insurance coverage
Can I add riders to my term policy?
Most insurers offer the following riders for a fee, but whether you can add riders depends on the company.
Types of riders you might see:
- Accelerated death benefit rider. If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, this rider pays part of your death benefit to cover end-of-life expenses.
- Child rider. Adds coverage for your child and lets them convert it to their own policy with higher coverage when they become adults.
- Conversion. Upgrade to a permanent life insurance policy before a deadline — usually within five years of buying the policy or before an age limit.
- Disability rider. Replaces a percentage of your income if you become disabled and can’t work.
- Return of premium (ROP) rider. Refund most of your premiums if you outlive your term.
Types of term life insurance policies
You can find several types of term life insurance to help you customize the payments or coverage:
Pay the same amount for premiums for coverage that doesn’t change, month after month.
Decreasing term life has steady premiums, but the death benefit gradually decreases over time, often used to cover mortgages.
An ART policy is cheap at first and renews every year, but increases premiums for a set number of years.
Pros and cons of term life insurance
- It’s affordable. Term life insurance is the cheapest type of life insurance policy, with premiums typically locked in.
- Policies are straightforward. Permanent life policies have an investment component, but term life doesn’t.
- Payouts are tax. free. Your beneficiaries’ payment won’t be taxed in most cases.
- You don’t always need a medical exam. Exam-free policies can be more expensive, but you won’t be denied coverage based on your health.
- You could convert to whole life. This is ideal if you foresee your finances changing or want to explore a cash-value policy.
- Your coverage expires. If you outlive your policy, your beneficiaries won’t get paid, and a new policy will cost a higher rate than before due based on your age and health status.
- Your death benefit stays the same. If you want to top up your coverage, you may need another life insurance policy.
- There’s no cash value. Term life policies don’t act as a cash asset or offer a return on your investment.
Can I get coverage without taking a medical exam?
Yes, many insurers offer term life policies that don’t require a medical exam, some with instant approvals. But no-exam policies may cost more than other policies.
Most no-exam policies also cap coverage at $100,000, compared to standard policies that go up to $10 million.
What happens when my term ends?
When your term is up, you no longer have any life insurance coverage. Your options at this point include:
- Purchase another term life policy. If you still need to cover financial responsibilities, consider taking out another term life policy.
- Look at annual renewable term life. Take your term life coverage year by year with annual renewable term (ART) life.
- Consider other life insurance options. If you want to pay for your end-of-life expenses, consider a final expense, guaranteed issue or simplified issue policy.
- Do nothing. If you no longer need life insurance, you can let your coverage lapse.
Term vs. whole life insurance: Which is better?
For most people, term life insurance is enough to offer peace of mind and financial security for your family for a set time.
However, permanent policies like whole life or universal life build cash value through investments that you can withdraw from.
These policies are more expensive than term life, but are ideal if you have long-term financial goals and want your policy to be a cash asset.
Term life insurance offers predictable payments and protection for a set period of time. But it doesn’t offer cash growth, so your loved ones won’t get any money if you outlive your term.
If you’re ready to purchase a policy to protect your family, take the time to compare life insurance companies to find the right one.
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