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Term Life Insurance is Affordable Coverage Worth Considering

Regardless of what life stage you're in, term life insurance is simple, affordable and flexible coverage.

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What Is Term Life Insurance?

Term life insurance is affordable coverage that lasts for a specified period of time, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. Since term life insurance is temporary coverage that does not build cash value, premiums tend to be less expensive than permanent life premiums.

Term life protection can be beneficial if you need coverage for only a specific period of time – perhaps to cover your mortgage, spouse or family member – whereas permanent life insurance offers coverage for your entire lifetime as long as premiums are paid on time. Among the various types of life insurance, term life is traditionally viewed as one of the most economical options.

What Are the Potential Advantages of Term Life Insurance?


For many people, the main advantage of a term policy is it's more affordable. Since permanent life insurance can last longer, those policies typically start out charging a higher premium than term life insurance.


A term life policy gives you the flexibility to choose the length of coverage, generally between 10 and 30 years. During this time, your premiums will stay the same.


Term life insurance is relatively simple to understand. You pay a level premium, and then your beneficiary receives the death benefit if you pass away as long as premiums have been paid.  
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What Does a Term Life Insurance Death Benefit Cover?

Your beneficiary can use the death benefit to cover a variety of expenses, including:

  • Final expenses: expenses to be paid after your death, including funeral, cemetery and burial costs
  • Mortgage payments: monthly bank payments to pay off the remaining loan on your home
  • Education expenses: tuition and educational costs for private schools/college for your children
  • Debt: payments for car loans, personal loans and credit card bills
  • Medical bills: health care expenses for hospitals, doctors, surgeries and procedures
  • Necessities: everyday living expenses like gas, groceries and utilities

What Are the Different Types of Term Life Insurance?

Level Term Life Insurance

A level term policy is a popular choice because the premium stays the same for the entire policy length. With no price increases during this term, it offers an economical way to purchase life insurance. When the term is over, coverage ends.

Convertible Term Life Insurance

You can typically convert your term policy into a whole life insurance policy without any additional underwriting or undergoing another medical exam unless you increase your coverage.

Decreasing Term Life Insurance

Decreasing term life insurance will provide your family with a monthly payout to help cover a mortgage payment or replace your income if you pass away. This type of coverage declines monthly until the last 5 years of the policy and insurance premium rates are guaranteed to never increase.

How Long Is Term Life Insurance?

The policy term generally lasts 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. The length of term life insurance depends on what policy you buy. For instance, if you bought a policy that lasted for thirty years, you would be covered for thirty years.

Term life policies pay a benefit if you pass away during the insurance coverage period. The premium must be paid in a timely manner for term policies to stay active.

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What Affects the Cost of a Term Life Insurance Policy ?

The cost of a term life insurance policy depends on a number of factors. Here are some examples:

  • The length of the term: Longer terms are typically more expensive than shorter ones.
  • Your age when applying: Life insurance usually gets more expensive as you get older.
  • Health issues or dangerous hobbies: These could increase the cost or even render you uninsurable.
  • The size of the policy value: Policies with higher pay out values are usually more expensive.
  • Extra benefits: Known as riders, these extra coverage add-ons tend to increase the cost.

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

Life insurance can be an important element of your overall financial strategy because it provides protection for monetary assets in an unfortunate loss of life. Answer a few questions about your life situation to estimate how much coverage you might need.

What Is the Difference Between Term & Permanent Life Insurance?

Term life insurance is temporary coverage. It will only last during the policy's stated term, and your coverage will end if you outlive this period. On the other hand, permanent life insurance could last your entire life as long as you keep up with the premiums.

Since permanent coverage can last longer, these policies typically start out charging a higher premium than term life insurance. However, if you try to renew your policy when you're older, the premiums will likely get more expensive.

One other key difference is some permanent life insurance policies build cash value, an extra benefit that builds up money you can take out or borrow while you're still alive. Keep in mind that loans, withdrawals and advances will also reduce the death benefit and cash surrender value, and may cause the policy to lapse. Term life insurance policies do not include this benefit.

When Could Term Life Insurance Be a Good Fit?

Some people feel it's important to buy life insurance when they get their first job, get married or buy a house, while others wait until they have a family to support. Whatever your motivation for purchasing life insurance, there are reasons it's smart to get insured early.

An insurance policy helps protect your loved ones financially. Term insurance can allow your loved ones to pay off debt without worrying about the financial implications if you pass away. This is especially important for those who have co-signed loan documents with you and would need to take over payments after your death.

Examples of How Term Life Insurance Coverage Works

Once you understand the basics of term life insurance, it can be helpful to see how this type of policy can be used in the real world. Regardless of what life stage you're in, life insurance is something worth considering as you prepare for the future. Think about your needs and decide on a policy that fits your goals. Term life insurance can be an economical option that can provide value and help protect those you care about the most. Here are examples of how individuals can take advantage of term life insurance:
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Sarah is a 22-year-old college grad starting her first job. While her company offers life insurance, her coverage ends if she changes jobs. She has student loans to pay off and wants to make sure that her parents — who co-signed on her loans — won't have to dip into their retirement savings if something happens to her. She decides to buy a 10-year term policy to cover the time remaining to pay off her student loans.
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Nicolette and Brad are newlyweds, both in their early 30s. They have taken out loans on two cars, just purchased a house and plan to start a family soon. They have each purchased a 30-year term policy to ensure one another and their future children are protected in case one of them passes away unexpectedly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you decide the number of years to choose for your policy?

You may want to start by deciding if you want insurance coverage for your entire life (permanent life) or for a limited time period (term life). If you choose term life, consider the appropriate term for your financial situation. Perhaps you want to have coverage until your home mortgage is paid off 20 years from now or until your youngest child turns 21 in another 15 years.

What happens at the end of a term life insurance policy?

At the end of the term, your life insurance coverage will end. However, you may have options to continue your life insurance. First, some policies let you convert term life insurance into permanent life insurance. You may also be able to renew your policy for another term. Since you're renewing at an older age, your premiums may be more expensive after the extension.

How does term life insurance payout work?

When you sign up for term life insurance, your policy will have a death benefit. While you're alive, the policy will not pay you anything. If you die during the covered term, the life insurance company will pay your beneficiaries the entire death benefit in one lump sum or in monthly payments outlined in your policy as long as it wasn't an excluded cause of death and premiums are paid.

Can you cash out a term life insurance policy?

No, you cannot cash out a term life policy while you're still alive. It only pays out a death benefit to your beneficiaries if you die while insured.
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Why Choose Western & Southern?

When you’re looking for affordable short-term insurance options, you want life insurance from a company with a history of financial strength. With our financial ratings and a heritage of financial strength, Western & Southern has become one of the strongest life insurance groups, offering you stability you can count on. We have knowledgeable financial representatives available to help you with your insurance needs. 

Financial Strength

established 1888

Longevity & Stability

96 comdex ranking

Financial Ratings


These policies and benefits may not be available in all states, and benefits may vary by state.

Payment of benefits under the life insurance policy is the obligation of, and is guaranteed by, the issuing company. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Products are backed by the full financial strength of the issuing company.

Life insurance policies contain certain exclusions, limitations, reductions of benefits and terms for keeping them in force. Please contact a financial representative for complete details.