What types of Term Life Insurance is available today?

Understanding Term Life Insurance

When you’re considering term life insurance, you need to understand the different types of term life available today.  Term life is the least expensive insurance available today and if used correctly could be the best insurance for you.  In fact many people supplement permanent life insurance (universal, indexed universal or whole life) with term life insurance.

Term life insurance provides coverage for a defined term, i.e. a period of time. It does not accrue cash value like a permanent life insurance policy does. The basic premise is you have a financial risk you want to insure for a period of time in case you die prematurely.  The risk might be your mortgage, a vacation home mortgage, your children until they have moved out, kid’s college education, etc.  Once you determine what the length of time you need to cover the risk, you purchase a term life insurance policy for that period of time.  If your untimely death occurs, the insurance policy will pay your beneficiaries the tax-free insurance benefit.

There are several different types of term life insurance to consider when educating yourself on what is necessary for your specific situation.  Different insurance companies will have one or all of the following available:  Guaranteed Convertible, Annual Renewable, and Level are the common types of term life insurance.

Level Term Insurance

Level Term Insurance requires payment for a fixed period for the duration of the term.  Common terms are usually in 10-year increments because 5-year increments are more expensive than.  Premiums are level during the term of insurance and do not increase.  If you decide to cancel the policy, you just let the insurance company know, any time during the term of the policy, and stop paying the premiums and the will policy lapse. 

Convertible Term Insurance

Most companies offer convertible term insurance.  Here the insured is eligible to convert all or some of the amount of coverage to a permanent universal or indexed universal life insurance policy during the term of the insurance policy.  Most insurance companies allow this during the first 10 years of the term or possibly the first half of the term policy.  If it is converted, the premium will be higher because it is permanent insurance for the rest of your life. 

Annual Renewable Term

Annual Renewable Term is a one-year life insurance policy where the insurance company guarantees to insure the covered person for one year and will issue the same or higher policy at the end of the term without regard to health of the insured.  This is similar to a guaranteed renewable term life policy.  However, the premium will increase because the age of the insured has increased and if the amount of insurance is increased.

Return of Premium Term Life Insurance

This is the newest term life product on the market today and can be quite useful for certain situations.  First thing you need to know is that it will cost more than a standard term life policy for the same amount of insurance benefit.  The unique feature of this policy is that if you pay the premiums through the end of the policy and you are still alive the insurance company will return to you 100% of every single dollar you paid into the policy… TAX-FREE.  There are some very specific advantages for using this type of policy.  Talk with your Retirement Life Solutions Specialist before you decide to buy this type of policy.  If you cancel the policy during the term, the insurance company will not return any of the premiums to you.

Our final Thoughts

Unlike universal life insurance, term life does not provide the tax benefits or cash value buildup of permanent life insurance.  Term life insurance is useful for people who need life insurance at the least expensive price for a specified time frame.  It can also be useful to supplement a universal policy for a defined period of time. 

Besides speaking with a Retirement Solutions Life Specialist, you’ll also want to consider the following factors as a starting point:

  • Are you still young and in good health?
  • Are you looking for simple, inexpensive insurance to protect your family?
  • Is permanent universal life too expensive for you today?

Finally, don’t be misled by a common misconception you may have heard, “buy term, and invest the rest.”  Sometimes this may not be the best choice for you with the uncertain economic times present today.  Who can afford to put their retirement money at the risk of market volatility?  If you can afford a universal or indexed universal life insurance policy, there are some excellent tax-deferred benefits you can maximize no matter what age you are.  If you are able to purchase a universal life policy at a young age, you have the flexibility to increases the cash you add to it (max fund it) and significantly increase your cash value in a safe and guaranteed method to create an additional stream of tax-free income ready for your retirement.

Make sure you speak with a Retirement Life Solutions Specialist to determine what life insurance is best for your specific situation.  Click here to find one in your area.


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