August 12, 2019

Term Life Insurance Rates by Age

Read more about Life Insurance

Term life insurance is an affordable coverage option for many. But is it the right choice for you? Keep reading to find out.

To determine life insurance rates, insurance companies calculate the likelihood that a person dies during the policy term.

The higher your risk, the more likely it is that you will pass away before paying the full coverage amount. This will increase your monthly premium.

The lower your risk, the more likely it is you will pay off your full coverage. This will lower your premium.

Rates are affected by a number of risk factors, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Health
  • Lifestyle

What is the difference between term and whole life?
Term life policies expire after a certain period of time and cost significantly less. Whole life insurance lasts for the life of the insured, builds cash value, and has a much higher premium.

Typical term lengths vary between 10 and 30 years. Term insurance is best suited for:

  • People on a limited budget
  • Those with a mortgage or short-term debt
  • Parents with young children

Estimated Monthly Premiums

Keep reading for sample term rates divided by term length, gender, and death benefit.

Your actual rate may vary from those listed here based on your health and the results of your medical exam and/or application.

10-Year Term Rates - Male


10-Year Term Rates - Female


15-Year Term Rates - Male


15-Year Term Rates - Female


20-Year Term Rates - Male


20-Year Term Rates - Female


25-Year Term Rates - Male


25-Year Term Rates - Female


30-Year Term Rates - Male


30-Year Term Rates - Female


How Much Coverage Do I Need?

When purchasing a term policy, you have the option of selecting how long your policy will last and how much your beneficiaries will receive should something happen to you.

Keep reading for tips on selecting the right policy for your needs.

How Does Life Insurance Work?
Life insurance pays money to a designated beneficiary—like your spouse or child—if you were to pass away.

The payout, called a death benefit, can be used towards a variety of expenses like funeral costs, outstanding debts, medical bills, childcare services, and more.

The death benefit will equal your policy coverage. For example, if you have a $600,000 policy, the payout is $600,000.

Choosing Your Term Length

Term insurance policies are best for people looking for an inexpensive option, as well as those with short-term coverage needs.

Some things to consider when thinking about the length of your term policy are:

  • Years until retirement
  • Years left on your mortgage
  • Any short-term debt
  • Years before your children will finish college

Choose a 10-Year Term IF

  • You are looking for the lowest premium
  • You have short-term debt that will be paid within 10 years
  • You are planning on converting your term policy

Most companies only allow conversions within the first 10 years of the policy. If you plan to convert your entire policy, a 10-year term will give you the lowest premium, and you can convert small parts at a time.

Choose a 15-Year Term IF

  • You have a 15-year mortgage or short-term debt
  • You have children who will finish college within the next 15 years
  • You plan on retiring within the next 15 years

While the average loan term is 30 years, the average person lives only 11 years in one home. A lower-term length may be sufficient to properly cover your mortgage.

Choose a 20–30 Year Term IF

  • You are young and have a long time before retirement
  • You recently got married and/or had a child
  • You are expecting a baby and want coverage to last through college
  • You recently purchased a home

Choosing Your Death Benefit

To calculate how much coverage you need, start by choosing your beneficiaries and calculating how they rely on you for financial support.

Beneficiaries may include children, spouse/partner, business partner, siblings, and elderly parents.

Read on for a better understanding of how to find your ideal death benefit.

Income Replacement
If your family relies on your income, it is important to make sure that they can continue their way of life in the event that something happens to you.

Determine how many years you have left until retirement and multiply that by your current income. For example, if an individual makes $40,000/year and has 10 years until retirement, they would need a minimum of $400,000 in coverage.

Financial Expenses
Aside from income replacement, your policy should cover any financial obligations and expenses that your beneficiaries would incur including:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Outstanding debt
  • Loan balances
  • Medical bills
  • Estate taxes
  • College tuition

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raising a child from birth to the age of 17 will cost a minimum of $233,610. If you have more than one child, multiply this amount by the number of children you have.

How To Calculate the Total

  1. Add the figures you received from calculating the income replacement and financial expense needs.

  2. Subtract any existing life insurance coverage and/or any savings accounts that you do not intend on using.

This should give you an accurate minimum amount of life insurance that you should have. If you would like to leave behind additional inheritance for your beneficiaries, you can choose to have an even higher death benefit.

You can find life insurance calculators online. They'll ask you questions and calculate numbers to estimate how much coverage you may need.

How Do I Get the Best Life Insurance Rate?

Shopping around for prices can be difficult. Here are some tips to consider:

Start Early
Younger people typically tend to have fewer health issues and a longer life expectancy. They pose less risk to the insurance company and therefore qualify for lower rates.

Quit Smoking
Smoker rates are almost double those of non-smokers. To be considered a non-smoker, most insurance companies require you to be smoke free for at least 6 months. This includes any nicotine products that can be detected in urine analysis.

Shop Around
Insurance companies have different rates. Getting quotes from multiple companies can help you make an informed decision and be confident in the rate you receive.

Talk to an Agent
These experts likely know what company and/or policy fits your needs with the best rate.

Do I Need Life Insurance?
Start by considering whether anyone relies on you for financial support. This may include your children, your spouse or partner, co-signors of debt or loans you have in your name, or elderly parents you care for, either now or in the future.

Then determine if you have enough savings to provide for them if you were to die. If the answer is no, then you likely do need life insurance.

Ways to Get a Quote

Before researching quotes, calculate how much coverage you think you need by following the steps above (keep reading to learn more).

You also will want to know some general medical information such as height, weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Most companies offer different options for pricing a policy:

Request a Quote Online
Enter and submit basic contact information, which is then provided to a life insurance agent. The agent will follow up with you via phone or email depending on your preference.

They will ask questions like why you need life insurance, what kind of coverage you are looking for and for how long, and other informational policy questions.

Once they get the information, they will provide quotes from different companies that best fit your needs.

Go Through a Company Directly
If you get a quote online this way, you will answer questions like your gender, date of birth, height and weight, coverage amount you are considering, and other basic, simple health questions.

You will have to do this for every company you are considering. Once you submit the information, you will either be emailed or immediately shown a quote.

Talk to an Agent
You can also use an insurance agent. Provide them with all of your contact and health information and they will request the quotes for you. With this option, you don't have to do anything online or on your own.

All quotes are subject to change based on the answers to your application questions and/or results of your medical exam.

Before You Apply

Applying for life insurance can often be a long process. Knowing the steps to apply and what to look for can make it fast and simple.

Speak with an Agent
When shopping for life insurance, we recommend speaking with a licensed life insurance representative. If you are unsure of how much or what length of coverage you need, an agent can help you find the right policy.

You can also purchase life insurance online or directly from the insurance company.

Know About Add-on's
There are additional insurance riders that can be added onto a term policy for an additional premium. These include:

  • Return of Premium
    In the event that you outlive the term length, the insurance company will refund all premiums paid since the start of the policy.

    With a return of premium qualifier, if you paid $100 per month for a 10-year term, you'll get $12,000 back

  • Child Term Rider
    This rider will provide life insurance coverage for your children. It is generally a less expensive option than purchasing individual policies, as insurance companies typically charge a flat fee regardless of how many children will be insured.

    This coverage can be converted into a permanent policy when the child reaches 18.

  • Waiver of Premium
    While this option can be costly, insurance companies will waive premium requirements if an insured is disabled for at least 6 months.

While these options increase the cost of the monthly premium, they can be beneficial in the long term.

Look for Convertible Policies
Most term insurance policies have a built-in option that allows you to convert some or all of the policy into a permanent policy. This can typically be done only within the first 10 years of the term.

Benefits include:

  • Same Underwriting Rate
    When converting your policy, you will qualify for the same rate class (e.g., preferred health, non-smoker rate, etc.) as what you received for your term policy, even if your health or lifestyle change. For example, if you begin smoking and decide to convert, you will still receive a non-smoker rate.

  • Flexible Conversion Amounts
    Most companies allow you to convert small parts of your policy at a time and still keep the remaining term coverage. This is beneficial for individuals with a low budget who may not have enough to spend on a large whole life policy. You may convert small amounts when the budget allows for it.

Applying for Life Insurance

Once you are satisfied with the quotes you received and the insurance company you chose, you can begin the process of getting approved for a policy.

Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on the underwriting process.

1. Submit an Application

The first step in qualifying for life insurance is to submit an application. You will be asked a series of questions that are necessary for approval. These will involve:

  • Personal Information
    You are required to provide your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and driver's license number if applicable.

  • Your Beneficiary
    You will be asked to name at least one beneficiary. You can choose more than one, but they must have a financial interest in you to be approved.

    This means that they must suffer a financial loss as a result of your death, and may include a spouse/partner, children, business partner, individual in your care, or anyone who relies on you for financial assistance.

    The insurance company may ask for a beneficiary's:

    • Name
    • Address
    • Date of birth
    • Phone number
    • Relationship to you

  • A Contingent Beneficiary
    While not mandatory, choosing a contingent beneficiary will ensure that another individual will receive the death benefit in the event that the primary beneficiary passes away.

    List minor children as contingent beneficiaries.
    Minors (those under 18 years old) are legally unable to accept large quantities of money. Listing them as primary beneficiaries will likely cause the death benefit to be held by the courts until a legal guardian can be appointed as custodian for the funds.

    Beneficiaries can be changed at any time. You switch any minors to primary beneficiaries when they reach 18.

  • Your Health History
    The insurance company will ask for your height, weight, and primary physician information. They will also ask if you are on any medications and whether or not you have any known health issues, such as heart conditions, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

  • Family History
    You will be asked about any health conditions that may run in your immediate family. You will also be required to disclose any deaths of immediate family members (i.e., parents or siblings) before age 60 that were caused by cancer, heart disease, or other health conditions.

  • Lifestyle Habits
    Any smoking, even occasionally, must be disclosed on the application. Drug use and risky behavior such as skydiving and rock climbing must be disclosed as well. You will also be asked about any future travel plans to countries outside of the U.S.

    Do not falsify or withhold any information. Insurance companies do a thorough check to ensure that the application is accurate by obtaining:

    • Motor Vehicle Record
      They will look for any moving violations, suspensions, and accidents within the past 3 years to ensure that you are a safe driver.

    • MIB Report
      The Medical Information Bureau provides a list of any prescription medications given to the applicant over their lifetime.

    • Attending Physician Statement (APS Report)
      In some cases, they will request an APS from your primary doctor or physician for more detailed information on your health.

2. Make Your First Payment

Insurance companies typically require at least 1 month's payment upfront. In most states, by taking a payment, they are legally required to provide temporary insurance throughout the application process.

Chosen beneficiaries will automatically receive the full death benefit if the applicant passes away, even before the policy is fully approved.

If you are declined or change your mind about the policy, you can withdraw the application and receive a full refund.

Most life insurance companies have a free look period of 10 days or more in which you can cancel and receive a full refund even after the policy is in force.

3. Take a Medical Exam

Once the application has been submitted, you can schedule and take the required physical. The exam is done by a paramedic contracted by the insurance company.

You can typically schedule the exam at a time and place most convenient for you, such as your work or at home. The examiner will verify your information and will also:

  • Confirm your height and weight
  • Collect a blood and urine sample
  • Take your blood pressure
  • Take an EKG (if you are over age 60 or applying for $1,000,000+)

Exam results are submitted to the insurance company within 7 business days. Ask your insurance agent if you can obtain a copy of the report for your records.

Many insurance companies offer a term policy with no medical exam required. The underwriting process is typically much shorter, but they have stricter qualifications and higher premiums.

For example, they may require a full medical exam if they find any medications or health conditions in your history, and will decline for diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol, and even a high BMI.

Bottom Line

Term insurance can be beneficial to many individuals. However, before purchasing a policy, it is important to know your options and how much coverage you need.

Young, healthy individuals qualify for the lowest rates. But it is never too late to discuss your options. A licensed representative can help find the right policy and coverage for you

Write to Caitlyn Callahan at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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