A ‘term life insurance’ policy provides a guaranteed death benefit to your beneficiaries if you die during the agreed term.
For example, you take out a £250,000 policy for 50 years. You pay £10 per month (known as the “premium”) and if you die within those 50 years, the insurance company pays out the amount of cover you bought, £250,000 (these figures are just there as an example to help you understand how this works).
Carrying on with that same example, if you don’t die in the 50 years you took cover out for, you will need to buy a new policy when it expires. The 50 year policy only pays out if you die within those 50 years.
A term life insurance comes with many benefits, the first in line is its affordability compared to other types of life insurance policies.
Decreasing term insurance is where the amount paid out when you die, decreases year on year. The idea is that the insurance is there to cover your mortgage. As you repay your mortgage over time, the balance you owe decreases and so the payout you receive from your insurance decreases accordingly.
Level term insurance
Level term insurance is there to protect your loved ones financially when you pass away. You choose the amount of cover you want (known as the “sum insured”) and the time you have the policy for (known as the ‘term’). As above in our example, your monthly repayments (premiums) are fixed for the entire term, as is the payout you receive.
Reasons for choosing term life insurance
Life comes with unexpected changes. Some of those changes might trigger a sense of insecurity if you are financially responsible for your loved ones. A life insurance policy will provide a financial cushion in the case of your sudden demise.
Here are just a few of the key changes in life and the financial responsibilities associated with them that might compel you to opt for a term life insurance policy:
Marriage: Your financial responsibility as a spouse.
Parenthood:Having an insurance payout will cover your children’s day to day expenses, University fees and will help your family cover end of life expenses for you (funeral costs etc)
Upsizing:Usually, when you move to a bigger house, you will need additional coverage (i.e. increase the payout on your policy) to pay your outstanding mortgage if you happen to die during the term.
Key components of term life insurance
Premium: This is the amount you pay the insurer, usually monthly, in return for the cover they give you. There are 3 types of premium payments in Term life insurance:
Regular: This is the most basic one, where you pay monthly payments for the duration of policy coverage.
Limited:: In this case, you can opt for paying higher premiums in the first few years of the term. Your policy will still remain active after you are done paying the premiums.
Single: This is a one-time premium payment paid upfront to the insurance provider. You can opt for a one-time payment for most policies up to a 30-year term.
Death Benefit: Refers to the amount of money that your insurance company will pay your beneficiaries in the case of your demise. When you take out the policy, you estimate how much you might need based on your lifestyle, mortgage balance, child expenses and future needs then purchase a policy for this amount. If you’re unsure how to calculate how much you need then speaking with a life insurance broker will help.
Beneficiary: This is the person you will list in your term life insurance papers who will receive the death benefit when you die during the term of the policy.
Renewable: Most term life insurances are renewable after the term expires. You can opt for higher coverage, or choose a different term upon renewal of the policy. This is not guaranteed though or automatically done.
Top features of term life insurance
Your beneficiaries will be granted a death benefit (payment) when you die
You can name the beneficiaries as anyone you like
The policy is for a specific term, not for your whole life
The term and premium payments depend on several factors, such as your age at the time opting for term life insurance, your health status, and your gender (women typically live longer than men). These are calculated at the start of the policy
The premiums cost far less compared to whole-of-life insurance.
A term life insurance’s death benefit is not just for settling end of life costs such as your funeral.
It’s intended to cover outstanding debts, mortgages, and you provide for your loved ones
You may also be paid if diagnosed with a terminal illness but this differs between policies
Factors in the application process
The insurance provider will go through the process of evaluating your credentials before giving their final verdict. This process is called underwriting and involves considering several factors that can affect your term agreement and purchase value.
Health status: The insurance provider will assess your medical condition as well as your family’s medical history. If you have a high life expectancy based on your medical records, you will be charged fewer premium payments and vice versa.
Smoking: smokers are often charged higher premiums because of the risk they bring to the table.
Age: Premium payments increase as you age. An estimate suggests that the charge increases more than 8% every single year.
Gender: As discussed above, women outlive men by 8 to 10 years on average.
Employment Status: Some people are at risk of early death because of the type of job they do, for example, scuba divers compared to someone with a desk job. These factors could increase or decrease the likelihood of getting life insurance.
Employment Status: : Some people are at risk of early death because of the type of job they do, for example, scuba divers compared to someone with a desk job. These factors could increase or decrease the likelihood of getting life insurance.
Income: Next in line after employment type and status is your annual income. The higher your income, normally the higher your property value and therefore mortgage balance. Plus it’s likely you’ll want to leave more money behind for your family to enjoy the same level of lifestyle after you’re gone. Both of these mean taking out a larger policy.
Coverage in force: The underwriter could notice that you have other insurance coverage, for example, health insurance and employment insurance. They could then make sure that you are getting the right amount of life term insurance coverage and that it aligns with your overall financial stability status.
Limitations of term life insurance
Term life insurance is extremely beneficial for many. However, it is also important to consider its limitations. Some of the limitations of term life insurance are listed as follows:
It doesn’t have any cash value equivalent.
There is absolutely no payout if you outlive the policy’s term duration. You will have to apply for renewal.
The older you are the more expensive it becomes. However that means the younger you are when you buy life insurance, the cheaper your premiums are likely to be. Because your premiums are fixed throughout the term of the policy, it’s an incentive to look for cover sooner rather than later
1.ClearKey is an independent marketing website which only acts as an introducer to companies who offer financial advice.
2.Our partners are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. ClearKey.co.uk are not authorised to give any advice and we are not liable for any financial advice provided by or obtained through a third party.
3. life insurance products attract terms and conditions. Price information contained within this website are for illustration purposes only. You will receive a full policy document upon application which will set out the terms, conditions and limitations of cover provided under the plan.
4. Your home may be at risk if you do not keep up repayments. Think carefully about securing debt against your home. When consolidating existing borrowing be aware that extending the term could increase the amount repaid.