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- Term life insurance is one of the most affordable types of life insurance and a good option for young people.
- Term life insurance policies last for a fixed amount of time, rather than indefinitely, which means the monthly costs are often the lowest of any life insurance.
- A term life insurance payout can act as supplemental income for a family if the breadwinner dies prematurely.
Life insurance isn’t something most young people are thinking about.
It may feel difficult to justify paying for another big monthly expense on top of housing, car payments, student loans, and saving for retirement. But when it comes to protecting your family should tragedy strike, an extra $20 to $60 a month is likely worth it.
Term life insurance, unlike permanent life insurance, provides coverage for a fixed amount of time, usually 10, 20, or 30 years, and it’s cheaper than other life insurance options, making it affordable for young people, especially young parents, according to Policy Genius.
The biggest draw of term life insurance policies is the low monthly payments, which are determined by the insurance company after evaluating a person’s age, gender, health, and sometimes driving record, job, hobbies, and whether or not a person smokes, according to Investopedia. Oftentimes, you’ll need to submit to a medical exam.
Consider a 30-year-old man who is married with two young children, in which the family relies solely on the husband’s income. To protect his family if he were to unexpectedly die, the man may take out a term life insurance policy. If we presume he’s healthy at 30, his monthly payments to fund the insurance policy will be low — it’s also cheaper because the risk of death is lower at 30 than at, say, age 50.
Let’s say he takes out 30-year policy worth $250,000. That means the policy is set to expire when he’s 60, if it’s not paid out before then. According to NerdWallet calculations, his monthly payment would be $20. On a policy worth $1 million, his monthly payments would be $60. If he died at age 35, the family (the beneficiaries) would receive the full cash payout (death benefit). The payments are usually made with after-tax dollars, so the payout will be tax-free.
Calculate how much life insurance coverage you’ll need:
Meanwhile, a permanent life insurance policy would cost the same man nearly $200 a month for $250,000 worth of coverage, or $770 a month for $1 million worth of coverage, according to NerdWallet. But while the monthly cost is higher, a permanent life insurance policy also has more benefits, including no expiration date and the ability to cash out at any time. Still, the varied types of permanent life insurance can make choosing one difficult.
Another way to look at term life insurance is as if it’s a stand-in savings cushion.
"Ideally, your family’s need for life insurance will end around the time the term expires: Your kids will be on their own, you’ll have paid off your house, and you’ll have plenty of money in savings to serve as a financial safety net," wrote NerdWallet’s Barbara Marquand.
Some insurers also give the option to convert term life insurance into permanent life insurance through an addendum called a rider. If you want to continue receiving coverage beyond the fixed term, a term conversion rider added to the policy at the outset will allow you to keep your coverage, without the hassle of a new medical exam or applying for a new policy, according to Policy Genius.
Other riders, for long-term care, critical illnesses, or the death of a child can be added to a term life insurance policy.
If you’re ready to start shopping for term life insurance, Policy Genius has a comprehensive list of the best life insurance companies.
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