What's the best Life Insurance Policy Term Length?


Term life insurance coverage is among the simplest and most affordable kinds of life insurance coverage. This is exactly why it's ideal for many people who want an insurance plan that will financially protect loved ones they bid farewell to if they would die unexpectedly.

Like all insurance policies, term life insurance is a contract between you and also an insurance company. You are making monthly or annual payments to acquire a payout from the insurer for your beneficiaries if you die when the contract is within place.

A permanent life insurance coverage will provide coverage for the lifetime – and that's why it's a more expensive option. Term life insurance, however, provides coverage for a specific period of time that you select. If you want to buy an affordable term life policy, how do you decide what term of coverage to obtain?

To make answering that question easier, this informative guide will take you step-by-step through what to consider when purchasing term life and the way to decide what term fits your needs.

What is term life insurance?

Term life plans are often available in increments of 10, 15, 20 or 3 decades. You will want to think about a term length which will cover you throughout the years that others depend on you financially, which is usually if you have children in the home, limited assets or savings, or cosigned or shared debts (such as a mortgage). That's because should you die during that term, the insurer will pay a death benefit to your beneficiaries.

The amount of that payout will depend on the amount of coverage you get when you purchase a policy. Most professionals recommend using a death benefit that's equal to five to Ten times your annual salary. However, you might need more – or less – depending on the debts you owe, how big your family along with other factors.

Of course, the more coverage you get, the greater expensive the insurance policy will be. However, you shouldn't skimp on coverage just to save a few dollars. The payout out of your term life insurance policy – which often is tax-free – can offer an economic lifeline for those you leave behind. It can benefit all your family members pay for these common expenses:

  • Funeral, burial along with other final expenses
  • The mortgage or rent
  • Day-to-day expenses
  • Debts, hospital bills and taxes
  • Childcare expenses
  • College costs for children

Term life insurance is reasonable. For instance, a 30-year-old woman in excellent health can get a 20-year, $500,000 Haven Term policy, issued by MassMutual, starting at $17.82 per month. Younger and healthier you're when purchasing coverage, the more affordable your term life insurance rates is going to be. Additionally, acquiring the quantity of term life coverage and term length that you actually need could save you money over time. It's easy to default to “more is better,” but keep in mind that more coverage and a longer term length will cost you more in monthly term life premiums.

Who might need a 30-year term length?

Because term length – along with your age, health insurance and quantity of coverage you get – affects the rate you pay for a lifetime insurance, a 30-year term policy will definitely cost greater than a shorter term policy. That is because, with a longer term, the odds increase for the insurance provider that it will need to pay on the policy.

It does mean that the coverage will more likely be there if your loved ones require it. A 30-year term length is truly the longest term available and offers your family with a safety cushion to have an extended period of your time. When you're young and also have many milestones ahead of you, both financial and personal, an extended term length can purchase the flexibility you need. Plus, you are able to secure your premium when you buy your policy and pay the same rate for the next three decades. You will not need to bother about your rate increasing while you age.

So, who can be a good candidate for the 30-year term length? Any of the following:


Couples who have recently married can benefit from a 30-year term length. If you are joining your finances and taking on any debts – such as a mortgage – together, you will want to possess a term that's long enough to last until those debts are repaid.

For many people, a 30-year term life policy checks that box and provides a layer of financial protection for family. It can also last many young married couples until they're close to retirement age.

New homeowners

The most common term for a fixed-rate mortgage is 30 years. Therefore if you've recently purchased a home having a 30-year mortgage, getting a 30-year term life policy can make sense. Most of us earmark the biggest part of our earnings for housing expenses.

If you should occur to pass away before your mortgage pays off, the arises from your 30-year term life policy might be used by your family to help remove the mortgage or to continue make payment on monthly note.


If your partner relies on your income for financial stability, you'll likely want a term length that lasts him or her to near or at retirement. The proceeds in your life insurance policy can help your very best self half to continue to pay the bills.

When you retire, your earnings no longer comes from working, so you may not require just as much coverage. But, while you are healthy and young, a 30-year term length could provide reassurance while you are creating a substantial financial cushion.

Parents of young or special needs children

If you have children then one happened to you, consider how your death would impact your family's finances. Could your lover independently afford childcare and fulfill your intends to purchase college? If you're a stay-at-home parent, could your lover afford to pay for childcare along with other household tasks you handle? For many moms and dads, the answer might be no. If that's the case, consider a life insurance term length that lasts at least until your children are adults or are through college (based on what your plans are for financial contributions).

Additionally, if you're parents of a special needs child, a 30-year term policy can be a sensible choice, no matter the chronilogical age of your son or daughter. For all those with a special needs child who may require lifelong care, a 30-year term permits you additional time to set up an economic arrange for his or her future.

How much does a 30-year term length policy cost?

A 30-year term length can be affordable. Listed here are term life insurance premiums for males and women in excellent health for any 30-year Haven Term policy, issued by MassMutual, at different ages:

Who might need a 20-year term length?

A 20-year term length is the most popular choice with Haven Term policyholders. For a lot of in our customers who're in their early to late 30s, 20 years is simply lots of time to cover the kids until they are adults or until the mortgage pays or nearly paid. These people are also able to save a little money because a 20-year term costs less than the usual 30-year term length policy.

Parents of young children

Both the 20-year and 30-year term lengths could work well for those who have younger children. How do you know which to pick? Consider the following:

  • What kind of debt do you have?
  • How long do you have until retirement?
  • How risk-averse are you currently?
  • How important is the monthly cost of coverage for you?

For those who are more risk averse and want wiggle room, they may choose the 30-year term length. Bear in mind, though, that both spouses must have coverage. So remember that when it comes to the price of a 30-year versus 20-year policy. Whichever you choose, both are solid choices for young families seeking to leave a legacy.

Cost-conscious life insurance coverage buyers

If you're cost-conscious, a 20-year term policy might be your choice. Term life is affordable, but you will pay more for any 30-year term policy than you would for any 20-year term. If you're a bit older when you purchase your policy, that price spread could be much more attractive when you compare a 20-year term versus a 30-year term because rates increase as you age.

If price is a problem, it's better to possess a safety net with a shorter duration than no net whatsoever. Look for a policy term length that you simply feel you can pay for over the years.

People with cosigned debts

Death is hard enough on a family. You wouldn't like to depart your loved ones with debts to settle without your assistance. Whether it's 10 more years on private student loans that aren't dischargeable by death or 20 more years with that mortgage, make sure that the word length you select will last of sufficient length to help purchase the debts you would leave behind.

Also, bear in mind non-traditional debt scenarios that could affect all your family members should you pass away. Have your parents cosigned for the student education loans or your business loan? Would you as well as your partner maintain separate financial accounts but rely on one another to pay for certain bills? Make sure you cover all the bases when considering what kind of debt horizon you have. That exercise will help you pick a term length to assist protect the ones you care about.

People who plan to retire in 20 years

If you believe you'll be retired or near to retirement in Two decades, you may think about a 20-year term to provide a cushion of coverage before you reach that milestone. At that point, life insurance coverage might not be as vital because you'll no longer be supporting your family together with your income.

How much does a 20-year term length policy cost?

A 20-year term life insurance policy may cost less than many everyday expenses, like a gym membership or oil change. Listed here are term life insurance premiums for males and women in excellent health for any 20-year term policy from Haven Term policy, from MassMutual, at different ages:

Who might need a 15-year term length?

A long term isn't always better. The space you'll need depends on your situation, and a 15-year term length policy might be best for you if you are most of the following situations or stages of life.


If your children are in elementary school and you plan to send these to college, Fifteen years might be the sweet spot because the policy would cover them until they reach college age. That term won't break the bank and offers solid insurance protection for the family.

Caregiver for aging parents

Financial protection from life insurance is not only about your spouse and kids. You might be one of the growing number of people who care for their aging parents in their homes. If you're financially supporting older members of the family, a 15-year term length may be enough to pay for their demands when they are still living should you die.

Homeowners with a mortgage

If you have a 15-year mortgage and have whittled your longer-term mortgage right down to 15 years or less, think about a 15-year term policy. The life span insurance policy payout will help pay off the all your mortgage in the event of your death.

Closing in on retirement

Life insurance is designed to help replace your income that others rely on for his or her financial well-being. Once in retirement, the requirement for life insurance diminishes since your household is no longer counting on your earnings for support. So if you're Fifteen years or less away from retiring, a 15-year term policy might be right for you. When the unexpected happens and you perish, you'll have provided financial support for family to assist bridge that gap.

How much does a 15-year term length policy cost?

A 15-year term can be a cost-effective way to get the coverage you'll need. Listed here are term life insurance premiums for men and ladies in excellent health for any 15-year Haven Term policy, issued by MassMutual, at different ages:

Who might need a 10-year term length?

A 10-year term may not seem of sufficient length to provide the financial back-up all your family members might need, but there are many situations enabling you to take advantage of a decade of monetary protection for family.

Your mortgage took longer to repay than expected

Perhaps you moved and acquired a brand new home after a couple of years into your mortgage, you upgraded the dimensions and location of said home, or else you required to perform some refinancing. All of these actions could result in the truth that your term life policy no more lasts until your mortgage is paid off. That might signal a necessity to purchase a shorter-term life insurance coverage to help protect those you leave behind for that extended years of your debt.


Once again, parents have been in this mixture. Parents with pre-teen children in junior high school might benefit from a 10-year term length, which may offer coverage through their kids' college years or young adulthood. Or maybe you had another child years after buying a 20-year term policy. You will probably find that a 10-year term could offer protection during that gap of coverage until your youngest child is in college or a self-sufficient adult.

Retiring or financially independent within the decade

Even when you're so close to retirement that you can smell it, a phrase life insurance coverage may still seem sensible in some situations. Perhaps you had financial obligations that popped up after you became a clear nester – such as helping your children pay for graduate school. You may bought a second home and now possess a new mortgage to pay off. Whatever the reason behind your need, a 10-year term could help cover those financial obligations if something became of you before you retired. The same thing goes should you anticipate that you'll well be financially independent in 10 years or less and want to put some insurance protection into place should the unexpected happen in that time period.

How much does a 10-year term length policy cost?

A 10-year term might supply the protection you'll need at a cost you really can afford. Listed here are term life insurance premiums for men and women in excellent health for any 10-year Haven Term policy, from MassMutual, at different ages:

How to obtain the coverage you need

When choosing term length, it's essential to keep in mind that that term life is intentionally meant to be among the simpler and more affordable kinds of life insurance coverage. Therefore, obtaining the coverage you'll need should also be uncomplicated. Fortunately, it can be.

Several factors go into choosing the right life insurance coverage and coverage term for you personally. Your loved ones structure, chronilogical age of dependents, financial targets, debts, and budget will all ultimately play into which term length best serves your needs.

An online life insurance calculator can provide you with a precise estimate of methods much coverage you'll need.

Cameron Huddleston may be the author of Dad and mom, We have to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents Regarding their Finances. She is also an award-winning journalist that has been covering personal finance for more than 17 years. You can learn more about her at CameronHuddleston.com.