Term Insurance is a form of life insurance that provides coverage for the term of the policy in return for fixed rate of payments called premiums.
Term Insurance is also called as Term Assurance. Once the term expires, coverage at the previous rate of premiums is no longer a given. Beyond the term, the policy holder can either decline further coverage or if he wants coverage, he would need to make additional payments. If the policy holder dies before term expiry, then the beneficiary receives the death benefit. For the coverage per premium dollar, term insurances provide substantial death benefit at a relatively inexpensive cost.
On the other hand, permanent life insurances like whole life insurance, universal and variable life insurance provide coverage over the entire life of the policy holder. The claim benefits from term insurance can be used as income replacements but they cannot be used for other purposes like real estate planning. If premium payment is done in time and term is still active, the insurance remains active. However, if no claims are filed, there will be no claim payout done. This makes it similar to other insurances like auto insurance or home insurance. If the policy holder declines further coverage, no refunds are given.
Term Insurance is mostly used to provide financial assistance to beneficiaries or dependents of the policy holder. It is more popular because it is less expensive than permanent life insurance.
Term life insurance offers a minimal one year term. If the policy holder dies within that one year, then the insurance company pays the death benefit. However, if the insured’s death occurs even one day beyond the last day of the term, death benefit is not paid. The premium amount is determined based on the likelihood of the insured’s death within that term. One year term insurance purchases are rare. Because policies require insurability proof, it is a challenge to renew term insurances. For example; if during the term the insured contracts a chronic health issue, then after the initial term expires, insurance agencies might not agree to a renewal. The insured might even get turned down if he tries to purchase new policies. Some policies offer guaranteed coverage without any insurability proof.
Another modified version of term insurance is where coverage is guaranteed for one year or the initial term. But the policy has a guarantee of continuation for more years if renewed. This additional time period could be 10-30 years. This kind of life insurance is called annual renewable term. However, with every renewal, premiums increase. Eventually, policy payments could exceed the cost of a permanent policy.
The more popular form of term insurance is level term insurance. In this kind, the premium amount to be paid remains constant over the initial number of years in the term, but the term itself is more than a year. Policy holders opt for 10-30 years. The longer the term is level for, the higher the premium. Level terms also include the option to renew if the terms need to be extended. However, renewal may or may not be guaranteed depending on insurability.
Term policies also usually include an option using which the insured can convert it to Whole Life Insurance or Universal Life Insurance Policy. In the case of insured contracting illnesses or falling prey to ill health, this option can be used to guarantee coverage.
Term Insurance Coverage and Permanent Life Insurance, both use mortality tables to calculate coverage and premium payments.
Death benefits are free from income tax. Because most term insurance expire without any claim payouts, they are less expensive compared to permanent life insurance. Permanent life insurance on the other hand will always have to payout. Studies show that only 1% of those insured under term insurance actually place claims for death benefits. This allows them to relatively cheaper. Because there’s less likelihood of payout, term insurance also offers higher coverage per premium dollar.
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