Best Term Life Insurance

Contributor, Benzinga

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If you’re looking for life insurance, you’ve seen both whole and term policies offered. So, what is term life insurance? And how does it differ from whole life? Term life insurance is a type of protection that has set term lengths and pays out to your beneficiary if you die while your policy is active. In some circumstances, your life insurance may also offer a payout if you become permanently disabled and unable to work.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at term life coverage and how it works. Get to know some of the major players and compare quotes here.

What is Term Life Insurance?

Term life insurance, by definition, is a type of insurance policy that guarantees an agreed-upon payout of a death benefit to named beneficiaries in the event that the policyholder passes away during the term of the life insurance policy.

Key Points

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  • Terms typically last from 1 to 30 years
  • Term life insurance is often sold at a less expensive rate than whole life insurance
  • Unlike whole life insurance, term life usually does not offer a cash value benefit while the policyholder is alive

Best Term Life Insurance Companies

Get started securely through Bestow Life Insurance’s website
Disclosure: *excludes New York
Age Requirements
18-59
N/A
1 Minute Review

Bestow offers 2 kinds of life insurance policies: 20-year level term policy or a 10-year level term policy.

Through its policies, you may qualify for up to $1 million in term life insurance. That may seem like a sizeable sum, but if you have a spouse and children, you have to consider the cost of things beyond your mortgage, such as daycare and eventually college, as well as the loss of wages over time.

Bestow uses its proprietary technology to underwrite your insurance policy, so the application process is much faster than with traditional life insurance companies. They’re also backed by Munich Re and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, 2 A+ rated insurance companies.

Best For
  • People who are looking for short-term life insurance
  • Individuals who don’t want to go through the hassle of having a medical exam or blood work done to get coverage
Pros
  • Plans start at just $8/month
  • Decent coverage options if you need insurance quickly and without hassle
Cons
  • Offers 2 types of plans; does not offer whole or universal life insurance policies
  • The 10- and 20-year plans not available to users under 21 or older than 55
Age Requirements
18 – 100
N/A
1 Minute Review

Northwestern Mutual offers a variety of life insurance policies that are suitable for a wide range of people. Policies are available in all 50 states, although some policies and riders may not be available in every state. The company has strong financial strength ratings and an above-average rating when it comes to consumer complaints. 

To get a quote from Northwestern Mutual, you have to talk to one of its agents. However, you can browse information on its website and use the coverage calculator tool to estimate how much life insurance coverage is recommended for your family.

Best For
  • Affordable term life insurance that can be converted to a permanent life insurance policy later
  • Adding riders to a life insurance policy
Pros
  • Strong financial strength ratings and a low number of consumer complaints
  • Several types of life insurance policies available
  • Offers other financial planning, insurance and investment products and services
Cons
  • Lack of clarity about the product offerings on Northwestern Mutual’s website
  • Can’t get a quote or apply directly for a policy online
get started securely through Fabric Life Insurance’s website
Age Requirements
21 – 60
N/A
1 Minute Review

Fabric offers term life insurance, free digital will creation and other tools to help you better your family’s financial life. They’re the one stop shop for young families looking for financial security.

Fabric offers 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 year term options and coverage ranging from $100,000 to $5 million.

Fabric offers highly reviewed online customer service through its app and website and has the highest TrustPilot rating in its class.

Best For
  • No exam required for most
  • Those who want to avoid the hassle of insurance salesmen
  • New or expecting parents looking for a broader suite of financial tools
Pros
  • Affordable premiums
  • Free digital will creation
  • Free app with helpful tools for parents
  • Apply and see your rate in less than 10 minutes
Cons
  • No term life coverage in New York or Montana
  • Can’t increase coverage after purchasing
Age Requirements
18 – 80
N/A
1 Minute Review

With more than 12 million active customers, Transamerica Corp. is one of the biggest names in the life insurance industry. Transamerica offers a wide array of life insurance products — everything from term to a variety of permanent life insurance products, including whole, universal and variable life.

Transamerica life insurance policies are available to anyone ages 18 to 80, with coverage starting at just $25,000 and going as high as $10 million. In addition to term and permanent life insurance policies, Transamerica offers final expense insurance and any number of riders to help customers customize their policies.

Best For
  • Coverage with chronic conditions
  • High benefit policies
  • Smokers
Pros
  • Term life policy quotes and purchase available online
  • Wide array of products
  • Comprehensive online resources
  • No medical exam required for many term policies
Cons
  • Below-average scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and J.D. Powers
  • Policies purchased through agents only
  • Disproportionate number of customer complaints
get started securely through Ladder’s website
Disclosure: Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (Cal. license # 0K22568; Ark. license # 3000140372) offers term life insurance policies: (i) in New York, on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY (policy form # MN-26); and (ii) in all other states and the District of Columbia on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, MN (policy form # ICC20P-AZ100 and # P-AZ100). Only Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York is authorized to issue life insurance in the state of New York. Insurance policy prices, coverages, features, terms, benefits, exclusions, limitations and available discounts vary among these insurers and are subject to qualifications. Each insurer is solely responsible for any claims and has financial responsibility for its own products.
Age Requirements
20 – 60
N/A
1 Minute Review

Ladder offers policies with no hidden fees, on-the-spot underwriting and a streamlined website. Coverage ranges from $100,000 to $8 million and you can adjust your coverage over time as needs change.

You can choose a 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30-year term. Ladder also offers up to $3 million in coverage without a medical exam — just answer a few health questions and complete the application to get an instant decision.

Ladder doesn’t impose policy, cancellation or processing fees and you can cancel at any time. Take three steps to get Ladder insurance:

  1. You can apply for life insurance coverage with Ladder right now via the online application.
  2. Find out whether you’re instantly approved.
  3. Accept your offer — including affordable prices and no hidden fees.

Its price lock guarantee ensures your premium won’t increase as your health changes and you age. Policies in New York are issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York and in the other states and DC by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. You can receive a refund within the 1st 30 days if you’re unhappy with your coverage and you can cancel at any time.

 

Best For
  • Term life insurance
  • Online application
  • Policyholders between 20 to 60 years of age
Pros
  • Up to $8 million in coverage
  • Price lock guarantee
  • No policy fees
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Adjustable coverage
Cons
  • No policy riders
  • Term life insurance only

How Does Coverage Work?

When you apply for a term life plan, you’ll choose an initial term for your policy. Your term is the length of time that your insurance policy is active. For example, if you choose a policy with a 20-year term, it means that your policy will be active for 20 years from the first month you pay for your insurance.

You’ll also name a beneficiary on your policy. Your beneficiary might be your children, your spouse, other members of your family, a business partner or even a favorite charity. You can also name more than 1 beneficiary on your policy. If you die while your policy is active, your beneficiary receives the death benefit laid out in your policy’s terms. Your beneficiary might receive your death benefit as a lump sum, or in a series of life insurance payouts

If you don’t die during your policy’s term, your insurance policy expires and you don’t receive any type of benefit.

Your beneficiaries can use your death benefit in any way they like. There are no restrictions on what they can spend it on. Most beneficiaries use the death benefit for living expenses, debt and funeral expenses. If you have more than 1 beneficiary, you should specify how you would like your death benefit divided in your will. 

Whole Life vs. Term Life

There are 2 major types of life insurance: whole life and term life. Let’s take a look at a few of the differences between these types. 

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Main Differences

 

  • Whole life lasts for the duration of your life; term life has set terms, or the length of time that your policy is active.
  • Whole life insurance has a guaranteed death benefit. Term life coverage does not; your beneficiaries will only be paid out if your policy is still active when you pass.
  • Whole life policies include a cash benefit as well as a death benefit. You can only access the cash benefit while you are alive; a death benefit is paid out to your beneficiaries upon your passing.
  • Whole life insurance typically has more expensive premiums than term life insurance.
  • Term life may be easier to get online or more quickly; some policies are available as no medical exam life insurance coverage.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance guarantees a death benefit for your beneficiaries. Unlike a term life policy, whole life policies don’t have a term. It doesn’t matter when you die, your beneficiaries will receive your benefit as long as the premium is paid.

In addition to a death benefit, whole life insurance policies also include a cash benefit portion. Every month, a small percentage of your premium goes into a cash value that builds interest over time. You can borrow against it or take it out as a low-interest loan. The cash benefit portion of your policy can help you recapture some of the money you spend on premiums. You can only access this benefit while you’re alive. If you die, your beneficiaries don’t receive your cash benefit account — only your death benefit.

The downside of these policies is that whole life insurance policies are much more expensive than term life policies. Many whole life policyholders default on their policies because they can’t keep up with the payments. 

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance policies have a set term during which your policy is active. Unlike whole life insurance, your death benefit isn’t guaranteed with a term life insurance policy. Term policies also don’t have cash benefit portions. However, they are much more affordable and easier to get online. If you’re looking for cheap life insurance, term life insurance is a good place to start.

Who Needs Term Life Insurance?

Not sure if you need a life insurance policy? Let’s take a look at a few reasons to get a term life insurance policy

These types of policies may be more affordable. You can find term life insurance for as little as $20 per month from many companies. 

Term life insurance policies have no limit on death benefit usage. Unlike some types of insurance (like mortgage payment insurance) there are no limits on how your beneficiaries use your death benefit with a term policy. Your family members can use your benefits for everything from paying off credit card debt to investing for the future. 

Provider Reviews

Now that you understand how term life insurance works, let’s take a look at a few of our top picks that offer term policies. 

1. Fabric Life Insurance

Fabric believes that life insurance isn’t for you, it’s for your family. You can apply and see your price in under 10 minutes and could be offered coverage on the spot. Apply online or in Fabric’s mobile app. They offer a range of term lengths and coverage amounts to help you find a policy that works for you. Choose from 10, 15 or 20-year terms and coverage amounts from $100,000 up to $5,000,000. 

get started securely through Fabric Life Insurance’s website
Age Requirements
21 – 60
N/A
1 Minute Review

Fabric offers term life insurance, free digital will creation and other tools to help you better your family’s financial life. They’re the one stop shop for young families looking for financial security.

Fabric offers 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 year term options and coverage ranging from $100,000 to $5 million.

Fabric offers highly reviewed online customer service through its app and website and has the highest TrustPilot rating in its class.

Best For
  • No exam required for most
  • Those who want to avoid the hassle of insurance salesmen
  • New or expecting parents looking for a broader suite of financial tools
Pros
  • Affordable premiums
  • Free digital will creation
  • Free app with helpful tools for parents
  • Apply and see your rate in less than 10 minutes
Cons
  • No term life coverage in New York or Montana
  • Can’t increase coverage after purchasing

2. Bestow Life Insurance

Bestow only offers term life insurance and you can choose from a short or long-term policy depending on your needs. You are able to receive your coverage immediately if you’re approved for a policy. Bestow also offers low rates and flexible cancellation policy to help you with this important decision.

Get started securely through Bestow Life Insurance’s website
Disclosure: *excludes New York
Age Requirements
18-59
N/A
1 Minute Review

Bestow offers 2 kinds of life insurance policies: 20-year level term policy or a 10-year level term policy.

Through its policies, you may qualify for up to $1 million in term life insurance. That may seem like a sizeable sum, but if you have a spouse and children, you have to consider the cost of things beyond your mortgage, such as daycare and eventually college, as well as the loss of wages over time.

Bestow uses its proprietary technology to underwrite your insurance policy, so the application process is much faster than with traditional life insurance companies. They’re also backed by Munich Re and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, 2 A+ rated insurance companies.

Best For
  • People who are looking for short-term life insurance
  • Individuals who don’t want to go through the hassle of having a medical exam or blood work done to get coverage
Pros
  • Plans start at just $8/month
  • Decent coverage options if you need insurance quickly and without hassle
Cons
  • Offers 2 types of plans; does not offer whole or universal life insurance policies
  • The 10- and 20-year plans not available to users under 21 or older than 55

3. Policygenius Life Insurance

While not an insurer itself, Policygenius is an insurance marketplace that allows you to compare and contrast a wide range of insurance products, including life insurance. Use their free tools to educate yourself on life insurance and calculate the amount of coverage you need. From there, easily compare and apply for your policy all in one place.

Age Requirements
18 – 80
N/A
1 Minute Review

Policygenius is a great option if you want to compare cheap life insurance companies and apply for a policy all in one place.

The service could save you up to 40% with its comparison of top-rated carriers. And because Policygenius is a marketplace, not an insurance company, you can trust that you’re getting unbiased life insurance advice from their licensed experts. 

Use Policygenius’ free cost calculator to help you figure out the amount of coverage you need. There are also good educational tools if you want to buy a policy on your own.

Policygenius can also help you find the best provider to build an online will and plan your estate, rounding out their life insurance resources.

Best For
  • Comparing policies side-by-side
  • Multiple coverage options
Pros
  • Comparison of multiple policies
  • Unbiased advice from licensed insurance experts
  • Free cost calculator
Cons
  • Quotes from all providers not always available

4. Ethos Life Insurance

Offering both term and whole life products, Ethos helps you find life insurance backed by top providers. You can complete the entire process alone and online, or get help from a licensed and salaried agent.

Disclosure: Not available to New York residents.
Age Requirements
20 — 65
N/A
1 Minute Review

Ethos is life insurance for the modern age, leveraging technology to bring customers an easy and fast application process so you can get back to spending time with those who matter most — your family.

Ethos offers both term and whole life insurance policies with top-rated carriers. You may not be able to predict when you go, but you can help ensure your family and loved ones are taken care of when it does happen. With Ethos, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ve helped protect your family.

 

Best For
  • Newlyweds, young people, homeowners, seniors and parents
  • Individuals who wants a quick, easy life insurance application process
  • Individuals for whom life insurance had previously been inaccessible
  • Self-starters who prefer a hands-off approach when interacting with insurance agents
Pros
  • Instant personalized quotes
  • 10 minute seamless application process
  • Same-day coverage available
  • Range of term and whole life coverage policies
  • No medical exam or blood tests required (just answer a few health questions)
Cons
  • Not available in New York

5. Ladder Life Insurance

Ladder offers life insurance policies for people between the ages of 20 and 60. Its life insurance policies also offer a wide range of coverage options, ranging from $100,000 to $8 million.

get started securely through Ladder’s website
Disclosure: Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (Cal. license # 0K22568; Ark. license # 3000140372) offers term life insurance policies: (i) in New York, on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY (policy form # MN-26); and (ii) in all other states and the District of Columbia on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, MN (policy form # ICC20P-AZ100 and # P-AZ100). Only Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York is authorized to issue life insurance in the state of New York. Insurance policy prices, coverages, features, terms, benefits, exclusions, limitations and available discounts vary among these insurers and are subject to qualifications. Each insurer is solely responsible for any claims and has financial responsibility for its own products.
Age Requirements
20 – 60
N/A
1 Minute Review

Ladder offers policies with no hidden fees, on-the-spot underwriting and a streamlined website. Coverage ranges from $100,000 to $8 million and you can adjust your coverage over time as needs change.

You can choose a 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30-year term. Ladder also offers up to $3 million in coverage without a medical exam — just answer a few health questions and complete the application to get an instant decision.

Ladder doesn’t impose policy, cancellation or processing fees and you can cancel at any time. Take three steps to get Ladder insurance:

  1. You can apply for life insurance coverage with Ladder right now via the online application.
  2. Find out whether you’re instantly approved.
  3. Accept your offer — including affordable prices and no hidden fees.

Its price lock guarantee ensures your premium won’t increase as your health changes and you age. Policies in New York are issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York and in the other states and DC by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. You can receive a refund within the 1st 30 days if you’re unhappy with your coverage and you can cancel at any time.

 

Best For
  • Term life insurance
  • Online application
  • Policyholders between 20 to 60 years of age
Pros
  • Up to $8 million in coverage
  • Price lock guarantee
  • No policy fees
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Adjustable coverage
Cons
  • No policy riders
  • Term life insurance only

Protect Your Family with Affordable Coverage

Buying term life insurance doesn’t need to be complicated. The best way to ensure that you’re getting the protection that you need is to fully read your policy’s terms before you enroll. Don’t be afraid to ask your insurance representative any questions you have about your policy, your premium and what your beneficiaries will receive if you die. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What are the advantages of term life insurance?

1
What are the advantages of term life insurance?
asked
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A term life policy allows you to purchase coverage at a guaranteed premium for a limited amount of time. This structure makes term life an affordable choice to protect your family if you have a financial commitment that won’t last forever, like a mortgage or the cost of raising kids. A 20-year term life insurance policy is the most popular life insurance policy purchased to protect loved ones if the unexpected happens. Get a quote from top providers.

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Q

What are the advantages of whole life insurance?

1
What are the advantages of whole life insurance?
asked
A
1

Whole life insurance, along with universal life insurance and some other variants, is designed to provide coverage for your entire life. This differs from a term policy that offers guaranteed premiums for a limited time. Permanent life insurance has a savings or investment element that helps the policy to build cash value, making it an asset that can be borrowed against or even sold if you no longer need the policy.

answered
Q

How much life insurance do I need?

1
How much life insurance do I need?
asked
A
1

Many in the industry recommend that you carry 8-12 times your annual income in life insurance coverage. A more granular approach can be beneficial, however, and accounting for debt and ongoing financial commitments in more detail when choosing a coverage amount can better provide for your family than an arbitrary multiple of earnings. Get a customized quote for the best policy.

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Methodology

Benzinga crafted a specific methodology to rank life insurance. To see a comprehensive breakdown of our methodology, please visit our Life Insurance Methodology page.