What Are the Different Types of Term Life Insurance?

What Are the Different Types of Term Life Insurance?

In summary, term insurance provides coverage for a specific period of time. It pays a death benefit only if you die during the specified term and have paid the required premiums. But what are the different types of term life insurance?

Term insurance typically provides the largest amount of death protection for your premium dollars. Most term policies are guaranteed renewable for one or more additional terms, even if your health has changed.

Every time you renew a term policy, the premium payment will increase, but usually remains level for the rest of the term.

If you are considering term insurance, be sure to check the premium schedule at the specified renewal age, and find out for how long the policy can be renewed, if you decide to keep it.

Many term insurance policies can be exchanged for a permanent policy during the term period. This conversion eligibility could be very important, especially if your health deteriorates and leaves you unable to qualify for a new permanent policy.

Before applying for a policy, be sure to check the conversion eligibility period as you renew the coverage.

Here are some common types of term insurance:

Annual Renewable Term (ART)

Also, known as yearly renewable term, “YRT” or “ART” – features an annually increasing premium and a level death benefit.

Level Premium Term

Features a level premium for a specified number of years – the premium may or may not be guaranteed to remain level. At the end of this level premium period, some policies allow you to renew coverage for another term at very favorable rates, provided that you meet the company’s underwriting criteria (i.e., your health remains good).

This type of coverage is known in the industry as “re-entry” term.

However, if you don’t meet the company’s current underwriting standards, you will not qualify for the re-entry term rates. You can still keep the coverage in-force for a specified period of years, but you’ll be paying a higher premium rat me.

Decreasing Term Insurance

Sometimes known as “Mortgage Insurance” because it is often used for a mortgage cancellation in the event of a premature death of the family’s primary wage earner.

It features a level premium and a decreasing death benefit. Since coverage decreases gradually over the years, the premium will be considerably lower than level of premium period.

Return of Premium Term

Allows the policyholder to receive the sum of premiums paid – sometimes with interest – after a certain term of years, usually the end of the level of premium period.


By Tony Steuer, CLU, LA, CPFFE

Tony Steuer is an author and advocate for financial preparedness. Tony Steuer, CLU, LA, CPFFE, helps people make sense of the financial world in a way that’s easy for them to understand. His books including, “GET READY!,” “Insurance Made Easy,” and “Questions and Answers on Life Insurance,” have won numerous awards. Tony is the founder of the GET READY! Initiative which includes the GET READY! financial organization system, the GET READY! Financial Preparedness Club, GET READY! Podcast, and the GET READY! Financial Principles, a best practices playbook for the financial services industry. Tony served as long-term member of the California Department of Insurance Curriculum Board. Tony is regularly featured in the media including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fast Company, and other media. He has also appeared as a guest on television shows, such as ABC’s “Seven on Your Side.” Visit https://tonysteuer.com/ to join the GET READY! Financial Preparedness Club and access free resources.

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