Term life insurance is by far the simplest form of life insurance. Term life insurance is simply that, insurance for a term or specific period of time. It pays a benefit only if you die in the designated period of time. On the downside, it pays nothing if the policy expires before you die. It is often referred to as temporary life insurance.
Policies generally last for 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Many policies are convertible, which means that you have option of switching to a permanent life policy. The main advantage of a term life policy is that they generally have lower premiums. They are good for covering needs that may disappear in time, such as car or mortgage loans.
They also have some distinct drawbacks. Premiums generally increase with time. This means that you will be paying considerably more in your later years, when your need for protection is generally lower. Another factor to consider is that your coverage may expire at the end of your term, leaving you with nothing to show for your investment. You are essentially back at square one.
Insurance agents often recommend that customers switch term companies every couple years, in order to take advantage of promotional pricing. One should be mindful of doing this, as you will be subject to a new contestability period. A contestability period is normally two years. If you die during this period, the insurance company will likely review the statements you made on your application. If you have made any inaccurate or incomplete statements, the insurance company will likely refuse payment.
Life insurance is no laughing matter. When you are considering purchasing life insurance, please do some research first. Spend some time considering questions, and pose them to a trusted insurance broker. Be especially wary of purchasing insurance from a door to door salesman, as they are likely trying to sell term life insurance which may or may not suit your needs. After all, it is your hard earned money that is being spent. And it is the well being of your family that will be impacted by your decision.