Types of life insurance

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Term life insurance

Term life insurance (Term Assurance in British English) provides for life insurance coverage for a specified term of years for a specified premium. The policy does not accumulate cash value. Term is generally considered “pure” insurance, where the premium buys protection in the event of death and nothing else. See Theory of Decreasing responsibility and Buy term and invest the difference.

The three key factors to be considered in term insurance are: face amount (protection), premium to be paid (cost to the insured), and length of coverage (term).

Various (US) insurance companies sell term insurance with many different combinations of these three parameters. The face amount can remain constant or decline. The term can be for one or more years. The premium can remain level or increase. A common type of term is called annual renewable term. It is a one year policy but the insurance company guarantees it will issue a policy of equal or lesser amount without regard to the insurability of the insured and with a premium set for the insured’s age at that time. Another common type of term insurance is mortgage insurance, which is usually a level premium, declining face value policy. The face amount is intended to equal the amount of the mortgage on the policy owner’s residence so the mortgage will be paid if the insured dies.

Guaranteed renewability is an important policy feature for any prospective owner or insured to consider because it allows the insured to acquire life insurance even if they become uninsurable.

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