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When you buy term life insurance, it is important to decide how long your policy will need to last. Thirty years is the longest term life policy offered by most insurance companies — and purchasing such a policy will likely depend on your needs.
Let’s explore how a 30-year term life insurance policy works and some life situations in which it could be an attractive option for you and your family.
What Is a 30-Year Term Life Policy?
With a 30-year term life policy, you receive temporary life insurance coverage for a finite time period. Once underwriting is completed and your policy goes into effect, your coverage lasts for 30 years as long as you continue to pay your premiums to keep your policy in force.
One advantage of a 30-year term life insurance policy is that your insurance coverage stays in place for decades — potentially your entire career. If you bought a policy with a shorter term, your coverage could end before you retire, in which case you would need to consider applying for a new policy if you wanted to maintain coverage. If you have health problems at that point, your rate could go up — or you might not even be able to qualify.
A 30-year term also keeps your premium the same for the duration of the policy. The price you pay when you first purchase your policy is the same price you'll pay years later. This could make budgeting easier because you don't have to worry about a rate increase as you get older. In exchange, a 30-year term policy may initially cost more than a policy with a shorter length because you're guaranteeing coverage for a longer period.
How Does a 30-Year Term Life Policy Work?
Let’s say you buy a $500,000 30-year term life policy. If you die during the 30-year period of coverage, then your beneficiary would receive the $500,000 death benefit, which could be used to pay for a variety expenses, including mortgage payments, outstanding credit card debt or medical bills, tuition and final expenses (e.g., funeral and burial costs).
Remember that your policy will expire after 30 years. If you need to continue your life insurance coverage at that point, you could then purchase a shorter term policy, depending on your health and age. Keep in mind, however, that your health conditions and older age later in life may disqualify you from obtaining future coverage.
Why Choose a 30-Year Policy?
There are multiple scenarios where a 30-year term life policy could be a good choice. Here are a few different life situations to consider.
Coverage to Last Your Entire Working Career
Thirty-year term life insurance could work well for those who want an insurance policy that lasts their entire career. If you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, your career could likely last at least 30 more years, which means you might be looking for a long-lasting insurance policy. A longer term policy could give you added security while you are in the working world.
Desire to Have Children in the Future
A 30-year term life policy could also work well if you don't have children yet but plan on having them one day. A 30-year term period could give you time to figure out your family plans, and then cover your future children until they come of age.
For example, Susana is recently married and wants to have children in three to five years. If she buys a shorter policy — like a 10-, 15- or 20-year term — the coverage will end before her kids are fully grown. With a 30-year term, however, she can keep her coverage in force even if she waits a few years before starting a family.
Replacement Income for Your Spouse
These policies could also be useful if you have a spouse who doesn't work and relies on your income. If you just want coverage to protect your children, a 20-year term could be enough to cover them to adulthood.
If your spouse also depends on your income, however, you might consider a policy that lasts your entire career. Additionally, if you take out a 30-year mortgage, 30-year term life insurance would last the entire length of the mortgage.
When Could a 30-Year Term Life Policy Be Less Suitable?
Considering your long-term life goals could be crucial to determining your needs. A 30-year term life insurance policy might not be the best choice if you're unsure about your long-term insurance needs.
The premiums on a 30-year policy may be initially higher than on a shorter policy because you're locking in coverage for a longer period. If you cancel your 30-year policy early, you've likely spent more than you needed to spend. You could have instead purchased a less expensive policy for a shorter period.
Thirty-year term policies may not be an option for applicants who are in their 50s or older. Insurance companies typically have age limits on who can apply for long-term policies, so a 30-year term policy may not be available depending on your age.
How Much Does a 30-Year Term Life Insurance Policy Cost?
A number of different factors can affect the cost of a 30-year term life insurance policy. These include the death benefit amount you select as well as any riders you choose. Your personal information — age, gender, health, tobacco use, family history and lifestyle and occupation — will also affect the underwriting process and influence the cost of your policy.
Forbes Advisor provides a series of average term life insurance rates by age and gender, term length and death benefit amount to give you an idea of how much a 30-year term life insurance policy might cost. Your actual policy costs, however, will vary and depend on your specific underwriting results.
- Average Term Life Insurance Rates by Age and Gender: The average cost of a 30-year term life insurance policy with a $250,000 death benefit for a 30-year-old male is $276 per year; for a 30-year-old female, it is $240 annually. That same policy costs an average of $372 per year for a 40-year-old male and $300 per year for a 40-year-old female. As you can see, in general, the older you are, the more expensive the policy cost. Rates for females are typically lower than those for males of the same age.
- Average Term Life Insurance Rates by Term Length: The average cost of a 30-year term life insurance policy with a $500,000 death benefit per year is $444 for a 30-year-old male and $336 for a 30-year-old female. Obviously, a shorter term policy costs less: The average cost of a 20-year term life policy with the same death benefit would be $300 per year for a 30-year-old male and $252 per year for a 30-year-old female.
- Average Term Life Insurance Rates by Death Benefit Amount: The average cost of a 30-year term life insurance policy with a $100,000 death benefit per year is $144 for both a 30-year-old male and a 30-year-old female. With a $750,000 death benefit, the average cost increases to $636 per year for a 30-year-old male and $480 per year for a 30-year-old female.
Any Other 30-Year Term Life Considerations?
Remember, you can always have more than one life insurance policy. You could choose a 30-year term policy, and then add additional policies with shorter terms as your needs change. For example, Steve buys a $250,000 30-year term life policy right after he gets married. Five years later, he has his first child and decides he would like more coverage — so he purchases a 20-year term life policy to complement his original policy.
Thirty-year term life insurance could be one of the simplest ways to cover your insurance needs. While it might cost more than other term policies, it can serve as your coverage for decades and help give you a sense of comfort.
Taking the time to review your coverage needs with an insurance professional could help you make a more informed decision about how to protect your loved ones and whether a 30-year term life policy is right for you.