10-year term life insurance: What is it & how much does it cost?

A 30-year-old could pay as little as $13 to $16 per month for a $500,000 life insurance policy that lasts 10 years.

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Katherine MurbachEditor & Licensed Life Insurance AgentKatherine Murbach is a life insurance and annuities editor, licensed life insurance agent, and former sales associate at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Edited by

Antonio Ruiz-CamachoAntonio Ruiz-CamachoAssociate Content DirectorAntonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.
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Reviewed by

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®Certified Financial PlannerIan Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

Updated|6 min read

Expert reviewedExpert reviewedThis article has been reviewed by a member of ourFinancial Review Council to ensure all sources, statistics, and claims meet the highest standard for accurate and unbiased advice.Learn more about oureditorial review process.

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A 10-year term life insurance policy is a type of life insurance that lasts for 10 years. You’ll pay 10 years of premiums in exchange for life insurance coverage over the course of that time period — called the “term” of your policy. If you die while your policy is active, your beneficiaries can claim a tax-free sum of money called the death benefit.

What is a 10-year term life insurance policy?

10-year term life insurance is a policy with a duration of 10 years. In general, term life insurance is a type of coverage that lasts for a set number of years before expiring. It’s typically used as a financial safety net for your loved ones, so they wouldn’t face sudden expenses if you were to die unexpectedly.

How does 10-year term life insurance work?

10-year term life insurance works the same way as the majority of term life policies. When you initially apply for a policy, you’ll work with a licensed agent to select your insurer, your coverage amount, and your term length. 

  • You’ll select a 10-year term, and carry on with the application process as you would for any other type of life insurance.

  • Most 10-year term life insurance policies have level premiums, which means they won’t change for the duration of the term. 

  • The majority of people pay for their life insurance either monthly or annually. 

  • As long as you make payments on time, your coverage will stay active for the entire 10-year term.

  • At the end of the 10-year term, the policy expires.

Who should consider getting a 10-year term life policy?

Generally speaking, if you only need life insurance for a few years, a 10-year term policy is often a more affordable option than buying an annual renewable policy each year. Below are a few other common scenarios in which you might need a 10-year term.

Parents of growing children

If you’re a parent of young teenagers or you expect your children will be financially independent within the next decade, 10 years of coverage is likely enough for you. This way, you’re covered while your children depend on your financial support, but you won’t need to pay for coverage when they no longer rely on you.

People with short-term insurance needs

If you have a business loan, personal loan, mortgage, or other debt that your loved ones would need to pay in your absence, a 10-year life insurance policy can help cover those expenses. If you expect to have your debts paid within 10 years, this term length is likely a good fit for you.

Smokers planning to quit

Smokers can pay two to three times more than non-smokers for the same life insurance coverage. If you currently smoke but are planning to quit, you can opt for a 10-year term instead of a 20-year term or a 30-year term to lower your premiums, while still getting the financial protection you need. 

Once you’re nicotine-free for a year or two, you can reapply to replace the 10-year term policy. This will lower your rates, so you could potentially afford a longer term at this point, if needed.

Older adults with fewer financial responsibilities

Oftentimes, older adults choose to replace a longer term policy with a 10-year term as they approach the end of their career. As you have fewer years left before going into retirement or fewer years left on your mortgage, you’ll likely only need coverage through the end of your existing financial responsibilities.

If you’re an older adult buying a life insurance policy for the first time, you still may only need 10 more years of coverage. A licensed agent can help you assess how much life insurance you need and how long your coverage should last, if you’re unsure.

Young people looking for affordable coverage

Term life insurance rates increase with your term length, so a 10-year term policy is cheaper than a 20-year or 30-year term one. If you’re a young adult with a limited budget, a 10-year term life policy can get you the coverage you need for the time being at a more affordable price.

Pros & cons of 10-year term life insurance

A 10-year term life policy can be cheaper than other coverage options, but may expire while you still have financial obligations to cover. Here’s a look at other pros and cons.

Pros

  • Affordable. 10-year term life insurance is cheaper than life insurance with a longer term length.

  • Coverage only when you need it. If you have a specific financial obligation that only lasts a few years, a 10-year term can offer you coverage exactly when you need it, so you won’t overpay for your policy.

Cons

  • May not last long enough for your needs. Depending on your financial situation, you might still need coverage after 10 years.

  • Can be expensive to renew. After your 10 years are up, renewing your rates will be more expensive than if you had originally bought a term policy lasting 20 or 30 years.

How much does 10-year term life insurance cost?

A 30-year-old female who doesn’t smoke could pay between $13 and $25 per month for a $500,000 term life policy that lasts 10 years. A 30-year-old male with a similar profile could pay between $16 and $32 per month for the same coverage.

Your term life insurance rates will depend on your age, health, gender, and lifestyle factors. You can connect with a Policygenius agent for free in order to get a personalized quote for your circumstances.

Get started

Cheapest 10-year term life insurance rates

Age

Gender

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

20

Female

$10.94

$14.25

$18.33

Male

$12.89

$18.49

$25.93

30

Female

$10.24

$13.36

$18.99

Male

$11.72

$16.55

$23.85

40

Female

$13.12

$18.97

$29.51

Male

$15.12

$22.63

$34.72

50

Female

$23.95

$39.91

$67.45

Male

$28.80

$48.64

$83.24

Collapse table

Methodology: Average monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in a Preferred Plus health classification obtaining a $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000, 10-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Brighthouse Financial, Corebridge Financial, Foresters Financial, Legal & General America, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Rates may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 01/01/2024.

Average 10-year term life insurance rates

Age

Gender

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

20

Female

$17.53

$25.76

$38.05

Male

$21.93

$33.34

$53.45

30

Female

$17.36

$25.66

$39.84

Male

$21.24

$32.29

$51.28

40

Female

$23.57

$36.38

$60.61

Male

$28.97

$45.39

$74.38

50

Female

$47.52

$78.44

$137.13

Male

$61.18

$102.07

$183.34

Collapse table

Methodology: Average monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in a Standard health classification obtaining a $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000, 10-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Brighthouse Financial, Corebridge Financial, Foresters Financial, Legal & General America, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Rates may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 01/01/2024.

10-year term life insurance rates for smokers

Age

Gender

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

20

Female

$35.65

$59.61

$99.96

Male

$45.84

$75.59

$128.06

30

Female

$37.81

$62.72

$107.63

Male

$47.44

$79.79

$139.47

40

Female

$60.34

$100.39

$174.28

Male

$76.81

$129.90

$231.47

50

Female

$132.67

$219.17

$394.15

Male

$176.05

$303.33

$554.49

Collapse table

Methodology: Average monthly rates are calculated for male and female smokers in a Standard Smoker health classification obtaining a $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000, 10-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Brighthouse Financial, Corebridge Financial, Foresters Financial, Legal & General America, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Rates may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 01/01/2024.

Learn more about life insurance for smokers

10-year term life insurance rates for seniors

Age

Gender

$250,000 coverage amount

$500,000 coverage amount

$1 million coverage amount

60

Female

$62.60

$107.24

$190.74

Male

$82.70

$144.34

$259.24

70

Female

$173.39

$303.01

$543.42

Male

$245.01

$456.78

$833.66

Methodology: Average monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers in a Preferred health classification obtaining a $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000, 10-year term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from Brighthouse Financial, Corebridge Financial, Foresters Financial, Legal & General America, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, Symetra, and Transamerica. Rates may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 01/01/2024.

Learn more about life insurance for seniors

What happens after a 10-year term policy ends?

After your 10-year term is up, your policy will simply expire, unless you choose to renew your policy, or convert your coverage into a permanent life insurance policy. You can also apply for a new policy altogether.

Renew your policy

Most insurers give you the option to renew your policy at the end of the term. You’ll pay a higher premium, but your coverage will remain the same and you won’t have to take a new medical exam, which is a standard part of the application process. 

If you choose to renew, you’ll typically have to continue renewing each year if you want to keep your coverage, so this option may become expensive, depending on your age.

Convert to a permanent policy

You can typically convert your term life coverage into a permanent life insurance policy with your insurer, either before the end of the term or before you reach a certain age (usually 65 or 70.) This option will increase your premiums, but you’ll have lifelong coverage.

Permanent life insurance policies — like whole life or universal life insurance — are more expensive than term life policies because they don’t expire and come with a cash value savings feature. They’re best suited for people with specific coverage needs, or high-net-worth individuals. A financial advisor or a licensed agent can help you determine if this type of policy is right for you.

Learn more about the differences between term and permanent life insurance

Get a new policy

You can also choose to apply for a new policy to replace your expired term. Depending on your age, your health, and how much longer you need life insurance coverage, it may be cheaper to buy a new policy rather than to renew your old policy each year. 

Working with an independent broker like Policygenius is a simple way to compare quotes from multiple insurers to determine which option is best for you.

Ready to shop for life insurance?

Best 10-year term life insurance companies of 2024

The best term life insurance company for you depends on your age, health, and coverage needs. Most insurers offer a 10-year term among their term life insurance offerings, but below are a few of Policygenius’ partner companies that offer affordable 10-year terms.

Methodology

Why you can trust our picks

Our recommendations are based on internal and external expert analysis, as well as our Policygenius Life Insurance Price Index, which uses real-time data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. When reviewing a life insurance company, our editorial team uses a proprietary scoring rubric with five factors — price, policy details, financial strength, transparency, and customer experience — to assign an unbiased rating between one and five stars. These ratings are also taken into consideration as part of our company recommendations. We don’t get paid for our reviews.

Our reviews and recommendations can help you find a reliable insurer for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you depends on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can support you during the application process to ensure you get the right coverage for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

Read more about our reviews methodology

award icon

2024 Policygenius award winner

Brighthouse Financial

Brighthouse Financial logo

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange star

5.0

AM Best rating 

AM Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-medical-exam option

Why we chose itchevron icon

Brighthouse Financial offers competitive rates, comprehensive coverage, and application decisions in as little as 24 hours, making it a great choice for people who want to get life insurance coverage without having to take the medical exam.

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Extremely affordable

  • Instant-decision applications

  • Best-in-class no-exam option

Cons

  • Traditional term life not available in CA, IL, LA, ME, or NY

  • Term life applicants limited to ages 25-50

Brighthouse Financial offers a no-medical-exam term life policy with either a 10-, 20-, or 30-year term. The insurer offers a seamless application process — you could get approved for coverage on your initial phone call. This policy option is available for people age 25 to 50 with relatively few health complications.

Legal & General America, which also does business as Banner Life and William Penn, has affordable premiums at many different coverage amounts and term lengths. You’ll complete a health questionnaire along with your application before the insurer will determine if you need to take an in-person medical exam for approval.

Comparing the best 10-year term life insurance of 2024

Company

Policygenius rating

AM best rating

Cost

Brighthouse Financial

5.0/5 ★

A

$

Legal & General America

4.9/5 ★

A+

$

Learn more about the best life insurance companies of 2024

How to buy 10-year term life insurance through Policygenius

  1. Determine your coverage needs. Your life insurance policy should have enough coverage to fulfill you and your family’s financial obligations — including daily expenses, housing costs, and childcare, if applicable. A common rule of thumb is to multiply your income by 10 to 15 to get your total coverage amount. We can also do the math for you. Use our life insurance coverage calculator to find out how much coverage you need.

  2. Get online quotes. Working with an independent broker is a great way to compare life insurance quotes from multiple insurers for free — you’ll answer a few quick questions about your age, health, and finances. Keep in mind your quote is just an estimate — you’ll know your final rates at the end of the application process.

  3. Apply for coverage. The life insurance agent or broker you’re working with will help you fill out your application, which consists of your medical history, your financial status, and some basic identifying information.  

  4. Take a medical exam. The life insurance medical exam is a common part of the application process — it’s similar to an annual doctor’s visit and it’s paid for by the insurance company. Some insurers may only require a health questionnaire over the phone, but it depends on the company’s offerings and your overall health profile.

  5. Wait for approval. The insurer will review your application during a process called underwriting — which can take up to four to six weeks. If you don’t need to take an in-person medical exam, you could get approval within a week or less.

  6. Sign your policy & pay your first premium. This step will activate your coverage so you’re financially protected. From here, all you need to do is keep making payments. Most people choose to automate payments using an electronic funds transfer.

More term life insurance options

Author

Katherine Murbach is a life insurance and annuities editor, licensed life insurance agent, and former sales associate at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Editor

Antonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

Expert reviewer

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

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