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Understanding term life insurance rates

Term life insurance rates depend on your age, health, and hobbies, as well as length and amount of coverage.

Nupur GambhirAmanda Shih author photo


Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is an insurance editor at Policygenius and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent in New York.


Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Licensed Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is an insurance editor and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Jetty, and J.D. Power.

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Expert reviewed

This article has been reviewed by a licensed Policygenius expert to ensure that sources, statistics, and claims meet our standard for accurate and unbiased advice.

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Matt Burke

Matt Burke

Director of Life, DI and P&C Operations

Matt Burke is the Director of Operations for Life, Disability and Property & Casualty insurance at Policygenius. He currently leads the property and casualty new business team as well as the disability and advanced planning team, which focuses on disability products, permanent life insurance products and customers with more complex financial planning needs. Matt has worked in the insurance and financial planning industries for more than seven years. Matt is a Life, Accident & Health licensed insurance agent.

Updated June 25, 2021|2 min read

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Term life insurance protects your family for a set period — the term. If you die during your policy’s term (usually 10, 20, or 30 years), your beneficiary receives the death benefit. If you don’t, the policy expires.

Term life insurance is designed to be easy and affordable. On average, a 35-year-old female pays $24.41 for a 20-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy. However, every life insurance application is different, and medical conditions or unhealthy habits could raise the cost of your term life coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of term life insurance differs for every person depending on age, health, and family health history

  • Buying coverage when you’re young and in good health is the best way to get the most affordable term life insurance

  • Every life insurance company underwrites each application differently so shopping around is the best way to find an insurer that is best suited for your needs

How much does term life insurance cost?

The tables below show the average cost of term life insurance policies that last 10, 20, or 30 years for people between the ages of 20 and 60 at different coverage amounts. While these charts are a starting point for understanding how the cost of term life insurance changes with age, you can get a more personalized life insurance quote by using our term life insurance coverage calculator and comparing quotes with an independent insurance agent.

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10-year term life insurance rates by age & coverage amount


20-year term life insurance rates by age & coverage amount


30-year term life insurance rates by age & coverage amount


N/A = Policies not available for this age/term/coverage amount

Methodology: Sample monthly premiums are for male and female non-smokers with a Preferred health rating based in Ohio; Life insurance averages are based on a composite of policies offered by Policygenius from AIG, Banner, Brighthouse, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Principal, Protective, Prudential, SBLI, and Transamerica and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 6/25/2021.

How do term life insurance premiums work?

Your term life insurance policy’s premiums are the amount you spend to keep the policy in force so that your beneficiaries get the death benefit if you die. The price of your term life insurance is determined by several factors in addition to your age, including:

  • Medical diagnoses: Serious illnesses like cancer or heart disease can lead to coverage denial, while conditions that are known to cause complications down the line, like sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and high weight-to-height ratio (BMI) lead to higher term life rates.

  • Health history: Existing medical conditions or habits linked to health risks, like smoking, plus a history of certain illnesses in your family, can increase rates.

  • Driving record: Moving violations and past car accidents are red flags that will also lead to higher premiums.

  • Lifestyle: Drug or alcohol use and dangerous hobbies, like skydiving, are considered risky and will raise premiums.

Insurers use a health classification system to determine your term life premium. The best classifications and most affordable rates go to younger, healthier applicants who pose less risk to the insurer — meaning they’re less likely to die during the term of the policy.

How to find affordable term life insurance rates

Because the cost of your term life insurance policy depends on your unique profile and each life insurance company treats every health condition differently, there is no one provider guaranteed to offer the cheapest life insurance for everyone. Shopping around with different companies is the best way to get the most affordable term life insurance premiums.

Here are some other ways to save money on your coverage:

→ Learn more about finding affordable life insurance

Term life insurance rates vs. whole life insurance rates

Term life insurance costs five to 15 times less than whole life insurance, making it the more affordable option for your family's financial protection. Whole life insurance is more expensive because it lasts your whole life — as long as you’re paying premiums — and has a cash value component that acts like a tax-deferred investment account. However, this also means that whole life insurance policies can become so unaffordable that 45% of them are abandoned within the first 10 years of the policy.

Whole life insurance can be a good choice for certain applicants, but when it comes to affordability, term life insurance takes the cake. A Policygenius agent can help you decide which type of life insurance is best for you.

→ Learn more about term vs. whole life insurance


How much is term life insurance?

Term life insurance is the most affordable type of life insurance. Your actual term life insurance rates will depend on your age and health, but on average a male or female in their 30s pays less than $30 for a $500,000, 20-year policy.

What is the best age to buy term life insurance?

The younger you are when you purchase your policy, the cheaper your life insurance will be. Your 20s and 30s are the best time to buy term life insurance to lock in low rates.

What is the best term life insurance to buy?

The best term life insurance for you will have a term length and coverage amount equal to your financial obligations — if not more. Every person has varying life insurance needs and the best term life insurance policy for you may not be suitable for someone else.

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