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What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance provides a set amount of life insurance for a pre-agreed period of time. The amount you’re covered for and the length (or term) of your policy is agreed when you take out the cover. If you pass away within the term of the policy, your beneficiaries will receive the agreed sum.

Term life insurance is one of the most commonly bought life insurance policies. Here’s how to find a plan that works for you.

Frequently asked questions

What does ‘term’ mean?

The term is the agreed period of your policy. With term cover, your beneficiaries would expect a pay-out if you were to pass away during the time your policy is active. However, it’s possible to receive a pay-out while you’re alive: for example, if you have terminal illness cover. Under this type of policy, you could be paid a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a condition that means your life expectancy is less than 12 months.

What is term life insurance for?

Many people choose to take out a policy to cover ongoing costs, such as a mortgage. Alternatively, it could be used to help pay off debts, cover funeral costs or to support your family if you were to die unexpectedly.

What types of term cover are there?

The two types of term life insurance are level term and decreasing term.   

  • Level term – gives you a fixed amount of cover for as long as the policy is in place. A level term policy might be useful for paying off the outstanding capital on an interest-only mortgage, bills or other debts.
  • Decreasing term – the potential pay-out becomes lower (or decreases) over time. Because of this, it’s typically cheaper than level term life insurance. This could help you to manage your bills in the short term, while you get peace of mind for your loved ones.

How long should my life insurance cover last?

That will depend on what you want the cover for. You could choose life insurance based on how long your children might need financial support if you were to die. Or the cover could equal the time outstanding on your mortgage repayments.

What happens if I die before my decreasing term policy ends?

If you pass away within the term of a decreasing term policy, and you’ve kept up repayments, then you should get a pay-out. If your policy ends and you’re still alive, the policy will usually lapse. That means you won’t get any of your money back and it’s then up to you if you want to renew the policy, or find a different type of cover.

Are there policies that last for the whole of my life?

Yes. These are known as life assurance policies, or whole of life policies. Unlike term policies, these don’t expire. They tend to be more expensive than term insurance products. Learn more about how whole of life insurance could meet your needs.

How much could a policy cost?

There are a number of factors that will affect the overall price of your policy. These include:

  • Your medical history
  • Your lifestyle, including whether or not you smoke
  • Your job
  • Your age
  • The sum you want to be insured for
  • The policy length

As there are so many variables and each insurance provider assesses these variables in different ways, the quotes you receive for life insurance can vary.

How can I find the right term cover for me?

Our cheapest quotes may not necessarily be best for you - it’s important to remember that each policy will have different conditions and exclusions. Therefore, you should always choose life insurance with a great deal of care. Get peace of mind today and start a quote. uses cookies to offer you the best experience online. By continuing to use our website, you agree to the use of cookies. If you would like to know more about cookies and how to manage them please view our privacy & cookie policy.