How does 20-year term insurance work?

A brief answer to the query that how does 20-year term life insurance work? is that the 20-year term policy offers the coverage for a period of 20 years and expires afterward. It’s level term insurance and if the insured outlives the policy, there will be no death benefit for beneficiaries. Term insurance can be renewed, converted, or terminated before it gets expired.

Term life insurance

Introduction of life insurance policy

Life insurance is a legal contract between an insured and the insurance company that is represented by a policy. According to the policy, the policyholder is agreed to pay the regular premiums, either monthly or annually and the insurance company offers the death benefit to the beneficiaries of the death benefit when an insured dies.

To understand that what is life insurance and how is it beneficial, one may take it as a hedge against the financial problems faced by the dependents of the policyholder in case of his unlucky demise. Death benefit provides the heirs with enough financial support to make their living possible or even live in the same luxuries as they had happened to live in the life of the policyholder.

How does life insurance proceed?

If you are interested in buying life insurance but you don’t have enough knowledge about the proceedings, you should first collect the information about it. How does life insurance work actually depends upon the type of policy a policyholder buys.

There are two main types of life insurance and both work slightly different from each other. These types and their procedure have been discussed below:

Permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance is a type of life insurance policy that offers coverage for the whole life of the policyholder. It offers a cash value plan along with the pre-determined death benefit. Premiums are divided into two parts, cost of insurance and cash-value plan.

Cost of insurance

  • The cost of insurance (COI) is different from the regular premiums and is the sum total of all the expenses of an insurance policy.

  • It involves the registration fee, mortality expenses, or the duties of an insurance agent. Universal life insurance and variable life insurance are especially associated with the cost of insurance.

Cash value plan

  • The cash value account serves as an investment account and keeps growing because of the interest accumulation.

  • The policyholder pays a premium and that premium is split into two parts. One is submitted as the cost of insurance while the rest is moved to the investment account.

  • Interest is built up in the investment account and the policyholder can borrow against the cash value. If there is enough accumulation of money, the policyholder can also pay premiums from the cash value account.

  • But the insured needs to be careful regarding the amount of cash value, if it is below a certain level and the premiums are not being paid by the policyholder, the policy may collapse.

Permanent life insurance covers the lifetime of the policyholder. It offers a cash-value account, that serves as an investment account, along with the death benefit.

Life insurance policy

Types of permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance is further subdivided into whole life insurance, universal life insurance, variable life insurance, and variable universal life insurance.

A brief introduction of all these types is given below:

1. Whole life insurance:

  • A whole life insurance policy is also referred to as traditional life insurance. It covers the whole life of the insured and offers a cash value account along with the death benefit.
  • A whole life insurance policy is the real form of insurance and follows a different plan than the term life insurance.

2. Universal life insurance

  • Universal life insurance is also a permanent life insurance policy offering coverage for the lifetime of policyholders. In universal life insurance, an insured pays a monthly amount that divides into two parts:

  • One portion covers the cost of life insurance and the rest goes into a savings account. It offers flexibility in the way that the policyholder can pay a premium amount of his choice.

3. Variable life insurance

  • The variable life insurance policy offers a cash-value account that differs from other types of cash value accounts in the way that it is invested in the different mutual funds available in the policy.

  • The cash value account has the ability to grow along with the growth of sub-accounts in which it is invested.

4. Variable-universal life insurance

There is another type of permanent life insurance known as variable-universal life insurance. It shares the qualities of both the variable life insurance and the universal life insurance policy.

Insurance agent

Term life insurance

  • Term life insurance differs from permanent life insurance in the duration of the policy. In contrast to the permanent life insurance, term life insurance gets expired after a specific term. The term may range from one year to thirty years duration.

  • After the expiry of the term, the policyholder can renew it for the next term, convert it to permanent life insurance, or terminate it if he doesn’t need it anymore.

  • Term life insurance is beneficial for short-term needs and younger policyholders can take more benefits from it by paying low premiums and getting a handsome amount of payout.

  • Term life insurance has several subtypes including the level term insurance, increasing term insurance, and decreasing term insurance policy. They can be described as:

1. Level term insurance

Key points for Level term insurance are:

  • Premiums remain fixed throughout the term
  • The death benefit is also fixed during the term
  • Beneficial for temporary needs
  • No cash value account

2. Increasing term insurance

  • In increasing term insurance, death benefit increases with the life of the policy
  • The increase can be monthly or annually
  • Premiums may or may not be fixed
  • Doesn’t offer a saving component

3. Decreasing term insurance

  • In decreasing term insurance, death benefit decreases with the age of the policy
  • The variation depends upon the age, health, or medical condition of the policyholder
  • Premiums remain fixed but are relatively low as compared to traditional policies
  • Can be referred to as mortgage insurance

4. Group term insurance

  • Group term insurance is offered to the companies or organizations
  • Provide coverage to a whole bunch of employees
  • Premium is paid fully or partially by the employer
  • The death benefit is usually insufficient
  • Supplemental life insurance can be bought by employees along with it

Permanent life insurance offers lifetime coverage and provides both the cash value and death benefit. Term insurance expires after a specific term and has no cash value.

What is a 20-year term life insurance?

  • As the name indicates, 20 years term life insurance offers coverage for 20 years duration. It is level term insurance and offers the level premiums throughout the term of 20 years. In this type of insurance, the policy riders can be beneficial to increase the insurance coverage.
  • It’s a popular type of term policy among the younger people and also in the matured ones because the policyholder is locked into 20 years of a level term policy.

Why you should go for a 20-year policy?

There are several reasons to choose a 20-year term insurance policy, especially for young and healthy people. The factors that convince a person to buy 20-year term insurance are given as:

1. Student loan

  • If a person has to pay a debt, maybe a student loan, and he fears that his parents will have to pay those heavy loans if he accidentally dies, he can buy 20-year term insurance.

  • If he dies within the duration of 20 years, the insurance company will pay the guaranteed death benefit to his beneficiary.

Insurance for student loan

2. Dependent family

People who have children who are younger enough to make their living, and they are worried about the future of their children or spouse in case of their death, they can go for 20-year term insurance to secure the future of spouse and younger ones.

3. Changed family structure

  • If the family structure of a person gets changed than earlier, the policyholder may wish to change his insurance coverage to fit in with his dependents, and also to manage the problems resulted from the new changed situation.

  • In this situation, 20-year insurance is helpful to adjust according to the circumstances.

4. Mortgage loan

  • If a person has to pay a mortgage loan that is left for 20 years, he can buy a 20-year term policy to save his spouse or children from paying the heavy loans and to afford the mortgage if he dies during the term.

5. Retirement within 20 years

  • When a person retires or is near the retirement age, his needs are less because he doesn’t have to support the children in their studies or other aspects. So, the person can buy 20-year term insurance more comfortably.

Life insurance near retirement

A 20-year term insurance offers coverage for 20 years duration. It’s a better choice for the people who are young, near retirement, have a dependent family, or have to pay mortgage insurance or personal loan.

How much does a 20-year term life insurance cost?

The cost of 20-year term insurance varies according to the gender, age, health of policyholders, and also insurance policy plan. However, a general overview of the rates of 20-year policy is discussed here. The following details of the cost are for the non-smokers with a good health condition and coverage of $ 500,000.

Age in years Cost per month for men Cost per month for women
20 $ 18.32 $ 14.51
30 $ 20.0 $ 17.5
40 $ 34.0 $ 27.0
50 $ 79.0 $ 62.0
60 $ 147.79 $ 108.04

Frequently asked questions

In addition to the above-mentioned details, people ask several questions regarding the life insurance policy. Few of them have been answered below:

1. What is the difference between term insurance and whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance is a permanent insurance policy that offers lifetime coverage to the policyholder with an additional investment account known as a cash-value account.

Term life insurance is a policy that remains in force for a specific term and then gets expired. Major differences have been tabulated below:

Factor Whole life policy Term life policy
Duration Lifetime 1 to 30 year
Cash value Yes No cash value
Premium rate High Low
Expiry No Yes
Convertible No Yes
Taxability Sometimes No

2. How much does life insurance cost?

Life insurance cost depends upon several factors such as age, health, habits, type of policy, and gender of the policyholder.

Age: The cost of life insurance increases with the increasing age of policyholders because of the raised risk value.

Health: Healthy and young policyholders are at low risk and they have to pay relatively low premiums.

Hobbies: More dangerous the hobbies that a policyholder has, more is the cost of life insurance.

Policy type: Costs of an insurance policy are slightly different for the different types of policies. Permanent insurance offers high premiums as compared to the term insurance.

Gender: Women have to pay less as compared to men.

3. What happens after 20-year term life insurance?

  • Term life insurance with a term of 20 years, gets expired after the term reaches. If the policyholder doesn’t apply for renewal or conversion of policy, there will be no death benefit available if the policyholder dies just after the day of expiry.

  • When an insured outlives his term life insurance policy, there will be no more coverage and his family will not get any death benefit of any size.

4. Is life insurance taxable?

  • There is no need to be worried about the question that Is life insurance taxable? If you have bought a term life insurance, there is no tax implication at all. A policyholder should be completely tension free.

  • However, in the case of permanent life insurance, taxes are applied in some rare cases and not generally. Employer-paid premiums, accumulated interest money in the cash-value account, and the estate or inheritance taxes are some situations where taxes are applied.

5. Can you cash out a term life insurance?

  • The simple and one-word answer to this question is “No”. Cash value is the quality of permanent life insurance and in the term life insurance, there is no such luxury. A cash value account is a kind of investment account that grows because of the interest accumulation.

  • Term life insurance doesn’t provide the cash value, but only the death benefit. That’s the reason it offers low premiums as compared to the permanent life insurance that has high premium rates.


  • The topic of discussion is how does 20-year term life insurance work? 20-year term insurance is level term insurance that offers the coverage for 20-years and gets expired after that.
  • If the policy is not renewed for the next term or converted to another type after the term of 20 years, there will be no death benefit available for the beneficiary of the policyholder.
  1. Can I withdraw money from my term life insurance?
  2. Average Life Insurance Rates by Age, Term & Coverage of June 2023 - Policygenius.
  4. Term Life Insurance: What It Is, Different Types, Pros and Cons

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