Term life insurance is a temporary life insurance covering specific period of time. In this type of policy the insured or the owner pays a premium for a period. The insurance company provides monetary benefit to the beneficiary in case of death of the insured during that period. It is the cheapest type of life insurance available to the general public. Usually the benefit received on death of the insured is income tax free.
There are four parties in term life insurance. The owner is the one who pays the premium. The Insured is the one on whose death, a death benefit(face value) will go to the beneficiary. The beneficiary is one who will receive the proceeds of insurance on death of the insured. The insurer is the company providing the insurance. Premium is the monthly or periodic payment made by the owner to the insurance company.
For instance, Amanda pays monthly 50 dollars to ABC Company for insuring the life of Bill (her husband) for a period of 10 years. In case Bill dies during the 10 years, ABC company will pay 6000$ to Jack (son of Bill and Amanda). Here the insured is Bill, the owner of the policy is Amanda, the beneficiary is Jack and the insurer is ABC Company. The premium is 50$ and the face value of the insurance is 6000$. In case Bill does not die during the 10 years, ABC Company will not be liable to pay any money to any of the parties involved. Often the owner and the insured are same. That is a person buys a policy to cover his own death and nominates a beneficiary.
Term life insurance is a legal contract with terms and conditions and assumed risks. Sometimes there are special provisions like suicide terms wherein on suicide of the insured there is no benefit accrued to the beneficiary. Term life insurance is based on two concepts, theory of diminishing responsibility and Buy Term and Invest the Difference (BTID). In Term life insurance the responsibility or liability of the insuring company reduces as the policy reaches its maturity. Term life insurance is the cheapest type of insurance policy available because there is no cash value at the end of the period. Studies have shown that the mortality rate in term life insurance policies is as low as 1%. Hence the concept of BTID. Rather than going for permanent life insurance (where on the expiry of period the owner will accrue some cash benefit and there is a savings component in it) it is considered cheaper to buy term life insurance and take care of the savings components by investing in other areas. With the present market giving good returns on investment, buying a term life insurance is a more attractive option than permanent life insurance. Term life insurance is available for a period of 5, 10, 20 years etc. As the age of the insured increases the premium increases. The premium is calculated based on mortality rate which is usually dependent on age, sex and whether the person uses tobacco. Most companies provide annual renewable term where in the term can renewed annually however the premium increases annually.