Term life insurance - keep or not?

Our only life insurance is term. We’re mid60s - no pensions, just savings for retirement. Now that the term has passed, the cost this year is around $14,000/year for $500,000 coverage. Two friends whose husbands died in the past couple years say keep it - you never know. Any thoughts?

If you’re in good health, you should be able to apply for a new policy much cheaper, if you have a need for insurance. Those guaranteed renewal premiums beyond the guaranteed term are nearly always very high prices.


The insurance is on DH who has a bunch of health issues.

We have term insurance that’s set to expire in the next 5 years. Kids are gone and we don’t need it, so we will let it expire. I’ve debated just canceling it, but I guess I’m superstitious…
I would not pay that much.


We had term for my H while the kids were young. It expired a few years ago, and went up to five figures, from 765/yr previously. Also for 500,000. We elected to let it lapse. We each have some insurance attached to jobs, and a fair amount of savings/retirement. Just didn’t seem like a good use of resources at this time.

I’m letting mine expire as my DD is now an adult and through with college and I have enough assets to pay my final expenses and pass on to her and other family members without the insurance.

That is terribly expensive term insurance. Not worth it imo.


I think I pay around $70 a month for ours, $500,000 on me (SAHM), a million on my husband, it will expire next year when #4 and #5 are in college. I’m sure my husband has a policy at work, and we are on track with retirement savings, I could pay off the mortgage today (but we need a lot done in the house but are putting off the interior until costs come back to pre-covid). It will expire.

When we moved 19 years ago and changed jobs, we no longer had life insurance through work. I have an inexpensive 20-year term plan that expires in late 2024, just enough to get our daughter through her undergraduate program. On the other hand, my husband refused to get a policy because it was prohibitively expensive for a man 10 years older.

We have a fair amount of savings and home equity now, so I feel no need to renew my policy.

DH is the sole breadwinner and we have a $500K term policy on him, too. The reasoning behind getting it was to be able to stay in our house and pay for college for DD if something were to happen to him. When the policy is up, DD will be out of college and house will be paid off so I can’t see getting another. With what the premium will cost, you can save to pay for a funeral.

I have 3 whole life policies (one was bought when I was a newborn and the others when I was a teenager). I keep debating cashing out the 2 “new” ones. My parents still pay he premiums on those and I just don’t want to pay for all 3 myself when the time comes. I am fine paying $100/year on the old one and the value is plenty. I think I can invest the cash values of the others and save the premiums and do better in the long term.

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A question to ask, is there anyone financially dependent on his labor* or existence** who would be in financial trouble if he died?

*Paid labor, or unpaid labor such as caregiving for other family members or household financial management that would have to be replaced by paid services if he died.

**For example, pension or annuity income contingent on being alive, or medical or other benefits that spouse or family can access only while he is alive.

Of course, even if life insurance is needed, that does not necessarily mean that the offered one is the best deal, or worthwhile in the context of how much life insurance is needed.


Has anyone seen the ads saying you can “sell” your term insurance? How does that work?

Have you looked into whether the premiums can be paid from the accumulated value? I have policies of a similar age (dad was an insurance agent) and I haven’t paid a premium in decades - they reached a point where they accumulated enough value that it could cover the premiums. Might be worth checking with the agent.

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My wife and I both have term insurance we took out long ago, with the term ending when our youngest is a year out of college (that was the nearest 5 year increment). We have no plans for insurance after that as there’s no one who would be significantly impacted that we need to “insure” against.

If someone is still working and another person is dependent on the income with insufficient savings if the working person passes, term could certainly make sense. That’s what it’s for, IMO. (Or a similar dependency on the person’s life - defined benefit pension and the like.)

If everyone is retired and it’s a matter of thinking you’ll make more in the payoff than you’ll pay in premiums, you are betting that you understand life expectancy statistics better than the professional actuaries. Barring special circumstances, this is unlikely.

But personal risk preferences certainly factor in, regardless of economics/statistics. If one person passes away unexpectedly, the funds that two people planned to live on will now support only one person. From a purely financial standpoint, this should be a better situation and not indicate a need for insurance. But again, “making sure he/she is provided for” can be a valid personal preference, regardless of the numbers.

The prices to continue coverage at the end of the term, defined up front, are typically extremely high. If you decide to continue with insurance, search out other sources for quotes. Unless there are health issues that make coverage impossible, those continuation rates almost never make sense, IME.

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@the_mom_1 : I assume the coverage is just for your husband. The question of whether to keep it or not is, Do you need the money if your husband dies? If you are set for retirement without it, then drop it – $14,000 is a huge premium and, unless you expect your husband to die in the next year or two, not a good investment at this point. Of course, if you will need that lump sum in case of his death because your retirement savings aren’t sufficient, that’s a different story.

That’s a good point. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

You could go on Term4Sale.com, they are quite highly rated and do not sell insurance on the site, instead they connect you with 3 agents in your ZIP code. Call or email all three, run the health conditions by them, see if you have any options for a new policy and what those premiums might be.
Those renewal premiums are not really designed for healthy people to be keeping the policy.

Another factor to investigate … how expensive will it get at future age ranges? If you won’t be able to afford it then, them possibly now (when more likely to be healthy) you could consider dropping it.

Need more information.

If you know a good life insurance agent, contact that professional to discuss your options.

Consider selling the policy rather than letting it lapse.

How long is the $14,000 per year rate in effect ? Or does the premium increase every year = annually renewable term life insurance.

When does coverage terminate (maximum age) ?

Any conversion options ?

Any family member who wants to take over the policy ?

Any family member who wants to share premium payments for a corresponding share of the death benefit ?

What is the table rating on the current policy ?

Which insurance company ?

Any investments in real estate or in an ongoing business which requires life insurance (key man, buy/sell agreement, mortgage life insurance) ?

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How does one sell an expired term life policy?

My understanding is that OP’s policy has not lapsed or expired.

@RichInPitt: I think that you may have misunderstood OP’s original post in this thread. Hopefully, OP will clarify.

OP"s policy may have been a level term policy for a certain number of years after which it becomes an annually renewable term policy until a certain age at which term life coverage is no longer available so policy either expires or converted if there is still a conversion option.