26 Oct, 2021 | Term Life Insurance

Limited Pay or Regular Premium Payment Mode - What should you choose?

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When you buy term insurance, you’ll have to make several choices to customize your term insurance based on your family’s needs e.g. deciding how your nominee should receive the claim payout,  which riders are suitable for you, deciding whether you choose a fixed Sum Assured option or the increasing cover option, etc. In addition, you must know that you can also customize the premium payment duration (i.e. for how long you pay premiums of your Term Insurance).

Broadly, there are 3 forms of premium payment duration that a policyholder can choose - Regular Pay in which the premiums are paid throughout the policy term, Limited Pay in which the premium payment duration is less than policy duration, and Single Pay where the premium is paid only once at policy inception. 

Regular Pay is the most used premium payment method followed by Limited Pay. Let’s learn them in more detail in this article and find out which one you should choose.

Regular Premium Payment Option

In this, your premium payment duration is equal to the policy duration. Thus you have to pay the premiums until the end of your policy term. Based on your convenience, you can choose how frequently you want to pay the premiums - monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or annual premium payment modes 

Limited Pay Option

The limited pay option allows you to finish your premium liability in fewer years compared to the policy term. For any reason, if you don’t want to continue paying premiums for the long term, you can choose the Limited Pay option at the time of buying your term insurance policy. 

Let’s understand these 2 premium payment options with the help of an example.

Aarav, a 30-year-old, is planning to buy a term insurance policy for 40 years (the policy will remain active until he is 70 years old). He also wants to retire from active employment by the age of 60 years i.e.  - once he turns 60, he will not have any regular/fixed income.

If he chooses regular pay - If he chooses limited pay - 

He’ll have to pay the policy premiums even after he retires i.e. for the next 40 years.

He’ll need to continue paying premiums, post retirement.

He can finish paying off all his premiums while he has a regular/active income, say, in the next 10-15 years. 

He doesn’t need to worry about having any source of income post-retirement.

Please note: No matter which premium payment option Aarav chooses, he’ll be covered under the policy for the entire 40-year duration provided he pays all his premiums on time.

How to decide which premium payment mode is right for you?

Regular Pay or Limited Pay - While deciding your premium payment option, you should take into consideration your current and future finances.

Choose Regular premium payment mode if - 

  1. You prefer breaking the premium amount into smaller payments.
  2. You are likely to have a predictable and stable income pattern throughout the term of the policy
  3. You plan to take a cover that ends before your planned retirement age. 

Choose the Limited pay option if - 

  1. You want to get the payment liability off your chest quickly.
  2. You have a limited career span or expect an unstable, unpredictable income.
  3. You plan to take a cover, way beyond your planned retirement age.

Is Limited Pay cheaper than Regular Pay?

Not essentially. One of the main reasons people believe that the sum of the premiums they pay in limited pay is lower than what they pay under the regular pay premium payment mode is that they do not consider the time value of money when calculating the premium

Let’s understand this better with the help of an example.

Say Virat, a 30-year-old non-smoker, wants to buy an INR 1 Crore policy until age 75. 

Here is the comparison of the present value of premiums he’ll pay in both cases - Regular and Limited pay.

 No. of years Premiums are paidYearly Premium AmountNPV of Premium @ 6%
Regular Pay45 years19,9323,26,549
Limited Pay30 years20,6723,01,619
Limited Pay10 years38,9043,03,517
Limited Pay5 years76,3263,40,803

After calculating the Net Present Value of the premium paid in both cases, you’ll see that the 5-year Limited Pay option costs Virat more than the Regular Pay option in terms of Net Present Value. Whereas the Limited Pay options of PPT 30 years and 10 years are slightly less costly than the Regular Pay option in terms of NPV. Note, however, that the difference in the Net Present Value of premiums across these scenarios is not significant. 

So, the choice between Regular Pay and Limited Pay should be really made depending on your current & future affordability of premium amounts (refer to the previous section).

Note: This is a very specific use-case, and the NPV calculation for you might look very different from this. The benefits under both the options could vary based on the insurer, the type of plan, and the payment term you choose. 

Therefore, we recommend that you - 

  • Take a look at your financial life. Use the limited pay option if it is the most suitable choice. For example, if you expect to have an unpredictable income pattern in the future. 
  • Do not blindly follow any thumb rules. And...
  • Ask your advisor to calculate NPV on the cash outlays before arriving at a decision. 

Summing up

Limited Pay can be a great option for you if you wish to finish off with your responsibility of paying term insurance premiums early in life. The cost comparison with Regular Pay really depends on the specific type of plan, insurer, and payment term you choose. So, before you jump to a conclusion or make a decision, get your financial advisor to do an NPV calculation for all your options and choose the best option that fits all your requirements. 


If you have any further questions, you can post them on the Beshak Insurance Forum and get answers from insurance experts.

Key takeaways
  1. Generally, you have to pay the term insurance premiums until the end of the policy term. This is the regular premium payment mode where you can choose to pay your premiums monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly.
  2. Limited pay is a premium payment mode that allows you to speed up your premiums in larger and faster installments while enjoying the cover for a longer duration.
  3. Regular pay mode might be more suitable for you if you have a fixed income pattern and are confident that your income will remain intact until the policy ends. 
  4. If you have a limited career span or expect to have an irregular income in the future, opting for Limited pay might help you get the burden of premiums off your chest while you’re earning well. 
  5. Make sure you ask your financial advisor to calculate the NPV on the cash outlays before finalizing the premium payment mode.
Team Beshak
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