Term Insurance is a type of life insurance plan that pays a guaranteed sum of money to your family in case of your unfortunate death during the term of the policy. It is the easiest and most cost-efficient way to ensure that all your family’s financial needs are taken care of, in your absence.
What is Term Insurance?
A term insurance plan provides financial security to the family in the unfortunate demise of the policyholder. A death benefit is paid to the appointed nominee only if the death occurs during the term of the policy. If the policyholder survives the term, no maturity benefit is paid. A term insurance plan will safeguard your family against any kind of loans/ liabilities you’ve taken in case you pass away, and help them to maintain their standard of living by financially indemnifying them. Further, the premiums for term plans are very cheap compared to other life insurance products.
What is Online Term Insurance?
Term insurance plans that the insurance companies sell online are known as online term insurance plans. With just a few clicks and a stable internet connection, you can directly buy a term insurance policy online from the insurer of your choice, at your convenience.
Some important features of online term insurance plans are:
- Browsing for a term plan is easier online and you have the freedom to explore many plans and choose the one that fits you and your family best.
- The policy cost of online term plans is usually lower compared to offline plans because there is no involvement of intermediaries.
- Premiums can be paid easily and quickly, as insurers use the latest online payment processes.
- Buying online is eco-friendly since the entire process is done on the internet and very little paperwork is involved.
Why should you buy Term Insurance?
Term insurance could sometimes be overlooked among other insurance products in the market. The main reason for this is that term insurance plans do not offer any maturity benefit, in case the insured person survives the term. This, for a common user, might seem like a poor investment choice.
However, this is not true. Here are some reasons why you should consider buying a term insurance plan:
- Best Financial Protection at the lowest possible cost!
- The future is uncertain and as a provider or earning member of your family, it is your responsibility to plan for the worst possible scenario. Getting a term insurance policy is the best way to achieve that. In the event of your untimely death, term insurance plans provide financial protection for your family. A term insurance policy can likely give you 100 times higher cover than a regular life insurance policy. If INR 10000 premium will fetch you INR1 Lakh cover in a regular life insurance plan, the same premium can give you around INR 80 Lakhs to INR 1 Crore cover in a Term Life cover.
- Protection of your Assets
- If you’ve taken any home or educational loans, your family will be burdened with the repayment of such loans, if you pass away. The lump-sum payout option of term insurance will help your family to repay all your loans/liabilities, while not compromising on their existing lifestyle, or long-term life plans, that might require large amounts of money.
Why should you compare Term Insurance Plans?
There are no second thoughts about the fact that term insurance is one of the best insurance plans you can invest in, if you have any family member that relies on the money you make, for their expenditures.
However, term insurance plans vary from insurer to insurer and are based on several factors such as - features, benefits, premiums, customer service, claims experience, reliability, and drawbacks. Purchasing a term insurance policy that suits you and your family’s financial needs is an important decision you’ll have to make for your family’s future.
Hence, doing some research and a proper comparison is necessary to choose the right policy for you.
Options to customize Term Insurance Plans
- Limited Pay Option
- If you want to finish paying off all your premiums in shorter and faster installments before the maturity of your policy, you can select the limited pay option while purchasing your policy. Limited pay will help you to get the payment liability off your chest quickly.
- Purchase Riders
- As you get close to finishing your term insurance customizations, you’ll often hear about riders. Riders are add-ons that you can buy for a very low price along with your term insurance plan and get additional benefits under specific conditions. Though purchasing riders that are sold with term plans might seem attractive, it would be more beneficial if you take a comprehensive cover for most riders.
- Flexible Payment Options
- Term insurance allows you to choose from multiple premium payment options. You can choose from among the following options - limited pay, single pay, or regular pay. If you choose limited or regular pay, you can pay the premiums either monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or annually according to your convenience.
- Multiple Payout Options
- Term insurance plans offer multiple payout options for claim settlement and allow you to configure how your family will receive the claim amount - as a one-time payout or as monthly income installments. Depending on your purpose for purchasing the term insurance policy and your nominee's financial knowledge, you can decide how they receive the money.
- Tax Benefits
- Term insurance plans offer tax benefits too. The premiums paid for term insurance plans are eligible for tax deductions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Tax benefits can also be availed on the amount received by the nominee under Section 10(10D) of the Income Tax Act.
Key Features of a Term Insurance Plan
Term insurance is one of the best insurance policies available in the market today. Here are some key features of a term insurance plan:
- Easy to Buy
- Buying a term plan is comparatively easier than buying other types of insurance products. The framework is simple: you just need to calculate the appropriate cover amount as per your family’s financial objectives, the standard of living, and any loans/ liabilities. You need not be bothered about what returns will you get, where the company will invest your money, etc.
- Affordable Plan
- Affordability is one of the most remarkable features of a term insurance plan. Compared to other life insurance products, the premiums of term plans are very low and hence, do not create a hole in our pockets.
- The Convenience of Paying Premiums
- Most term insurance plans offer flexibility to pay premiums annually, half-yearly, quarterly, or monthly. They also offer single pay or limited pay premium payment. As per your budget and your convenience, you can choose the payment option that is the most appropriate for you.
- Flexible Payout Options
- Term insurance offers multiple payout options - lump-sum, lump-sum + monthly income, only income. Based on your purpose of purchasing the term plan, your loans/liabilities, and your nominees’ financial aptitude, you can choose the most suitable payout option.
Riders - Additional Benefits in a Term Plan
Riders are add-ons to your term insurance plans that help you prepare for special circumstances you or your family might encounter. . By purchasing riders, you can avail additional benefits over and above your base plan benefits, by paying a small additional annual premium amount.
Some common riders that you can buy along with your term insurance plan are:
- Critical Illness Rider
- This rider provides your family with a lump-sum amount of money in case you get diagnosed with a serious disease that is listed in the policy you buy. This amount will help support your family’s lifestyle and cover all the additional expenses you’ll have to bear as a result of this disease.
- Accidental Death Benefit Rider
- If your death happens due to an accident during the term of the policy, this rider will pay an additional amount to your family, over and above the base sum assured. For instance, if you have a cover of INR. 1 crore and you have purchased an accidental death benefit rider of INR 50 lakhs, your family will be paid 1 crore in case of natural death, and 1.5 crores in case of accidental death.
- Accidental Disability Rider
- A disability caused due to an accident can have an even more financial impact on your family than your death. In case you get permanently or temporarily disabled due to an accident, this rider will provide a sum of money to your family
- Waiver of Premium Rider
- In case of a physical disability caused due to an accident or if you get diagnosed with any critical illness, you may not be able to work and afford to pay future premiums. If you buy this rider, the insurer will waive off your remaining premium amount while your policy remains active and your sum assured - intact till the end of the term.
Types of Term Insurance Plans
Just like every other insurance plan term insurance plans too, come in various types. Each plan is unique, has its own set of features, and is designed to meet the specific needs of customers. Some common types of term insurance plans are:
- Regular/ Level Term Insurance Plan
- This is the most basic type of term insurance that is sold by every insurance company. Regular or level term insurance plans do not offer any maturity or survival benefits. Only in the event of the death of the insured person, the claim amount will be paid to their nominee. The sum assured does not increase or decrease, it remains intact till the end of the policy.
- Term Return of Premium (TROP) Plan
- Unlike regular term plans where you don’t get any benefits if you survive the policy period, in TROP plans, you will get all your premiums back if you survive the policy term.
- Group Term Insurance Plan
- In group term plans, multiple people can be covered under a single insurance policy. Usually, this type of plan is purchased by employers to cover all their employees under a single plan. Buying a group term insurance plan is a comparatively cheaper option than taking individual policies.
- Joint Life Term Insurance Plan
- Joint life term insurance plans are taken by couples where you and your spouse can be covered under one policy. In case one of you passes away, the claim payout will be made to the surviving partner. In case both of you pass away, the claim payout will be made to the legal heir.
- Increasing Term Insurance Plan
- Your financial responsibilities will most likely increase as you grow older and accordingly, you will have to increase your term insurance cover too. Keeping in mind the growing inflation rates, an increasing term insurance plan is designed in a way that your cover amount will keep on increasing gradually at predetermined rates, through the term of the policy.
- Decreasing Term Insurance Plan
- This plan is the exact opposite of an increasing term insurance cover. In decreasing term insurance plans, your policy coverage amount will keep on decreasing every year as per pre-decided rates. These plans may be useful if the term insurance is being bought exclusively to clear debts or loans.
- Whole Life Term Insurance Plan
- This is a type of term insurance plan where the policyholder is covered for their entire lifetime, provided they pay all the premiums on time. If the policyholder dies during the policy term, the nominee is paid a cash value in addition to the death benefit. Whole life plans are usually more expensive compared to simple, regular term insurance policies.
When is the right time to buy a Term Insurance Plan?
The general thumb-rule people follow is - the earlier you buy term insurance the better.
But, one should remember that the only purpose of buying term insurance is the financial security of their dependents. So, it would be meaningless to purchase it when they don’t have any financial dependents.
Hence, the right time to buy term insurance is -
- As soon as you have or plan to have financial dependents.
- If you have taken or plan to take a large financial loan, which your family will need to pay off in case your death happens.
Insurers charge a premium based on the age at which you start the policy, and then it remains constant, throughout the term. So, if any one of the above two things is true in your case, you should buy a term insurance policy as early as possible, to enjoy life-long low premiums.
Exclusions in a Term Insurance Plan
It is crucial to educate yourself about everything that’s covered by your insurance plan - and more importantly, everything that isn’t. Exclusions are those situations under which an insurance plan will not pay. In the case of term insurance - Suicide within the first year is the only exclusion. Meaning, if the policyholder commits suicide within one year of taking the policy, the insurer won’t make the claim payout to his/her family. However, all the premium payments made to the insurer in the first year will be paid back to the nominee. In any other type of death, the death benefit will be paid to the family.
Factors that affect Term Insurance Premiums:
Below is a list of factors that may affect your term insurance premium:
- Age is one of the significant factors that affect your term insurance premium. The younger you are while buying the policy, the lesser premiums you will end up paying lifelong.
- As per statistics, women have a higher life expectancy than men which means that women live longer than men. Hence, their premium amount will be lower.
- Occupation is a prominent factor in deciding the premium amount. Term insurance premiums could be much higher when you work in a hazardous environment where there are high risks of accidents happening.
- Medical History
- If you or your family have a medical history of life-threatening or critical illnesses such as heart-related diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. the insurance company will charge premiums higher than usual.
- Lifestyle Habits
- Your everyday habits determine your premium amount too. If you regularly smoke or consume alcohol, you could pay higher premiums for your policy. You could be charged higher premiums if you often indulge in risky activities such as skydiving, paragliding, bungee-jumping, etc.
- Policy Term
- If you buy a policy for a longer period, the insurer will need to cover you for a longer duration including your old age, hence, the insurer will charge higher premiums to cover for the associated higher risk. However, if you buy a short-term policy, your premium amount will be less.
How much Term Insurance Cover do you need?
The most commonly recommended thumb-rule formula for calculating your term insurance cover is - '20x your yearly income'. But, like every other thumb rule, this one has its flaws too and it could leave your family covered insufficiently.
To calculate the exact cover amount, you’ll first have to calculate -
- The money you owe (living expenses + major expenses + major liabilities)
- The money you own (fixed deposits, cash at 100%; equity investments at 50%; gold, residential property, stock options at 0%.)
Using this term insurance calculator, you can get the exact amount you need to cover through your term insurance policy, as the difference between the above two amounts.
So, in simple words, your cover amount = living expenses fund + major expenses fund + major liabilities fund - existing funds.
How to choose the Right Term for your Term Plan?
The right duration for a term insurance plan may vary for every individual depending upon their financial situation. Here are some factors that you should consider while buying a term plan:
- Loans/ Liabilities
- You should consider the loans/ liabilities which your family will have to repay in the case of your untimely demise and the time it would take for those loans/ liabilities to be settled while deciding the term of a term insurance plan. For instance, if you’ve taken a home loan that has to be settled in 15 years, your policy term should not be less than 15 years or else your family wouldn’t have an adequate cover amount to settle all the loan you've taken.
- Financial Dependents
- If your financial dependents are young, the term of your plan must ideally be the duration till they become financially capable to support themselves. You must also take into account other major events like paying for your child’s higher education, wedding, etc while deciding the terms of your policy. Even if you are not around during these times, you can ensure that your term policy can financially provide for your family and their needs are still taken care of
- The premiums for term insurance can vary widely based on the insurance company you choose. Further, policies with a longer duration could be more expensive than short-term insurance plans. Hence, while deciding the term for your term plan, you must first consider whether you can afford to pay the premiums over a longer period or not.
Eligibility Criteria of Term Insurance
Following is the list of eligibility criteria that you’ll have to meet before you purchase a term insurance policy.
- The minimum age requirement for buying a term plan is 18 years. The maximum age limit ranges from 60 to 65 years, depending on the type of product you purchase.
- You are eligible to buy an insurance policy if your income is between 2.5 to 3 lakhs. However, income eligibility depends on the type of insurance product you want to buy, your age, and your occupation.
- Normally, a graduate is eligible to purchase term insurance. However, there are insurance companies that allow even a diploma holder or a 12th pass individual to purchase a term plan.
- Usually, a salaried, self-employed and professional individual is eligible to buy term insurance. Few insurance companies also allow housewives and small business owners to purchase term insurance.
- Location of Residence
- Insurance companies have different sets of pin codes for different insurance plans which they integrate at their backend systems. Mostly, all of the Tier1, Tier2 and most of the Tier3 cities are included by top insurance companies.
- Maximum Maturity Age
- The minimum age for maturity is determined based on the age of entry and the minimum tenure offered. The maximum maturity age for term insurance policies could vary depending on the insurer.
Documents Required to buy Term Insurance
You’ll have to submit a certain set of documents while purchasing a term insurance policy. Depending on the insurance company, these documents may vary. Below is a list of some common documents that are needed while buying term insurance:
Aadhaar card, passport, voter ID card, driving license, authority letter verifying identity, etc.
PAN card, driving license, birth certificate, passport, etc.
Ration card, bank account statement, electricity bill, telephone bill, voter ID card, passport, pension order issued by the government, etc.
Income tax returns, employer’s certificate, Income Tax assessment order, latest salary slip, latest Form 16, CA’s certificate showing income of past 3 years, etc.
Insurance companies might ask you to submit additional documents, apart from the ones mentioned above, to support your application.
Term Insurance Plans offered by the Government of India
Some term insurance policies that are offered by the Government of India are:
- Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana
- Individuals aged between 18 to 50 years are eligible to purchase the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana. The premium amount of this policy is Rs. 330 per year and it offers a cover of Rs. 2 lakhs to the family on the death of the policyholder.
- Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana
- This term life insurance plan offers Rs. 2 lakhs on accidental death or full disability of the policyholder and Rs. 1 lakh for partial disability. The policy term of this policy is usually one year and it can be renewed every year and individuals between the age of 18 to 70 years are eligible to take this policy. A premium amount of Rs. 12 is deducted from the policyholder’s account every year through the ‘auto debit’ facility.
- Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana
- This is a group insurance scheme that is generally designed for individuals in the low-income category in India. A premium of Rs. 200 is charged at the start of the policy, out of which 50% of the premium amount is subsidized from the Social Security Fund. The family of the deceased policyholder will receive a claim amount of Rs. 30,000 under this plan.
- Saral Jeevan Bima
- Saral Jeevan Bima is a standard term insurance plan that every insurer offers - without any restrictions concerning age, education, income, location, or occupation and works exactly like a term insurance plan. It is useful for individuals who want to provide term insurance cover for their families but do not meet the eligibility criteria to buy the term plan.
How to choose the Right Term Insurance Plan?
With the number of term insurance plans available in the market today, deciding which plan to purchase could become a tough task. Here’s a list of some things that may help you to select the right plan:
- Check whether you are Eligible
- Generally, you have to meet certain eligibility criteria related to age, income, education, location, and occupation before buying a term insurance policy. If you meet all the eligibility requirements, you can go ahead and buy the policy.
- Calculate the right Cover Amount
- You should decide on an appropriate cover amount, so your family gets a sufficient amount of money on your death. While many thumb rules are suggested for this, it is important to properly calculate this amount based on your family’s spending habits, savings, long-term plans, etc.
- Compare and Select the Best Plan
- Before deciding which plan to invest in, it is important to compare the plans offered by various insurance companies. You can select the best plan for you after comparing the features, benefits, drawbacks, etc. of all the plans available.
- Purchase Riders with your policy
- Riders are add-ons that you can buy quickly with your term plan. Although they give additional benefits and are cheaper to purchase, they sometimes could have some limitations. . Hence, you should purchase riders based on specific needs that they address - and their suitability to your needs, and not mindlessly.
- Choose how you pay your Premiums
- You are required to pay term insurance premiums every year until the end of the policy term. However, if you want to finish paying off your premiums in shorter and faster installments, there are alternate ways to do that. Single pay, regular pay, limited pay - are the three payment options that insurance companies offer. You can choose the one that is the most suitable for you.
- Appoint the Right Nominee
- Given the nature of term insurance, you won’t be there during the claim settlement process. Appointing the right nominee is important because it is the only way through which you can ensure that your insurance claim reaches the right person so that all your intended needs are taken care of.
- Select the right Payout Option
- Multiple payout options are available for claim settlement in term insurance policies. As per your nominees’ financial knowledge, comfort, and purpose of buying the term plan, you can configure how your family will receive the claim amount.
- You can choose from among the following three options -
- Lump-sum: This might be a good payout option if you have loans and liabilities that need to be repaid. The entire claim amount is credited to the nominee’s bank account in this option.
- Lump-sum with monthly income: If you select this payout option, a fixed amount will be credited on your death, and the remaining amount will be credited to your nominee’s bank account every month. You can select this option if there is a loan that needs to be settled plus there are regular expenses.
- Only monthly income: In this option, the claim is paid in monthly payouts for a certain period. This payout option will be suitable if there are no loans/liabilities or if your spouse or financial dependent is not financially well-versed.
Term Insurance Renewal Process
When your term insurance policy is just about to expire, you can renew your term insurance policy online in just a few clicks. The renewal process may vary depending on the insurance company. Some basic steps involved in the renewal process are:
- Review your Term Plan
- Reviewing your existing insurance policy is the first step in the process of renewal. You can make edits to the mode of payment and add or change nominee details (if you want).
- Provide policy details
- The next step is to click on the policy renewal tab. In this step, you will be asked to provide details such as your name, policy number, date of birth, etc. Make sure you enter all the details carefully before confirming on the website.
- Make your Payment
- This is the last step in the policy renewal process. There are several payment modes available like - credit card/debit card, mobile wallets, online banking, etc. Alternatively, you can visit your branch office and make the payment.
Term Insurance Claim Process
The nominee will have to file a claim in case of the death of the policyholder. Here are some steps they can follow to file the term insurance claim:
- Inform the Insurer
- Informing the insurer about filing the claim is the first and the most important step in the claim process. The claim settlement process will be initiated only after the insurer is informed. You can contact your insurance provider via phone, email, or by visiting the nearest branch office.
- Submit the Required Documents
- Next, the insurer will ask you to submit the necessary documents to support the claim. The term insurance policy document duly filled and signed claim form, death certificate and medical records of the deceased person, and the claimant’s statement are some documents that are required to be submitted. The insurer may also ask to submit additional documents, in addition to the ones mentioned, to further verify the claim.
- Claim Approval and Payout
- This is the final step in the claim process. The insurer will go through all the submitted documents and then decide whether to accept or decline the claim. If the claim is approved, the claim will be paid to the nominee as per the payout option chosen by the insured person at the time of taking the policy.
Documents required for Term Insurance Claim Process
Following is the list of documents that will be required at the time of filing the claim:
- Documents needed in case of Natural Death
- Policy documents
- Claim form - filled and signed
- Death certificate of the policyholder
- Claimant’s statement
- Documents needed in case of Unnatural Death
- FIR report
- Police investigation report
- Witness report
- Medical and test reports
- Hospital certificates - discharge, admission, and death summary
- Post mortem report
- Attending doctor’s statement
- Certificate released from the medical attendant
- Claimant’s statement
Term Insurance - FAQs
- What is the minimum income to buy Term Insurance?
- If you want to invest in a regular term insurance plan, at present you should have an annual income of at least Rs. 2 lakhs, however, these rules keep changing from time to time.
- Can I get myself insured under the Term policy if I have diabetes?
- Insurers look at each proposal on a case-to-case basis. You should be upfront about your health condition and provide all available documents, records required - ensuring transparency before you buy the policy.
- Do I need to declare myself as a tobacco user if I smoke occasionally?
- Even if you smoke occasionally, you should declare yourself as a tobacco user because if you try to withhold information and the insurer finds out about it later, he may charge an extra premium. The insurer might even cancel your policy and deny the policy benefits.
- Why are premium rates higher for smokers than non-smokers?
- Compared to non-smokers, smokers have higher chances of getting cancer and other smoking-related ailments which increases the risk of early death. Since the possibility of a claim is higher in such cases, premium rates to are higher for smokers than non-smokers.
- What would happen if I start smoking or consuming alcohol after the policy issuance?
- Your base policy cover will not get affected if you start smoking or consuming alcohol after the policy is issued. As per the terms & conditions of the policy, there is no requirement to inform the insurer about it.
- If a person dies outside India, will the nominee still receive the death benefit?
- If the policyholder dies during the policy term, the nominee is entitled to receive the death benefit compensation, irrespective of the place of death of the policyholder.
- Can I change the duration of life cover after the policy is issued?
- No, you cannot change the duration of life cover after the policy is issued. Purchasing a fresh policy with a longer duration is the only option if you want to increase the policy duration.
- Can I increase my Sum Assured after the policy is issued, during the policy tenure?
- If you buy your policy with the life stage benefit or the increasing cover feature, you can increase your sum assured during the policy tenure, after the issuance of the policy. Otherwise, a manual upgrade will involve buying an additional, separate term insurance plan.
- Is it possible to add a rider to my existing term policy?
- While some insurers allow riders to be added only at the time of buying the policy, some insurers allow you to add a rider to your existing policy after charging a nominal cost.
- How much time does it take to settle any claim?
- The procedure of claim settlement varies from insurer to insurer. As per IRDA guidelines, the insurer must settle the claim within 30 days after all the necessary documents are submitted.
- Can we claim Term Insurance from two companies?
- If you have disclosed complete details of your first policy to the insurance company from whom you have purchased the second policy, you can claim term insurance from two companies.
- What is underwriting?
- Underwriting is the process by which institutions or individuals take up financial risk in exchange for some price. It involves evaluating the proposal, assessing the risks, establishing proper premiums, and taking responsibility for a policy by agreeing to pay in case of any damage or loss.
- Can I change my nominee after the issuance of the policy?
- Yes, you can change your nominee after your term insurance policy has been issued. You can contact your insurer and ask him about the process to do so. Mostly, all you need to do is fill out the nomination form and submit it to your insurer.
- What is Section 45 of the Insurance Act?
- Section 45 of the Insurance Act safeguards the interests of the policyholders. It states that a life insurance company cannot reject or deny any claim, for any reason after 3 years of issuing the policy.
- Do life insurance companies check my medical history? What medical conditions will affect my term insurance premiums?
- Yes, insurance companies check your medical history when you apply for the policy. Your premium rates might be affected if you or your family have a medical history of life-threatening or chronic diseases, or if your present medical condition indicates a future health issue.