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Should I Choose 20 or 30-Year Term Life Insurance?

Many consumers struggle when it comes to deciding – and understanding the differences – between a 20- vs 30-year term life insurance policy. Here are some key factors that every potential policy holder should consider, regardless of the type of life insurance they want to purchase.


In these tough economic times, cost is a significant issue for many families. There is usually a significant difference in price between 20- and 30-year term life insurance, so this consideration should be weighed carefully.


Children are one of the primary motivators for buying life insurance. If a couple already has children, then a 20-year term life policy may be sufficient. Couples who do not have children yet should probably opt for a 30-year policy, since a 20-year term period may not provide sufficient protection.

Income Replacement

Most consumers purchase life insurance to act as income replacement in the event that the insured dies. When considering term life insurance from this standpoint, they should think about what their financial status will be like in 20 years. While no one can know exactly how their future will play out, they should have some reasonable expectation of whether or not their debts will be paid – and how much they’ll be able to rely on their retirement and savings plan. For those who expect to be out of debt in 20 years, a 20-year term will likely suffice. Otherwise, a 30-year plan may be more appropriate.

Insuring the Breadwinner

Most couples insure the primary earner more heavily than the spouse. If only one spouse works, or if one makes significantly more money than the other, it is customary to insure the higher earner with a 30-year term and their partner with a 20-year policy.

Deciding on a 20- or 30-year term life insurance policy is a very personal matter. By weighing their options and identifying their goals and needs, consumers can make educated and knowledgeable decisions regarding their family’s coverage.

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