What happens when term life insurance expires

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When term life insurance expires, policyholders may find themselves facing a crucial decision. Term life insurance is a type of life insurance that provides coverage for a specific period, typically ranging from 10 to 30 years. Once the term expires, policyholders must navigate through various options to ensure their financial security and protect their loved ones. In this article, we will explore what happens when term life insurance expires and the potential courses of action available.

Conversion to Permanent Life Insurance

One option available to policyholders when their term life insurance expires is to convert their policy into a permanent life insurance policy. Permanent life insurance provides coverage for the entire lifetime of the insured, as long as the premiums are paid. This option allows policyholders to continue their life insurance coverage without the need for requalification or a medical exam.

The conversion process typically involves submitting a conversion request to the insurance company within a specified time frame, usually before the term policy expires. The premiums for the permanent policy may be higher than the premiums for the term policy, reflecting the extended coverage period and potential cash value accumulation.

Renewal of Term Life Insurance

Another option for policyholders is to renew their term life insurance policy. Some insurance companies offer the possibility of renewing the policy for another term, usually with adjusted premiums based on the insured’s age and health at the time of renewal. However, it’s important to note that the premiums for the renewed policy may be significantly higher than the initial term policy premiums.

Renewing the term life insurance policy allows policyholders to maintain their coverage for an additional period, providing continued protection for their loved ones. It is essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of the renewed policy, including any changes in coverage or premium structure.

Exploring Other Insurance Options

When term life insurance expires, policyholders may also consider exploring other insurance options. This could involve obtaining a new term life insurance policy with a different insurance company or exploring alternative types of life insurance, such as whole life insurance or universal life insurance.

Whole life insurance provides coverage for the insured’s entire life and includes a cash value component that grows over time. Universal life insurance offers flexibility in premium payments and death benefits, allowing policyholders to adjust their coverage as needed. Exploring other insurance options can provide policyholders with an opportunity to reassess their needs and find a policy that aligns with their current financial situation and goals.

Allowing the Policy to Lapse

In some cases, policyholders may choose to let their term life insurance policy lapse when it expires. This means that they do not take any action to convert or renew the policy, resulting in the termination of coverage. Allowing the policy to lapse means that there will be no further life insurance protection in place.

However, it’s important to carefully consider the implications of allowing the policy to lapse. By doing so, policyholders may be leaving their loved ones unprotected in the event of their death. Additionally, if there is a need for life insurance coverage in the future, obtaining a new policy may be more challenging and expensive due to changes in health or age.


When term life insurance expires, policyholders have several options to consider. These include converting the policy to permanent life insurance, renewing the term policy, exploring other insurance options, or allowing the policy to lapse. Each option has its own advantages and considerations, and it’s essential to carefully evaluate the available choices based on individual circumstances and financial goals. By understanding what happens when term life insurance expires, policyholders can make informed decisions to protect their loved ones and secure their financial future.


– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com
– The Balance: www.thebalance.com
– Policygenius: www.policygenius.com