How To Read Term Life Insurance Quotes

by Neal Frankle, CFP ®

Insurance companies and agents don’t necessarily try to make life insurance quotes difficult to understand. But they don’t make them easy to read either. I believe that term life is better than whole life for most people. But not all term life insurance policies are equal.

Let’s assume that you know how much life insurance you need and how long you want your insurance to stay in force. These two are the most important drivers of how much you’ll have to pay for your term life insurance.

With this information it’s very easy to compare and contrast policies. But be sure to check that the quote you are looking at provides the amount and duration you want. Here’s a sample quote to give you an idea of what to look for:

Here’s a way to get free term life insurance quotes from reputable firms – without having a sales agent breathe down your neck. Find out how really inexpensive it is to protect your family.

1. Age

Insurance quotes are based on your current age. Every quote states the age they’ve based their quote on. Different companies compute your age differently. Most use the age you’ll be at your nearest birthday. Make sure the quote you are looking at is accurate. If they’ve erroneously used a different age, the quote will be wrong and irrelevant. If they sell you a policy based on the wrong date of birth, it could actually render the policy null and void.

2. Amount

This is the death benefit and it stays the same as long as the policy is in force. Just make sure that the amount is the same for all the policies you are considering. That’s the only way to compare apples to apples friend.

3. Rating

This information tells you how different rating agencies view the financial strength of the company in question. I recommend only working with the strongest companies possible and then comparing prices. It makes no sense to compare the price of a highly rated company with that of a poorly rated firm. You might save a few shekels now but you or your family may regret that decision later on.

4. Premium

This shows the annual premium. Typically the companies offer different payment plans and that’s fine. But compare the annual premiums between companies so you can make a true evaluation.

5. Term

This shows the length of time the policy will stay in force. In this case, we’re looking at a 10 year term. That means the premium can’t change during that period no matter what. Again, make sure that every policy you evaluate is for the same time period. A 5 year policy from company “A” will usually be far cheaper than a 10 year policy from company “B”. But that doesn’t tell you anything. You must compare the 10 year policy prices of both firms in order to make a smart life insurance decision.

Most life insurance agents are honest people but everyone makes a mistake from time to time. Look at these data points to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. By doing so, it will be far easier to make a good decision about which term life insurance policy to buy.

What other criteria would you consider? Why?


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

John Kim November 12, 2013 at 11:46 AM


My mom is just over 60 and had a whole life insurance for about 10 years. After reading your article, I’m thinking about close the account.

Any suggestion on what kind of insurance you would recommend to a female around 60 years old?

Thanks for your useful information.

John Kim


Neal Frankle, CFP ® November 13, 2013 at 2:33 AM

Thanks John. Is she in good health? Does she really need life insurance? I need to know more in order to answer your question. I would recommend that you NOT cancel the policy until you know if you are going to replace it or not. Does that help? If not, you can email me at neal DOT pilgrim AT gmail DOT com. Thanks!


John kim November 13, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Yes, that helps…

Thanks for your prompt and kind response.


KC @ genxfinance February 21, 2013 at 11:55 PM

This is easy to understand even for beginners.


Neal Frankle February 22, 2013 at 6:17 AM

Thanks KC. Glad it was useful to you.


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