What Is 15-Year Term Life Insurance?

A 15-year term life insurance policy can be an affordable way to get life insurance coverage.
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What Is 15-Year Term Life Insurance?

Written by Brian Greenberg
CEO / Founder & Licensed Insurance Agent

Last updated: November 24th, 2022

Reviewed by Paige Geisler
Licensed Insurance Agent

These policies may be particularly useful if you only need life insurance for a short time or you aren’t sure what your needs will be in the future.

What Is 15-Year Term Life Insurance?

Term life policies provide life insurance during a fixed period known as the term. A 15-year term life policy provides life insurance coverage for 15 years from the date the policy begins — as long as you pay your premiums.

Fifteen years is a relatively short term, and these policies are generally lower risk for insurers. Having a lower amount of risk means these policies often have lower premiums.

You also have the option to purchase term policies for periods of 20, 30, or 40 years. Permanent life insurance, such as a whole life insurance policy, may be another option.

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How Does a 15-Year Term Life Insurance Policy Work?

If you buy one of these policies, you have a fixed premium you’ll pay for the duration of the 15-year term. As with other life insurance policies, the premium amount depends on your health and the policy benefit amount.

You must pay the premiums to maintain active coverage.

If you pass away while the insurance policy is active, your beneficiaries will receive the policy benefit amount, also called a death benefit. Beneficiaries typically do not owe income tax on this money.

What Happens to the Policy at the End of 15 Years?

At the end of the term, the policy will terminate or renew at a much higher rate. You may have the option for a term conversion. Term conversions convert the current policy to one with a longer amount of time, such as 20 or 30 years. You may also be able to convert to a permanent life insurance policy.

Be aware that you may need to take steps to convert your policy before the 15-year term is up. Some policies only allow conversion if you take action years before the policy expires. Examining the term conversion provisions when purchasing your life insurance policy helps prevent surprises later. If you do not know what your life insurance needs will be in the future, you may want to look for a policy with a term conversion option.

Who Is Right for a 15-Year Term Life Insurance Policy?

A 15-year term life insurance policy may be a good option for anyone who is mostly healthy and does not need long-term coverage. An excellent use for these policies is to cover debts upon death, especially for mortgages or car loans.

A 15-year policy can make sense for a young person who does not know what their needs will be later but expects to still be in good health in 15 years. However, you might also select a 15-year term when you are older and need coverage for a few years, such as until you or a spouse reaches retirement age.

Overall, a 15-year term life policy will be cheaper for younger policyholders. The following table shows average estimated rates based on age for a 15-year policy with a $500,000 policy death benefit.

Who Is Right for a 15-Year Term Life Insurance Policy?

AgePer Month Premium for MalesPer Month Premium for Females
25$15$15
35$15$15
45$40$35
55$85$65

Regardless of the premium, a 15-year policy is not suitable for everyone. A parent with young children may wish to ensure life insurance coverage is available until the children are well-established as adults. You may be worried that your health will get worse in the next decade, making it more difficult for you to get insurance. In these cases, buying a 20 or 30-year policy can be the better option.

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What Is the Cost of a 15-Year Term Life Insurance Policy?

Factors like health, age, and sex can affect your costs. As with any term life policy, you must submit an application. You may need to have a physical or provide medical records. Alcohol consumption and other lifestyle choices can increase your premiums regardless of age or policy term. You will find the following average monthly rates for 15-year term life insurance policies.

For Women:

What Is the Cost of a 15-Year Term Life Insurance Policy?

Age$250,000 Coverage$500,000 Coverage$1,000,000 Coverage
25$10$15$50
35$10$15$60
45$20$30$115
55$35$60$245

For Men:

For Men:

Age$250,000 Coverage$500,000 Coverage$1,000,000 Coverage
25$10$15$50
35$10$15$60
45$20$35$135
55$45$85$245

How Does a 15-Year Term Life Insurance Policy Compare to Other Life Insurance Policies?

A shorter policy period means the policyholder is less likely to die while a life insurance policy is active. Short-term policies involve less risk to the insurer, which means these policies have lower premiums.

A male might find the following monthly premiums for a policy with a one million dollar death benefit:

How Does a 15-Year Term Life Insurance Policy Compare to Other Life Insurance Policies?

Age10-Year Term15-Year Term20-Year Term25-Year Term
25$45$50$60$70
35$50$55$70$80
45$110$135$170$220
55$240$305$430$560

How Can You Get a Quote for 15-Year Term Life Insurance?

Comparing rates online is often the best way to begin shopping for life insurance. You can find out what rates apply to you and which companies might meet your needs.

As with any term life insurance policy, you will submit an application with information about your age and health history. The insurance company may ask you to provide medical records or undergo a physical exam.

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Key Takeaways

A 15-year term life insurance policy is a good option for someone who doesn’t need a long-term policy or isn’t sure what insurance they’ll want in the future. These can be a good option for younger people with changing insurance needs who expect to remain in good health.

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