The Best 20 Year Term Life Insurance Policies and the Pitfalls To Avoid

term of life insurance
Are you thinking about Term Life Insurance? Find the answer you need here today.

20 Year Term Life Insurance….  Pretty hot stuff. 

Inexpensive financial protection to have. 

Yes, it fills a big gap for many different American’s life insurance needs. 

Is it the answer to everyone’s life insurance prayers? 

Probably not, but it has a respectable place in the portfolio of many families raising kids that is for sure.

While 20 Year Term is a popular product, it is sometimes purposed for needs that it does not suit so well.  Term life insurance is often bought and sold because it is “cheap” or because is easy to market or “sell” to people.

As a life insurance consumer, just make sure you are not comprising your needs for appropriate coverage over price.  A change in health later in life and you have a big problem.  Worse yet, what if you planned on using it for end of life expenses and the policy expired in a drawer?

So in this post, I will tip you off when 20 year term life might be the answer for you.  You will get the real scoop on this popular life insurance product.  Included are:

  • The upsides and downsides of 20 year term life insurance
  • Common mistakes made by many consumers that you should avoid
  • How to get the lowest possible cost for life insurance coverage

As you shop for any term life insurance, be sure to carefully consider all the information about the different types of term life insurance. This is the only way to make darn sure that your purchase will get the job done right and protect your loved ones from financial devastation.

Finding the best term life insurance will depend upon your overall risk profile as evaluated by the insurance company. What may be good for a few of your friends and relatives may ultimately be a subpar option for you. All insurance companies have different screening and decision making methods. Your experienced independent life insurance agent or broker can sort out companies that are not advantageous to your goals and risk profile.

What Term of Life of Insurance Do I Need…The Different Term Lengths

As a shopper for life insurance, you may have already read about the different term life insurance products.  Specifically, how term life insurance is typically sold in 5 year, 10 year and the most common 20 and 30 year lengths. 

Have you asked yourself the question… what term of life insurance should I buy?

Sometimes it isn’t quite as simple as purchasing a 30 year term life insurance policy to cover a 30 year mortgage and various other debts.  If you have a family complete with kids for example, there is more to consider. What would happen if support was cut off from Mom or Dad due to the unthinkable?

Are your kids going to college?  If so, how far in the future is that?  What is your debt like?  When will it be paid off?  Where is your career and/or your spouse’s headed?

Will you need as much life insurance in 30 years as you do now?  Keep in mind that the mortgage amount will be declining during those years for most people while many also expect their income to increase.

Factoring in items like this helps paint a clear picture of how long you will need life insurance as well as the appropriate amount of coverage.  Sometimes you are better to blend multiple life insurance policies to cover these risks.  Maybe you have a 30 mortgage with 19 years remaining but your kids may complete college inside 10 years.  A 20 year term of life insurance to cover the remaining mortgage and additional 10 year term life policy will cover those costs, protect your spouse and kids from financial damage.  It also keeps you from overpaying for life insurance by simply buying a larger, 20 year policy combined with a smaller term policy that will fall off. 

Of course, this example scenario assumes that your finances are in good order and do not have a lot of outstanding debt beyond the mortgage.  Additional debt such as loans or credit cards could be another factor to figure into your term coverage.

Both parents, regardless of “income” should be covered. That is a major misconception many families have…only cover the main “breadwinner.” Either spouse will struggle without the other. Think about it in terms of changes in responsibilities and it becomes clear.

The term of life insurance you need is based on your individual situation.  A blended approach like the fictitious example above often fits the bill.  This will also save you money versus buying one larger, longer term life policy which may be unnecessary.

A key point to remember about these products is the difference in premiums as well as the specific benefits included in the actual policy.  It does vary. Term life insurance cost varies by numerous factors.

Life insurance can be very personal in how it is used.  To avoid any confusion though, let’s continue with a term length of 20 years.

What Makes Guaranteed Level 20 Year Term Life Insurance Tick?

First of all, any kind of term life insurance is temporary.  It “terminates” after a defined period of time in the policy.  It has no cash value build up inside of it.  There is no financial benefit unless death of the insured were to happen.

Guaranteed level 20 year life insurance will hold the same premium and death benefit amount for exactly 20 years. There is no change in cost or benefits during that time as long as you are paying your premiums.

So, 20 year term is temporary and “pure” life insurance for 20 years.  Upon the completion of that period, the coverage expires and the individual will no longer have coverage at the premium cost from 20 years ago.  The term is over.  You have “rented” financial protection during that time for an agreed upon price.

Obtaining the best 20 year term life insurance is going to depend upon a few important factors. Some are going to be in your control such as your occupation, driving habits, weight and lifestyle. Others are not. Items such as a medical history. 

As a young person, term life insurance is a good place to start as you are establishing yourself, whether you have a family or not.  As you age you can adjust your coverage to make sure your family or business interests are financially protected from being upset due to the unexpected.

Understand that there is rarely a better time than the present to get coverage in force. It isn’t something you ponder over for months and years.  Life insurance does not go down in price as you age, period.  Changes in age and in health will dramatically effect the cost you will pay for coverage.

Health can change and accidents do occur regardless of being youthful.  Your age and good health are your biggest assets in obtaining the lowest cost term life insurance, period. Take advantage of it. 

Buying down the road will just raise your monthly premium while risking a negative event in your life such as a medical diagnosis of a health condition.

Surprises life can dish out.

Folks, I am going to make a strong statement here…

Having life insurance is really a responsibility if you have a spouse or any dependents. Do you have any debts to payoff and lack the financial resources to ensure these are paid off?

Of course, if your family has no debt or has very deep pockets and can afford the loss of an adult breadwinner, caregiver/homemaker, that might be a different story. 

US economic reports of the average savings versus individual debt clearly illustrates the need for term life insurance to protect our love ones from a financial crater we could leave them with.

Term life insurance is very affordable, even if you have a health condition.  We just need to make a small monthly sacrifice to protect our families first.  Find something that you can cut back on. In my “past life” my former spouse wanted to eat out every Sunday. With a family of 5, it was not hard to spend my life insurance bill every Sunday. I know plenty of people that drop money on Starbucks… like it grows on trees!!

Personally, I have carried two 20 year term life policies to protect my family.  They are staggered between 2 different life insurance companies purchased a few years apart.  That is what has suited my concerns and needs the best.  I do practice what I preach.

It is a terrible thing when someone unexpectedly passes on but it is even worse when a grieving family is left behind without life insurance trying make all the ends meet financially.

Sadly, it happens regularly.

Hopes and dreams are ruined because of car wrecks and cancer all the time.  Does not matter how old you are right?  Plenty of death due to cancer even in the 30’s and 40’s.  At the time of writing this, I just had a good friend, age 50 with a younger wife in her early forties, die of breast cancer.  He is left with 4 kids with the youngest being age 6.

Make sure your family can carry on with life financially.  Term life insurance is often the answer.

Sorry for the rant by the way…

I am a firm believer in doing the right thing for your loved ones. Too many stories to tell.

Now, let’s talk about the difference in premiums among the different term periods commonly available.

As mentioned earlier, term life insurance is just temporary coverage. 

In our case of term coverage, you do have the protection of life insurance with a 20 year term, level premium and a guaranteed level death benefit. The premium is “locked” during that period after which the rate expires or “terminates.” Keep in mind, this is for a guaranteed level premium policy only. 

Again, “guaranteed level.”  There are many policies issued that are forms of term life insurance, but the rates go up over time.  Globe Life is famous for that. Very cheap initially and becomes expensive to own long term.

So, a 30 year level term policy with guaranteed level premiums would lock you in at a premium rate for 30 years…

What Happens at the End of Each Term?

At the end of a 20 year term policy, the guaranteed level premium will “terminate” (expire).  Your premiums will jump drastically and continue to go up sharply each year (annually) after that.  With the premiums being very high outside of the “term”, most people will drop them because they feel as though they are being overcharged.

You must understand that after a certain number of years, you are a larger risk to insure, especially if 20 or 30 years have gone by.  Your best health is realistically behind you.

At this point, you may have an option to change your coverage to permanent life insurance.

Whole Life Insurance has been the traditional mainstay for years, but I would like to point out another option.

That option would be Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance.  This is a permanent form of life insurance that is much more affordable and can cover you to age 121 more affordably than whole life insurance. Term like rates in fact.

With that said, it is very important that you know what options to convert are built into any term life insurance product.  Whether it is 10, 20 or 30 year term life insurance…  Do not put your John Hancock on the “X” until you know your options contained in the term life policy.  In other words, have an understanding of the “fine print.”

Myself…I would not buy any term life insurance policy from any life insurer with limited provisions for conversion.  Does not matter if it is a bit cheaper up front.  20 year term life insurance is low cost to start with and much cheaper long term to have good options to convert.

If you don’t want to take my free advice here and years down the road need or want to convert, the only option may be the more expensive whole life insurance.  At that point, you may be thinking “wow, I can’t afford that or I don’t want to afford that.”  Now your shopping for a new term life insurance policy.  Your also much older and your health has changed due to the effects of aging.  You might not be able to even qualify for something affordable at that point.

That is why it is critical to know what you are buying.

I have been around the block more than once and have seen the health of many of my policyholders change drastically.  Working with a lot of seniors in what I do, I also hear lots of stories of how life changed over the years.

In my experience, there is no substitute for having your ducks in a row.  Flying by the seat of your pants usually results in a huge layout of cash or no affordable life insurance at all.

If you are curious about universal life (UL) insurance give us a call for a quote.  Please note. We typically only recommend guaranteed universal life insurance.  Standard UL can implode prematurely if it is not carefully monitored.  It is a more complex product. 

Guaranteed universal life insurance (GUL) offers guaranteed level premiums, level death benefits and will not implode unless you do not pay your full premiums. 

It offers a “no-lapse” guarantee, hence guaranteed UL.  Coverage is just like term life insurance, but is permanent in nature, covering you for life.  Best of both worlds.  Very affordable.

Our recommendation…

For the best 20 year term term life insurance, be sure it offers convertibility to Guaranteed Universal life insurance.

20 Year Term Life Insurance – The Upside

It fits well with the needs of many people, making it “practical” in a sense.  It is a good place to start anyway.

Most people who purchase 20 year term life insurance buy it to cover their kids into adulthood when the policy guaranteed rate terminates.  Where will you be personally in 10, 15 or even 20 years?

We hope that you will be in a better financial position because your occupation has allowed advancement and ability to pay down debt such as your mortgage, cars, education debts etc.       

Those first 20 years are when most families are very vulnerable for financial devastation. New house, cars, possible student loan balances leaves a lot of financial risk for our family.

A correctly selected 20 year term policy can be there to mitigate these high risk years. 

If you need to continue coverage beyond, you have the options provided by the policy and you will be more likely better positioned financially to afford the cost of permanent insurance.

We like term life insurance for young folks who are just getting started based. It allows you to lock a low rate for a certain number of years. It provides financial protection their family would need if an unexpected loss of life occurred. What is the point of purchasing something else that could put you in a financial pinch such as a whole life insurance policy? There is a certain time and place for whole life insurance, but not everyone needs permanent life insurance coverage.

The best 20 year term life is cheaper than 30 year term insurance simply because the insurance company is not taking as much risk locking rates for 30 years.  While 10 year term in less costly than 20, it is not usually recommended as a first policy as you very well may covering your risk exposure for considerably longer.

Contractually Guaranteed Years of No Worries

I think we can all sleep better at night knowing that if the unthinkable were to happen that our families financial needs would be met when we are insured.  While term life insurance is an intangible, little else can provide the financial security better in our absence then life insurance.  This is something that is difficult to put a price tag on.

Remember, with a 20 year level term life insurance, you have a fixed premium for 20 years. The cost simply won’t go up during that time period or “term.”  No matter what happens with your health, that premium stays the same for the full term.  Good term life insurance policies have guaranteed level premiums for the entire term.

Remember that the peace of mind comes from making sure you are properly covered.  While your budget is very important avoid to avoid being under insured especially as inflation has gotten out of control as of 2021.  Debts you may have can still take a serious toll on the family as the policy death benefits may be not be adequate.

A good policy will allow a conversion to whole life policy without evidence of insurability.  Just remember to heed the advice from above and convert the policy before the “term” ends.

My recommendation… do not buy a policy that does not have a conversion option built into it unless you no you will not need life insurance after the term ends.  Even if that alternative is a few bucks cheaper.  Conversion options are a very important benefit.  Any term life insurance policy we recommend is going to have a conversion option included in the policy.

20 Year Term Life Insurance Downsides

It is temporary life insurance after all, but the premiums will skyrocket upward after expiration

Remember, with term life insurance with guaranteed level premiums you’re buying a locked premium for the term you select.  For 20 year term, you can expect rates to rise 5 to even 10 times you had paid during the 20 year period.  Your rate was based on your age and overall health when you applied for the coverage.

Buying a new term life insurance policy after expiration will be more costly.

So after your 20 year life insurance policy has run its course and you want to insure again.

With 20 year term purchased at age 25 expires at age 45 when it expires and your health you can expect a new term policy to be double in cost.

Now that is a real bummer!!

It may also not be a good option for someone in questionable or poor health

Insurance companies base their rates heavily on your overall health.  If you have a serious medical condition, it might not be a good choice.  Sometimes we see more favorable ratings for permanent policies such as a guaranteed universal life policy.  Guaranteed universal life (GUL) may be a more prudent decision with questionable health at the very least.

Converting the policy prior to expiration is the way to go if you need extend life insurance. You can turn the policy into permanent coverage with this feature.

Again, as stated above do not purchase term insurance that does not allow conversion to a GUL policy.

Cost of 20 Year Term Life Insurance

Wondering how much 20 year term life insurance should cost?

You have likely noticed our free, term life insurance quoting tool in the right sidebar.

If you have an extra 30 seconds to spare…

Go to the instant term life quoting tool on this page. Take a guess on your health compared to your peers. Select 20 year term from the drop down menu and will see all the top rates from the top life insurance companies on the market. This tool can give you instant quotes for any type of level premium term of life insurance you need. There may be dozens of top carriers displayed with their pricing. Just remember, this is not a guaranteed rate nor an offer for life insurance. You must apply to see if you qualify for coverage based on your over risk profile. The insurance company underwriter make the final determination on the cost.

We offer unlimited, free 20 year term life insurance quotes to get you started on your quest for life insurance protection.  So 24 hours a day, you have access to the best rates for term life insurance among the most competitive life insurance companies out there.

For many people, they pay exactly what this instant quote widget determined for them. 


Be mindful that while these term life insurance rates are up to date, you may or may not qualify for these rates.  You see, the quoting tool has not validated any information on you as an insurance risk.  You are only giving it general info about you. However, it will ask you to rate yourself under “Health Classification.”

‘Here is some guidance to rate yourself on your own. This is key. All Life insurance is based on your application age and overall risk profile. The more honest you are with the quote tool, the more in line it will be with the insurance company’s decision. If you have any preexisting conditions at all, you will not be able to obtain preferred rates. Standard would be the best you could obtain in most cases. ‘

The insurance carrier you apply to at some point will determine your actual risk to them and adjust the premium up or down depending on your actual risk profile.

If you selected the wrong health class and/or have a health condition…

Maybe your height to weight ratio is not in line with a particular insurer requires…have a family history of disease, a blemished driving record…all of these factors influence the actual, 20 year term life insurance cost an insurance company will offer you.

Sorry to disappoint. That is how it all works.

So How Do You Find Out Who Has The Best Term Life Insurance Then?

We can help you dial it in by speaking with us. You, as a risk profile will be suited ideally with a highly rated company with low rates. We have to determine what you can qualify for. Finding an ideal match is the goal.

With that said…

This could mean the “best” company for you may not even be in the top 5 or 10 companies listed. Then again, it may be the first on the list provided.

Ultimately, the “best company” for you will be determined after the underwriter(s) for the insurance company has reviewed your case. 

Here is the take home…

Not all insurers look at applicants the same way which greatly affects your premium.  You may not like the offer of “company A” in our instant quote widget. After investigation, Company E or F maybe the ideal life insurer for you.

A good independent life insurance agent will be able to guide you towards the best company for you so you don’t get surprised, overcharged or declined. That is their business. You don’t pay a nickel extra for it either. This is the way you get the lowest, actual cost of coverage.

Don’t Cut Corners.  The Stay At Home Spouse Must Be Insured As Well

We just talked briefly about obtaining a quote for 20 year life insurance.  What is the biggest mistake couples make when purchasing life insurance? 

The assumption that the “breadwinner” is the only one that needs to have life insurance!! 

Wrong!!  Don’t go there to save money.  

Married couples are a team, period.  While the breadwinner is out bringing in the paycheck, the stay of home spouse is saving the family money by performing important work as well.  Cooking, cleaning, full time babysitter, running kids around to appointments or events, being the caregiver to sick children, paying the bills, shopping for groceries etc. 

Folks, this is something that takes a lot of time and money.

Don’t believe me?

Just investigate the cost of a live in nanny.  Would the nanny do everything your spouse would?

To put a financial value on a stay at home spouse, go to and use their calculator.  You may be shocked at the truth. 

We as adults all work hard in one way or another.  Being a stay at home caregiver can be a thankless job sometimes.  You don’t get a real paycheck do you?

The writing is on the wall for us all.  Cancer and car wrecks claim the lives of many youthful parents each year.  Make sure you are being realistic about the financial value of your spouse at home.  Life without them would be very difficult if you had to pick up all of their responsibilities wouldn’t it?

If the unthinkable occurred, know the financial starting point you would have to offset. Plan for it.

So, how do we move on and pay for the help we will need?  I think you understand now if you did not already. 

Term life insurance can remove this risk. 

Don’t pinch pennies on the future of your family. That is playing games with your loves ones fate.

Family dreams are destroyed by not having life insurance on both Mom and Dad…all to save less money than is spent on coffee at Starbucks each month!!  If your still not sure about all this, read this article containing information provided by a TV station and AAA.  There is a link there at the top of the article to the actual news footage to review as well.

Don’t kid yourself. If you have been wondering about whether you or your spouse need it or not, call and talk to a reputable independent agent/broker and get a consultation. It should be free and unbiased from these folks.

For the vast majority of people who need coverage, term life insurance rates make it simple to manage into your budget.

Do You Have Health Issues?  We Can Help You Get Coverage

At Special Risk Life, we regularly see individuals who live with high risk medical issues such as diabetes, heart attacks, autoimmune disease and even cancer. 

We’ve seen it all. 

We are here to help you get you a prompt approval at a rate the you can afford on what is best for you. 

Here are some simple tips to find your best rate on high risk life insurance.

Blending Other Life Insurance With A 20 Year Term Policy

Sometimes we may make a recommendation to purchase two life insurance policies to save our clientele money and get them a better value for the financial protection they are paying for.

Let’s say you have new 30 year mortgage on a home and have a family with 3 kids. You and your spouse are planning financially to see your kids have money to go to college. Early on, as careers are new, with a house and car payments for Mom and Dad, there is a lot of financial risk.

Sometimes it makes sense to have more coverage for the first 10 years while the mortgage, vehicles and any other debt gets paid down.

Using a blending strategy with this this fictitious example, our largest policy is a 20 year term.


Take out a smaller, 30 year term policy combined with a smaller 20 year term that meets the family needs analysis. After 20 years most of the mortgage is paid off and the kids are close if not out of college. Now the 20 year term policy expires and while the smaller 30 year blended policy has 10 years of protection left. Yes, your death benefit has dropped down, but now you and your spouse have had enough time to pay down the home and have accumulated some of your retirement. Kids are adults and Life insurance has done it job.

So, after 10 years, the remainder of coverage ends, your home is paid off and you are close to retirement.

If the unthinkable happens at any time in this 30 year period and something happens to either Mom or Dad, the size of the total life insurance will reflect the financial risk of the family at that time. The greatest risk is when you are young and raising a family. Maximize for that time, minimize later as exposure diminishes. Best way to over being over insured yet not under insured in my opinion.

Hopefully that makes some sense!!

There are a few different ways to used blended strategies to save money and optimize coverage when it is most needed but I want to wrap this article up.

What’s The Best 20 Year Term Life Insurance Policy?

If you have any unanswered questions regarding term life ins or any other life insurance help… give us a call for assistance… (269) 230-3464.  We are happy to answer your questions and provide some guidance.  We can also help you sort out the term of life insurance that will be best suit your goals. The reality is, it depends on several factors. Factors such as age, sex, lifestyle, health history are all going to have a impact on the rates.

Life insurance is about financial protection. It is the cost to protect the value of someone’s life to others around him or her. There is no sense in buying a 20 year term policy from a carrier that charges considerably higher rates for the same person compared to the competition, right?

The best value for you could be a life insurance company you have never heard of or it may be big name like Mutual of Omaha. There are literally hundreds of life insurance carriers out there. Very few of them are known to consumers because they don’t market directly to consumers.

Just recognize that some insurance carriers will accept you at better rates than others. With that said, the best 20 year term rates will be found in a medically underwritten policy.

Please note…

It does not matter if you have quotes from 10 different term life insurance companies. Until the underwriting is completed, the lowest quote company could end up being the most expensive of those 10. You must be able to meet the overall risk assessment used by the lowest quote company to obtain those rates.

That is why you bring in a professional. Yes, to sort out who the best is for you. It doesn’t cost you a penny to do so and requires a lot less of your time to work with and independent agent or broker like Special Risk Life.

Personally, I like Banner Life and Protective for their term life insurance products but I have lots of clientele with completely different companies.

One of my personal term policies is with a small company later bought up by Protective. I was able to obtain preferred plus rates with them and they had a great financial rating of an “A” according to A.M Best. This was the “best” 20 year term life insurance for me.

Term life insurance with a 20 year term period is the most popular followed closely by 30 year term insurance.

Both are very practical for the younger generations or those just looking for temporary coverage for a defined period of time and/or those on a very tight budget.

Remember, it is better to have some coverage than no coverage. The future of our families are too important.

With term life insurance, you are paying for pure insurance protection with no fluff.

Are there really any term life “Pitfalls?”


Number one…it is not permanent, so your low rate will skyrocket someday. That “someday” is the end of the “term.”

In a case of some low quality products, the coverage just terminates at a set age regardless of health and/or goes up in price as you age.

Be sure you understand that once the policy period “terminates”, any level premium rates you were paying will come to an end. There is no way to get it back or extend it with the same benefits.

There will not be any insurance company who will insure you at such a low rate when compared to 20 years in the past. Great health 20 years in the future does not change that dynamic.

Your age is always a factor in determining eligibility for the best life insurance rates.

For some, this is enough to choose a longer term or consider a permanent life insurance policy. These individuals are looking for longer financial security for their families.

Be sure you understand the term life insurance policy limitations.

The best 20 year term insurance is not an ideal product for of the 50+ crowd my opinion unless you have a defined period of time you need the coverage.

If you are “guessing” than you have elected the wrong kind of life insurance.

Hope this article helped you better understand term life insurance and in particular, the popular 20 year term life insurance product. 

As always, feel free to comment or provide suggestions below.  Have a good day.

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