What Is Short-Term Life Insurance?

••• Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Life insurance companies offer multiple types of policies, letting clients pick the coverage and policy type that fits their needs and lifestyle. One type of life insurance available to you is short-term life insurance. You may want to consider this insurance if you're going to need coverage for a year or less.


Short-term life insurance extends coverage for only one month to a year. Because of the duration of time involved in coverage, most people who buy short-term life insurance policies see the policies as a temporary solution to life insurance needs. They are most applicable for people who are changing jobs or who otherwise would experience short-term coverage lapses.

Short-term life insurance is no different from regular life insurance in terms of how claims are processed or how premiums are paid. It should not be confused with term insurance, which is a long-term form of insurance that lasts between five and 20 years.


When you buy a short-term life insurance policy, you may choose between a regular policy and an accidental death policy. If you die under a regular policy, your insurance company will pay no matter what caused your death. Accidental death policies only pay if your death happens because of an accident. Because the accidental death policies are more restrictive and thus pose less of a risk to the insurance company, they're usually cheaper. However, as the CompuQuotes and MedSave websites indicate, regular policies generally are better for older individuals, as they are more likely to die of health or similar issues instead of accidents.


The amount you pay for a short-term life insurance policy is generally about the same as you would pay for a long-term policy, says CompuQuotes. Most long-term policies range from $10 to $100 a month, depending on the company used, how many people are on the policy and other factors. However, your premiums will depend on the exact amount of coverage you buy.


Because of the short period of coverage, it generally isn't necessary to get a huge amount of coverage with a short-term life insurance policy. Most companies have policies in the range of $50,000 to $100,000. You can get policies as high as $250,000, but you may have to take an exam to qualify. This will take longer and, as MedSave asserts, may defeat the purpose of getting insurance quickly. In most cases, getting short-term life insurance coverage is easier because most of these policies are issued online -- there usually aren't any health exams as a result. You should get a response to your application and have working coverage within one business day, although some companies may respond in less than an hour.