This is a question we are asked quite often, typically when we are doing annual policy reviews with our clients. Unfortunately, the answer is always “no, the term is set when the policy is issued, after which time it cannot be extended.”
When discussing a new term life insurance policy with a client, especially when they have received life insurance quotes on our website, we always show the premiums for various term lengths, from 10 to 30 years. In most cases, unless there is a specific need for a short term period (e.g. 10 years to cover a short term loan), we will recommend the longest term available (30 years for most age groups).
We realize there are budgetary concerns, especially in the current economic climates, but we will usually show a client that it will probably be less expensive in the long run to go with a longer term. Additionally, the rates can be significantly higher after a shorter term if the client’s health class changes due to deteriorated health.
My advice now is, as it has always been, if you are purchasing term life insurance, purchase a policy with the longest term available for your age.