The Help Desk

Your tough questions. MONEY's smart answers.
Presented by

What should I do when my term life insurance policy expires?

April 12, 2012: 5:05 AM ET

I will be 75 years of age in August. I have a $500,000 term life insurance policy that ends in 2014. I can renew it, but the premiums are so large (over $1,000 per month) that I can't afford them. Are there any other options? I have had surgeries for bladder cancer, but otherwise healthy and active.
-- Orville Thompson, Kamuela, HI

One possibility is asking your insurance carrier if you could convert to a lower dollar amount of coverage, which would save on premiums, says Portland, Ore. financial planner Glen Clemans. You could also investigate converting your term policy into a whole life product—which would cover you for the rest of your life—at a lower benefit level. This would likely be more expensive than the previous suggestion, but the premiums would remain level.

But before looking into these options, you might think about how much coverage you really need at your age, asks New York financial planner Erika Safran. Is someone still depending on you financially? If so, might they still be adequately covered by a smaller amount? Or, alternately, could they help by contributing to your current term policy premiums? Review your insurance needs carefully before deciding on a course of action.

-- Jeff Wuorio

Got a question for the help desk? Send it to

Posted in: Family Money
Join the Conversation
Help Desk

Got a question about your money? We want to hear it! Each week we're answering your questions on CNN, Headline News and

Your email or phone number won't be published; we'll use it to get in touch if we need more information about your question.
Help Desk Video
  • NEXT
    Not enough money in America's 401(k)s
    Despite the surging stock market bringing balances to record highs, the average Fidelity 401(k) account has less than $100,000 in it. That's just not enough. Play
  • NEXT
    Explaining Obama's myRA
    President Obama unveiled a new savings plan for retirement accounts, aimed at encouraging people to start building their nest egg. But how exactly does it work? Play
  • NEXT
    Tricks on how to save in your 20s
    Saving for your retirement in your 20s doesn't have to be a financial burden. Prioritizing your expenses is usually the first step in building a nest egg. Play
  • BACK
    Don't get fooled by Black Friday sales
    Here are some of the tricks that retailers use to make you think you're getting a deal. Keep an eye out for them while shopping this Black Friday. Play
Best Tips
Some of the nation's leading business owners, investors, and thinkers share their thoughts on rebuilding your wealth. More
These strategies can help you manage the challenges -- both emotional and financial -- of helping an aging parent from afar. More
You don't need to be fanatical to get to 780. Those in the know say these moves matter most. More
Featured Newsletters

Tips for saving and spending smarter.

Search This Column
View all entries from this: Week, Month
Help Desk
More help for your career, your investments and your budget.
Powered by VIP.