Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) Insurance: Definition, Examples, and Suitability


Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) life insurance is a one-year renewable policy that automatically renews annually with the same death benefit, but with increasing premiums as the insured person ages. This article explores the details of YRT policies, their suitability, pros and cons, and why someone might choose this type of insurance. It also provides key takeaways and valuable sources for further information.

Understanding Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) life insurance

Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) life insurance is a specific type of term life insurance that provides coverage for a one-year period. It is designed to pay a tax-free death benefit to the policy’s beneficiaries if the insured individual passes away during that 12-month period. What makes YRT unique is that it automatically renews each year, maintaining the same death benefit, but with one crucial difference—the premium increases. This increase in premium reflects the higher risk of death as the insured person advances in age.

How YRT premiums work

When an individual purchases a YRT insurance policy, the initial premium quoted is for one year of coverage based on the insured’s current age. However, as the insured person continues to renew the policy annually, the premium gradually rises to account for their increased age and the associated elevated risk of death.

The actuarial professionals at insurance companies determine the appropriate premium to charge for a renewable term policy like YRT. They consider various risk factors, such as age, health, and other relevant information to predict the likelihood of a policyholder’s death at a specific age. YRT effectively operates as a series of one-year term policies, each with a new premium calculated based on the insured’s current age.

Suitability of Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) policies

YRT life insurance policies appeal to certain demographics and situations due to their unique characteristics:

  • Young Insurance Seekers: YRT policies are often attractive to young individuals seeking insurance with low initial costs and a flexible premium structure to meet their current needs.
  • Short-Term Coverage Needs: YRTs fulfill niche short-term insurance requirements. These might include individuals changing jobs, recent ex-smokers, those with short-term medical conditions, or anyone who anticipates needing coverage for only one to two years.

However, it’s essential to be aware of the primary drawback associated with YRT life insurance:


Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.

  • Flexible, low-cost coverage, ideal for short-term needs.
  • Easy renewability without a medical exam during a specific period.
  • If renewed for many years, total premiums paid might exceed the cost of a level term or permanent life insurance policy.
  • Renewability rules can vary by state, and some policies have limitations.

Renewability and premium changes

YRT policies allow policyholders to renew their coverage each year without the need for additional medical underwriting for a specific period. However, if someone renews their YRT policy over many years, they may end up paying more in total premiums than if they had initially purchased a level term life or permanent life insurance policy.

The age of the policyholder significantly influences how premiums are priced in YRT policies. Young insured individuals typically start with lower premiums that gradually increase with age. As age increases, the cost and risk associated with insuring that person also rise.

Comparing YRT premiums with other insurance types

Yearly Renewable Term insurance provides coverage for one year at a time, with premiums rising annually based on the insured’s current age. In contrast, other insurance policies do not increase premiums as frequently. For example, a 10-year renewable term policy maintains a consistent premium throughout its 10-year term, with the option to renew at new premiums based on the policyholder’s older age. Whole life policies typically charge a fixed premium throughout the life of the policy without annual increases.

Why choose a yearly renewable term?

Policyholders with a YRT life insurance policy can secure a period during which they remain insurable without the need for a medical exam during renewal. Renewability rules can vary by state and insurer, but it is generally permitted up to a certain age, after which the cost becomes prohibitive. For example, New York does not allow renewals past age 80 due to the significantly higher costs.

YRT policies are particularly attractive to younger adults, as their premiums start low and increase gradually with age. This occurs because the older an individual gets, the more expensive and risky it becomes to insure them.

Choosing between YRT and other insurance options

When deciding on an insurance policy, it’s crucial to weigh your options and consider your long-term needs. Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) insurance is an attractive choice for many, but it’s not the only option available. Here, we’ll explore how YRT compares to other types of insurance, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of your choices.

Comparing YRT to level term life insurance

Level term life insurance is another popular choice, and it differs from YRT in terms of premium structure. Unlike YRT, level term insurance maintains a consistent premium throughout the specified term, whether it’s 10, 20, or 30 years. This stability can be an advantage for individuals seeking predictable premiums and long-term coverage.

However, YRT may be more cost-effective for those with short-term insurance needs, as they only pay for the coverage they require at a specific moment. Level term insurance, while stable, might lead to overpayment for individuals who outlive their policy’s term. It’s essential to assess your financial goals and needs before making a decision.

YRT vs. permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance, such as whole life or universal life insurance, offers lifelong coverage with a cash value component. Unlike YRT, these policies come with a set premium that remains consistent throughout the policyholder’s life. They also accumulate cash value over time, which can be borrowed against or used to supplement retirement income.

The choice between YRT and permanent life insurance largely depends on your long-term financial objectives. If you seek lifelong coverage, cash value accumulation, and the stability of consistent premiums, permanent life insurance might be the better option. However, it’s important to note that the initial premiums for permanent policies are typically higher than those for YRT.

Real-life examples of YRT insurance

To illustrate the practical application of Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) insurance, let’s explore a few hypothetical scenarios:

Case 1: Young professional

Sarah, a 28-year-old marketing manager, is just starting her career. She wants to ensure her financial responsibilities are covered in case of an unexpected event. YRT insurance provides her with an affordable option to meet her insurance needs at this early stage. As she advances in her career, she can reevaluate her insurance requirements and potentially switch to a different policy type.

Case 2: Temporary medical condition

John, a 45-year-old accountant, has been diagnosed with a temporary medical condition that requires a two-year treatment plan. During this time, he needs insurance to safeguard his family’s financial stability. YRT insurance offers a practical solution as it aligns with his short-term needs without locking him into a long-term policy.

Case 3: Transitioning career

Emily, a 35-year-old teacher, is changing her career and anticipates a gap in employer-sponsored insurance. YRT insurance bridges the coverage gap during this transitional period, ensuring she has protection without the need for a medical exam or committing to a long-term policy.

In each of these examples, YRT insurance serves as a flexible, short-term solution for individuals with varying insurance needs. These scenarios highlight its suitability for a range of life stages and situations.

Is YRT insurance right for you?

Deciding whether Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) insurance aligns with your financial goals requires careful consideration. To determine if YRT is the right choice for you, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What are your insurance needs?

Assess your current financial situation and insurance requirements. Consider whether you need short-term coverage or a more extended insurance solution.

2. How do you feel about premium increases?

Are you comfortable with the idea of your premiums increasing annually as you age, or do you prefer a stable premium structure?

3. Are you in a transitional phase of life?

If you anticipate changes in your career, health, or other life circumstances, YRT insurance can provide the flexibility you need during these transitions.

4. What are your long-term financial goals?

Consider your broader financial objectives. If you seek lifelong coverage or cash value accumulation, permanent life insurance might be a better fit.

5. Have you consulted an insurance professional?

It’s always advisable to speak with a life insurance agent who can provide personalized guidance based on your unique situation.

In conclusion, Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) insurance is a valuable option for those with short-term insurance needs or those in transitional phases of life. However, it’s essential to carefully evaluate your long-term financial goals and insurance requirements before making a decision. Understanding how YRT compares to other insurance options can help you choose the policy that best suits your specific situation.


Yearly Renewable Term insurance can be an excellent choice for young adults or those with temporary insurance needs. However, as years pass and the policy renews, premiums will rise in tandem with the insured person’s age. It’s advisable to consult a life insurance agent to determine whether YRT is a suitable solution for a particular situation or if a policy with less frequent premium increases is a better option.

Frequently asked questions

Is Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) insurance the same as annual renewal term insurance?

Yes, Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) insurance is often referred to as annual renewal term insurance. Both terms describe the same type of life insurance, where coverage renews annually with a consistent death benefit but with increasing premiums based on the insured’s age.

What happens if I miss a premium payment on my YRT insurance?

If you fail to pay your YRT insurance premium, your coverage may lapse. Some policies offer a grace period during which you can make the payment, but it’s crucial to contact your insurance provider to understand the specific terms and conditions for reinstating your policy.

Can I convert my YRT policy to a different type of life insurance?

Yes, many insurance companies allow policyholders to convert their YRT policies to other types of life insurance, such as whole life or level term insurance, without the need for a medical exam. This flexibility is valuable if your insurance needs change over time.

What is the age limit for renewing a YRT policy?

The age limit for renewing a Yearly Renewable Term policy varies by state and insurer. In general, renewability is permitted up to a certain age, which can range from 65 to 80 years old. Beyond this age, the cost of renewal may become too high to be practical.

Is YRT insurance a good choice for seniors or individuals with long-term insurance needs?

YRT insurance is typically more suitable for younger individuals or those with short-term insurance needs. Seniors and those seeking long-term coverage may find other insurance options, such as permanent life insurance, to be more appropriate due to the increasing premiums associated with YRT policies over time.

Key takeaways

  • Yearly Renewable Term (YRT) insurance provides one-year coverage with an automatically renewing death benefit.
  • Premiums for YRT insurance increase annually to account for the insured person’s advancing age.
  • YRT is suitable for young adults and those with short-term insurance needs, but renewing for many years may result in higher total premiums.
  • Premiums in YRT policies are priced based on the insured person’s age, making it attractive for younger individuals.
  • Consulting a life insurance agent is advisable to determine the best insurance solution for your specific situation.
View Article Sources
  1. Renewable Term Life Insurance: Explained, Benefits, and … – SuperMoney
  2. Is Yearly Renewable Term Life Insurance Right For You? – Annuity
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