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Life Insurance

Buy Term While It's Still Cheap

After steadily decreasing since the early 1990s, it looks as if term-insurance premiums have hit bottom. Several insurers have recently raised their prices -- by 5% to 20% -- for the first time in nearly a decade. Most others are expected to boost rates at least 10% over the next year. Blame the market meltdown. Not only have insurers lost money on their investments, but regulators are requiring them to set aside more money in reserve against possible future economic damage.

But you can still get a good deal if you shop soon. The increases are small compared with the price cuts that preceded them, and some insurers are lagging in boosting premiums. Your best bet is to get quotes from dozens of insurers (go to To find detailed medical criteria for qualifying for a policy, check out or an independent insurance broker who advertises low-cost insurance and represents many companies.