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Blended term life insurance: Combining a mix of term & whole life coverage

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When you're researching life insurance options, you want coverage that fits your specific needs. You may find that traditional term and permanent life insurance are clear enough in what features they provide, but that what you really want is a strategy that has the flexibility to change with your evolving financial needs.

Blended term life insurance can offer this financial flexibility between what you need now and what you may want later in a single contract. Think of it as a combination of term and whole life insurance. The term component helps keep premiums affordable when you're younger. The whole life component allows you to build cash value and provides a lasting death benefit.

For some, this mix of two products' features in one contract may be a better choice than buying one over the other, converting from one to the other later, or purchasing separate contracts. Here's what you should know.

Term vs. permanent vs. blended life insurance

With term life insurance, you get coverage that lasts for a certain number of years and then expires. It's often less expensive because of this temporary nature. It also doesn't accumulate cash value—money you can access while you're alive or pass on to your loved ones, in addition to the death benefit.

Permanent life insurance, including whole life and other kinds, can give you protection indefinitely and build cash value. You may want this insurance if you have people you need to provide for financially for the long term. In addition to the death benefit, it can provide a supplemental investment asset or serve as a wealth transfer tool for your heirs.

Blended life insurance is a hybrid of term and whole life insurance and protects you through different stages of your life. These contracts offer the benefits of permanent insurance while offering a lower premium that fully guarantees whole life coverage. This can provide a necessary layer of permanent protection whether you are just starting out, or in retirement and looking to secure a financial legacy to pass down to your beneficiaries.

What are the advantages of blended life insurance?

Blended life insurance can be an affordable way to make the most of what life insurance can offer. Four features might make it a good fit for your needs.

1. Affordable premium payments

Compared to permanent life insurance, blended life tends to have lower premiums. It can be a good way to get the permanent protection you want at a price that fits your budget. Your contract may also feature flexible premiums, where any extra you pay can add paid-up additions to your contract. These additions can replace the term insurance aspect with a permanent one more quickly and contribute to your cash value.

2. Coverage that lasts & grows

Because of the term life insurance nature at the start of your contract, blended life insurance can allow you to afford a higher initial death benefit compared to a traditional whole life insurance policy. This feature can be especially helpful when you're younger and have large financial obligations but haven't reached your peak earning years. The lasting death benefit you get with blended life insurance can provide financial protection for your family as long as you pay your premiums.1

As you continue with your contract, you can enhance it with additional coverage, letting it grow as your circumstances and needs evolve. Additional coverage can help you replace your term coverage with permanent coverage sooner, grow your cash value faster and become eligible for larger dividends.

3. Cash value with set growth

Like many permanent contracts, your blended life insurance's cash value grows over time. It's also a safety net you can fall back on if borrowing against your contract is a better option than your other potential sources of cash.

4. Potential for dividend earnings

With a blended life insurance contract, you may be eligible to receive dividends. Dividends are a partial return of premiums that some insurance companies pay to contract holders when the company performs better than expected in a given year. You can use dividends in several ways, including to purchase additional insurance or one-year term insurance. Note that dividends aren't guaranteed, and if you have an outstanding life insurance loan, your dividends may be reduced.

Illustration of family holding a blue heart

How the cash value of life insurance works

While permanent life insurance mainly offers protection through its death benefit, its cash value provides a number of opportunities to help you achieve your financial goals.

Find out how

What are some drawbacks of blended life insurance?

Most life insurance choices have trade-offs. In exchange for the benefits a blended life contract can provide, you need to be comfortable with these three potential drawbacks.

1. It must build up to permanent coverage

As mentioned, a blended life contract begins with limited-time, renewable coverage. So at the start, blended life insurance doesn't offer the same guarantees as traditional whole life. You get those guarantees later as you replace the renewing terms with permanent coverage.

2. Potential for less dividends & growth than other insurance

Compared to a permanent life insurance contract of the same size, the dividends paid on blended life insurance across the contract's lifetime are usually lower. Also, while you're under term coverage, your cash value may not grow as quickly because you may opt for any extra you pay in premiums to increase or enhance your coverage first.

3. Evidence of insurability may be required

To purchase additional insurance, you may be required to provide evidence of insurability. If your health has worsened, you may not be eligible to increase your coverage, or you may be asked to pay a higher premium for the additional coverage.

Deciding if blended life insurance is right for you

Blended life insurance can be a good idea when you want to lock in a smaller permanent death benefit without compromising on the total payout your family receives. In some situations, blended coverage might be a better choice than term or permanent alone.

  • You're a young couple with a growing family. Everyone may be healthy now, but what would happen if one of your children, parents or siblings became your financial dependent later in life? You may want the security of permanent coverage because you don't know what life may bring. Blended life insurance allows you to reach your death benefit goal now with a combination of term and permanent coverage.
  • You co-own a business. Blended insurance can offer the appropriate amount of coverage while building cash value that can be a future asset of the business owner.
  • Your spouse is dependent on your pension or Social Security income. Blended life insurance could provide the death benefit amount your spouse may need at a cost you can afford.

It can be worth discussing your family's life insurance needs with an expert. A Thrivent financial advisor can help you explore whether a blended contract or another option is right for you.

1Loans and surrenders will decrease the death proceeds and the value available to pay insurance costs which may cause the contract to terminate without value. Surrenders may generate an income tax liability and charges may apply. A significant taxable event can occur if a contract terminates with outstanding debt. Contact your tax advisor for further details. Loaned values may accumulate at a lower rate than unloaned values.

Dividends are not guaranteed.

If requested, a licensed insurance agent/producer may contact you and financial solutions, including insurance may be solicited.

Life insurance contracts have exclusions, limitations and terms under which the benefits may be reduced, or the contract may be discontinued. For costs and complete details of coverage, contact your licensed insurance agent/producer.