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Basic Term Life Insurance

Basic Term Life Insurance provides faculty and staff with term life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment coverage as financial support for designated beneficiaries in the event of the death of benefits-eligible faculty and staff. This plan is fully University paid. Browse the summary plan description.

Basic life insurance benefit

Coverage is equal to 2.5x the annual University salary. Maximum coverage of $250,000. Eligible salary is salary as of September 1 of the prior year or new hire salary if hired since. Employees may also elect to limit coverage to $50,000. The coverage factor reduces by 35% the year an individual turns 65 and an additional 15% at age 70.


Employees are not required to submit Evidence of Insurability (EOI) for this plan upon hire.

Update beneficiaries

Beneficiaries can be updated at any time during the year through the myHR portal. For assistance updating beneficiaries, please see this user guide.

Increase coverage

Employees may only change coverage during Open Enrollment or within 31 days of a qualifying change in family or employment status online via myHR.


Under IRS regulations, the value of employer paid Basic Term Life insurance coverage in excess of $50,000 is considered taxable income to the covered individual and is reported as Code C in Box 13 of W2 statements and included as “Wages, Tips and Other Compensation.”

The taxable amount or "imputed value" of such insurance is determined by the IRS table below and is added to a participant’s taxable wages.

Cost of $1,000 of group-term life insurance for one month

Basic Term Life Insurance costs for $1,000 worth of group-term life insurance for one month by age.
Age Cost
Under 25 $0.05
25 to 29 $0.06
30 to 34 $0.08
35 to 39 $0.09
40 to 44 $0.10
45 to 49 $0.15
50 to 54 $0.23
55 to 59 $0.43
60 to 64 $0.66
65 to 69 $1.27
70 and older $2.06


Condolence check

In addition to life insurance, a condolence check is a monetary gift from Northwestern University given to a surviving spouse or partner (registered with the University) of a deceased employee in memory of the deceased employee.  The Condolence check is calculated using the deceased employee’s benefits base pay at a rate of two times their monthly pay, with a minimum payment of $1,000. If the staff member is single at the time of death, the condolence check is paid to the beneficiary(ies) of the staff member’s basic life insurance benefits proportional to the beneficiary’s allocation percentage. If there is no surviving beneficiary on record, the condolence check is paid to the staff member’s estate.  Northwester does not deduct taxes from Condolence checks, please consult your tax advisor for more information.

Coverage amounts

As a benefits-eligible Northwestern faculty or staff member, you receive Basic Term Life Insurance automatically and at no cost to you. You have the choice between Basic Term Life Insurance coverage equal to $50,000, or 2.5 times your annual salary up to a maximum of $250,000. If you do not make a selection, you will default to the $50,000 coverage amount.

Accessing the benefits enrollment platform

  1. Login to myHR (using your Net ID and Password)
  2. Select the “Benefits” tile in “myHR Self Service”
  3. Select “My Health Benefits Elections” (in the left-hand menu)
  4. Select “Get Started”