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.

Summary Plan Description PDF Document.

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.

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.

Basic Term Life Insurance Cost

Condolence Check

In addition to life insurance, a condolence check is a monetary gift from Northwestern University given to a beneficiary or the spouse 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 2 times their monthly pay.