Should I be looking for a policy specifically tailored for my
situation, or should I just buy a 5/10 year term life policy, and
cancel it when I have found a more permanent solution?
The issue you are facing is you need a policy quickly, but you don't need it for long.
I fear that trying to find one quickly and having if active will be tough.
If you do go forward with the plan: apply today for a plan with a term of X years, get the provisional coverage, and then drop the coverage when the one through your new company kicks in; you have to consider a few things.
- The higher the value, the more likely you will need a full physical exam. This will delay the actual start date, but it won't delay the start of the provisional coverage.
- In some cases the provisional coverage isn't 100% of the coverage you are purchasing.
- The longer the term, the higher the first year of coverage for policies with a level premium. If you go with a level premium, and you have a choice of two term lengths the shorter one will be cheaper.
- if the results of the physical aren't good the term policy cost could be higher than the original quote.
- Generally you can stop a term policy at any time, but check to make sure there isn't a penalty for cancelling it in the first year.
The term length brings up an interesting point. If the plan is to drop the policy in a few months then the shortest term makes the most sense. If the plan is to keep it for the entire term then the longer terms make more sense, with the caveat the estimating your insurance needs for the next 20 years is very hard to do.
The best plan may be to purchase a 10 year term policy with an amount that will cover your needs. Then wait until you know how much the insurance will cost through your employer, and based on that cost decide which one works for you. Keeping in mind that the 10 year term price is locked in, but the cost of the one from the employer can grow each year because of inflation and because you will move from one age group to another. Also some employer plans do require a physical.
I used to use the employer plan to augment my term insurance, but I eventually realized that I was better off with the correct sized term instead of worrying about losing some or all of my coverage when I changed jobs.
the best place to start is the current insurance company you use for your auto or home insurance. They generally respond quicker for the initial meeting, and they frequently offer a discount for multiple policy lines.