What is a graded death benefit?

Depending on the specific life insurance policy you purchase, the full death benefit may not be available until after a specified amount of time. A life insurance policy is said to have a graded death benefit it an increasing amount is available as time goes on. For example, a life insurance policy with a graded death benefit may only offer 25% of the the death the first year, 50% the second year and 75% the 3rd year.