I paid on a term life insurance policy for about 21 years and it lapsed a few years ago, what happens to all that money?

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020

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UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020Fact Checked

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I paid on a life term policy for 21 years. I was hurt in a farming accident and my finances took a low. I lapsed on the term life policy and just left it cancel. This was about 5 years ago, I was just sitting here wondering what happens to all that money that I paid in for 21 years. I just figured I lost all that money because the insurance company never contacted me about any refunds. Should I try to contact the company to see if I still have money floating around somewhere that belongs to me?”

Asked August 28, 2017

1 Answer

Unfortunately all those premium dollars you paid for your term policy now belong to the insurance company.

Paying premiums for a term life insurance policy is similar to paying for home and auto insurance. The money you are paying to them is the cost of having coverage for a certain period of time. If you don't use the coverage during that period, i.e. you thankfully don't die, then the premiums are lost.

The premiums you paid are used to provide your loved ones with an insurance benefit in the event something does happen to you.

It seems you were thinking of the benefits of a whole life policy. A whole life policy can provide you with some payment if you allow the policy to lapse. Whole life builds cash value, which you would be entitled to.

A whole life policy is more expensive than a term policy, and the cash value built doesn't always justify the premium differences. A simple term life policy works for most people. It does the one thing life insurance was created for; providing for your loved ones in the event of your death.

To illustrate the difference a 30 year old male can obtain $250,000 in a 20 year term life policy for $156 a year. A whole life policy for that same amount would cost him $2,385. The same man could obtain $1 Million in 20 year term for only $415 a year, as opposed to $9,217 for a whole life policy.

At the end of the day you do lose all the money you pay for a term policy. But you are essentially trading a very small amount of money for the peace of mind knowing if the worst does happen tto you at least your family will be taken care of.

Answered August 30, 2017 by ronanona

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