How Can I Sell My Life Insurance Policy?

Author:Shelden SmollanChief Experience Officer
Shawn Redford
Reviewed by:Shawn RedfordChief Business Development Officer
July 21, 2023
9 Minute Read

This blog explores the process of selling life insurance policies, the reasons why individuals choose to sell, and alternative options available to policyholders.

A couple going through paper work

Life insurance is a valuable financial tool that provides coverage and peace of mind to individuals and their loved ones. However, there may come a time when the need for a life insurance policy changes or diminishes. In such cases, selling an existing life insurance policy can be a viable option to consider. This blog explores the process of selling life insurance policies, the reasons why individuals choose to sell, and alternative options available to policyholders.

Can You Sell A Life Insurance Policy?

The answer is yes, you can sell your life insurance policy. Selling a life insurance policy is known as a life settlement. While it may not be a widely known option, it has gained popularity in recent years. Life settlements provide an opportunity for policyholders to sell their policies to third-party buyers who become the new beneficiaries and take over premium payments.

Which Types Of Life Insurance Can Be Sold?

Most types of life insurance policies, including permanent life insurance policies, can be sold, with a few exceptions. The most commonly sold policies are whole life insurance and a term life insurance policy. Additionally, universal life, indexed universal life, and variable universal life policies can also be sold.

However, it’s important to note that there are a few types of life insurance that cannot be sold. These include group life insurance, as well as government-issued and employer-provided life insurance policies.

Why Would An Individual Sell A Life Insurance Policy?

There are various reasons why individuals choose to sell their life insurance policies. Here are some common motivations:

  1. Changing Financial Needs: Life circumstances evolve, and individuals may find that their life insurance policy no longer aligns with their current financial goals. Selling the life insurance policy allows them to reallocate the funds for other purposes, such as retirement planning, paying off debts, or investing in new opportunities.
  2. Unaffordable Premiums: Some policyholders struggle to keep up with premium payments due to financial strain. Selling the policy relieves them of the financial burden and provides immediate cash that can be used for other essential expenses.
  3. Altered Estate Planning: As individuals age, their estate planning needs may change. They might determine that the death benefit from the policy is no longer necessary or opt for different estate planning strategies. Selling the policy allows them to access the cash value instead of continuing to pay premiums.

A man typing on a laptop

How Does Selling Life Insurance Policies Work?

The process of selling a life insurance policy involves several steps:

Evaluation: The policyholder provides information about their policy, medical history, and life expectancy to a life settlement provider or broker. The provider evaluates the policy to determine its market value.

Market Research: The provider or broker explores the market to find potential buyers who are willing to purchase the policy. Discovering potential buyers for your life insurance policy can be achieved by leveraging online marketplaces or reaching out directly to life settlement companies.

Offers and Negotiation: Offers are presented to the policyholder based on the policy’s value. The policyholder can negotiate the terms and choose the offer that best suits their needs.

Transaction Completion: Once an agreement is reached, the buyer becomes the new policy owner, assuming the responsibility of premium payments. The policyholder receives a cash payout, typically higher than the policy’s surrender value but lower than the death benefit.

The Procedure For Selling Your Life Insurance Policy

Selling a life insurance policy involves specific steps to ensure a smooth transaction:

Gather Information: Collect all relevant policy documents, including the policy contract, premium payment records, and information about your health and medical history.

Assess Eligibility: Determine if you meet the criteria for a life settlement, which may include factors such as the policy’s minimum face value, the insured individual’s age and health, and the policy type.

Find a Reputable Provider or Broker: Seek the assistance of a reliable life settlement provider or broker who has experience and expertise in the industry. They can guide you through the process and connect you with potential buyers.

Obtain Quotes: Submit your policy information to multiple providers or brokers to obtain quotes. Compare the offers and assess their terms and conditions carefully.

Review and Accept an Offer: Once you receive offers, carefully review them and consider factors such as the cash payout, death benefit, buyer’s credibility, and any potential tax implications. Consult with a tax professional to make an informed decision.

Complete the Sale: If you accept an offer, work with the provider or broker to complete the necessary paperwork and finalize the transaction. The buyer assumes ownership of the policy, and you receive the agreed-upon cash payment.

How Much Cash Could You Get From A Life Settlement?

The amount of cash you can receive from life settlement companies depends on various factors, including your age, health condition, policy type, face value, and premium payments made. Generally, the cash payout from a life settlement is higher than the policy’s surrender value but lower than the death benefit. On average, policyholders receive around 20% to 30% of the policy’s face value.

A laptop with the words "Life Settlement" on the screen

Alternative Options To Selling Your Life Insurance

While selling a life insurance policy can be a viable option, it’s essential to explore alternative options before making a decision. Here are some alternatives to consider:

Cash In Your Policy By Surrendering It

If your policy has accumulated cash values, you can surrender it to the insurance company and receive the cash. However, surrendering the policy terminates the coverage, and you may be subject to surrender fees and potential tax implications.

Change Your Insurance Policy To One That Offers More Benefits

If your existing policy no longer meets your needs, you can explore options to convert or exchange it for a different policy that aligns better with your current financial situation and goals. Consult with your Experior insurance agent to explore available options.

Borrow From The Insurance Policy Or Assign To Financial Institution

Some permanent life insurance policies, such as whole life or universal life, have a cash value component that allows policyholders to borrow against it. Borrowing from your policy can provide access to cash while keeping the policy intact. However, it’s crucial to repay the borrowed amount to avoid reducing the death benefit.

Use The Accrued Cash Value To Pay The Premiums

If affordability is a concern, you can utilize the policy’s cash value to cover premium payments. This approach allows you to maintain the coverage while reducing out-of-pocket expenses. However, it’s important to monitor the cash value to ensure it remains sufficient to sustain the policy.

Utilize The Accelerated Death Benefit

Certain life insurance policies provide an accelerated death benefit rider, granting policyholders the opportunity to receive a portion of the death benefit if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness or meet specific qualifying conditions. This feature ensures that policyholders can access financial support when facing challenging circumstances, helping to alleviate the burden of medical expenses or other related costs. 

By utilizing the accelerated death benefit rider, individuals can gain some financial relief during difficult times, providing an added layer of security and peace of mind. It’s essential to review the terms and conditions of your specific policy to understand the availability and details of the accelerated death benefit rider. 

Consult With An Experior Financial Group Associate

Selling an existing life insurance policy can provide financial flexibility and meet changing needs. Before deciding to sell, it is crucial to evaluate your options thoroughly, including life settlements and alternative strategies. Consulting with financial professionals, such as life settlement providers, insurance agents, tax associates, and experts from Experior Financial Group, can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your best interests and financial future. 

Our knowledgeable associates at Experior Financial Group offer expert solutions and will assist you in finding the best quotes for selling your life insurance policy. We understand that each individual’s situation is unique, and by considering your specific circumstances, we can provide personalized guidance throughout the process.

FAQ

How much do you get if you sell your life insurance policy?

The amount you receive when selling your life insurance policy varies depending on factors such as the policy’s face value, your age, health condition, and premium payments made. On average, policyholders can expect to receive around 20% to 30% of the policy’s face value.

Is it a good idea to sell my life insurance policy?

Whether selling your life insurance policy is a good idea depends on your individual circumstances and financial goals. Selling can provide immediate cash, relieve you of premium payments, and address changing needs. However, it’s essential to carefully evaluate alternative options and consult with financial professionals before making a decision.

Do I have to pay taxes if I sell my life insurance policy?

The tax implications of selling a life insurance policy can vary depending on factors such as the policy’s cash value, the amount received from the sale, and applicable tax laws. In some cases, the proceeds may be subject to taxation. It’s advisable to consult with a tax associate to understand the potential tax implications in your specific situation.

Can I sell my life insurance policy to an individual?

Through a life settlement, you can transfer your policy to a third-party buyer who will take over as the new policy owner. This buyer will assume the responsibility of paying the premiums moving forward. 

Selling your life insurance policy in this manner provides a practical solution for policyholders who no longer wish to maintain their coverage or require immediate cash. By exploring the possibility of selling to an individual, you can unlock the value of your policy and potentially find a buyer willing to offer you a fair price.

What is the sale of a permanent life insurance policy in a life settlement?

The companies that purchase life insurance policies in a life settlement are commonly referred to as life settlement companies. In a life settlement, the sale of a life insurance policy with a cash value component, such as whole life, universal life, indexed universal life, or variable universal life, involves transferring the ownership and beneficiary rights to a buyer. 

As part of the transaction, the policyholder receives a cash payment from the life settlement company in exchange for the policy.

How does a life insurance settlement work?

A life insurance settlement involves selling your life insurance policy to a third-party buyer. The buyer takes over premium payments and becomes the new beneficiary. In exchange, you receive a cash payment that is typically higher than the policy’s surrender value but lower than the death benefit. The specific details and process vary depending on the policy, buyer, and market conditions.

What is the downside of selling your life insurance policy?

While selling a life insurance policy can have benefits, there are potential downsides to consider. Selling means forfeiting the death benefit, which may provide valuable financial protection for your loved ones. Additionally, the cash payment received from the sale may be lower than the policy’s death benefit. It’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons before deciding to sell.

How can I turn my life insurance policy into cash?

There are several ways to convert your life insurance policy into cash:

  1. Withdrawal or Policy Loan: If your policy has accumulated a cash value, you may be able to withdraw money from it or take a loan against the policy. Keep in mind that policy loans accrue interest, and unpaid loans can reduce the death benefit.
  2. Cash Surrender: If your policy has a cash surrender value, you have the option to surrender the policy and receive the accumulated cash value. However, surrendering the policy terminates the coverage, and you may be subject to taxes and surrender fees.
  3. Life Settlement: Another option is to sell your life insurance policy through a life settlement. This involves selling the policy to a buyer who assumes premium payments and becomes the new beneficiary. In exchange, you receive a cash payment.

Can I sell my term life insurance policy for cash?

A term life insurance policy typically does not accumulate cash value, so they cannot be sold directly for cash. However, some life settlement providers may consider purchasing convertible term policies or policies with a conversion option to a permanent life insurance policy.

What is the cash value of a $10,000 life insurance policy?

The cash value of a $10,000 life insurance policy depends on various factors, such as the policy type, premium payments made, and the policy’s duration. To determine the cash value of a specific policy, it’s recommended to review the policy contract and consult with your insurance provider or agent. The cash value represents the accumulated savings within the policy, and it grows over time through premium payments and investment returns, if applicable.

However, it’s important to note that the cash value may not necessarily equal the policy’s face value of $10,000. The exact cash value can vary based on policy specifics and the length of time the policy has been in force. For accurate information regarding the cash value of your $10,000 life insurance policy, it is best to refer to your policy documents or reach out to your insurance provider or agent for assistance. They will be able to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information specific to your policy.

Shelden Smollan
Shelden Smollan, Experior Financial Group's Chief Experience Officer, has spent more than 45 years working in the fields of Life Insurance and finance. He is an excellent insurance sales and management executive with exceptional strategic thinking, marketing, and leadership abilities. He has been Experior Financial Group Inc.'s Chief Experience Officer for the past six years, and his vision and expertise have been instrumental in the company's growth and development. By arranging meetings between agents and carriers so that our team of associates can learn from them and draw inspiration from them, he has assisted our IMO in expanding.