Selling Whole Life Insurance Policy

Selling your whole life insurance policy can be a great way to get cash when you need it most.
A stick person family on an agent's desk who is selling a whole life insurance policy

What Is a Whole Life Insurance Policy?

Today, we will discuss something that is often misunderstood: the sale of a whole life insurance policy.

To begin, let us talk about what a whole life insurance policy is. In contrast to term life insurance, which only covers you for a set amount of time (for example, 20 or 30 years), whole life insurance covers you for a lifetime. The people you choose to be your beneficiary will get a death benefit when you die, as long as you keep paying your insurance premium. Also, over time, whole life insurance policies build cash value that you can borrow against or use while you are still alive.

Helping You Navigate the Complexities of Whole Life Insurance

Now, let’s talk about life settlements. Life settlements are deals in which the insured sells their life coverage to a third party for more than the policy’s cash value but less than its net death benefit. If the original insured dies, the buyer takes over paying the payments and gets the death benefit.

In summary, whole life insurance policies offer coverage for the rest of a person’s life and accumulate cash value over time. Insurance policyholders can sell their plans for many reasons, most of the time because their financial situation or goals have changed. If you are thinking about this choice, educate yourself and talk to a reliable insurance expert.

How Can I Sell My Life Insurance Policy?

How Do I Find Buyers for My Whole Life Insurance Policy?

The Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA) is the biggest and oldest trade group in the US life settlement business. People who own life insurance can sell it to a third party for more than the cash value but less than the death payout. This is called a life settlement. LISA’s goal is to teach policyholders and financial planners about life settlements as an option to letting a life insurance policy be cancelled or surrendered. They also want to promote the best standards of practice and professional growth for the industry.

Life Insurance Settlement Association Logo

You should learn more about the Life Insurance Settlement Association and the life settlement operations before you sell your life insurance because:

  • The market can tell you if you can get a life settlement and how much your life insurance policy is worth.
  • You can find out about the pros and cons of selling your life insurance coverage, such as how it might affect your taxes, whether you’ll lose your coverage, and the chance of scams.
  • To get help with the process, you can connect with a group of respected and licensed life settlement companies, agents, and service providers.

Understanding Life Settlements

Life settlement process can be a bit of a mystery. We are here to demystify this often-overlooked option for policyholders about life settlement companies.

A business known as a “life settlement provider” specializes in purchasing life insurance policies from policyholders for a one-time payment of cash – cash settlement. The life settlement company buys the life insurance policy from the policy owner, who then transfers ownership and beneficiary rights to the provider.

When the insured individual passes away, the life insurance company will be responsible for paying the life insurance death benefit. Individual investors, hedge funds, banks, or life insurance companies might be life settlement providers.

What is a Life Settlement?

You sell your life insurance to an interested buyer, such as an investor, a life settlement broker, or a life settlement company, as opposed to just letting the policy expire or giving it back to the insurance provider.

In this transaction, the buyer pays you a one-time cash payment. In return, the settlement company takes over the premium payments and becomes the beneficiary of the policy. When the original policyholder passes away, the new owner receives the death benefit.

Benefits for Sellers

One of the primary advantages of a life settlement is the opportunity to receive a lump sum cash payment that’s typically larger than the policy’s cash surrender value (the amount you would get if you voluntarily terminated the policy before its maturity or the occurrence of an insured event). This can be especially beneficial for those facing financial hardship or those who no longer need or want their policy.

Life settlements can provide immediate liquidity and free up cash for other investments, retirement expenses, medical expenses, or any other needs you might have. It’s a way of gaining some financial benefit from a policy that might otherwise seem like a burden, particularly if premiums have become unaffordable.

However, it is important to remember that life settlements are not suitable for everyone, and there may be tax implications involved. Always consult with a trusted financial advisor or broker before making a decision.

Life settlements offer a way for policyholders to get more out of their life insurance policies. While they may not be the right choice for everyone, they can provide significant financial benefits for those in the right circumstances. As with all financial decisions, it’s crucial to do your research and speak with a professional. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your trusted insurance broker for more information.

A young couple signing some paperwork with an insurance agent

Reasons for Selling a Whole Life Insurance Policy

Selling a whole life insurance policy isn’t for everyone, and it’s crucial to consider all your options and consult with a professional before making such a significant decision.

Remember, once you sell your policy, you can’t get it back, and the new owner will receive the death benefit.

So, why would someone consider selling their whole life insurance policy? Here are a few reasons:

  • Financial Needs: If a policyholder is facing financial hardship, selling their policy can provide much-needed financial assistance as a lump sum of cash.
  • Premium Costs: Whole life insurance policies can have high premium costs. If these become unaffordable and you can’t afford to continue paying premiums, selling the policy might make sense.
  • Change in Circumstances: If the original reason for buying the policy no longer applies (for example, the policyholder’s dependents are now financially independent), they may choose to sell it.
  • Better Investment Opportunities: Some policyholders may feel their money could be put to better use elsewhere, especially if the cash value of the policy has grown significantly.

The Process of Selling Life Policy. Sell My Life Insurance

Eligibility Criteria

The first thing you need to understand is the eligibility criteria for selling a life insurance policy. Generally, the factors considered include:

  • Age: Older individuals are more likely to be eligible for a life settlement.
  • Health Status: Those with a lower life expectancy due to health conditions, poor health, or terminal illness may get higher offers.
  • Policy Type: Universal and whole life insurance policies are typically eligible. Some term life insurance policies may also qualify if they are convertible to permanent insurance.
  • Policy Value: Permanent life insurance policies with a face value of $100,000 or more are most commonly purchased in life settlements.
An Illustaration depicting insurance agents discussing selling a whole life insurance policy

Obtaining a Life Settlement Broker

A life settlement broker can be invaluable in guiding you through the process. They represent you, the seller, and their role is to help you navigate the complex life settlement market, negotiate the best price for your policy, and ensure compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements.


The value of your policy is determined by several factors. These include your age and health status, life expectancy, medical records, the type of policy, the premiums, and the death benefit amount – how much cash you can get. A life actuary often performs this evaluation, using various actuarial and financial models to estimate the policy’s present value.

Offers and Finalizing the Sale

Once your policy has been evaluated, your broker will present it to potential buyers. You’ll receive offers from interested parties, which you can compare to choose the best one. Your broker will assist you in understanding these offers and making an informed decision.

After choosing an offer, the sale process begins. This involves transferring the policy ownership and beneficiary designations to the buyer, who will continue paying the premiums.

Once all paperwork is completed and verified, you’ll receive the agreed-upon payment.

Selling a life insurance policy can be a strategic financial decision, but it’s essential to understand the process and work with a reputable broker. Always remember that while selling your policy may provide immediate cash, it also means giving up the death benefit your beneficiaries would have received. Weigh your options carefully, and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice.

Here is a table with some pros and cons of selling your life insurance policy:

You can receive a lump sum of cash that may be higher than the cash value of your policy.You may have to pay taxes on the proceeds and lose your eligibility for government benefits.
You can use the money for any purpose, such as paying off debts, medical bills, or living expenses.You are giving up  your coverage and leaving your beneficiaries without financial protection.
You can avoid paying future premiums and fees on your policy.You may expose yourself to potential fraud and exploitation by unscrupulous buyers or brokers.
You can free yourself from a policy that no longer meets your needs or goals.You may not be able to sell your policy if you are in good health or have a low face value.
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A senior couple with an insurance agent looking over some paperwork

Key Considerations Before Selling Your Life Insurance Policy

Selling a life insurance policy can provide immediate financial relief, but it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. We recommend policyholders consider the following key points before making this significant decision.

Tax Implications

The proceeds from the sale of your life insurance policy may be subject to income tax. The tax liability often depends on whether the amount you receive exceeds the total of premiums you’ve paid into the policy. It’s crucial to consult with a tax advisor to understand how the sale will impact your taxes.

Loss of Death Benefit

When you sell your life insurance policy, you relinquish the right to the death benefit. This means your beneficiaries will not receive any payout upon your passing. Make sure you consider their financial future and discuss this decision with them if appropriate.

Privacy Concerns

During the process of selling your policy, you will need to share personal information, including your health status, with potential buyers. This is necessary for them to evaluate the policy accurately. However, it’s essential to ensure that your information will be handled securely and confidentially.

Alternatives to Selling

Before deciding to sell, explore other options:

  • Borrowing Against the Policy: Many whole life insurance policies allow you to borrow against the cash value, providing you with funds while keeping the policy intact.
  • Surrendering the Policy: You could surrender the policy back to the insurance company for its cash value, although this amount is typically less than what you could get through a life settlement.
  • Converting the Policy: Depending on your policy, you might be able to convert it into a different insurance product, such as an annuity, which could provide a steady stream of income.

While selling a life insurance policy can offer an immediate cash infusion, it’s vital to consider the potential downsides and alternatives. Always seek professional advice to make an informed decision that best suits your financial situation and future needs.

Tips for Policyholders Considering a Sale

Selling your life insurance policy is a significant decision that can greatly impact your financial future. Ask an experienced insurance broker for some key tips to assist in making the best decision.

Seek Professional Advice

The first and most important tip is to seek professional advice. Financial advisors or legal professionals can provide valuable insights into your unique situation. They can help you understand the implications of selling your policy, including the potential tax liabilities and how the decision may affect your long-term financial plan. Don’t underestimate the value of expert guidance in this complex process.

Shop Around

Just as with any major financial transaction, it’s wise to shop around before selling your life insurance policy. Engage with multiple brokers or providers to get a sense of the market and ensure you’re getting the best offer for your policy. Remember, the first offer isn’t always the best one. Take your time to compare and negotiate.

Understand the Fees

Be aware of the potential costs involved in the process. This includes broker commissions, which are typically a percentage of the life settlement amount. There may also be other fees associated with the sale, such as escrow fees, document preparation fees, or trust fees. Make sure you understand all these costs upfront and factor them into your decision.

Seek professional advice, shop around, and make sure you’re fully informed about any associated fees. Your life insurance policy is a valuable asset – treat it as such and ensure you’re getting the maximum value from its sale.

Agents gathering and discussing fees

Life Insurance Policies

Whole life insurance and permanent life insurance are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two different things.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that covers you for life, has a death benefit that is sure, and has payments that don’t change during the policy’s lifetime. It’s different because it has a cash value part that grows over time at a fixed rate and can be used to borrow money.

The policyholder can access this cash value during their lifetime, making whole life insurance a valuable tool for financial planning. However, it’s important to note that any outstanding loans against the policy’s cash value will reduce the death benefit.

Permanent Life Insurance Policy

A life insurance policy that covers you for life is called a “permanent life insurance policy”. Term life insurance policy, on the other hand, only covers you for a certain amount of time. There is whole life insurance, universal life insurance policy, and flexible life insurance all under this category. 

All permanent life insurance policies have a cash value that increases over time, just like whole life insurance. These cash values can grow in different ways, though. For example, with a universal life insurance policy, the insured can change their payments and death benefits, and the cash value part may earn a better rate of return.

With variable life insurance, on the other hand, the insured can put their cash value into a number of different investments. This can increase growth, but it also increases risk.

In some cases, permanent life insurance is the same thing as whole life insurance. Pick the one that fits your financial goals and risk level the best. Each type has its own attributes and advantages.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About the Whole Life Insurance Settlement

Is it a good idea to sell your whole life insurance?

Whether it is a good idea or not to sell your whole life insurance policy depends on your specific situation. If you need cash quickly because of high health care costs, financial problems, or because you no longer need the policy, you can sell it. That being said, you will no longer be able to leave that insurance to your beneficiaries. Talking to a financial expert is the best way to figure out what will happen.

How much can you get for a $100,000 life insurance policy?

What you can get for your life insurance policy depends on your age, your medical history, the type of coverage you have, and how much you pay each month for your premiums. In a life insurance agreement, owners can usually expect to get between 15 and 20% more than the cash value. This is just a rough estimate, though; the amount you get for selling your life insurance could be more or less.

What’s the process for selling a whole life insurance policy?

A life settlement is another name for selling a whole life insurance policy. The policy is sold to a third party. The buyer takes over the insurance, makes the premium payments, and when the covered person dies, they get the death benefit. Most of the time, the lump-sum amount is more than the cash settlement value but less than the death benefit.

When I sell my life insurance, are there any tax consequences?

Yes, there may be tax consequences if you sell your life insurance policy. Most of the time, the amount you get after paying fees is considered taxable income. It’s a good idea to talk to a tax professional to find out all of your possible tax obligations.

What other options do I have besides selling my life insurance?

Several options are available to you if you want to sell your life insurance policy because you can’t make the payments. You can lower your premiums by lowering the death benefit, borrowing against the cash value of your policy, or turning your policy into an annuity. There are pros and cons to each choice, so it’s best to talk to a financial adviser about them.

What happens to my credit score if I sell my life insurance?

There is no direct link between selling your life insurance and a drop in your credit score. If you pay off debt with the money from the sale, on the other hand, it might help your credit score.

Should it be a whole life policy that I sell, or can I sell a term policy?

It is possible to sell a term life insurance policy as long as it can be changed into a permanent one. Most life settlements involve whole life policies. It is best to check with a life settlement company or broker because not all term plans qualify for life settlements.

If I want to sell my life insurance policy, how long does the process take?

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to sell a life insurance policy, based on things like how complicated the policy is, how healthy the covered person is, and how well the life settlement provider or broker works.

What’s the difference between a viatical settlement and a life settlement?

With both life settlements and viatical settlements, you sell life insurance plans to a third party. What makes the difference is how healthy the person is. People over 65 who are not terminally ill generally get a life settlement. A terminal payment is generally given to people who have less than two years to live and have a long-term or fatal illness.


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