Understanding Life Insurance Loans

Take a look at your insurance policy if you need money in an emergency. If what you have is permanent life insurance; – can be used as “or ” lifetime ” and ” universal life “;

Unlike term life insurance, which has a fixed time limit for its coverage period and does not accumulate cash value, cosmic life does have a cash component, especially later. & During the first few years of this policy, most insurance premiums go to fund the indemnity benefit. “As the policy expires, the cash value increases,” said Luke Brown, a retirement insurance attorney in Tallahassee, Fla., who runs “problem solvers” that help consumers with insurance, medical and consumer issues.


  • Borrowing from your life insurance policy should be a last resort when most other financing options have been exhausted.
  • You can only borrow if you have permanent life insurance (either whole or universal), which includes the cash component, while term life insurance does not.
  • This is because permanent life insurance allows you to borrow against the accumulated funds after a certain point in time (usually ten years); the money is tax-free, but of course, there is mandatory interest payment.
  • Repaying the loan is optional; however, if you don’t, the death benefit will be paid at a lower rate because the life insurance company will deduct the loan and the unpaid interest rate.
  • If you do make repayments, you can pay annual interest regularly, pay only the annual interest, or deduct the interest owed from the cash value in your policy.

how much and how long

When the cash value is established on a full or universal life insurance policy, the policyholder can borrow against accumulated funds. A life insurance policy loan has one distinct advantage: the money can be deposited into your bank account tax-free;

Insurance companies typically do not promise how fast or how much cash value will increase. So it’s hard to know exactly when your policy is eligible for a loan. What’s more, insurance companies have different guidelines outlining how much cash value a policy must have before you can borrow against it, and what percentage of the cash value you can borrow.

Your policy is likely to have enough cash value and can usually be borrowed after the 10th, says Richard Reich, president of Intramark Insurance Services, Inc., a life insurer in Glendale, Calif.

One more thing to know: This loan is not taking money out of your cash value. “You’re essentially borrowing from an insurance company and using the cash value of the policy as collateral,” Reich said.

no repayment

One of the appealing aspects of loans compared to cash value is that you don’t have to pay them back — a huge benefit in an emergency.

If you do pay off all or part of your loan, your options include regular principal and interest payments, annual interest only, or interest deducted from the cash value. “The interest rate on the loan is the same as any other type of loan. It tends to be in the 7% to 8% range, which is high in our current environment. The interest will be fixed or variable, depending on your policy.

If you can, there are good reasons to repay the loan. “If the loan isn’t paid off by the time you die, the insurer will pay less when you pay,” said Ted Bernstein, CEO of Life insurance Concepts, Inc., a life insurance consulting and auditing firm in Boca Raton, Fla. Warranty face value.”.

Accumulated interest can cut deep into earnings: “If policy loans go unpaid for years, the loan amount can keep growing due to increased interest,” Brown warns. “This puts the policy at risk of not being able to service the beneficiary of any payments after the death of the insured.

“At the very least, interest should be paid so that policy lending doesn’t grow efficiently,” Brown added. That way you have a better chance of paying back the money after death.

Before borrowing life insurance, consult a financial advisor to weigh all possible options and outcomes against your financial portfolio.

When a loan makes sense

Here are some financial situations when a life insurance loan might be a wise choice:

You can’t apply for a standard loan or need cash right now

Because the money is already covered by an insurance policy and can be used immediately, it’s a quick source of funds for a new furnace, medical bills, or other emergencies without a credit check. Even if you qualify for a traditional loan from a bank or credit union, a life insurance loan can be a valuable stopgap if you don’t have time to wait for your application to be processed. When a traditional loan goes through, use it to pay off your life insurance loan immediately.

You can’t pay the annual premium for your policy

Don’t let your life insurance policy lapse because you can’t pay it. A loan can keep the policy in effect as long as the death benefit is greater than the loan amount.

Your only loan option with higher interest rates

Attaching collateral before paying a higher interest rate on a loan or mortgage For traditional loans, consider buying a life insurance policy loan, Bernstein said. “Since there are no loan terms like repayment dates, renewal dates or other fees, life insurance policy loans are very competitive compared to traditional loans.”

bottom line

Choosing whether and when a life insurance loan is right for you is subjective, Reich said. “You have to see which is more important; the urgent need for cash or your family’s need for a death benefit. Understand that any outstanding policy loans will be deducted from the death benefit, reducing your family’s benefit.”;

By Cary Grant

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