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"Free look" laws let you back out of insurance purchases

Who hasn't experienced buyer's remorse at one time or another? Immediately after a purchase, you wonder if you've spent your money wisely, sometimes wishing you could get your money back. With some insurance purchases, you can do just that.

"Free look" laws, as they are generally known, allow you to examine an insurance policy after you've bought it. If you don't like what you see, you can return it for a full refund — as if you never bought the policy in the first place. Which policies you can do this with vary by state, as does the amount of time you have to back out.

"It gives you time to really read a policy. People should know that the law exists so that they can take advantage of it if need be," says Jack Dolan, spokesperson for the American Council of Life Insurers. "It's a good piece of consumer protection."

The laws below apply to life insurance and annuity contracts. "Replacement life" refers to new life insurance policies that are purchased to replace existing policies. Your state may also have "free look" laws for health insurance and long term care insurance; contact your state's department of insurance for information.

"Free look" laws

State
Line of insurance
Length of time to return policy
Alabama
accelerated death benefit
30 days
replacement life
10 days
 
Alaska
no provisions
no provisions
 
Arizona
replacement life
10 days
variable annuities
10-30 days for those 65 and older
 
Arkansas
all individual life, annuity & accident and health policies
10 days
variable life
10 days
accelerated death benefits
10 days
 
California
individual life & annuity
10-30 days
credit life
30 days
replacement life
30 days
individual investment annuities
10 days
 
Colorado
life insurance
15 days
replacement life
30 days
 
Connecticut
individual life
10 days
modified guaranteed life insurance
10 days
variable life
10 days
 
Delaware
replacement life
20 days
variable life
10 days
 
District of Columbia
variable life
10-45 days
variable annuities
10 days
 
Florida
life insurance
30 days
annuties
30 days
 
Georgia
individual life
10 days
industrial life
10 days
annuities; pure endowment contract
10 days
 
Hawaii
individual life
10 days
replacement life
30 days
 
Idaho
life insurance
20 days
annuities
20 days
replacement life
20 days
 
Illinois
life policies
10 days
replacement life
20 days
annuities; pure endowment contract
10 days
industrial life
10 days
 
Indiana
annuities
10 days
individual life
10 days
replacement life
20 days
individual deferred annuities
10 days
 
Iowa
individual life & annuities
10 days
replacement life
20 days
 
Kansas
individual life & annuities
10 days
replacement life & annuities
20 days
 
Kentucky
replacement life
30 days
life & annuities
10 days
variable life
10 days
 
Lousiana
life insurance
10 days
annuity; pure endowment contract
10 days
variable life
10 days
replacement life & annuities
30 days
 
Maine
individual life
10 days
variable life
10 days
 
Maryland
life & annuities
10 days
replacement life & annuities
30 days
 
Massachusetts
individual life with face value less than $25,000
10 days
replacement life
20 days
variable life
10 days
 
Michigan
life insurance
10 days
individual life
15 days
annuities
10 days
variable life
10-45 days
 
Minnesota
life & annuities
10 days
replacement life
20 days
variable life
10 days
 
Mississippi
individual life
10 days
variable life
10 days
replacement life & annuities
30 days
 
Missouri
life & annuities
10 days
variable life
10 days
replacement life
20 days
 
Montana
individual life
10 days
replacement life
30 days
 
Nebraska
individual life & annuities
10 days
replacement life
20 days
 
Nevada
life insurance
10 days
 
New Hampshire
life insurance
10 days
replacement life
30 days
 
New Jersey
life insurance
10 days
individual life
10 days
replacement life
30 days
 
New Mexico
variable life
10 days
 
New York
individual life
10-30 days
variable life
10 days
replacement life & annuities
60 days
 
North Carolina
life insurance
10 days
replacement
10 days
variable life
10-45 days
 
North Dakota
life insurance
20 days
variable life
10 days
 
Ohio
life replacement & all annuities
20 days
variable life
10 days
 
Oklahoma
individual life & all annuities
10 days
replacement insurance
20 days
 
Oregon
individual life
10 days
life replacement
30 days
 
Pennsylvania
individual life; endowment policies
10 days
life replacement; endowment policies
20-45 days
industrial life; industrial endowment
10 days
variable life
10 days
 
Rhode Island
individual life
10 days
replacement life
20 days
 
South Carolina
individual life
10 days
replacement life & annuities purchased through agents and brokers
20 days
fixed dollar annuities, pure endowment contracts, reversionary annuities, variable annuities
10 days
replacement annuity
20 days
policy solicited by direct response insurer
31 days
replacement life
20 days
variable life
10 days
 
South Dakota
individual life
10 days
individual variable annuities
10 days
 
Tennessee
replacement life
20 days
life insurance
10 days
 
Texas
variable life
10 days
 
Utah
life & annuities
10 days
replacement life
20 days
 
Vermont
variable life
10 days
life insurance
10 days
 
Virginia
individual life
10 days
industrial life
10 days
variable life
10 days
non-credit related life
30 days
 
Washington
individual life
10 days
variable life
10 days
 
West Virginia
life insurance
10 days
 
Wisconsin
life & annuity replacement
20 days
 
Wyoming
replacement life
20 days
Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners

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