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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

Do you receive any money back from a term life insurance policy that has expired its term but has not been used?

No, you cannot get your money back, unless you bought a "return of premium" term life policy.

With traditional term life insurance, you pay a fixed annual premium for life insurance coverage for a certain term, such as 15, 20 or 30 years. If you don't die within that time frame, the policy ends and you receive nothing.

Return-of-premium (ROP) term life insurance, though, gives you part or all of your premium back if you haven't used the policy by the time the term expires. Because you’ll receive money back if you don’t die within the term, ROP term life is more expensive than standard term life insurance. The cost depends on the insurance company, how much premium is promised and your age.

The shorter the term, the more expensive an ROP policy is compared to a traditional policy for the same time period. Get life insurance quotes for a variety of terms when considering an ROP policy. However, you may not receive your premium back if you surrender the policy within the first few years. After that, the policy will stipulate how much of the premium you'll receive if you surrender early.

Should you consider an ROP term life policy next time?

Typically, ROP customers are confident they will outlive the policies or they don’t like the idea of paying for something their families may never use.

Read about the basics of return of premium term life insurance for more details.

Last updated: Oct. 11, 2010