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When to Terminate Life Insurance Plans?

Many times insurance buyers get confused while buying a life insurance policy and end up taking the wrong policy. Moreover, some agents also sell inappropriate policies to buyers. In case, you have an insurance policy that does not suit your needs anymore, then you don't need to stick with the plan throughout the entire tenure. Almost all life insurance plans come with an exit option that can be exercised if one wants to discontinue the policy.

So, let's take a look at how you can discontinue your life insurance policy.

Exiting the Policy in the Initial Phase

  1. Free Look Period-

The free-look period is the earliest option provided by the insurance company to exit the policy. A free-look period of 15 days is provided by insurers to the insured during which the policyholder can cancel the policy, if he/she is dissatisfied with the terms and conditions of the policy. The premium of the life insurance policy is returned to the insured by the insurance company after the deduction of charges such as stamp duty, medical tests and service charges. 

  1. Letting the Policy Lapse-

In case, the insured has missed the free-look period then the easiest way to exit the policy is to let the policy lapse. In fact, apart from letting the policy lapse, there is no other way the insured can discontinue the policy as the next exit option provided to the insured is only after the completion of three years of the policy. For the policy to lapse, all one needs to do is to stop paying the premium. However, it is important to keep in mind that the policyholder will not receive any benefits offered by the policy and all the premium paid by the insured will be lost. As term insurance plans do not provide any exit option apart from the free-look period, it is best to let the policy lapse in case the insured has missed the free-look period. 

Exiting the Policy after Three Years

Once the policy completes three years, the following exit options are offered by the insurance company.

  • Surrendering the Policy-

Surrendering a policy is a voluntary termination of the plan before its date of maturity. When the insured surrenders the insurance policy, a lump-sum is paid back to the insured as cash value or surrender value. The policy acquires the surrender value if the insured has continuously paid the premium of the policy for three years. The premium amount is accumulated and paid out to the policyholder on the surrender of the policy. 30% of the guaranteed surrender value is paid to the insurance holder if he/she surrenders the policy after the completion of 3 years.

  • Let the Policy Become Paid Up-

Instead of entirely terminating the policy, the insured can also choose to convert their traditional endowment plan into a paid up policy. In a paid-up policy, if the insured stops paying the premium, then the policy does not lapse, but continues to provide cover with a reduced sum assured. The reduced sum assured of the policy is known as a paid-up value. Once the policy changes to a paid-up policy, then all the future bonuses, dividends, and add-on benefits attached to the policy are lost. However, any bonus acquired during the first three years of the policy will be paid to the insurance holder at the time of policy maturity.

Some term insurance providers offer an option to the insured to convert the term insurance coverage into a life insurance policy. Converting the policy from simple term insurance to life insurance can be beneficial for the policyholder, as it not only increases the coverage for a longer duration, but also provides returns once the policy reaches its maturity. 

Wrapping it up!

Terminating the policy is not always advisable. Insurance policies specifically, Unit Linked Insurance Plans, prove to be more beneficial in the long-term, as by then the insurance providers can easily recover the policy expenses. So, when the policy reaches its maturity, the benefits also grow manifold. Therefore, it is unwise to cancel the policy towards the maturity.

However, if the insured is dissatisfied with the policy and wants to terminate the policy after the initial years of purchase, then he/she can definitely make use of the above-mentioned points to cancel the policy.

Besides this, if one wants to cancel the policy and reinvest the profits in an alternate investment then they must ensure that the new investment not only offers higher returns, but also has the potential to recover the losses that have occurred in the existing life insurance policy.