What is convertible term life insurance?


When it comes down time for you to buy life insurance, the very first decision to create is term versus permanent life insurance. You’ve probably heard that term life is more affordable than the usual permanent policy, even if you aren’t quite sure what the difference is.

Before you purchase any product, but especially life insurance coverage, you need to spend a good chunk of time researching it through unbiased resources. But if you select term life, despite you make that decision, you aren’t finished learning.

Because chances are high, you’ll have another chance to make that choice. Many term life insurance policies come with a provision that makes them “convertible” into permanent policies, like very existence or universal life.

Here's what you ought to know:

How a convertible life insurance coverage works

A convertible life insurance coverage is simply a term life policy that may convert to a lasting life insurance coverage. Here's how it operates: Let's imagine a 35-year-old man buys a 30-year convertible term life policy. At 45, he decides to transform that policy to some permanent life insurance coverage. He will pay a substantially larger premium as a result but have coverage for the rest of his life.

Most convertible policies have a time period limit to convert, usually 10 years. Often, once the conversion choice is near to expiring, life insurance companies let policyholders realize that time is running out to execute this method.

Who should think about a convertible life insurance policy

Why would our 45-year-old take his insurance company on that provide? Converting from term to permanent has one big advantage: Generally, the policyholder doesn’t need to prove “insurability” to do so. That's, he won’t have to take a medical exam to qualify for coverage. For somebody who’s been through a large health change, this can be a major benefit. It’s possible this man may be ineligible to purchase a brand-new very existence policy at 45 – or at 65 when his policy's term ends, so the term conversion would be his only option or at best a much more affordable option.

Term conversions aren’t for everyone. In fact, situations to which a conversion makes sense are fairly limited, and market data shows policyholders seem to understand this because few convertible term life insurance policies are converted.

In most years, less than 1 percent of policies studied were converted, based on research through the Society of Actuaries. However, in year 10 the number of conversions jumped. Why year 10? Because the choices to convert the policies were expiring.

While the conversion is free, premiums jump considerably – at regardless of the market rate for permanent life policies may be, which may be 6 to 10 times those of the term life insurance premiums.

There are specific circumstances where converting from term life insurance to some permanent life insurance policy can make sense:

  • A family with a child that needs permanent care up can usually benefit from the creation of a large amount of money that survives the parents. (Remember, with term life insurance, there is no benefit following the term expires.)
  • Someone with dramatic health problems may also benefit from the option to get yourself a policy with no medical exam.
  • Finally, a household which has enjoyed financial success and is searching for a tax-advantaged way to leave money to heirs whenever the insured person dies can benefit from utilizing a universal or whole life policy to transfer that money to children or any other beneficiaries.

What to know when purchasing convertible term life insurance

Here are the top things to consider when buying convertible term life:

Premium cost

Convertible term life policies have a tendency to cost more than non-convertible term life policies. When you convert, your premiums will rise, so make certain it’s worth it. Some insurers will ease the blow by providing “term conversion credits,” which could lower the premiums at first, however this “discount” usually only lasts a short while. Another available option to bring down any costs is to perform a partial conversion, which would split the death benefit between the existing term life insurance policy and also the new, converted permanent policy.

Term length

Make sure you realize your policy’s conversion terms. Deadlines can differ a great deal. Some policies should be converted before the policyholder reaches a particular age, for example 75, or even 65. Some can only be converted in the first 10 or 15 years of the policy. Normally the older and longer the term, the better.

Conversion options

Some policies can be restrictive by what kind of permanent policy is available towards the policyholder, while some are more open. Ideally, your convertible term life enables you to become any permanent policy. Usually, the more options you've at conversion, the greater.

Fees and commissions

Make sure you understand who’s receiving payment and just how much. Policyholders should understand where their cash is going and why a business might encourage the purchase of one product over another.