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How To Borrow Against Life Insurance in 2024

3 mins read
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Borrowing against life insurance merges two vital aspects of financial planning: securing your loved ones’ future and accessing funds when you need them. This concept allows policyholders to tap into the value of their life insurance before they pass away, providing a financial lifeline during times of need. 

In this article, we demystify the process of borrowing against life insurance, explaining the mechanics and how to navigate this option responsibly. Whether for an emergency fund, paying off debt, or investing in opportunities, understanding how to leverage the cash value of your life insurance can be a game-changer in your financial strategy.

How Do I Borrow Against Life Insurance?

Borrowing against your life insurance is an option available to holders of permanent life insurance policies, such as whole or universal life, which accumulate cash value over time. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how it works and what you need to consider:

  1. Verify Your Policy Type and Cash Value: First, confirm that your policy includes a cash value component. Term life insurance policies, which do not accumulate cash value, are not eligible for loans. Check your policy’s current cash value, as this is the amount you can potentially borrow against.
  1. Understand the Loan Terms: Once you’ve confirmed your policy has sufficient cash value, review the terms for borrowing. That includes how much you can borrow – which is typically a percentage of your policy’s cash value – and the interest rate on the loan. It’s important to understand that while the loan doesn’t mandate monthly payments, interest will nevertheless accumulate over time.
  1. Applying for the Loan: You can apply for a loan through your insurance provider. The process may involve filling out a form online or contacting your insurance agent directly. Since the loan uses your policy as collateral, credit checks are not required, simplifying and speeding up the approval process.
  1. Repaying the Loan: Repayment terms for life insurance loans are flexible. You’re not required to make regular payments, even though interest will continue to accumulate. If the loan plus interest grows too large, it might surpass the policy’s cash value and cause your policy to lapse, leaving you without coverage. If you pass away before repaying the loan, the insurer deducts the outstanding amount plus interest from the death benefit your beneficiaries receive.
  1. Managing the Loan: It’s necessary to periodically review the loan balance and consider making staggered payments to manage the loan. Some policyholders choose to pay at least the interest to prevent the loan from growing and potentially reducing their policy’s death benefit.

Pros and Cons of Borrowing From Your Policy

Borrowing from your life insurance policy comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these can help you make a more informed decision about whether this financial strategy suits your needs.

Pros:

Exploring the benefits of a policy loan reveals several attractive features:

  • Immediate Access to Funds: Policy loans provide quick access to cash without the need for a credit check or the lengthy approval process associated with traditional loans.
  • Flexibility: There’s no set repayment schedule for a life insurance loan, giving you the flexibility to repay the loan on your own terms.
  • Tax Benefits: Loans taken against the cash value of a life insurance policy are generally tax-free, as long as the policy remains in force.

Cons:

Several potential drawbacks require careful consideration to avoid impacting your policy negatively:

  • Interest Accumulation: If not managed properly, the loan interest can accumulate and reduce the death benefit and cash value of the policy.
  • Risk of Policy Lapse: Failing to keep up with interest payments can cause the loan amount to exceed the policy’s cash value, risking policy lapse and loss of coverage.
  • Reduced Death Benefit: Any outstanding loan balance plus interest reduces the death benefit, potentially leaving beneficiaries with significantly less than expected.

CoverRight is here to guide you through the complexities of borrowing against your life insurance policy. With expert advice and comprehensive support, we ensure you make the most informed decisions for your financial future and the security of your loved ones. 

FAQ

How Much Can I Borrow Against My Life Insurance Policy?

The amount you can borrow depends on the cash value of your policy. Typically, insurers allow you to borrow up to 90% of your policy’s cash value. This can vary between policies and providers, however. It’s essential to consult your policy documents or speak with your insurance agent for specific details.

What Types of Life Insurance Can I Borrow Against?

You can borrow against permanent life insurance policies that accumulate cash value over time. This includes whole life, universal life, variable life, and variable universal life insurance policies. Term life insurance, which does not build cash value, does not offer this option.

How Soon Can I Borrow Against a Life Insurance Policy?

You can usually start borrowing against your life insurance policy once it has accumulated sufficient cash value, which often takes several years. The specific time frame depends on your policy’s terms and the premiums you’ve paid. Contact your insurer to understand when your policy becomes eligible for a loan.

What Should I Do Before Borrowing?

Before taking out a loan against your life insurance, make sure to:

  • Verify your policy’s eligibility and available cash value.
  • Understand the loan’s interest rates and terms.
  • Consider the potential impact on your policy’s death benefit and cash value.
  • Discuss your options with your insurance agent or a financial advisor to ensure this is the best course of action given your financial situation.

Connor Wilson

Connor is a Content Writer at CoverRight focused on editing and publishing Medicare and health insurance-related information. He also serves the team as a Business Operations Lead, working to expand the business and enhance its strategy. Prior to joining CoverRight, Connor was able to hone his knowledge of the financial services industry through his work in investment banking.

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