You might be able to borrow money against your life insurance policy if you find yourself in need of money. Never worry. Everything you need to know about policy loans, including the benefits and drawbacks of borrowing against your policy, has been compiled here for you.

How to Borrow Against Life Insurance

A policy loan can be a low-risk, low-interest source of funding, but many policyholders are unsure of how to do so or whether their policy is eligible.

This article discusses the operation of policy loans, the types of policies that permit them, repayment advice, and other topics.

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Borrowing Against Life Insurance Policy

You need cash-value life insurance, such as universal or whole life insurance, to borrow against your policy.

Each premium payment made for these policies contributes in part to the development of a cash value, which serves as a tax-deferred savings or investment account.

The policyholder can take money out of or borrow money from that account once the cash value reaches a certain amount. It might take a while for your policy to build up enough value for a policy loan or withdrawal.

Not all life insurance plans have a cash value that can be used as collateral. In actuality, one of the key distinctions between term and permanent life insurance is this one.

Permanent life insurance policies offer lifelong coverage and accrue cash value over time, in contrast to term life insurance, which has an expiration date and no cash value component.

Term life insurance cannot be used as collateral for loans, but you might be able to change your term policy to a permanent one, which would allow you to borrow money in the future.

To find out if your policy is eligible, speak with your insurance agent. You can switch from convertible term life insurance to whole or universal life insurance without getting a new health exam if you currently have one.

How a Life Insurance Loan Works

Loans on life insurance policies let you borrow money from the insurance provider and use the cash value and death benefit of your policy as security.

Your policy’s entire value is preserved as long as you repay the loan.

However, the insurance company will deduct the outstanding loan balance, including any interest owed, from the death benefit if you don’t pay off the entire amount before passing away.

Your beneficiaries will consequently get a smaller payout.

Because the loan is fully secured by the life insurance policy’s cash value, there is no need to run a credit or income check before applying for one.

In comparison to unsecured personal loans, policy loans frequently have low-interest rates as well.

The loan application and repayment will not impact your credit score, and neither will the loan approval or interest rate.

Before you can obtain a policy loan, your policy’s cash value must be greater than a specific sum. The minimum varies by insurer, though.

For specific information, check your policy documents or speak with your insurance agent. Typically, the approval procedure entails completing a short form and proving your identity.

Advantages of Borrowing From Your Policy

The fact that borrowing from your policy is relatively simple is one of its biggest benefits. Compared to other loan types, policy loans have less of an impact on credit and taxes.

Policy loans are a tax-free source of funding because the IRS does not classify them as income. You are not subject to a rigid repayment schedule and are free to use the money however you see fit.

Neither the loan nor your credit score will have an impact on the interest rate of the loan.

A policy loan can be obtained without a credit check or employment verification. You are not required to meet a minimum income requirement or provide additional assets as collateral.

There is only a minimal cash value requirement. You can typically obtain a lower rate than you would with a credit card or bank loan, and the money can be deposited into your account within a few days because the lender bears almost no risk.

Disadvantages of Borrowing From Your Policy

There are a few drawbacks to policy loans, starting with how they affect the face value of your permanent life insurance policy.

Your coverage amount decreases throughout the repayment period. Your loved ones won’t get the full amount of your insurance policy’s death benefit if you pass away before paying back the loan.

Other repercussions could result from not repaying the loan. Your loan balance will be increased as interest accrues.

A lapse in your insurance coverage could occur if the outstanding balance eventually exceeds the policy’s cash value.

You might end up owing income tax on the amount borrowed if your policy expires during the repayment period.

Consider at least paying interest on a regular basis to prevent this. Pay attention to making your premium payments on time as well.

Steps to Take Before Borrowing

Make sure you comprehend all of your options and the conditions of your policy before submitting an application for a policy loan. Reading through your policy documents carefully may help you confirm some information.

The specific actions to take before borrowing from your insurance policy are listed below:

  • Verify your policy type: Term policies do not typically include a cash value component, whereas permanent policies do. You cannot borrow money against a term insurance policy. To take advantage of this choice later on, you might want to think about changing your policy to whole life insurance.
  • Look up the current cash value: Find out the current value of your insurance policy. By logging into the website or mobile app of your life insurance provider, you should be able to do this research on your own. If you can’t find it, you can get documentation by calling the business or your agent.
  • Discuss the terms: Find out from your agent how policy loans operate with your particular insurer. Find out the maximum amount you can borrow as well as the minimum cash value needed. Additionally, you can enquire about any repayment terms and interest rates.
  • Weigh the alternatives: The cash value of your policy can also be accessed in other ways besides policy loans. For example, you might be able to withdraw money. Despite not requiring interest payments, this option will probably result in a reduction in your death benefit. The cash value may also be used to pay for your insurance premiums. Inquire with your agent about the cash surrender value of your policy if you no longer require life insurance.

In addition to discussing your options with your life insurance agent, you might want to inquire about the tax repercussions of a policy loan from a financial advisor or an estate planning lawyer.

Ask them to specifically walk you through what might occur if you are unable to repay the loan.

Take into account the effects on your beneficiaries and your personal finances should you pass away before repaying the loan or miss payments on your insurance or premiums.

Taking Out a Life Insurance Loan

You can easily apply for a policy loan online with many of the top life insurance companies. You might also need to complete a paper form.

Your insurance agent should be able to assist if you are unable to locate the correct form or if you have any questions regarding the procedure.

Depending on your insurance provider and the amount you need, you might even be able to call and request a loan.

Only your identity will likely need to be verified by the insurance company. You are not required to submit to a credit check, income verification, or employment verification of any kind.

The process is usually quick and fairly informal because the cash value of your policy provides enough collateral to cover the full loan amount.

Paying Back a Life Insurance Loan

Policy loans do not have a set repayment schedule, in contrast to most loans. That does not, however, imply that you should completely disregard repayment. Here are some guidelines for dealing with repayment:

  • Ask how to make a payment: Make sure you have all the necessary payment details on hand so you can send a check as soon as it is required. Keep a record of your account number and the insurer’s repayment address in particular. Your loan statements should contain a list of these specifics.
  • Keep track of the interest: Your insurance may expire if the principal plus interest ever exceeds the policy’s cash value. To prevent losing your insurance coverage at this point, you must make the bare minimum interest payments.
  • Avoid policy lapses: To prevent a policy lapse, pay your interest and premium obligations on time. The IRS will reclassify your loan as taxable income if your policy expires or you surrender it before repayment is finished.
  • Set up automatic payments: Think about establishing automatic payments from your checking account. You can avoid missing a crucial payment by doing this.
  • Make a plan: Choose whether you want to pay off the loan in full, pay the interest as it accrues, or take the bare minimum action to keep your insurance from expiring. Create a repayment strategy next. To stay on track, determine how frequently and how much to pay each time.
  • Inform your beneficiaries: For your beneficiaries to understand your choice, talk it over with them. Your loved ones could be shocked by a drastically reduced death benefit if they are unaware of the loan or repayment plan.

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Take Home

A life insurance policy loan might be preferable to using a credit card or applying for a personal loan to pay for a significant expense.

It’s crucial to keep in mind, though, that you can only borrow against your policy if it’s a permanent one with a cash value element, like whole or universal life insurance.

Because they lack a cash value, term life insurance policies are ineligible.

You can borrow money with flexible repayment terms and low interest rates if your insurance policy has enough cash value.

Remember that your death benefit will be diminished if you do not repay the loan in full before passing away. Additionally, your policy may expire if the interest on your loan exceeds its cash value.

It’s up to you whether you decide to borrow money from your life insurance policy. Before making a choice, we advise that you speak with a financial advisor or estate planning lawyer about your needs and goals.

Make sure you are fully aware of the potential effects on your loved ones and the tax implications.

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