You made the most important step. You recognized a need in your financial safety net and purchased term life insurance. Now time has passed, and your situation has changed. Perhaps your income increased, you purchased a home or you started a family. Your coverage needs constantly evolve. These changes may provide an excellent opportunity to leverage a powerful benefit of your policy: the conversion provision.
The conversion provision available in many term life insurance policies allows you to convert your term policy, in whole or in part, to permanent life insurance (such as whole life or universal life). While your term coverage met your needs when it was issued, permanent insurance provides benefits that can last a lifetime. Some of these include:
- Lifelong coverage that in most cases extends well beyond the original term period
- Potential access to loans or withdrawals of policy cash values that build over time
- Premiums that generally remain lower the earlier you convert (due to your age)
- Living benefits that can be triggered by terminal illness or nursing home confinement, often available on both term and permanent insurance
Conversion options that can be exercised at later ages and with fewer restrictions are ideal. If you choose a new life insurance policy, pay close attention to the policy language that specifies how such a privilege may be used.
Perhaps the greatest point to consider is the potential to convert without proof of medical insurability. For example, if you purchased a term policy with this provision and then later are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you could still be eligible to obtain permanent life insurance coverage. Converting your policy might be your only option, ensuring continued life insurance coverage after your term contract ends.
While term life insurance provides excellent protection for replacement income or outstanding debt, permanent life insurance enhances your estate and covers final expenses, creating a plan to leave proceeds to your heirs, business partners or charities. The conversion provision in your term policy can help you reach those goals.
As your goals for your life insurance plan change, conversion options allow you flexibility to adapt your policy to achieve them. Understanding a policy’s conversion provision is critical when developing your life insurance plan. It is worth the time to contact your independent agent to review your policy and find out if converting your current term policy or purchasing a new policy with a conversion provision is the right option for your life insurance needs.