Unlocking Cash from Your Life Insurance: Understanding Viatical and Life Settlements

In the realm of life insurance, there exists a unique financial opportunity that allows policyholders to tap into the value of their policies before their passing. This process is known as a viatical settlement or a life settlement, and it offers individuals a way to access immediate cash by selling their life insurance policies to third-party buyers. Let’s delve into the details of these settlements and explore when they might be a suitable option.

What is a Viatical Settlement?

A viatical settlement is a specific type of life insurance settlement where the policyholder has a terminal or chronic illness. In this scenario, the policyholder (known as the “viator”) sells their life insurance policy to a third-party buyer (the “viatical settlement provider”) for an immediate cash payment. The settlement provider becomes the new owner of the policy, pays all future premiums, and collects the full death benefit upon the insured’s passing.

What is a Life Settlement?

A life settlement is similar to a viatical settlement, but it applies to policyholders who do not have a terminal or chronic illness. Instead, the policyholder may choose to sell their policy for various reasons, such as:

  • Changing needs or circumstances (e.g., no longer requiring the same level of coverage)
  • Reducing premium payments to free up cash flow
  • Seeking immediate cash to meet expenses or fund other financial goals

In a life settlement, the policyholder sells their policy to a third-party buyer (the “life settlement provider”) for a lump sum cash payment that is less than the policy’s death benefit. The life settlement provider then becomes the new owner and beneficiary of the policy, taking over the responsibility of paying future premiums.

Reasons to Consider a Viatical or Life Settlement

There are several potential reasons why individuals might opt for a viatical or life settlement:

  1. Financial Needs: If you’re facing significant medical expenses or other financial challenges, selling your life insurance policy can provide immediate cash to help alleviate these burdens.

  2. Changing Circumstances: As life circumstances change, your insurance needs may evolve. If your policy no longer serves its intended purpose, selling it can provide funds to reallocate towards other financial goals.

  3. Premium Relief: If the premium payments on your life insurance policy have become unaffordable or a strain on your budget, a settlement can offer relief by exchanging the policy for a lump sum payment.

  4. Estate Planning: In some cases, a life settlement can be used as an estate planning tool, allowing policyholders to access the value of their policies while still alive and potentially minimizing taxes.

Considerations Before Selling Your Policy

While viatical and life settlements can provide financial relief, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate your options and potential consequences before making a decision:

  • Consult Professionals: Seek advice from financial advisors, tax professionals, and your life insurance provider to understand the implications of selling your policy and explore alternative options.

  • Explore Policy Alternatives: Inquire about options such as accessing the cash value, taking out a loan against the policy, or modifying the coverage to reduce premiums.

  • Understand Tax Implications: Proceeds from a viatical or life settlement may be subject to taxation, so it’s essential to understand the potential tax implications.

  • Protect Your Privacy: Be aware that selling your policy may require sharing personal and medical information with third parties.

  • Compare Offers: If you decide to proceed with a settlement, shop around and compare offers from multiple providers to ensure you receive a fair value for your policy.

The Bottom Line

Viatical and life settlements offer policyholders a way to access the value of their life insurance policies before their passing. While these settlements can provide much-needed financial relief, they should be carefully evaluated in consultation with professionals to ensure they align with your long-term financial goals and personal circumstances. By understanding the nuances of these arrangements, you can make an informed decision that best suits your unique situation.

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What is the term for selling your life insurance policy?

A life settlement is the sale of a life insurance policy to another person or company in return for a cash pay- ment of less than the full amount of the death benefit.

How much can you sell a $100 000 life insurance policy for?

How much can you sell a $100,000 life insurance policy for? On average, you can expect to receive 20% of the policy’s face value when you sell it, according to the Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA). That means a $100,000 life insurance policy might sell for $20,000. However, this is only an average.

Can I sell my life insurance policy for cash?

Can I sell my life insurance policy? Yes, as long as you can find a buyer. The price you get from a life settlement depends on a number of factors, such as your life expectancy, your policy’s death benefit and what you’re paying in premiums.

Why would a company want to buy your life insurance policy?

Companies buy life insurance policies as an investment. They estimate how long you will live and then give you a payment that’s less than your policy death benefit. The company looks to make a profit by collecting the death benefit after you pass away.

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