Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 17, 2020

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A term life conversion is the feature in a term life insurance policy where you can convert to a permanent life insurance policy with no evidence of insurability.

Many consumers don’t even know this feature exists, yet it’s one of the main benefits of a term life insurance policy.  And your policy most likely has this feature built into it.

So if you have a term life insurance policy and you want a permanent policy, you should be able to convert your life insurance policy into a universal life insurance policy or a whole life insurance policy by just filling out some paperwork.

No Evidence of Insurability Is Needed

This is huge.

The most common reason to convert your term life insurance is if your policy is about to expire and you still need coverage, but you’ve had some health complications where you can’t qualify for traditional life insurance or it will be prohibitively expensive.  You can convert to a permanent policy at the same health class you have with your current policy.

Know Your Dates

The catch is you need to keep track of important dates.  Most life insurance companies allow you to covert up to age 70, some might be sooner.  However many life insurance companies only allow you to convert to ALL their products for a certain amount of time and after that timeframe passes, they only allow you to convert to their less competitive policies with poor guarantees.

Some companies will even give you “conversion credits” within the first few years of your policy to incentivize you to convert your policy.  A conversion credit will apply a portion of the premiums you’ve paid to your term policy into a new permanent policy,

So if you’ve ever thought about converting your life insurance policy, make sure talk to your agent about the important conversion dates in your policy:

– Conversion Credit Dates (if applicable)
– How long you can convert to ANY policy your company offers
– To what age can you convert your policy

Know these dates and you can plan accordingly.

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External Term Conversions

There are some very well known companies that will allow you to convert to their permanent products even if you don’t currently have your term life insurance through them….but you HAVE to meet certain criteria.  That criteria is typically within the first 2-5 years of buying your policy and with a “Standard” or better health classification from a reputable company.

This would come into play if your term life insurance company didn’t have very good conversion options OR the companies that allow external term conversions.

It’s All About The Design Of The Policy

When converting to permanent insurance or even buying permanent life insurance, ie. Whole Life or Universal Life Insurance, it’s all about how the product is designed and illustrated.

For example, a rookie agent might give you a quote on a permanent policy that might be too expensive for your budget, however there are some things you can do to bring down the cost such as lowering the face amount, dialing  down the guarantee period or even using a different product.

It’s not as simple as picking a permanent product and looking up a quote.  It takes some policy design skills to match with what you’re trying to accomplish.  Make sure your agent is competant and comfortable designing permanent policies.

How To Get Quotes On Converting Your Term Policy

Get in touch with the agent that sold you your policy.

If you don’t know how to get in touch with your agent or you’d rather use a team of conversion specialists, check out termlifeconversion.com.

The worst thing you can do (and the biggest mistake many consumers make) is contacting the company directly.  You’ll deal with an unlicensed customer service agent who will provide information but doesn’t have the expertise needed to design a policy that fits your goals…either that or they’ll just refer you back to the original agent who sold you your policy.

In other words, get in touch with your agent if you have a relationship with them or contact the folks we mentioned above.