Can You Borrow Against Term Life Insurance?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Understanding Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance, at its core, is like renting insurance coverage. It’s there for a specified period – the term. What’s crucial to grasp is that, unlike whole or universal life insurance, term life doesn’t accumulate any cash value. Think of it like renting a home versus owning one. When you rent, you get the living space for the duration of the lease, but there’s no equity building up. Similarly, with term life insurance, you’re covered for the term, but there’s no growing financial asset.

Why Borrowing Against Term Life Isn’t Possible

  1. No Cash Value Accumulation: Your premiums solely pay for the death benefit coverage in term life insurance. There’s no side account accumulating funds.
  2. Policy Design: Term life is structured for simplicity and affordability. It’s a straightforward exchange – premium protection with no investment component.

Compared with Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance, on the other hand, has a savings element. Here, part of your premium builds a cash value, like a savings account within your policy. This cash value component is what makes borrowing possible in whole-life policies.

The Benefits of Understanding This Limitation

  1. Informed Decision Making: Knowing that you can’t borrow against term life helps you make better insurance choices based on your financial needs and goals.
  2. Budget Management: If you’re seeking an insurance product with a savings component, knowing the limitations of term life can guide you toward whole or universal life options.

Comparing Term and Whole Life Insurance

FeatureTerm Life InsuranceWhole Life Insurance
DurationFixed Term (e.g., 20 years)Lifetime Coverage
Cash Value AccumulationNoneYes
Borrowing CapabilityNot AvailableAvailable
Premium ConsistencyGenerally FixedGenerally Fixed
Main PurposeDeath Benefit ProtectionDeath Benefit + Savings


Term life insurance is a simple, affordable way to protect your loved ones financially. However, it’s not a tool for financial flexibility like borrowing against a policy, as it lacks a cash value component. Understanding this key difference empowers you to choose the right type of life insurance for your specific needs. Remember, knowledge is power, especially when safeguarding your family’s future. Contact us today for a free quote.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What types of life insurance policies allow you to borrow money?

Permanent life insurance policies, such as whole life, universal life, and variable life insurance, typically allow policyholders to borrow against the cash value accumulating within the policy.

How does borrowing against a permanent life insurance policy work?

When you borrow against a permanent life insurance policy, you take a loan from the insurance company using the policy’s cash value as collateral. You are typically not required to repay the loan, but interest accrues and is added to the loan balance.

Are there any consequences for not repaying a loan against a life insurance policy?

If you do not repay the loan, the outstanding amount plus interest will be deducted from the death benefit when you pass away, reducing the amount paid to your beneficiaries.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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