Annuity Surrender Charges

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Understanding Annuity Surrender Charges and Values

Annuities are long-term financial products designed for retirement planning. They offer a reliable income stream but come with certain conditions and penalties for early withdrawal. Understanding the concepts of surrender charges, surrender periods, and surrender values is crucial for managing your annuity effectively.

What Are Annuity Surrender Charges?


Surrender charges are fees imposed by the annuity provider when you withdraw funds before a specified period. These charges are designed to discourage early withdrawals and protect the insurance company’s investment.

Structure of Surrender Charges

  • Initial Charge: The charge typically starts high, often around 7-10% of the withdrawn amount.
  • Decline Over Time: The percentage decreases each year. For example, a 10-year surrender period might see charges decrease by 1% each year.

Avoiding Surrender Charges

  • Penalty-Free Withdrawals: Many annuity contracts allow for annual penalty-free withdrawals up to a certain percentage, usually 10%.
  • Health-Related Waivers: Some contracts offer waivers for withdrawals due to significant health issues.

Understanding Annuity Surrender Periods


The surrender period is the duration during which surrender charges apply. This period can range from 5 to 10 years, depending on the contract.

Importance of the Surrender Period

Knowing the length of your surrender period helps in planning withdrawals to avoid penalties. The surrender period starts when you purchase the annuity and decreases yearly until it reaches zero.

What Is The Annuity Surrender Value?


The surrender value is the amount you receive if you terminate your annuity contract early. It’s calculated by subtracting surrender charges from the contract value.

Factors Affecting Surrender Value

  • Initial Investment: The starting value of your annuity.
  • Performance: Investment gains or losses.
  • Charges: Surrender charges are deducted if you withdraw early.

Example Calculation

If your annuity is worth $50,000 and the surrender charge is 7%, the surrender value would be $46,500 ($50,000 – $3,500).

Surrender Annuity

Planning Your Withdrawals

Avoiding Early Withdrawals

It is crucial to plan your finances to avoid early withdrawals. During the surrender period, utilize other savings or income sources to meet your needs.

Exploring Alternatives

Consider alternatives like penalty-free withdrawal options or waiting until the surrender period ends to access funds without incurring charges.

How We Can Help

At The Annuity Expert, we understand the complexities and emotional challenges you face when dealing with surrender charges. With 15 years of experience as an insurance agency, annuity broker, and retirement planner, we are dedicated to finding the best solutions at the lowest costs for you.

We believe in empowering our clients with knowledge and personalized strategies to maximize their investments. Our mission is to help you navigate the intricacies of annuity surrender charges easily and confidently. We stand against unnecessary financial penalties and strive to provide you with the most efficient and beneficial plans.

What We Recommend

  • First Step: Initial Consultation
    • Contact us for a free consultation. During this session, we will understand your financial goals, current investments, and any concerns you may have. The main benefit is gaining clarity on your situation and receiving expert advice tailored to your needs.
  • Second Step: Personalized Strategy Development
    • Based on the consultation, we will develop a personalized strategy that considers your specific needs and preferences. This strategy will include detailed plans to minimize or avoid surrender charges. The main benefit is having a clear, actionable plan that maximizes your investment returns.
  • Third Step: Implementation and Ongoing Support
    • We will assist you in implementing the strategy and provide ongoing support to ensure your investment stays on track. The positive result is a well-managed annuity that aligns with your long-term financial goals, providing peace of mind and financial stability.

Features and Benefits:

  • Expert Guidance: Personalized advice from experienced professionals.
  • Strategic Planning: Customized strategies to avoid unnecessary penalties.
  • Ongoing Support: Continuous assistance to keep your investments on track.
  • Flexibility: Solutions that adapt to your changing needs and circumstances.

Common Objections:

  • Concern about costs: Our services are designed to save you more than they cost.
  • Worry about complexity: We simplify the process and handle the details for you.

Failing to work with us can lead to substantial financial penalties and missed opportunities. However, partnering with us ensures you avoid unnecessary charges and achieve your financial goals. Knowing your investments are in expert hands, you will experience a sense of relief, confidence, and security.

Contact us today for free advice or a personalized quote to start maximizing your annuity investments.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When is an annuity surrendered early to the annuitant received?

The annuitant receives the cash surrender value when an annuity is surrendered early.

How do you avoid surrender charges?

The best way to avoid surrender charges is to wait until the surrender charge period has expired. This is typically several years after you purchase the annuity. However, there may be other ways to avoid or minimize surrender charges, depending on the terms of your contract. For example, some contracts allow you to withdraw a certain percentage of your investment each year without incurring a surrender charge. Speak to your financial advisor to learn more about your options.

Can annuity surrender charges be waived?

In some cases, annuity surrender charges can be waived. For example, if you are terminally ill or permanently disabled, you can cash in your annuity without paying a surrender charge. Speak to your financial advisor to learn more about your options.

What happens if I surrender my annuity?

If you surrender your annuity, you will receive a lump sum payment for the current value of your investment. Any outstanding charges reduced this value, such as the surrender charge. Once you cash out, you will no longer receive any future payments from the annuity.

How do you calculate surrender charges?

Surrender charges are typically a percentage of the total value of the annuity. To calculate the charge, you multiply the total value of the annuity by the surrender charge percentage. For example, if you have an annuity with a current value of $10,000 and a surrender charge of 5%, the surrender charge would be $500.

What is the purpose of a surrender charge in a deferred annuity?

A deferred annuity’s surrender charge discourages investors from cashing in their investment early. The fee is typically a percentage of the total value of the annuity. It is designed to reduce the money an investor would receive if they cashed in their investment before the maturity date. Surrender charges are generally highest during the first few years of an annuity contract, and they typically decline each year until they disappear entirely.

How long does it take to surrender an annuity?

The time it takes to surrender an annuity depends on the terms of your contract. For example, some annuities allow you to cash in your investment immediately, while others may require waiting a certain period before accessing your money.

What does out of surrender mean on an annuity?

Out of surrender means you are no longer subject to the surrender charge. This typically happens after the surrender charge period has expired. Once you are out of surrender, you can cash in your annuity without paying a fee.

What is the initial surrender charge?

The initial surrender charge is the fee you will pay if you cash in your annuity during the first few years of the contract. This fee is designed to discourage investors from cashing in their investments early. The initial surrender charge is typically a percentage of the total value of the annuity, and it declines each year until it disappears completely.

What is a free look period on an annuity?

A free look period is when you can cancel your annuity contract without paying a surrender charge. This period typically lasts 10-30 days after you purchase the annuity.

What are some alternatives to cashing out an annuity?

You can take a loan from your annuity if you need access to your money before maturity. This option lets you keep your investment intact and avoid paying a surrender charge. You will, however, have to pay interest on the loan, and you may be required to repay the loan with interest if you surrender your annuity before the maturity date. Another option is to withdraw a portion of your investment. This allows you to access some of your money while maintaining your investment and avoiding a surrender charge. You may, however, have to pay taxes on the withdrawal.

Is cashing out an annuity considered income?

You must pay ordinary taxes on the withdrawal when you cash out an annuity. The amount of taxes you owe will depend on your tax bracket and the money you withdraw. You may also owe a 10% early withdrawal penalty if younger than 59 1/2.

Are surrender charges tax deductible?

No, surrender charges are not tax deductible.

What is the function of a surrender charge waiver in an annuity contract?

A surrender charge waiver in an annuity contract is a feature that allows the annuity owner to withdraw or surrender the contract without incurring a surrender charge. Typically, this feature is triggered by specific events, such as the annuity owner’s death, terminal illness, or confinement to a nursing home. The purpose of the surrender charge waiver is to provide the annuity owner with greater flexibility and to help ensure they have access to their funds in the event of an unexpected need.

What happens if a deferred annuity is surrendered before the annuitization period?

Suppose a deferred annuity is surrendered before the annuitization period. In that case, the annuity owner may receive a surrender value, the contract’s cash value, less any applicable surrender charges. The surrender value can be used to purchase another annuity, invest in another product, or use it for other purposes.

How much can you withdraw from an annuity without a surrender charge?

The amount you can withdraw from an annuity without a surrender charge varies by contract. Typically, many annuities allow for an annual withdrawal of 10% of the account value without a surrender charge. Still, it can differ, so it’s essential to check the specific terms of your contract.

During the accumulation period, who can surrender an annuity?

Only the annuity owner has the right to surrender the annuity during the accumulation period.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, 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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