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Return of Premium Life Insurance (ROP) Explained With Examples!

Home → Return of Premium Life Insurance (ROP) Explained With Examples!

The return of premium life insurance policy has gained popularity in recent years thanks to its very high return rate. This type of life insurance offers some advantages for those who are diligent at keeping up with their premiums and have a steady flow of income that is resistant to change.

It is important to understand what the policy is all about. You will get to know the overall working principles and whether it is worth the overall investment for your particular needs.

Table of Content

What is A Return of Premium Life Insurance?

The return of premium life insurance is one of those policies that have gained considerable attention in recent years. This is because, for those who are very diligent about paying their premiums, this can be a very beneficial policy for those who have a steady stream of income.

Essentially, a policy of such is one that returns the payments made by the person over a set period, minus any fees or charges from the life insurance company. For example, if you take out a 10-year policy with “Return of Premium” clause, if you outlive the ten year period you will receive back most of the money paid into the policy.

In many ways, an ROP policy is very similar in structure to term life insurance. However, the big difference is that at the end of the term you get your premiums back with interest and minus any fees or charges along the way.

These policies have been around since the early 1990s but have been gaining favor over the years thanks to their high rate of return for policies that go out of date. However, are they the best type of life insurance policies for you?

How Does It Work? [Important]

In most life insurance policies, the premiums you pay don’t return after the term of the policy expires. However, ROP means that the more you have invested, the greater the working principle that will be paid back if you should outlive the term of the policy.

However, this also increases the chances that you will either not outlive the policy or that you may fail to keep up the premium payments. These risks will need to be evaluated before choosing such a policy.

Is Return of Premium Life Insurance Worth It?

The real question is whether an ROP life insurance policy is right for your needs and your budget. There are many advantages to getting it for sure, but there are also few disadvantages as well which may make this unattractive to some.

Getting Premium Back w/Interest

This is the reason for getting this type of policy. A person can see the money they invested come back with interest over a set period. For many, a return of premium policy represents an enormous benefit that can be used to invest in retirement, child college fund or other need that can be fulfilled by this particular type of policy.

Higher Premium Cost

However, even a return of premium life insurance without medical exam is substantially more expensive regarding the premiums that are paid. For many, this represents too much of a monthly investment on the family budget. However, for those who can make the sacrifice this type of policy does offer healthy benefits.

Good Investment Strategy

ROP has become successful because it does serve a dual purpose. You are investing with a high-interest rate and providing protection in case something unexpected should happen. This is true in the relatively short term when for example a ten year policy may be the perfect choice for those with children reaching college age.

Sustain the Premiums

Life insurance companies are more rigid when it comes to their ROP policies, so maintaining your premiums is even more important. That is why this type of policy is suitable for people with substantial incomes and long job histories. Even if you take a long-term policy, say 30 years, for example, it will still take 15 to 20 before you can get even a partial return assuming you break the plan. State Farm offers level term for 20 or 30 years.

There are few things as disheartening as getting close to the end of a ten year plan. You only have it canceled due to lack of premium payments and get nothing for your investment.

Return of Premium Life Insurance Pros and Cons:

ROP pros and cons may vary depending on the length, premiums and benefits that the policy provides. However, there are certainly advantages and disadvantages present for those who want to pursue this type of policy.

Flexibility: It offers the same type of flexibility as term insurance in that you can choose the time period, benefit and premium rate that best suits your needs.

Return of Investment: Compared to a standard term life insurance policy, the rate of return for your investment is quite high indeed. In fact this may be the biggest advantage available of all.

Non-Taxable Sum: Once the lump sum is paid out, there are no taxes that are due. This is because you have already paid taxes on the money that was put into the premiums which means that withdrawing them at the end of the term will not require any additional taxation.

High Rate of Return: The guaranteed return rate is considerably higher than you’ll find in many traditional life insurance and savings policies.

However, the ROP policy does carry some disadvantages as well. For those who may be looking at the advantages, it pays to see what type of issues may not make this particular policy right for you.

High Premiums: In general, the premiums are significantly higher than found in typical life insurance policies. You will need to weigh the options to see if the rate of return is worth the investment.

Interruption Causes Cancellation: An ROP policy needs to have its premiums fulfilled to the fullest otherwise the risk of cancellation is great. For an ROP policy to succeed, a person needs a steady income stream that can withstand changing times and conditions.

Availability: Different states have different rules about life insurance policies and they may not be available everywhere or they may have certain restrictions. Before you start checking around for ROP policies,

However, if the policy is one that last for 20 years or more, then a partial return might be possible in that time frame. You will need to check the specific policy as it may not apply to all ROP life insurance.

Return of Premium Term Life Insurance:

Essentially, this is term life insurance that after a pre-set period of time which is usually 20 or 30 years, you can end the policy and get back all of your premium payments. This ensures that if you outlive the term of the policy itself, all the money that was invested will be returned to you. This will provide a much needed peace of mind that you do not have to start all over again with another term policy because you can use what has been built up over the years as a nest egg.

For example, if you were to take out a $1 million term life insurance return of premium policy and paid $10,000 annually for 30 years. At the end of that time you will be refunded $300,000. There are policies that also add in interest as well.

Although the interest rates are usually not quite as high as they are with some other types of investments, what can be said is that the cash value does go up beyond the premium payments as time goes on thanks to the interest rates.

Return of Premium vs. Term Life Insurance:

Although similar in some ways, there are differences between term life insurance with return of premium policy over standard term life insurance. Understanding the differences will help you make the best choice between which of the policies that you want to choose for your needs.

Lower Rates for Term Life: Generally speaking, you will be paying lower premiums for standard term life insurance because there is no interest build-up or return of your premiums at the end of the term. For example, using sources from a singular insurance company a 37 year old male non-smoker taking out a $250,000 term policy will pay an average of $562 per year. However, adding the return of premium rider will up the cost to $880 per year which adds more than 50% to the cost of the premiums.

Tax-Free Policy: Those who receive the benefits due to the return of investment policy being paid are considered income-tax free as a result. However, depending on the size of the policy they may fall into estate taxes if they are large enough to be included.

Investment Potential: Because many return of premium policies generate an interest rate, you can use them as investments which can help diversify your accounts which will better protect you against the loss of one type of investment. Many investors use them as part of their overall investing strategy and when it comes time to receive the cash value they can re-invest the money if they so desire.

Borrowing: Policy holders can borrow against the cash value if they desire as long as it is earning an interest rate.

Benefits & Catches:

There are certainly many benefits to having a return of premium term life insurance policy, particularly if you are young and healthy. This is because the premium rates are generally lower and if you outlive the policy you can use the money for a number of means.

Get Money Back: The biggest attraction to having a return of investment term policy is that the money you put in over the years is money that you will receive in return if you outlive the term of the policy itself. So, can you get money back from a term life insurance policy? Certainly.

For many, this is the only reason that they obtain this type of policy, particularly if they are getting a healthy interest rate as well.

Borrow Against the Policy: Because the cash value is generating additional income, you can actually borrow against the policy if needed. This can be a valuable option if you need extra cash now to pay off debt.

However, for the many benefits that this type of policy provides, there are some disadvantages as well. Before you choose a return of premium policy, you’ll want to know all about the issues associated with this form of life insurance.

More Expensive than Basic Term: This is primarily a budget consideration, but considering that adding a return of investment rider can mean paying up to 50% or more every month is a big consideration depending on the size of the policy itself.

Cancellation: With return of investment if you should cancel the policy, you’ll lose more that if you simply had regular term insurance which can be quite disappointing to say the least.

The choices are going to come down to whether it is worth purchasing a rider for return of premium insurance compared to simply investing the difference in the money on other options. If you can invest the difference in a tax-deferred or tax-free account, then just using the basic form of the insurance is probably best.

However, if you have a higher income and are looking for investment opportunities that are safer, then going with such a policy is probably the best since your money will be more guaranteed than trying to invest it into different accounts.

Where to Buy ROP Life Insurance?

Finding the right ROP policy for your needs should start online as you can compare plans directly. Obviously, if you are working with an insurance company, you’ll want to check out their terms. However, you should not limit yourself to just the few that you know. This is because several companies offer excellent rates for such plan. They provide good terms as well that you can take advantage.

Getting Quotes:

Many insurance companies will allow you to receive a free quote based on length of term, amount of benefit and monthly payment that best suits your budget. For those who want to find the best type of policy, you should start by getting free quotes from a number of different sources.

In fact, you can start from us and get a free quote for a return of premium life insurance policy. All you need to do is fill out a little information and send in the form. Within a short time, you will receive a free quote for what an ROP policy will cost in terms of monthly premiums and provide an interest rate. This will show you how much your benefit will be if you live past the duration of the policy.

By starting with this free quote, you can then find the right type plan to meet your specific needs.

Return of Premium Life Insurance

Looking for an Affordable Policy?

Return of premium life insurance companies is just like any other type of insurance companies out there. If you are no longer alive, they would pay your family the particular death benefit. However, a return of premium life insurance is actually a policy that has the ‘cash back’ feature and refunds you the premiums you have paid, at the end of the term, if you are still alive. For instance, if you have paid $30,000 in premiums for the period of a 40-year policy, you would be refunded with a lump sum of $30,000 when the 40-year period ends, if you happen to be still around. The refund will be tax-free as well. However, this type of policy can require higher premium payments.

Unlike the classic term life insurance which doesn’t provide a refund and simply cancels the policy if you live through the period of its policy, the return of life insurance allows a person to get his money back after the policy ends, hence being sort of an investment. For this reason, a great number of people prefer the latter one. It could also be a suitable type of policy for seniors who intend to take life insurance for seniors over 80.

A few reasons why consumers prefer the return of premium life insurance are listed below.

  • Consumers believe they will live longer than the period of the policy.
  • Consumers intend to get their money back, instead of merely paying the companies for as long as they live.
  • Consumers take up this policy as a form of investment.
  • They payouts on this type of policy are tax-free.

Just like any other insurance policies, this type of insurance policy has its drawbacks as well. Their disadvantages include:

  • The return of policy can cost up to 3 times the rate of a basic term insurance.
  • It can influence a consumer’s budget in a big way.
  • If the policy is canceled halfway through or has payment arrears the consumer may not get the premiums he/she had paid.
  • This type of a policy may not be available in many states.

Prior to deciding which insurance policy is the best one to take, it is essential for consumers to consider several factors. Two vital aspects to think about before choosing an insurance policy include:


It is important for consumers to compare the premiums on numerous policies prior to deciding which one is the best. Insurance rates vary from one insurance company to another. Your age, health and policy length will influence the rate of your life insurance policy. Hence, consumers should weigh against each policy to check for the best before taking one.

Payout Amount

Some return of premium life insurance companies will forfeit the payments you have made all the while if you happen to cancel the policy halfway through. Eventually, you may not receive the refund. However, there are companies that will refund a certain percentage of the premium paid if there is cancellation halfway through. Therefore, it is essential for consumers to evaluate each policy to see what it offers.

A good research prior to taking an insurance policy will definitely be of great help. With a good research, you as a consumer will be able to provide yourself and your family with the right type of insurance policy.

The basics of return of premium term life insurance

Last Updated: October 25th, 2015

Last updated October 25, 2015

Term life insurance policies can provide important peace of mind, offering benefits if someone dies before what could reasonably be expected. It may be wise to consider “return of premium” (ROP) term life insurance. Under an ROP policy, if no death benefit is paid by the end of the insurance term, premiums are paid back to the policy-holder in part or in full.

While whole life insurance is often attractive to middle class and affluent consumers, term life insurance policies can have an important place in an insurance portfolio. For example, some couples buy a whole life insurance policy when they are newly married, then purchase an additional term life insurance policy when they have children. That way, should one parent die before children can be left unsupervised for several hours or before saving for the kids’ college expenses is completed, a term life insurance policy is on hand to cover childcare costs and/or to boost education savings.

How ROP policies work

With a traditional term life insurance policy, a coverage term of 15, 20 or 30 years is typically selected, and a fixed annual premium is paid. If the insured lives beyond that term, the contract ends and no benefit is paid. The insured has paid only for the “risk” that he or she might have died.

Some ROP term life policies give 100 percent of a premium back or part of the premium back at the end of the term if no death benefit has been paid.

“The key here is that you get a percentage back, tax-free, locked in for 20 to 30 years guaranteed,” says Alan Lurty, senior vice president of commodity markets for ING’s Life Business Group.

There are two ways to get a return of your premium: As an ROP term life policy or as an ROP rider.

How much can an ROP term life policy cost?

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, purchasers should expect to pay more for a ROP term life policy than a comparable traditional term life policy. For example, a 20-year ROP policy could cost a healthy 35-year-old male about $768 annually, versus $238 per year for a regular 20-year term policy, according to a leading insurer. That amounts to a surcharge of $10,600 over the life of the policy.

The annual surcharge may range in cost among insurers, depending on the age at purchase time and the length of the term. Be sure to get pricing for different term lengths when researching ROP term life insurance quotes.

Who considers ROP policies?

Affluent consumers who want to maintain their loved ones’ financial security sometimes add an ROP term life insurance policy to supplement a whole life insurance policy.

Those required to pay alimony must sometimes purchase term life insurance, and an ROP policy can appeal to someone who is reluctant to purchase that insurance since there is a premium return at the end of the term.

ROP term life insurance provides a way to hedge bets no matter what happens.

Is ROP life insurance a good deal?

What makes a return of premium life insurance policy — and the rider version — so interesting is that it’s used by some as an investment vehicle. But is it actually a good investment?

Let’s take a look at the fine print:

ROP life insurance is good if.

  • An analysis of the purchasers’ circumstances are generally in-line with the factors shown below:

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