Skip to main content

Life Sense

Ask ERIE: What Happens If I Outlive My Term Life Insurance Policy?

In the vast majority of cases, you won’t get a payout when your term life insurance policy expires. The exception is a return of premium policy, which returns all of the money you paid over the years back to you. However, the premium is usually much higher for this option than it would be for the average term life policy.

To avoid losing the premiums you’ve paid out over the years, you might consider converting your term life policy to a permanent policy like whole life or universal life. For many, life and financial circumstances might have made a term life policy the best choice in the past. Now might be the right time to change to a permanent policy.

The differences between a term life and permanent life policy

A term life policy tends to be more affordable, but only covers you for a specific amount of time. Policy lengths can last from as little as five years to as long as 30 years. You choose what works for you.

Permanent life insurance may cost more, but it lasts your entire life and can build you cash value that increases the longer the policy is in force. Most term life policies allow you to convert to a permanent life policy. Although your premium may go up, you can now have a policy that lasts your entire life and lets you build your wealth.

If you decide to convert your term life policy to a permanent life policy, you may be able to skip the medical exam or other steps that you went through to get your term life policy. It pays to convert ASAP since the sooner you open your permanent plan, the more time your money will have to grow over the course of your life.


There are life insurance options for every life stage and financial situation. To convert your existing term policy, contact the Erie Insurance agent through whom you purchased the policy.  To see what kind of life insurance is best for you, get in touch with any Erie Insurance agent in your community or use the life calculator to estimate your coverage needs.

ERIE® life insurance products and services are provided by Erie Family Life Insurance Company, a member of Erie Insurance Group, and are not available in New York. See individual policies for specific coverage details. Certain terms and limitations may apply.

So you’ve outlived your term life insurance policy. What should you expect or do next? /blog/outlive-term-life-insurance-policy Erie Insurance https://www.erieinsurance.com/-/media/images/erieinsurance/erieinsurancelogo.png

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.


The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2016 and may be changed at any time. 


Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 


The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia, New York and Wisconsin.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 


Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.


Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.