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, contact any Erie Insurance agent in your community.

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