I Tried to Get a Copy of My Life Insurance Policy and Learned Something Shocking

A stressed woman reading paperwork while sitting on her couch.

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It’s not at all what I expected.


Key points

  • I put life insurance in place years ago to protect my family.
  • When I recently tried to access my policy details, I got a rude awakening.
  • Be sure to get a copy of all your life insurance details when you sign the policy, otherwise you may have to pay to get it later.

Years ago, my husband and I made the decision to purchase life insurance. I’ll admit that we weren’t very motivated to go this route before having kids. And we weren’t thrilled with the idea of ​​yet another bill.

But once we had children, we decided we absolutely needed a way to protect them financially. And so we explored different options for coverage and eventually settled on a 30-year term life insurance policy.

The downside of our policy is that it won’t protect us indefinitely the same way a whole life insurance policy could. Plus, our policy won’t accumulate any sort of cash value.

However, we made our decision largely based on affordability. With whole life insurance, we were looking at much higher premiums that would’ve put a strain on our budget, so ultimately, we’re happy with our choice.

Recently, though, some questions arose in my head about the specifics of our policy. And so I searched my records for a copy of our policy and couldn’t find one. I then proceeded to call our life insurance company and ask for a copy of our policy. And that’s when I got a big shock.

Information that’s not so easy to access

Each year, my homeowners insurance company sends me a copy of my policy. And I get a copy of my auto insurance policy as well (I happen to use the same company for both).

But I can’t remember the last time I received a copy of my life insurance policy. In fact, I’m not even sure I received a full copy of that policy when I first signed up and felt it was something I should have.

So I called my insurance company to request a copy, and guess what? I was told that to get that information, I’d need to fill out a whole bunch of paperwork and also send in a payment of $25. Um, what?

The person I spoke to on the phone then explained that if I wanted a summary of my life insurance, that was something she could provide for free. And that summary did contain a bunch of key information, like the date my policy started, its end date, my coverage amount, and the cost of my premiums.

But still, that’s just a summary. It doesn’t contain the many rules attached to my policy or the nitty-gritty details I was hoping to nerd out on.

A better way to get information

When I expressed my displeasure with having to pay for a copy of my life insurance policy, the representative on the phone told me I was free to ask her any questions I wanted. So I did. And 15 minutes later, I came away with a higher level of detail and understanding.

The takeaway, though, is that you may want to make sure to get a complete copy of your life insurance policy when you first sign those papers (to this day, I’m not convinced I ever got a full copy, because I’m usually good about keeping important documents around). Along these lines, get any questions you have out of the way when you’re first reviewing your policy options, because getting a complete copy of your life insurance documents apparently isn’t as easy (or as free) as one might expect.

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