Next Steps

Taking Your Life Insurance Policy for a Test Drive

If you've ever heard of a free look period for your life insurance policy, think of it kind of like a test drive for a new car you're planning on purchasing. During a free look period, you can make important changes to your life insurance policy, or even cancel it if you decide it isn't a good fit for you.

Free Look Period for Your Policy

When it comes to buying life insurance, most of us take the time to do some research before purchasing a policy. We gather facts and information on things like policy types, limits, and even the insurance company that we're considering. And that's a good thing, because life insurance is an important decision and you want to be sure the policy you've selected is going to meet your needs. But what happens if you change your mind about your policy after it issues?

Fortunately, most state insurance departments require insurers to provide a free look provision after a policy has issued, allowing you to make changes or cancel your policy and receive a full refund on any money that you may have put down. This provision is typically a 10-day time period that gives you some time to “test drive” your newly issued policy.*

The free look provision is a benefit and exists so that you can take the time to review your actual contract to:

  • Be sure that the type of policy you selected is right for you.

    Term, whole life, or universal life - you've finally made your choice. However, you may have bought a term policy and then decided that permanent life insurance would be a better fit. The free look provision may allow you to switch to another policy without fees or penalties.

  • Make changes/additions to your policy.

    If you decide to enhance your coverage by adding specific policy riders, or to make changes that will increase or decrease your death benefit, the free look provision could be the perfect time to amend your policy without having to cancel and reissue your policy. Generally, these types of changes can be made by simply issuing a policy endorsement.

  • Change your mind.

    You may decide that you no longer want your policy. For example, you may prefer to change insurance companies. Whatever the reason, the provision allows you to cancel your newly issued policy by simply notifying your agent or company representative during the free look time frame. Any premiums paid will typically be refunded to you.

Before purchasing a life insurance policy, be sure to ask your agent or company representative if a free look provision is offered and how long you have to make any final decisions regarding your coverage. Once your policy issues, review your coverage carefully and discuss any questions you may have with the insurer.

Remember, a reputable company will have your best interest in mind and should be happy to help interpret fine print and explain coverages so that you fully understand your policy.

Important considerations for before and after you buy your life insurance policy


  • Thoroughly review your needs and circumstances.
  • Select the type of policy that has benefits that closely fit your needs.
  • Make sure your premiums are manageable so your policy doesn't lapse for nonpayment.


  • Read your policy carefully during the free look period and ask your agent or company representative about anything that is unclear to you.
  • Don't just drop one policy and buy another without understanding the impact and costs. Replacing your policy may be costly once the free look period has ended.
  • Review your life insurance every year with your agent or company representative to keep up with life changes that can affect your needs.

For more information on how to select a life insurance policy, visit the Protective Learning Center.

*Not all life insurance companies offer a free look provision and not all free look provisions are 10-days in duration. Check with your life insurance company before you buy.

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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