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Free Look Period: How Does It Work?

File Photo: Free Look Period: How Does It Work?
File Photo: Free Look Period: How Does It Work? File Photo: Free Look Period: How Does It Work?

What Exactly Is a Free Look Period?

The free look period allows new life insurance policyholders to cancel without penalties, such as surrender charges. The free look time may last 10+ days, depending on the insurance and state legislation.

During the free look time, the contract holder might choose to maintain the insurance coverage. If they cancel, they’ll get their premium back.

Free look periods are typically linked with life insurance plans but can apply to annuity contracts. States have different free-look periods. Texas mandates 10–20 days.

Free-look periods work

Both the insurer and the insured have rights and duties under insurance coverage. If you are unhappy with the policy’s terms and conditions, you can cancel and return it within a specific timeframe and get your premiums back. Timeframes vary by insurance and state legislation.

During the free-look period, buyers can ask insurers questions about the contract to understand the coverage better. The refund amount may be based on the account value upon cancellation or the number of payments, depending on the condition of the policy.

The free-look period benefits policyholders. This allows for more time to evaluate a new contract thoroughly. Policyholders can also contact their agent, lawyer, or company representative to check their policy terms.

After receiving a new life insurance policy, the free-look period begins. If you wish to cancel the coverage, inform your agent or company representative.

Historic Free-Look Period

Previously, the U.S. life insurance business was scam-prone and inadequately regulated. During the 1930s and 1940s, the industry attracted unscrupulous individuals. Many life insurance businesses have a negative image due to high-pressure methods, client harassment, and unreliable, bankrupt, or nonexistent corporations that never fulfilled claims.

The industry has dramatically improved since then. The industry has to change its procedures due to its unfavorable reputation.

State governments addressed complaints about abusive sales methods with laws, leading to free look periods.

Example of Free Look Period

Suppose you acquire variable life insurance in Texas. Two days after signing up, your policy documentation arrives via mail. Your free-look time begins when you get the documents. Texas gives you 10–20 days to evaluate and decide whether to maintain the coverage.

Your lawyer reviews your insurance two days later and advises you to terminate and switch insurers. Like your lawyer, you notify your insurance company the next day that you wish to cancel. Under the law, the insurance company must cooperate and repay your first premium.

A 30-Day Free Look Period?

A life insurance policy with a 30-day free look period lets you cancel without penalty 30 days after it starts. Free-look periods vary by provider and state.

You can cancel your life insurance at any time.

You can cancel life insurance at any time. If you cancel a policy after your free look time, you will get your cash value in a flat amount, less any costs, but not your premium.

Life Insurance Policy Cancellation Online

To terminate a life insurance policy, contact the supplier online, via phone, or by letter. The cancellation process depends on your life insurance type.

When does the Free Look Period start?

The day you acquire a life insurance policy starts the free-look period. Ask the insurance company about delivery dates.

Bottom Line

Free look periods let you decide whether to maintain your insurance. If you cancel your coverage, you’ll get your premium back without a penalty. If you’re getting life insurance, ask your provider about their first-look policy.


  • A new life insurance policy owner can cancel and get their payment repaid within the free look period, usually 10–30 days.
  • There are no surrender fees for canceling during the free look time.
  • Policyholders can cancel and return the insurance throughout the duration for a full refund if they are unhappy with the terms.
  • The free-look period benefits policyholders.

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