What does it mean when a policy is ‘fully paid up?’

A fully paid-up insurance policy is when the policyholder pays their premiums ahead of time. Hence, they are no longer obligated to pay premiums but still receive the policy's benefits. Fully paid-up insurance typically refers to whole life insurance paid for in full but remains in effect until the policyholder dies. You can achieve a fully paid-up policy by paying your premiums ahead of time or contributing extra to the policy to increase your death benefit.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Dec 30, 2021

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  • A fully paid-up insurance policy is one in which the policyholder has paid enough of the premiums to no longer be obligated to pay but still receive the benefits
  • While fully paid-up policies typically refer to whole life insurance policies, you can have a fully paid-up auto insurance policy by paying for a six-month or one-year term ahead of time
  • Whole life insurance policies can be considered fully paid up by paying your premiums ahead of time or by making extra contributions to add more coverage

Auto and life insurance can become a long-term expense that ties up your funds for years. However, suppose you want to ensure you still receive insurance benefits without paying the premiums forever. In that case, you may want to consider having a fully paid-up insurance policy.

A fully paid-up insurance policy allows you to pay your premiums ahead of time so that you don’t have to pay them for the remainder of the policy. Keep reading to learn the different ways to have your policy considered fully paid up.

Enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool above to find auto and life insurance quotes from companies near you.

What is fully paid-up insurance?

A fully paid-up insurance policy is one in which the policyholder has paid their premiums up to a certain point and are no longer obligated to pay. The policyholder will receive the policy’s benefits up to the point they have paid for.

What does it mean when auto insurance is fully paid up?

Generally, auto insurance is not referred to as “fully paid up.” This is a term primarily used for life insurance. However, technically, you can have a fully paid-up car insurance policy.

Many people pay their auto insurance premiums every month. However, you can also choose to pay ahead of time for a certain amount, usually six months to a year. If you pay ahead of time, your policy is considered fully paid up, and you may be able to earn a discount.

Fully Paid Up Auto Insurance Discounts by Company
Auto Insurance CompanyFully Paid Up Discount
AllstateNot available
American FamilyAvailable, discount amount unknown
FarmersAvailable, discount amount unknown
GEICOAvailable, discount amount unknown
Liberty Mutual$5
NationwideNot available
ProgressiveAvailable, discount amount unknown
State FarmNot available
USAANot available
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You can see how much you’d save with a fully paid-up policy by checking the table above.

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What does it mean when life insurance is fully paid up?

Life insurance is fully paid up when your premiums are paid in full, the policy is still in effect, and you no longer have to pay premiums. A paid-up option is only available for whole life insurance.

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance with level premiums and a guaranteed death benefit. It also has a cash value component that grows over the policy’s life, depending on how much you pay for your premiums. Some whole life insurance policies may also pay dividends.

There are two different ways to consider life insurance fully paid up. You could fully pay up the entire policy, or the policy may have fully paid-up additions.

If your whole life insurance policy is convertible to fully paid-up status, you may be able to keep the policy without paying for the premiums. You can do this by paying for the premiums ahead of time for a certain amount of time, indicated by your life insurance company.

For example, if your policy would be fully paid up at age 65, this means you wouldn’t have to pay premiums after age 65. You could also choose to pay the remaining premiums in a lump sum earlier and no longer make payments now.

You can also convert to fully paid-up status by using the policy’s cash value to pay the premiums. If you choose to pay your premiums with the policy’s cash value, your death benefit will decrease. The insurance company will calculate your new death benefit based on how much of your premiums can be paid with your policy’s cash value.

In addition to having a fully paid-up policy, you can also add coverages known as fully paid-up additions.

What are paid-up additions?

Fully paid-up additions are additional coverages that you can buy for your whole life insurance using your own money or the dividends earned from your policy. The additions increase the policy’s cash value, increasing the death benefit and living benefits.

The additional insurance coverage can also earn dividends, which compound over time. You can also forfeit the additions for their cash value or take a loan against them.

Here is an example to give you a better idea of how paid-up additions work:

A person buys a whole life insurance policy with a death benefit of $100,000 for an annual premium of $2,000. In addition to the premium, the policyholder pays an additional $3,000 to the paid-up additions rider, which increases the cash value by $3,000 and the death benefit by $15,000.

Many life insurance companies will require you to incorporate a paid-up insurance option into the policy when you buy it. However, others may allow you to add the option later on. Policy options will depend on your age, location, health, and other factors.

Some companies will allow you to purchase as much or as little additional insurance as you want per year. In contrast, others will require purchasing a minimum amount to keep the additional insurance rider.

If you’re looking for whole life insurance with fully paid-up options, enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below to find affordable life insurance rates in your area.

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