What Is A Collateral Assignment?

What is a collateral assignment A collateral assignment of life insurance is a contract that allows the death benefit of a policy to be used as collateral, this is usually used in business loans (but also equipment, structured settlement buyouts and other loans).

In the untimely event of the death of the person who is named on the life insurance policy, the lender who has the insurance policy assigned as collateral gets paid first.

A collateral assignment will always take precedence over beneficiary claims for the proceeds of the death benefit. When a business owner applies for a business loan and wants to use their death benefit as collateral, the loan company must then ascertain whether should this owner die, will it affect the business and cause the loan to default.

The death benefit on the life insurance policy is there as security that the lender will get the loan repaid should this happen. It is important to remember, that although only the policy owner can pledge the death benefits of a policy to the lender, they may not necessarily be the individual named on the policy. This individual could be their spouse or even the director of the company.

When setting up collateral assignment of life insurance, it is very important to remember that the lender should never be named as beneficiary on the policy. The beneficiaries should be the loved ones of the person named on the policy, as should the named person die the loan will get paid off first and then the collateral assignment is released and the death benefit will be paid to these beneficiaries.

In order to set up collateral assignment of life insurance, there is no particular type of life insurance policy required by a lender; the only stipulation is that the actual life insurance policy itself must be assignable.

Here are some examples of policies accepted for collateral assignment:

Term Insurance

This type of insurance is death cover for a fixed term of one or more years. It has no surrender value or equity and any benefits are only paid out if the insured person dies. A term insurance policy is going to be the most affordable type of insurance plan.

With a term insurance policy, you can buy a plan that matches the need of your family. If you have 20 years left on your mortgage loan, then you can buy a 20-year term insurance plan. Because these are not a permanent form of coverage, they’re going to be much cheaper than other options.

Universal Life Insurance or Whole Life Insurance

This type of life insurance allows the insured person to tailor the life insurance to suit their needs and lifestyle, it is a permanent type of insurance and death benefits are paid out if the insured person dies.

If you’re looking to get permanent coverage that will never expire, a whole life plan is an excellent option. With these plans, as long as you continue to pay the premiums for the plan, you’ll have life insurance coverage. Because these plans will never expire, they are more expensive.

Another advantage of these plans is that they build cash value inside of the plan. The longer that you pay the premiums for the plan, the more value that is going to be built upside of your insurance policy. You can use the cash value of the plan to invest or pay the premiums.

Second To Die Insurance

This is a type of insurance policy which insures two people, usually a husband and wife. The death benefit on this type of policy is not paid out until the second person dies however.

Seeking Life Insurance Coverage

When you’re looking to get life insurance coverage with a collateral assignment, it’s important that you’re getting the right type of plan to protect your family and satisfy the collateral needs.

If the loan has been taken out using a collateral assignment of the life insurance policy when the loan is repaid in full and if the person insured on the policy is still living, then the lender relinquishes all rights to any death benefit on the policy and they will return all documents.

An existing life insurance policy can be used to satisfy the lenders requirements as long as the amount of death benefit on the policy is enough to cover the loan amount required. The loan policyholder, must always make sure that the life insurance company is aware of and will allow the use of the policy as collateral for a loan.

Most life insurance companies will have strict rules that must be followed to ensure the collateral assignment of the life insurance policy will be allowed and they must always be informed that the assignment has been made. The life insurance company will need to submit written notification to the lender that the collateral assignment of life insurance has been filed. This could be as a separate cover letter with a copy of the executed collateral assignment form or a just a stamped filed copy of the collateral assignment form itself.

The lender will also need to make further checks before allowing the loan to go ahead. They will need to check that there is no collateral assignment of the life insurance policy already in place and that all life insurance premiums are not only up to date, but have also been made for a period of at least six months.

Also, they will check that if the policy has a cash surrender value, there have been no borrowings secured against that and that the original life insurance policy is not required in order to make a claim. Some types of loan have a cash surrender value, this is the amount that an insurance company will pay out to the policyholder if the life insurance policy is terminated before it reaches maturity. If there is a filed collateral assignment for life insurance against the policy, any monies paid out will be used to pay off the balance of the loan before either the policyholder or their beneficiaries.

When a life insurance company sets a collateral assignment of life insurance, this usually takes in the region of seven to ten days to be filed and acknowledged, however some companies may expedite this if the collateral assignment is required more urgently. When taking out life insurance at the same time as assigning the collateral, the collateral assignment form must be submitted with the life insurance application, so make sure you choose a life insurance agent who thoroughly understands the collateral assignment process.

There’s a reason people come to us for a collateral assignment.  Companies like SelectQuote Insurance Services and Zander Insurance are high volume call centers and typically don’t see collateral assignments all the way through (so we’re told).

Bottom Line

When you’re shopping for life insurance coverage, regardless if you’re going to be adding a collateral assignment to the plan, it’s important that you get the best plan to meet your needs.

Perhaps you’re concerned because of health conditions, like looking for life insurance with diabetes; if so, we can connect you with companies who can offer the best coverage at affordable prices.

Every insurance company is different, which means that you could get different premiums.

Our agents have a thorough understanding of the needs of the collateral assignment process and will be able to guide you through this process and ensure that all the requirements of the loan company are met.

We know that navigating the life insurance waters can be difficult, especially when you have to add additional features like collateral assignment, but we are here to make the process as quick and simple as possible.

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About Jeff Root

is the owner of rootfin.com. He's an independent life insurance agent who has helped 1,000's of consumers purchase life insurance online and over the phone.

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Would collateral assignment of a life insurance policy help in securing a mortgage or a refinance?

February 11, 2015 at 3:38 pm
    Jeff Root

    William, No it wouldn’t.

    February 11, 2015 at 3:44 pm
Kathy Furlow

Im attempting to complete a 5yr delayed property settlement and want to guarantee my adult daughter receives the death benefits from a whole life policy on my ex spouse. Im entitled 1/2 of everything including his retirement so he is being nice. I don’t trust him to not change her as the beneficiary so can I have the death benefit assigned to her like a collateral assignment to ensure the payout goes directly to her?

June 23, 2015 at 9:46 am
    Jeff Root

    Kathy, the easiest way to structure this would be to make yourself the owner of the policy. Simply fill out a “change of ownership” form. Only the owner can change the beneficiary of a policy. In other words, you’ll be the “owner” and he’ll be the “insured”. It’s done all the time.

    July 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm

I have a large term for policy. Which I have held for 15 yrs. I would like to sell it or use it as collateral. What company can I call?

July 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm
    Jeff Root

    Mike, No on the collateral unless you’re trying to secure a loan. I need more information if you want to sell, specifically your age. I’ll email you.

    July 7, 2015 at 9:28 am
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