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Understanding Zero-Cost Term Plans

Understanding Zero-Cost Term Plans

Ever wondered what a life insurance term plan truly means? A term plan is a type of life insurance policy that offers a large payout to your nominees in the event of your death. It provides financial security and peace of mind, ensuring that your loved ones are taken care of even if you are not around. Now, imagine being able to get this coverage without paying any additional premiums. That is the promise of zero-cost term plans.

How Zero-Cost Term Plans Work?

After understanding the meaning of a life insurance term plan, you must know how a zero-cost term insurance plan works. It promises to return your premiums at a fixed date in the future, thereby reducing your total cash outflow to zero. Essentially, you buy a term insurance plan, pay the regular premiums for a set number of years, and then surrender the policy to receive all your premiums back. This allows you to avail the benefits without paying anything extra.

However, it is important to note that insurance companies impose certain conditions before extending these plans. Let us consider a case study based on a zero-cost plan offered by a leading life insurance company in India.

Case Study: A 30-year-old’s Dilemma

it is important to understand the term plan meaning before deciding to buy one. Imagine being a 30-year-old looking to purchase a term insurance plan. The insurance provider pitches the zero-cost variant as an enticing option. However, before signing the contract, the insurance company requires you to buy an additional policy that matures at the age of 70 or above. They specify that the zero-cost variant is only available for policies with terms spanning 40 years or more.

Furthermore, you have to surrender the policy before the 25th policy year or between the ages of 65 and 66, whichever comes earlier. In this case, the individual would have to forego the policy as soon as they turn 55 to receive their premiums back. It is important to note that once you surrender the policy, you cannot renew it, and it stands terminated.

Summary of Zero-Cost Term Plans

While these plans are marketed as zero-cost options, they come with several caveats. They are not truly zero-cost, and it is crucial to be aware of the terms and conditions before making a decision. However, since you can avail of this option without paying additional premiums, it might still be tempting for some individuals. Nevertheless, our experts advise caution when considering zero-cost term plans.

Issues with Zero-Cost Term Plans

Zero-cost term plans may seem attractive at first glance; however, there are potential issues that need careful consideration before making a decision. Let us explore two key concerns:

Policy Term: When purchasing a term plan, it is crucial to select a policy term that aligns with your expected age of retirement. For instance, if you plan to retire at 60, it is advised to opt for a policy with a term of 25 years. This ensures coverage until your retirement when the financial dependency of your children and spouse diminishes. Buying a term plan that extends beyond this age may result in unnecessary premium payments and reduced utility.

However, the allure of zero-cost options may influence decision-making. If you are informed that you can only avail of the benefit by choosing a policy term exceeding 40 years, you might be tempted to select coverage until the age of 75 even though coverage until 60 suffices. Consequently, this pushes up your premiums and increases overall costs.

Hidden Costs: Insurance companies promise to return all the premiums paid as a lump sum at some future date. However, it is crucial to consider inflation and the time value of money. The Rs.10,000 premium you pay today may not hold the same value after 25 years due to inflation. Therefore, there is an inherent hidden cost associated with these plans that must be factored into your calculations.

Furthermore, insurance companies usually do not return the Goods and Services Tax (GST) component along with the premiums in these zero-cost plans.

Additionally, insurance providers often rely on customers forfeiting their policies before completion. By encouraging early termination, insurers can avoid substantial payouts that typically occur at advanced ages due to higher mortality rates. Consequently, these plans are economically advantageous for insurance companies.

Benefits of Zero-Cost Term Plans

Here are some of the key benefits:

No Extra Premiums: Most insurance companies provide the option of a zero-cost plan without requiring any additional premium payments. This means you can avail this benefit without increasing your financial burden.

Flexibility and Choice: With zero-cost plans, you have the freedom to choose whether to continue with the policy until maturity or surrender it to receive your premiums back. This flexibility allows you to make decisions based on your evolving financial circumstances.

Early Start for Young Individuals: For individuals in their early 20s, buying a policy with a term of 40 years or more can be advantageous. Opting for a zero-cost plan under these circumstances does not result in any loss and provides an added benefit without additional expenses.


Zero-cost term plans offer an enticing prospect of availing coverage without any additional premiums. However, it is crucial to evaluate the terms and conditions, hidden costs, and long-term implications before making a decision. Many experts recommend discussing your financial goals and requirements with a professional advisor who can guide you towards the most suitable plan. Remember, being well-informed and making proactive decisions is key to securing your financial future.