Can I Get Out of an Annuity Contract

Can I Get Out of an Annuity Contract

An annuity contract is a long-term investment vehicle that can provide a stable stream of income in retirement. However, there may come a time when you want or need to get out of your annuity contract. In this article, we will explore the various ways you can get out of an annuity contract and examine the associated risks and costs.

What is an Annuity Contract?

An annuity contract is a financial product that is typically sold by insurance companies. The policyholder makes a lump-sum payment or a series of payments to the insurance company. In return, the insurance company guarantees a lifetime income stream, either immediately or at a future date.

An annuity contract can be either fixed or variable. A fixed annuity guarantees a predetermined interest rate for a specific period of time, while a variable annuity invests the policyholder`s contributions in a range of investment options that can fluctuate in value.

How to Get Out of an Annuity Contract

If you want to get out of an annuity contract, there are several options available to you. However, it`s important to note that each option has its own set of risks and costs that you should carefully consider.

1. Surrender Your Contract

The most straightforward way to get out of an annuity contract is to surrender it. This means that you terminate the contract and receive the surrender value, which is the amount you`ve paid into the annuity minus any fees, charges, and penalties.

However, surrendering your contract may result in significant surrender charges, which can be as high as 10% or more in the first few years of the contract. Additionally, surrendering your annuity may trigger taxes on any gains you`ve earned, as well as a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you`re under age 59.5.

2. Sell Your Contract

Another option is to sell your annuity contract to a third-party buyer. This is known as a secondary market annuity, and it can provide a lump-sum payment that may be higher than the surrender value you`d receive from the insurance company.

However, selling your annuity contract can be complex and may result in significant fees and commissions. Additionally, you may need to obtain court approval to sell your contract, depending on the state you live in.

3. Exchange Your Contract

You may be able to exchange your annuity contract for another annuity that better meets your needs. This is known as a 1035 exchange, named after the section of the tax code that allows for tax-free exchanges of one annuity contract for another.

However, exchanging your annuity contract may result in surrender charges and fees, as well as potential tax consequences if the new annuity has different features or investment options.

4. Wait Until Your Contract Expires

Finally, you can simply wait until your annuity contract expires. At that point, you can either start receiving the guaranteed income stream or take the surrender value without penalty.

However, waiting until your annuity contract expires may not be feasible or desirable if you need the money sooner or want to avoid ongoing fees and charges.


Getting out of an annuity contract can be a complicated and costly process. Before deciding to surrender, sell, exchange, or wait until your contract expires, it`s important to carefully consider the associated risks and costs. If you`re unsure about the best course of action, you should consult with a financial advisor or tax professional who can help you make an informed decision.

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