Cash Surrender Value

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DEFINITION of 'Cash Surrender Value'

The sum of money an insurance company will pay to the policyholder or annuity holder in the event his or her policy is voluntarily terminated before its maturity or the insured event occurs. This cash value is the savings component of most permanent life insurance policies, particularly whole life insurance policies. Also known as "cash value", "surrender value" and "policyholder's equity".

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BREAKING DOWN 'Cash Surrender Value'

Cash surrender value applies to the savings element of whole life insurance policies that are payable before death. However, during the early years of a whole life insurance policy, the savings portion brings very little return compared to the premiums paid.

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