Lapse

DEFINITION of 'Lapse'

The cessation of a privilege, right or policy due to time or inaction. A lapse of a privilege due to inaction occurs when the party that is to receive the benefit does not fulfill the conditions or requirements set forth by a contract or agreement.

BREAKING DOWN 'Lapse'

When a policy lapses, it usually occurs because one party fails to act on its obligations or one of the terms on the policy is breached. For example, an insurance policy will lapse if the holder does not pay the premiums. The right given by an options contract will lapse when the option reaches maturity, at which time the holder will no longer possess the right to buy or sell the underlying asset.

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