Close this search box.

Table of Contents

What Is a 1035 Exchange? Definition and How the Rules Work


A 1035 Exchange refers to a tax-free exchange of one insurance or annuity contract for another similar contract. This provision, established under Section 1035 of the Internal Revenue Code, allows individuals to update or modify their policies without incurring any tax penalties. The primary benefits of a 1035 Exchange are the preservation of tax deferral status and the avoidance of capital gains taxes on the transaction.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “What Is a 1035 Exchange? Definition and How the Rules Work” is:hwʌt ɪz ə tɛn θɜrti faɪv ɪksʧeɪndʒ? dɛfəˈnɪʃən ænd haʊ ðə rulz wɜrkHere is a more detailed breakdown:- “What” – hwʌt- “Is” – ɪz- “a” – ə- “1035” – tɛn θɜrti faɪv- “Exchange” – ɪksʧeɪndʒ- “Definition” – dɛfəˈnɪʃən- “and” – ænd- “How” – haʊ- “the” – ðə- “Rules” – rulz- “Work” – wɜrkThis pronunciation is based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), which provides a standardized way to represent the sounds of spoken language.

Key Takeaways

  1. A 1035 Exchange is a tax provision that allows policyholders to exchange an existing life insurance or annuity contract for a new one without incurring tax penalties.
  2. The purpose of a 1035 Exchange is to provide investors with the flexibility to modify their investment strategies, improve their coverage, or benefit from new policy features while preserving the tax-deferred status of their original contract.
  3. To qualify for a 1035 Exchange, the new contract must have the same or a higher value than the original contract, and the owner and the insured party must remain the same for both contracts.


A 1035 Exchange is an important financial term in the business and finance worlds because it allows policyholders to transfer funds within certain specific types of insurance policies or annuity contracts without incurring tax liabilities. This provision, governed by section 1035 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, provides a means for individuals to potentially benefit from better investment options or improved insurance coverage. By allowing for the tax-free exchange, policyholders can reallocate their investments to achieve their financial goals while preserving the accumulated growth and tax advantages. Thus, understanding and utilizing the rules and guidelines of a 1035 Exchange can be a crucial aspect of tax-efficient financial planning and wealth management.


A 1035 exchange serves as a valuable tool for individuals who want to optimize their financial and insurance planning strategy. Its primary purpose is to allow policyholders to transfer funds from an existing life insurance, annuity, or endowment policy to a new policy, without incurring any tax liability. This tax-free exchange is permitted under Section 1035 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). As individuals’ financial needs and goals evolve over time, the ability to shift funds from one policy to another, while maintaining tax-deferred status, can prove immensely beneficial in achieving their long-term objectives.

By utilizing a 1035 exchange, policyholders can adapt to changing circumstances by securing policies that offer better investment options, improved riders, or lower fees – without losing existing policy gains. This is particularly valuable for those who may have outgrown a policy or wish to capitalize on improved industry offerings. Moreover, policyholders can effectively consolidate multiple legacy contracts into a single, more manageable policy. It is crucial, however, to abide by 1035 exchange rules, ensuring that the new policy is of a like-kind and has the same insured party. Careful consideration and consultation with financial advisors are essential to your decision-making process to ensure that you fully understand the implications of the exchange and select the most suitable policy.


A 1035 Exchange refers to a provision in the U.S. tax code that allows for the tax-free exchange of an existing insurance or annuity contract for a new one, provided that the new contract is of the same type as the one surrendered. This provision is useful to policyholders who wish to improve their financial situation by upgrading to a better policy without incurring any tax liability. Here are three real-world examples of how a 1035 exchange can be used:

1. Upgrading a Life Insurance Policy: Suppose John purchased a whole life insurance policy 10 years ago and has been paying premiums ever since. Recently, he was introduced to a different policy that offers better returns and a more favorable premium structure. To avoid tax penalties, John uses a 1035 exchange to replace his existing life insurance policy with the new one, thereby enabling him to enjoy the improved benefits without incurring any tax consequences.

2. Consolidating Annuity Contracts: Sarah has accumulated multiple annuity contracts with varying terms and payment structures over the years. She realizes that managing multiple contracts has become complex, and she’d like to simplify her financial portfolio by combining her annuity contracts into a single contract with better overall terms and conditions. By using a 1035 exchange, she is able to consolidate her annuities into one contract without incurring any taxes on the transaction.

3. Switching Insurance Companies: Mike has a sizable universal life insurance policy with an insurance company but has become dissatisfied with their customer service and investment options. He discovers another insurance company offering the same coverage with better investment options and decides to switch providers. By using a 1035 exchange, Mike is able to transfer his existing policy to the new insurance company without losing any of the policy’s cash value or incurring any tax consequences.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a 1035 Exchange?

A 1035 Exchange is a tax-free transfer of funds from one insurance or annuity contract to another, as described under Section 1035 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. It allows policyholders to replace their existing contracts with new ones without incurring any immediate tax liabilities.

How does a 1035 Exchange work?

A policyholder initiates a 1035 Exchange by contacting their insurance company or financial advisor, requesting to replace their existing policy with a new one. The funds from the existing policy directly transfer to the new policy, thus avoiding any tax implications.

What types of financial products can be exchanged using the 1035 Exchange rule?

The 1035 Exchange rule allows three types of financial products to be exchanged:1. Life insurance policies2. Annuities3. Endowment policies

Can a policyholder exchange a life insurance policy for an annuity or vice-versa?

Yes, a 1035 Exchange allows a policyholder to exchange a life insurance policy for an annuity without tax implications. However, exchanging an annuity for a life insurance policy is not permitted.

What are the reasons for conducting a 1035 Exchange?

Policyholders may consider a 1035 Exchange for several reasons, including:1. Finding a policy with lower premiums or better features2. In the case of a life insurance policy, the insured’s health or life expectancy has changed3. Adjusting investment strategies within an annuity4. Consolidating multiple policies into a single policy.

Are there any restrictions or requirements for a 1035 Exchange?

Yes, there are restrictions and requirements:1. The policyholder’s name must remain the same on the new policy, although a change in the insured, annuitant, or beneficiary is allowed.2. The exchange must occur directly between the insurance companies to maintain tax-free status.3. The policyholder must provide a valid reason for the exchange, supported by proper documentation.

What are the potential drawbacks of a 1035 Exchange?

Some potential drawbacks of a 1035 Exchange include:1. Surrender fees may apply for the existing policy, reducing the amount transferred.2. The new policy may have a longer surrender period, limiting flexibility.3. Changes in policy features or investment options may result in higher risks or lower returns.

Is a 1035 Exchange always tax-free?

Although a 1035 Exchange is generally tax-free, there may be tax implications in specific situations, such as when exchanging a life insurance policy with a loan balance or when exchanging policies with different policyholders. It’s essential to consult a tax advisor to review your specific situation.

Related Finance Terms

    • Internal Revenue Code Section 1035
    • Tax-free exchange
    • Life insurance policy replacement
    • Annuity contract upgrade
    • Non-qualified Long-Term Care Policy exchange

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More