Looking for answers to your questions about annuities? Explore some frequently asked questions below. Please be aware that the answers in this section are general in nature and may not reflect the definitions, terms and conditions that apply to your annuity contract.
Frequently asked questions about annuities
An annuity is a financial product that’s designed to protect and grow your money, and then provide a stream of guaranteed income. You purchase an annuity by making a payment to an insurance company. Your annuity can grow in value over time. Then, when you’re ready to start receiving income, your annuity can be turned into a steady stream of income.
Most annuities have minimum purchase payments and may or may not allow multiple payments. The requirements vary by product.
Different types of annuities offer you different opportunities when it comes to earnings. Fixed annuities offer an interest rate that is fixed and guaranteed to never be below a minimum amount. Fixed-indexed annuities and registered index-linked annuities typically offer a fixed rate strategy as well as strategies with returns based on the performance of an underlying index.
With fixed and fixed-indexed annuities, you won’t lose the money you contribute to your annuity unless you take a withdrawal or surrender your annuity during its early withdrawal charge period. Registered index-linked annuities do not offer principal protection, but losses are limited by a floor, buffer or downside participation rate, depending on the product you choose.
Most annuities do not charge up front sales charges, but have charges if you withdraw money before the end of the early withdrawal charge period. Some of our registered index-linked annuities do have an administrative fee.
Annuities are intended to be long-term products. They provide their best possible benefit if left intact, without taking withdrawals. However, it's nice to know that you have access to the funds in your annuity if you need them. Many of our products provide a number of options to withdraw the money in your annuity, including penalty-free withdrawals up to a certain percentage, and interest withdrawals through the easy systematic payment program. Remember that for certain products, withdrawals prior to age 59½ may be subject to restrictions and a 10% penalty tax. Early withdrawal charges, market value adjustments and taxes may also apply.
Yes, some of our annuities may include the following waivers to help ease the strain of unforeseen events:
Extended care waiver rider. After the first contract year, if you are confined to a nursing home or long-term care facility for at least 90 consecutive days, you have the option to withdraw up to 100% of the account value without incurring an early withdrawal charge or market value adjustment, if applicable.
Terminal illness waiver rider. After the first contract year, if you are diagnosed by a physician as having a terminal illness (prognosis of survival is 12 months or less, or a longer period as required by state law), you have the option to withdraw up to 100% of the account value without incurring an early withdrawal charge or market value adjustment, if applicable.
Please note, extended care and terminal illness waiver riders are not available in Massachusetts. In California, the Extended Care Waiver Rider has been replaced with the Waiver of Early Withdrawal Charges for Facility Care or Home Care or Community-Based Services Rider, which provides for a waiver of early withdrawal charges under an expanded variety of circumstances.
You can typically cancel your annuity and receive your full purchase payment amount if it’s within 30 days from the date you receive your annuity contract. You will not receive any interest.
If the contract owner passes away before income payments begin, the beneficiary may receive a death benefit from the annuity. In some contracts, the death benefit will be based on the account value while other contracts use the surrender value or other applicable contract value to calculate the death benefit. If your spouse is the surviving joint owner or sole beneficiary, then he or she may have the right to succeed to the ownership of the annuity with all rights and privileges of the original owner, as allowed by IRS regulations.