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Cancelling John Hancock Term Life Insurance

Written by Nickel - 11 Comments

This past fall we replaced our term life insurance policies with new policies from Lincoln Financial. Earlier in the year we had received a letter from John Hancock warning us that the credit card that they had on file for our automatic renewal had expired, and that they wouldn’t be able to renew our policies unless we sent them an updated expiration date. No problem, I thought… We don’t want to renew anyway. Wrong.

Instead of letting our policies lapse, they went ahead and charged our credit card despite the fact that the expiration date that they had on file had passed. (Point of clarification… The credit card account was still open, but the expiration date that they had on file for our cards had passed.) So my wife and I now have two term life insurance policies apiece. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy when I discovered this, so I sprang into action. First, I contested the charges with Chase (the card issuer). I’m not sure how that will pan out, but I didn’t want to let this slide indefinitely while we waited for a response from John Hancock. My wife and I then dashed off a pair of letters to John Hancock explaining the situation and asking that they cancel our policies as of the renewal date, such that we get a full refund of this year’s premiums. Again, I’m not sure how this will work out — I’m guessing that they’ll try to give us a prorated refund instead.

In retrospect, this was my own stupid fault. It would’ve been easy to follow up with John Hancock and officially cancel our policies before the renewal date rather than taking them at their word. But I didn’t. So now I get to take care of it the hard way. Hopefully this won’t end up being too much trouble.

Published on December 28th, 2005 - 11 Comments
Filed under: Insurance

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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11 Responses to “Cancelling John Hancock Term Life Insurance”

  1. 1
    FMF Says:

    Who would have known?

    Anyway, this is why many of my bills aren’t paid automatically. I like to keep track of the costs and make sure they’re not springing anything on me. It’s harder to do if it’s automatically charged to a card.

    I had a situation like this a few years ago (changing insurers) and since I always paid by check, when I got the notice, I ignored it like you did. But since there was no way for them to get their money, they cancelled it VERY quickly. ;-)

  2. 2
    Blaine Moore Says:

    I only have a few things that will automatically pay:
    + my current gym membership, because it saves me $5/mo
    + my new gym membership, because that’s the only way they do it
    + my power bill, same thing w/savings
    + my student loan, lower interest rate

    Everything else I want to hand somebody a specific payment.

  3. 3
    Jeremy Says:

    Auto bill pay is one case where reading the fine print is annoying. In many cases, they state that it can take 8 to 12 weeks to cancel auto bill pay features. Seems kind of ridiculous given that it takes only a couple days to start it.

    I’m with FMF, I skip auto bill pay when I can.

  4. 4
    FMF Says:

    At some point, someone will make it a simple, easy, secure process. It just isn’t that way now.

    Hey, is that a new business idea? ;-)

  5. 5
    jim Says:

    You should always be on top of everything, even if it’s autopaid. I guess not going on an autopayment plan simply forces you not to be lazy about it. :)

  6. 6
    FMF Says:

    That’s a great point — and really the key point of this whole discussion — you need to be on top of your finances.

  7. 7
    nickel Says:

    The main reason I had this on auto-pilot was that if I somehow missed the payment deadline and then died, it could have been disastrous for my family. It’s a lot easier to keep track of regular (monthly) payments than it is to keep track of annual payments.

    As it turns out, Lincoln Financial doesn’t offer credit card payments as an option (to keep costs down) so this most likely won’t ever happen again. I just need to make sure to put a big bullseye on my calendar every year such that I never miss the payment. Perhaps this would be a good thing to set up e-mail alerts for.

  8. 8
    Jeremy Says:

    Great idea! I’ve seen plenty of services that email you reminders about b-days and anniversaries. Why not use them for infrequent bill payments?

  9. 9
    FMF Says:

    Nickel — I wasn’t saying it was a bad idea — the CONCEPT is good — just some risks you need to watch out for (as you’ve seen).

  10. 10
    Jim Robinson Says:

    Something I’ve been using are “virtual” credit card numbers. These are generated by some online card services to improve the security of online transaction.

    You generate a card number which is attached to your real card number. You set a maximum dollar amount and an expiration date. Once a charge is made to this virtual number, it cannot be charged by another party. This lets me give a credit card number to an agency and control whether or not they ever charge to it again (as I can control whether or not the virtual card is active, or whether or not the limit is high enough to allow for further charges).

    It’s a pretty good concept, if a bit more work to fill out an order, since you have to go to the account homepage and generate the virtual card.

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