What Is a Life Insurance Contingent Owner?

In the area of life insurance, you might hear the term "contingent owner" at some point. Here are the basics of what a contingent owner is and what rights they have.

Contingent Owner

Whenever a life insurance policy is purchased by an individual that covers the life of someone else, the person or group that purchased the policy is known as the primary owner. The primary owner is going to stand to collect money when the insured passes away. The policy will also want to include a contingent owner named on it as well. The contingent owner is an individual that is going to take over the policy if the primary owner of the policy passes away before the insured individual does. When this happens, the policy will pass to the contingent owner and they will take over any death benefits that are provided by the policy at that point.


This is a commonly used term whenever you are talking about insurance that is purchased on business employees. For example, when a business purchases key person insurance on an employee, they will be the primary owner. The owner of the company could then pass the policy on to an heir as the contingent owner if they died before the insured. 

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