The 1035 exchange is a tax-free transfer of cash values from one insurance contract to another. The exchange also carries the cost basis from the old contract to the new one. Functionally speaking, the 1035 exchange is a great strategy current life, endowment, and annuity policyholders can use to purchase a new policy with better features than their old policy while bringing over the value from the old policy with no tax consequences for making the change.
However, there are several important rules you must understand before you decide to replace an old insurance contract using the 1035 exchange. Ignoring these rules could result in unfavorable consequences leaving you worse off.