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An endowment policy is a type of fixed-term life insurance policy designed to pay out a lump sum - plus any bonuses - at the end of the term, or to pay a beneficiary upon the death of the policyholder, whichever is sooner. They are typically 10, 15 or 20 year terms, up to a certain age limit. They tend to take the form of a with-profits fund, or are unit-linked. They can be cashed in early for a surrender value, to be determined by the insurer.