the money you are looking for is the cash value of the policy. the reason your value is not the same as what you paid in, is there is a cost of doing business and a certain amount of the money you paid in is currently invested by the company in hopes that they could earn what they are contracted to pay in the event of your death. They need to make money, just like anyone else. They have paid many people in the production of your policy (sales, underwriting, medical examiners, lawyers, printers, postal carriers). to pay out what you paid would be bad business and cost them too much money.