Getting money out of your annuity should be quick and easy. Unfortunately sometimes it can be quite difficult. The basic mechanics are quite simple.
Basically you have to fill out the form that the insurance company requires. Sometimes you can just call into the insurance company and they will send you a check. The form is not complicated and you can get it emailed, faxed, or mailed to you.
The problem comes in when you can't find your agent or broker that sold you the annuity. Since annuities are long term investments this happens quite often. If an annuity was purchased 10-20 years ago then agent can retire, change careers, or even just move their office. When this happens it is up to the annuity owner to find a new agent.
This can also happen when insurance companies change names and ownership. If you have moved and neglected to notify your insurance company then their new company name change notice was not received. When you need service on your annuity then you can't even find the company that issued your annuity originally. As the major insurance companies get larger and larger they buy up the smaller ones and this unfortunate event will have more often.
The best way to get money from your annuity is to call the insurance company directly. You will get fast and efficient service directly from the company. Sometimes they will let you get the money you need with just a phone call although you may have to fill out some paperwork to authorize telephone withdrawal requests. Depending on what kind of annuity you purchased and whether or not you paid annuity commissions you may have a penalty free withdrawal. If you are taking a regular withdrawal for your retirement income then just make sure you do not go over your free withdrawal amounts.
Occasionally, you might have an emergency and have to take money out. In that case, some companies also offer loans against your policy in order to avoid surrender charges. There are always fees involved with loans but usually they are lower than surrender charges. They are also usually participating loans with means that your money will still earn interest. You don't ever have to pay back a loan taken out in this way but be sure to pay it back when you are able. The interest you are paying will act as a drag on your investment performance.
Always consider other options before taking money from your annuity. If you have other investments it might be beneficial to sell those investments first as they could be penalty free. Be sure to consider the tax consequences before selling any investment. A lot of people forget that their CD's might also be available penalty free and with rates low it might be a good place to look for lump sums to use for emergencies. A rule of thumb for selling investments is to sell your worst performing investments first.
Getting money from your annuity should be quick and easy. It's not always quick and easy but by calling the insurance company directly you can get faster and usually better service. Don't forget to always look at selling other investments in emergencies before dipping into more than your free withdrawal annuity money. Sell your worst performing investments first. And finally, enjoy your retirement! You have earned it.