What is Universal Life Insurance?

Universal Life Insurance, or UL, is a type of permanent life insurance coverage that includes both a death benefit and a cash value component. While this may sound similar to whole life insurance, it is actually much more flexible.

One reason for this is because the policy holder is able, within certain guidelines, to move funds between the insurance and the cash components of the policy. They may also be able to change the timing of when their premium is due based on their life’s changing needs.

In addition, unlike with a whole life policy, a UL policy will allow the policy holder to use the interest from the cash value savings to actually help in paying the policy’s premiums.

Guaranteed Universal Life

Guaranteed Universal Life, or GUL, is a type of permanent life insurance protection that provides a guarantee on the death benefit proceeds. With this form of coverage, your death benefit will not terminate – even if there is not a sufficient amount of cash value to support it in the policy. Because a regular UL policy needs to have a sufficient amount of cash in order to remain in force, the GUL can allow a plan that would otherwise lapse to stay intact. This way, the beneficiary will be able to obtain the death benefit proceeds that he or she needs in case of the unexpected.

Index Universal Life

Index Universal Life insurance, or IUL, is also a permanent form of life insurance protection that provides both a death benefit, along with a cash value component. The funds that are deposited into an IUL policy can be allocated by the policy holder into an underlying market index (or indexes) such as the S&P 500. If the index has an up year, the growth can be substantial. Yet, if the index goes down, the policy holder’s principal is protected from market losses and will often just receive a crediting of 0% interest for that particular time period. This can be a “win-win” scenario for those who are savings for retirement in that their funds are not put at risk.

Variable Universal Life

Variable Universal Life insurance, or VUL, also provides both a death benefit and a cash component. However here, the cash side of the policy will actually include “sub-accounts” whereby the policy can choose equities such as stocks or mutual funds. These investments can provide the opportunity for market related growth inside the cash component – which can offer much more growth potential than whole life, or even a regular universal life insurance policy. It can also, however, represent more risk. So it is important to be aware of this. A VUL can provide a great deal of growth potential, but also has potential market downside risk and higher fees.

The Cheapest Way to Get Permanent Coverage

Universal life insurance is the cheapest way to get coverage that lasts throughout your entire life. This form of life insurance protection is not only flexible, but it can help you to attain various financial goals in life, such as supplementing retirement income and paying off debt.

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