Universal life works by treating separately the three basic elements of the policy: premium, death benefit and cash value

Universal life works by treating separately the three basic elements of the policy: premium, death benefit and cash value

  • Limited Payment Whole Life If you want to pay premiums for a limited time the limited payment whole life policy gives you lifetime protection but requires only a limited number of premium payments. Because the premiums are paid over a shorter span of time, the premium payments will be higher than under the whole life plan.
  • Single Premium Whole Life Single premium whole life is limited payment life where one large premium payment is made. The policy is fully paid up and no further premiums are required. Many such policies have substantial surrender charges if you want to cash in the policy during the first few years. Since a substantial payment is involved, it should be viewed as an investment-oriented product.
  • Interest in single premium life insurance is primarily due to the tax-deferred treatment of the build-up of its cash values. Taxes will be incurred on the gain, however, when you surrender the policy. You may borrow on the cash value of the policy, but remember that you may incur a substantial tax bill when you surrender, even if you have borrowed out all the cash value.

Interest Sensitive Whole Life

While insurers guarantee stated benefits on traditional contracts far into the future based on long-term and overall company experience, they allocate investment earnings differently on interest sensitive whole life in order to better reflect current fluctuations in interest rates. The advantage is that improvements in interest rates will be reflected more quickly in interest sensitive insurance than in traditional; the disadvantage, of course, is that decreases in interest rates will also be felt more quickly in interest sensitive whole life.

Universal Life The universal life policy is actually more than interest sensitive as it is designed to reflect the insurer’s current mortality and expense as well as interest earnings rather than historic rates. The company credits your premiums to the cash value account. Periodically the company deducts from the cash value account its expenses and the cost of insurance protection, usually described as the mortality deduction charge. The balance of the cash value account accumulates at the interest credited. The company guarantees a minimum interest rate and a maximum mortality charge. Some universal life policies also specify a maximum basis for the expense charge. These guarantees are usually very conservative. Current assumptions are critical to interest sensitive products such as Universal Life. When interest rates are high, benefit projections (such as cash value) are also high. When interest rates are low, these projections are not as attractive.

Universal life is also the most flexible of all the various kinds of policies. Because it treats the elements of the policy separately, universal life allows you to change or skip premium payments or change the death benefit more easily than with any other policy.

You generally pay a planned premium designed to keep the policy in force for life, and accumulate cash value, based upon the interest and expense and mortality charges you assume

The policy usually gives you an option to select one or two types of death benefits. Under one option your beneficiaries received only the face amount of the policy, under the other they receive both the payday loans Maine face amount and the cash value account. If you want the maximum amount of death benefit now, the second option should be selected.

It is important that these assumptions be realistic because if they are not, you may have to pay more to keep the policy from decreasing or lapsing. On the other hand, if your experience is better then the assumptions, than you may be able in the future to skip a premium, to pay less, or to have the plan paid up at an early date.