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Universal Life Insurance

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Universal Life Insurance is a complex financial product and should not be compared based strictly on premiums. Very basically, universal life consists of two parts; an insurance portion and an investment portion or 'side fund'. Both of these sections vary widely from policy to policy and both directly impact the performance of the policy so it's important to shop wisely.

The insurance portion of the policy is often called the cost of insurance or COI. Use the calculator to provide online quotes for universal life insurance products where the insurance portion is fully guaranteed and level to age 100. Other universal life policies may have premiums that are not guaranteed or they may have annually increasing costs, or other variable (non-guaranteed) features. Make sure you know all details before applying.

The investment portion is, roughly speaking, the amount of money you put into the policy above and beyond the amount required to cover the insurance costs. This additional money can be looked at as going into a 'side fund' or account which is then invested by the insurance company. Proceeds from this investment are then typically returned back into the side fund. The single biggest benefit to universal life tends to be that these investment returns are put back into the policy on a tax deferred basis – no tax is payable on these earnings until they are moved from the policy. It's important to remember that while beneficial, for many people this investment or tax strategy may not be the best investment for you. Read all recommendations with caution.

What makes these insurance policies difficult to compare is that the two components work together and vary widely by policy. Is it better to have a policy with lower insurance costs, but lower investment returns? Or pay a bit higher insurance costs knowing that while that leaves less money in the investment portion that the earnings on the investment portion will make up for that? Many of these questions don't have catch-all answers and require your best judgement.


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