Guaranteed universal life insurance definition: a type of permanent life insurance that offers a guaranteed no lapse rider guaranteeing the policy remains in force even if the cash value drops to zero. Upon the death of the insured, the death benefit is paid income tax free to the policy beneficiary. The policy can be tailored to end upon a certain age such as 90, 95, 100, 105, 115 or 121.
The Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance (GUL) Policy
When it comes to the different types of life insurance, it is easy to get confused and tangled up in the various terms and language used. However, it doesn’t need to be as confusing as many people make out and we want to show this today with one of the most well-known offerings of life insurance policies: guaranteed universal life insurance.
In the past, you might have heard the terms ‘term’ and ‘permanent’ insurance; with guaranteed universal, it actually falls into the latter category but shows features of both.
After taking you through the basics, we are also going to show some examples, details found in the fine print, and the main benefits to choosing such a policy. By the end, you should be in a great position to make up your mind about whether or not this is something you might need!
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Quotes
So far, we have discussed how this policy is cheaper than a regular permanent insurance policy but how does it compare with a term life policy? Since term life offers the cheapest prices on the market, let’s take a look at some differences.
The sample guaranteed universal life insurance rates are to age 121. These quotes are only a guideline and have been pulled from a number of ‘A-’ rated and higher life insurance providers for a preferred plus male. Annual quotes are approximate.
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Companies and Policies
AIG’s Secure Lifetime GUL III: This policy offers a guaranteed death benefit regardless of cash value as long as premiums are paid. AIG allows you to pay additional premiums to potentially shorten the payment period. If you no longer need the policy you can choose to surrender the policy in year 20 for 50% return of premiums paid, or in year 25 and receive 100% of premiums paid up to 40% of the face amount.
The policy offers two additional life insurance riders:
Accelerated Access Solution: if you suffer a qualifying chronic illness you can receive monthly payments from your total death benefit.
Lifestyle Income Solution: Allows you to turn your death benefit into an income stream at age 85.
For more, please see our AIG Life Insurance review.
Mutual of Omaha’s Guaranteed Universal Life and GUL Plus: Mutual of Omaha’s GUL policy matures at age 120. The policy also includes a minimum guaranteed interest rate of 2%. The policy is available up to age 85. Simplified issue guaranteed universal life insurance is also available for up to $300,000 up to age 50 and up to $250,000 up to age 65.
In addition to the accelerated death benefit included in the policy, some additional riders include:
- Disability waiver of premium rider
- Accidental death benefit rider
- Child term rider
- Guaranteed insurability rider
For more, please see our Mutual of Omaha review.
Banner Life’s Life Step UL: Banner’s Life Step UL policies start as low as $50,000 in coverage and can go to age 121. The policy offers a guaranteed interest crediting rate of 2%. The policy includes an accelerated death benefit, which provides up to $500,000 or 75% of the face amount in advance if the insured is diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness.
For more, please see our Banner Life review.
Protective Life’s Advantage Choice UL: Protective Life’s GUL policy offers a guaranteed death benefit as long as premiums are paid. Tax deferred cash value growth is available. The policy offers a guaranteed crediting rate of 2.5%. The Advantage Choice UL policy is available for ages 18-85.
You can also add riders to your policy for additional benefits. Among the riders offered are:
- Terminal illness accelerated death benefit: included at no extra charge. Can accelerate up to 60% of face amount or up to $1,000,000, whichever is less.
- Extend Care: offers protection if you are diagnosed with a qualifying chronic illness.
- Income provider option: allows you to tailor the death benefit to your beneficiary into payments up to 30 years, which spreads out payments rather than a lump sum and may also result in lower premium payments due.
See our Protective Life review for more.
Sagicor’s Sage NLUL: Available from as early as 15 days to 85 years of age, this is a flexible premium universal life insurance policy. The policy comes with a built in lapse protection, guaranteed level premiums and guaranteed annual interest rate of 2.5%. You also have the flexibility of choosing a fixed death benefit or increasing death benefit. Depending on the face amount applied for, no medical exam life insurance is available up to age 65.
Life insurance riders include:
Accelerated death benefit: included in the policy at no additional charge, which covers both qualifying terminal illness and chronic illness. (Chronic illness not available in CA).
See our Sagicor Life review for more.
Who Should Consider Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance?
A GUL policy is an attractive option for anyone who wants the following: (1) an easy to understand policy, that (2) provides lifetime coverage, that (3) focuses primarily on the death benefit, with (4) non-existent or small cash value growth.
Easy to Understand: The GUL policy is simply lifetime coverage, or coverage to a particular age, that will pay out a death benefit when the insured dies. There are no bells and whistles, unless you choose additional insurance riders. So basically, if you want life insurance that lasts longer than a 30 year term policy you have a superior option with GUL.
Provides Lifetime Protection: Guaranteed universal life offers lifetime protection for the lowest price of the permanent policies available. If you do not need cash value but want lifetime coverage then this product is ideal. It is a popular choice when setting up an irrevocable life insurance trust or for second to die life insurance.
Focuses Primarily on the Death Benefit: If you primary concern is leaving behind money to your beneficiaries, then this is a great option for estate planning. It also works out well as a single premium life insurance policy option, where you make one lump sum payment for a lifetime death benefit.
Non-Existent or Small Cash Value Growth: The typical guaranteed universal life insurance policy does not build cash value, at least not to a level worth getting excited about. However, this provides lower premiums, which benefits anyone who wants permanent protection with the lowest price tag. A potential alternative would be return of premium life insurance. But ROP policies do not get the leverage of a death benefit upon the end of the policy.
To start, we said that guaranteed universal life insurance has features of both term and permanent insurance and this is why many people call it a ‘hybrid’ of the two.
For the most part, we know that term life insurance is the most popular choice because it allows for coverage over a certain period of time with initially smaller premiums. Although a significant amount of people outlive their policy, it provides somewhat of a safety net for the time in one’s life where the expenses are at their highest.
For example, there might be a mortgage in play and children in school. In these circumstances, the death benefit ensures that the rest of the family could replace your income should you pass away.
With permanent life insurance, this is an important option because it lasts until the death of the insured. Once in place, it will remain in place (assuming that all premiums are paid) until the death benefit reaches the beneficiary at death. Rather than leaving a family behind to liquidate assets and struggle financially, the death benefit covers all the main costs and enables the loved ones to continue living within their means.
Within permanent life insurance, there are various options including whole life insurance, variable life, and universal life. In addition to the duration, these are also different to term life policies because they boast a cash value component.
However, a guaranteed universal life insurance policy is something entirely different once again because it guarantees premiums right up to a chosen age; this can can be as high as age 121, or as low as 90 years of age.
Why is it like a hybrid of term life and permanent policies? – Well, it stays in place until death but the holder benefits from good insurance rates because the premium has been guaranteed for a certain period of time (just like a term life policy).
With other universal life insurance policies your rates may just increase once you hit a certain age and this can be devastating considering you will be on a fixed income after retirement. Known as ‘pricing out’, you might not be able to afford these prices down the line and then you are left with no insurance or death benefit for loved ones.
Why are the prices lower than other permanent policies? – For two reasons, you will find that guaranteed universal life policies are somewhere in the middle between term life and whole life insurance.
First, it is not your typical cash value life insurance because the cash value component will be virtually non-existent. With the added cost of this feature taken away, you can concentrate solely on the premiums and keeping the policy active with cheaper premiums.
Second, and this one leads from the first, the management fees for the provider are much lower which allows them to offer a lower overall price.
Pros of Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance
As with every other form of insurance, there are going to be some advantages to choosing this particular policy. If you are currently shopping the market and looking for a cheap permanent life insurance policy that will suit your needs, now is the time to pay attention (as if you weren’t already!) because it will help to make your decision. If these benefits are exactly what you need, you may have found a policy to last until you pass away and protect your family!
First and foremost, we can’t list the benefits of guaranteed universal life insurance without noting the fact that the premiums will remain the same until the age you have selected. As you age and even if your health were to deteriorate, you would still pay the same price and this is pivotal especially as you move into retirement. With this security, you are in a better position to plan your finances well in advance.
Second, you are free to do whatever you wish with the money you would have invested in the cash value component. As we have already seen, the cash value isn’t always a bundle of laughs and it actually causes problems for thousands every year. Now, you can put it in a savings account or sort your finances before death rather than having a big rush and paying huge taxes later in life.
Next, you benefit from the simple layout just as we see in level term life insurance. Rather than paying for the opportunity to invest and various other expenses, you are paying for the insurance coverage and nothing else. Hopefully, you now see why this is seen as a ‘hybrid’ option and it really can work for some people if your circumstances are suited.
With no worries about investments or market crashes, there is no danger of losing your coverage later in the process. Whenever there is investment tied to your life insurance, there is always the risk of damage whether it reduces coverage or shuts down the policy completely. With sudden changes in the market, you will be comfortable knowing that your spare money is in a savings account.
Finally, the guaranteed version of universal life insurance requires a much smaller investment than its non-guaranteed counterpart. If price is one of the most important factors for you, guaranteed universal life allows you to save money. Of course, we aren’t saying that you should abandon every other factor in your consideration but it is certainly something to think about!
As you can see, these are definitely some worthwhile benefits to a guaranteed universal life insurance policy. If you want the good points of permanent and term policies, this is a solution worth exploring.
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance vs Non Guaranteed Universal Life
To see how the guaranteed option works, it may be helpful to learn more about the non-guaranteed policy. First things first, we are always a little skeptical when this type of policy comes with an investment feature because you have a living benefit along with the market risk that exists. At first, you might be worried about not having the cash value component in your guaranteed universal life policy but there are a few reasons why this isn’t as big of a concern as you think;
First, the cash value of a policy is never really yours; as in, it doesn’t belong to you. If it did, why does the death benefit reduce until you pay the money back along with some interest? If you take money from the cash value and fail to put it all back, your coverage can reduce because it is treated just like a loan.
After this, you often get stuck with a fee after withdrawing cash from the policy and this is very similar to a loan origination fee. At first, you might think this is only a small fee but some companies have been known to charge over $500.
There we have it, your guide to guaranteed universal life insurance policies. You should now have a better idea for how they work and whether they would suit your circumstances. If you still aren’t sure, take a look around at some other policies and talk to a professional if you can’t make up your mind, a professional like TermLife2Go.
We are a life insurance agency focused on providing our clients with service second to none. We will ask the right questions to discover your needs and goals and then align you with the best company that meets your needs, goals, healthy and lifestyle.
So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today for a free life insurance consultation.