What is whole life insurance?
A whole life insurance policy covers you for your entire life, not just for a specific period such as term insurance. Your death benefit and premium in most cases will remain the same. Whole life insurance also builds cash value, which is a return on a portion of your premiums that the insurance company invests. Your cash value is tax-deferred until you withdraw it and you can borrow against it.
Are there choices within whole life insurance?
Yes, the most common choices include traditional, interest-sensitive, and single-premium whole life insurance policies. A traditional whole life insurance policy gives you a guaranteed minimum rate of return on your cash value portion. An interest-sensitive whole life insurance policy gives a variable rate on your cash value portion, similar to an adjustable rate mortgage. With interest-sensitive whole life insurance you can have more flexibility with your life insurance policy such as increasing your death benefit without raising your premiums depending on the economy and the rate of return on your cash value portion. Single-premium is for someone who has a large sum of money and would like to purchase a policy up front. Like other whole life insurance options, single-premium whole life insurance accrues cash value and has the same tax shelter on returns.
What are the benefits of choosing a whole life insurance policy over other types of life insurance policies?
Unlike term life insurance, a portion of your premium money goes toward your cash value which in turn could pay off your entire policy only after a few years. Also, your premium will remain constant during the time you are covered unless you choose otherwise. And, unless you make a change to your whole life insurance policy, you have lifelong coverage with no future medical exams. Whole life is also a good choice because of the tax savings.
Should I purchase a whole life policy for an investment?
The rate of return on a whole life insurance policy is very low compared to other investments, even with the tax savings factored in. Most investment professionals would agree that life insurance should not be used solely as an investment tool and you should judge your policy choices on the protection and not the rate of return. But, if you are in need of life insurance, the tax benefits and cash value is an added bonus when purchasing protection for your loved ones.