Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance
Guaranteed universal life insurance offers a low-cost alternative to more expensive permanent life policies. With a guaranteed universal policy, you’ll have a fixed premium that won’t increase and a policy that remains active for your entire life. This policy has little to no cash value.
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- Reviewed ByStephen Kates, CFP®
Stephen Kates, CFP®
Stephen Kates is a Certified Financial Planner™ and personal finance expert specializing in financial planning and education. Stephen has expertise in wealth management, personal finance, investing and retirement planning.Read More
- Updated: November 21, 2022
- 4 min read time
- This page features 6 Cited Research Articles
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What Is Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance?
Guaranteed universal life insurance is one variety of universal life insurance. This means, your policy will never expire if you continue to pay the premiums.
Universal life insurance differs from other types of life insurance because you can adjust the terms of the policy throughout your life if your financial needs change.
Most universal life policies also have a cash value that accumulates over time. You can use this cash value to get a loan from the policy issuer or let it accrue interest at a fixed or variable rate. The cash value component is typically unapplicable for guaranteed universal life insurance.
A guaranteed universal life insurance policy comes with a guaranteed death benefit and a premium amount that stays the same throughout the life of the policy. This means, guaranteed universal policies are less flexible than other universal policies, but they tend to be less costly.
Universal life insurance offers flexibility that other permanent insurance does not. Guaranteed universal life insurance can be a useful tool for older individuals who may have changing coverage needs over time but can’t use term insurance and can’t afford other permanent insurance options.
How Does Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Work?
Guaranteed universal life insurance can be thought of as a combination of universal life and term life insurance. It doesn’t have much cash value (like term insurance), but guaranteed universal does have some of the flexibility that a universal life policy features.
Although it’s considered a permanent life insurance policy, guaranteed universal life does have an end date. When you purchase a guaranteed universal life insurance policy, you’ll choose an advanced age that the policy will remain active until, for example 95 or 100 years old.
Another major difference between guaranteed universal and other types of permanent life insurance is the cash value of the policy. While most permanent life policies accumulate cash value over time, a guaranteed universal policy has little or no cash value.
This is another reason why guaranteed universal life insurance can be a more affordable permanent life insurance option. You’ll pay less in premiums, but you won’t be able to use your policy to get a loan.
Pros and Cons of Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance
Guaranteed universal life insurance works best for someone who anticipates having long-term insurance needs but may not have the funds for a more expensive universal life policy. Like any type of life insurance, a guaranteed universal policy has benefits and drawbacks. You should always weigh the pros and cons of a life insurance policy before you purchase.
The biggest advantage that guaranteed universal life insurance offers is the guaranteed premiums. When you purchase the policy, you’re locking in a premium amount that won’t increase throughout the policy. This makes it easy to budget for year after year. Because neither the value of the policy nor the premium amount is dependent on the financial market, guaranteed universal is considered a “safer” insurance policy.
Another benefit of having a guaranteed universal policy is the length of the policy. You can choose a policy that doesn’t expire until you’re 120 years old, essentially eliminating the risk that you’ll outlive your life insurance coverage.
The final strength that guaranteed universal has over other life insurance types is the lower cost. Guaranteed universal presents a lower-cost alternative to more complex policies like whole life or variable universal life.
Because guaranteed universal life insurance is designed for simplicity, it doesn’t have as many features as more complex permanent life policies. While a guaranteed universal life policy allows you to increase or decrease the death benefit, it doesn’t allow you to adjust premiums like that of a different universal life policy. You also won’t be able to grow the cash value of your policy via market exposure like you can with a variable universal life policy.
Another potential drawback of guaranteed universal life insurance is the low cash value. There’s no savings component in a guaranteed universal life policy, meaning you can’t withdraw cash from the value of your policy or get a policy loan.
Guaranteed Universal Life vs. Types of Universal Life Insurance
To better understand what sets guaranteed universal life insurance apart, let’s see how it compares to other varieties of universal life insurance.
|Type of Insurance||Premium Cost||Cash Value||Other Features|
|Fixed Universal||Higher premium that can be adjusted||Accumulates at a fixed rate||Ability to adjust premium and death benefit|
|Variable Universal||Higher premium that can be adjusted||Can grow or diminish based on market performance||Offers choice of investment funds for cash value|
|Guaranteed Universal||Lower premium guaranteed for life||Little to no cash value||Ability to increase or decrease death benefit|
6 Cited Research Articles
Annuity.org writers adhere to strict sourcing guidelines and use only credible sources of information, including authoritative financial publications, academic organizations, peer-reviewed journals, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports, court records and interviews with qualified experts. You can read more about our commitment to accuracy, fairness and transparency in our editorial guidelines.
- AgingInPlace.org. (2022, July 18). What Are the Best Life Insurance Policies for Seniors? Retrieved from https://aginginplace.org/finance-legal/insurance/what-are-the-best-life-insurance-policies-for-seniors/
- Johnson, H. (2022, March 25). How Does Guaranteed Life Insurance Work? Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/money/guaranteed-life-insurance
- Cain, S.L. (2022, March 31). What Is Universal Life Insurance? Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/360-reviews/life-insurance/universal-life-insurance
- Lee, R. (2021, February 1). What’s the Difference Between Whole Life, Universal Life, and Guaranteed Life Insurance? Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/whole-life-insurance-vs-universal-life-insurance-vs-guaranteed-life-insurance
- Mertlich, H. (2022, June 6). Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance. Retrieved from https://www.lifeinsurancepost.com/guaranteed-universal-life-insurance/
- New York Department of Financial Services. (n.d.). Universal Life Insurance. Retrieved from https://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/alerts/universal_life_insurance
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