Saturday, October 24, 2009

Investing in a Life Insurance - Is It a Good Idea?

Life insurance policies can be divided into two very broad categories - term insurance and permanent life insurance. Term insurance policies are generally prepared to cover you for a temporary period of time, usually 10 or 20 years. With a permanent policy, the insurance can last for your lifetime. Furthermore, there are three sub categories of permanent life insurance policies: Term 100, Universal Life and Whole Life. There are several variations of the latter two policies. An independent and qualified advisor can help you to find which of them is best for you.

The primary difference between Whole and Universal Life insurance is in the investment component - on a Whole Life policy, it is built in the premium, while on a Universal Life insurance it is separate. In addition, Universal Life policies offer a wider variety of investment possibilities. However, the most important aspect when buying a life insurance policy is that it must fulfil your needs. Let's suppose your needs are met and you can pay for a permanent policy. Now you need to ask - is it a sound investment?

Opinions on this subject vary, in part because life insurance as an investment is a very misunderstood topic. Now we will present the crucial pluses and minuses of using life insurance as an investment:


* Profits within the policy and the MTAR limits grow on a tax sheltered basis. In case of Whole Life insurance, the premium shouldn't exceed the MTAR limit, Universal Life policies set a maximum premium according to the MTAR limit.
* The investment portion on an increasing death benefit Universal Life insurance and the dividends on a Whole Life policy are added to the face amount and are paid out on top of the policy face amount tax free.
* You can use the investment component on a permanent insurance to pay for future premiums, allowing you to pay future premiums with pre-tax money, rather than after-tax money.
* The minimum investment rate guarantees are set to more than 4% in case of numerous Universal Life insurance products. This is a great plus for investors who don't like to risk, particularly in today's low interest rate environment.


* For numerous permanent policies, there are strict penalties, if you decide to cancel your insurance within the first few years.
* Generally, it is not a good idea to select a permanent policy, if you don't need a permanent life insurance, as the mortality charge for the life insurance would be higher.

Photo source: thinkpanama

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