Affordable Life Insurance Protection for Your Family

27 Important Things to Know About Whole Life Insurance

27 Important Things to Know About Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance, offering lifelong coverage as long as premiums are paid.

Unlike term life insurance, which covers you for a specific period, whole life insurance remains in force throughout your life.

Quick Overview

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that provides coverage for the insured's entire lifetime, as long as premiums are paid. It combines a death benefit with a savings component, known as the cash value, which grows over time on a tax-deferred basis.

Key aspects to understand include its higher premiums compared to term life insurance, the ability to borrow against the cash value, and the potential for dividends from participating policies.

Whole life insurance can be a valuable financial tool for estate planning, wealth transfer, and ensuring long-term financial security for beneficiaries.

Insurance and Investment

One of the fundamental aspects of whole life insurance is its dual nature: it combines a death benefit with a cash value component. When you pay your premiums, a portion goes towards the insurance protection (death benefit), while another part contributes towards building cash value.

Cash Value

The cash value of whole life insurance grows over time, mainly through interest, and can serve as a financial asset. This growth is typically guaranteed at a minimum rate, providing a sense of security and predictability.

Policy Loans

You can borrow against the cash value of your whole life insurance policy. This means accessing funds for emergencies, education, or other significant expenses without going through traditional loan processes. However, these loans accrue interest and must be repaid to avoid reducing the death benefit.

Guaranteed Death Benefit

A significant benefit of whole life insurance is the guaranteed death benefit. Your beneficiaries receive a predetermined payout upon your passing, tax-free, which can provide significant financial security for your loved ones.

Level Premiums

Another appealing factor is the level premiums. Once you agree on a premium amount, it remains the same throughout the life of the policy, making budgeting more straightforward and predictable compared to some other insurance types which may have premiums increasing over time.


Whole life insurance policies may pay dividends, which are a portion of the insurer’s profits. These can be received as cash, used to reduce future premiums, increase the policy's death benefit, or accumulate additional cash value.

Higher Premiums

On the downside, whole life insurance tends to have higher premiums compared to term life insurance. This reflects the long-term coverage and cash value accumulation benefits, which can be a drawback for those on a tight budget.

Surrender Value

Another consideration is the surrender value. If you decide to cancel your policy, you receive the cash value minus any surrender charges. However, early surrender can result in a significant loss, especially within the initial years when the surrender charges are highest.

Exclusions and Limitations

Whole life insurance policies also have certain exclusions and limitations. For instance, most policies have a two-year contestability period during which the insurer can investigate and deny claims for material misrepresentation.

Underwriting Process

Understanding the underwriting process is essential. Most whole life policies require medical underwriting, which involves a health exam to determine eligibility and premium costs. Some no-exam policies are available but tend to be more expensive.

Compare Types of Plans

When comparing whole life insurance to other types of insurance, it’s crucial to understand your financial goals.

For example, if your primary need is temporary coverage (lasting for 30 years or less), term life insurance might be a better fit due to its lower cost.

Financial Planning

Integrating whole life insurance into broader financial planning can be highly strategic. It can be part of your estate planning, ensuring a tax-efficient transfer of wealth to your heirs and potentially providing funds to cover estate taxes.

Consult with Agent

It’s paramount to ask informed questions when consulting with insurance agents or financial advisors. Inquire about the policy terms, cash value growth assumptions, and if the insurer has a history of paying dividends.

Financial Strength

Another essential aspect is to compare the financial strength and ratings of different insurance companies. Organizations like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and AM Best provide insights into insurers' stability and reliability.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Recognizing common pitfalls can save you from making costly mistakes. For instance, not understanding the impact of policy loans can lead to reduced death benefits and unexpected tax consequences if the policy lapses.

Riders – Additional Coverage

Whole life insurance policies can include various riders, such as accelerated death benefits, which allow you to access the death benefit early in case of terminal illness. Riders enhance the flexibility and customization of the policy.

Investing of Cash Value

Policies can also differ in terms of how the cash value is invested. Some policies offer fixed interest rates, while others participate in market-linked investments, impacting the growth potential and risk profile of the cash value component.

Costs to Consider

Evaluating the total costs of owning a policy over its lifetime is vital. Besides premiums, consider fees for loans, policy changes, and potential surrender charges, which can affect the overall value.

Lifetime Protection

Lifetime protection is one of the undeniable strengths of whole life insurance. This lifelong coverage ensures that no matter when you pass away, your beneficiaries receive the death benefit, providing peace of mind.

Estate Taxes

For those with significant estates, whole life insurance can help mitigate estate taxes. Proceeds from the policy can provide liquidity to pay taxes, ensuring that the estate's assets aren't sold under unfavorable conditions.

Supplement Retirement Income

Cash value accumulation can also serve as a supplemental retirement income source. By tapping into the policy’s cash value through withdrawals or loans, you can boost your retirement funds in a tax-advantaged manner.

Projections of Policy Growth

When purchasing a policy, verify the illustrations provided by the insurer. These are projections based on current assumptions, which can change. Reviewing the realistic and conservative scenarios will help you understand potential outcomes.

Flexible Premiums and Death Benefits

Another key consideration is the flexibility of the policy. Some whole life insurance policies allow for premium flexibility and death benefit adjustments, adapting to changing financial needs and circumstances.

Ownership and Beneficiaries

Ownership and beneficiary designations play a pivotal role in policy management. Ensure that the policy is properly owned and that beneficiary designations are up-to-date to avoid probate issues and ensure the desired payout.

Review Contract Terms

Before you buy, thoroughly read and understand the contract terms. Insurance policies are legal documents, and any misunderstanding or oversight can lead to future complications. Consult a legal advisor if necessary.

Customer Reviews

Evaluating customer reviews and testimonials can provide valuable insights into an insurer’s customer service, claims process, and policyholder satisfaction. This qualitative data complements the quantitative ratings and reviews.


To finalize your decision, request a free quote for coverage from multiple insurers. Compare the quotes based on coverage, premium costs, policy features, and the insurer’s reputation. Use this to make an informed and confident choice. With the right policy, whole life insurance can be a powerful tool for securing your financial future and that of your loved ones.

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Highly Recommended – Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha offers guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance for people age 45 to 85. Choose $2,000 up to $25,000 of coverage. Rates start as low as $8.84 per month. There’s no medical exam and no health questions. You cannot be turned down. You can get a quote and apply online now. START HERE to get a FREE Quote.

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