Permanent Life Insurance: Definition, Pros and Cons

Permanent Life Insurance: Definition, Pros and Cons

What Is Permanent Life Insurance?

The term “permanent life insurance” refers to all life insurance plans that never expire. Whole life and universal life are the two main types of permanent life insurance, and the majority of this type of coverage combines a death benefit with a savings component. Whole life insurance provides coverage for the insured’s entire lifetime and has a guaranteed rate of savings growth.

Along with a death benefit, universal life insurance also provides a savings component, but it has a variety of premium structure options and pays out according to market performance.

Remember to properly investigate the companies you’re contemplating once you’ve decided on the policy that’s appropriate for you to ensure you’ll receive the most affordable life insurance coverage.


  • Contrary to term life insurance, permanent life insurance refers to coverage that never expires.
  • The majority of permanent life insurance plans include both a death payout and a savings element.
  • The two most common types of permanent life insurance are whole life and universal life.
  • Policies for permanent life insurance are treated favorably by the tax code.
  • Term life insurance policies, which have no savings component and a death benefit that expires after a certain number of years, have far lower premiums than permanent life insurance policies, which have substantially higher premiums.

Understanding Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance lasts the insured’s lifetime (thus the name), unless nonpayment of premiums causes the policy to lapse, in contrast to term life insurance, which guarantees the payment of a defined death benefit for a specific number of years.

The money paid in premiums for permanent life insurance supports both the policy’s death benefit and its ability to accrue cash value. To help fulfill needs like paying for a child’s college education or covering medical costs, the policy owner can borrow money against that cash value or, in some cases, withdraw cash altogether.

After acquiring a permanent life insurance policy, there is frequently a waiting period during which borrowing from the savings part is not allowed. This enables the fund to accumulate enough cash. When the sum of the unpaid principal and accrued interest on a loan exceeds the cash value of the insurance policy, the insurance policy and any associated coverage expire.

Policies for permanent life insurance are treated favorably by the tax code. As long as the policy is active, the cash value growth is typically tax-deferred, meaning the policyholder doesn’t pay taxes on any earnings. Money can also be withdrawn from the policy tax-free because policy loans are often not regarded as taxable income, provided certain premium caps are met. In general, withdrawals up to the total amount of premiums paid are not subject to tax.

Permanent Life Insurance vs. Term Life Insurance

At different times in their life, different people have varied insurance needs. Although term life insurance is preferred because of its affordable rates, it typically expires far before the policyholder’s life.

Some people may discover that they’d prefer ongoing coverage and savings opportunities may want a new permanent policy, even though the goal is to have paid off the majority of debt and other financial obligations by that time—while also accumulating enough savings to make a significant amount of life insurance unnecessary.

Because of this, a lot of term life insurance plans provide you the option to change them later to permanent ones, frequently without having to reapply or through other requirements. Someone with health difficulties that could make a new coverage excessively expensive or with chronic diseases that necessitate continuous spending paid from the savings component would find the conversion interesting.

Even though the rates for permanent life insurance are far higher than those for term insurance, persons who would purchase such policies have amassed sufficient wealth by that point in their lives to be able to pay for them. They can utilize it as a tax-friendly investment vehicle to address the demands of lifetime dependents or for estate planning thanks to the additional chance for savings.

Permanent life insurance: Benefits and Drawbacks

Purchasing permanent life insurance offers both benefits and drawbacks. Permanent life insurance gives you the freedom to pay a death benefit to your dependents without the restrictions of term life insurance, providing you can afford the higher premiums. With a permanent life insurance policy, you can put money into a tax-advantaged account that you can utilize now and in the future by taking out loans from it.

Group Term Life Insurance: What It Is, How It Works

The drawbacks of acquiring a permanent life insurance policy are the high premium expenses, the possibility of being unable to make payments on time, and the risk of depleting the cash value of the policy to the point where the death benefit is reduced.

What Is Permanent Policy Life Insurance?

Contrary to term life insurance, permanent life insurance remains in effect until the policyholder passes away. It typically includes a financial value savings element.

What Are the Four Types of Permanent Life Insurance?

Universal life, entire life, variable universal life, and variable life are the four categories of permanent life insurance policies.

Life Insurance, Term, or Permanent: Which Is Better

Both term and permanent life insurance might assist you in providing financial security for your loved ones. You should only purchase the kind for which you can afford to pay a premium. Although permanent life insurance includes a cash value component and a longer lifespan than term life insurance, its premiums are typically substantially higher.

Can Permanent Life Insurance Be Cashed Out?

Yes, you can cash out permanent life insurance by surrendering the policy, borrowing against the policy, or taking money out of the cash value. If you choose the latter, you might have to cover withdrawal fees and taxes.

What Is the Duration of Permanent Life Insurance?

A perpetual life insurance policy will last as long as you pay the premiums and do not let it lapse or be surrendered.


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