Whole Life Insurance definition example types pros cons

Whole Life Insurance: Definition, Examples, Types, Pros, Cons. 

There are various types of life insurance, and the most well-known of these may be whole life insurance. Whole life insurance is distinguished from other forms of life insurance because it’s meant to be permanent and protect your family even after you pass away.

Whole life insurance is one of the best means to protect your family’s financial future. While it offers excellent benefits and rewards, there are also several drawbacks you should know about before deciding whether or not to purchase the policy.

This guide will give you an in-depth understanding of the definition of whole life insurance, its pros, cons, and everything in between whole life insurance policies.

Whole life insurance is an excellent way to ensure your family’s future financial security. Still, you need to understand what it entails to know if it is the right policy to buy.

Introduction to Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance can be an intelligent way to secure financial protection for you and your loved ones. With guaranteed cash value accumulation, fixed premium rates, death benefits, tax advantages, and added living benefits, whole-life insurance is an excellent option for those looking for lasting financial security.

This history of whole life insurance can trace back to the late 1960s after World War II when whole life insurance was the best-selling insurance plan. Retirement planning was subsidized by policies in case the insured died untimely.

Before the 1982 Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA), many banks and insurance companies relied mainly on fees.

Individuals are struggling with the decision between whole life insurance or the stock market as an investment, with statistics indicating an annualized rate of 14.76% return on investment with the S&P 500 in 1982 and 17.27% return on investment in 1983.

Most chose to invest in the stock market over whole life insurance, and some, term life insurance.

Whole life insurance has many advantages and potential drawbacks, and one of its advantages is the added benefit of a cash value constituent that builds over time, which you can access through loans or withdrawals.

This added cash value makes it an attractive option for many people who want to provide for their loved ones after their passing but also want to access funds in case of an emergency.

What is Whole Life Insurance?

Whole life insurance refers to permanent life insurance that provides lifelong coverage, a cash value component, and a fixed premium payment. It is an insurance policy designed to provide coverage for the insured’s entire lifetime, regardless of age or health status.

whole life insurance
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Whole life insurance is one of the best because it offers permanent protection and builds cash value over time. You can supplement your retirement income, pay for your child’s education, or provide family financial security upon death.

While whole life insurance comes with a higher premium than term life insurance, its policyholders benefit from guaranteed premiums and cash values.

Generally, a whole life insurance policy can provide peace of mind for policyholders and their families by providing coverage for their entire lives and helping them secure a financial future.

It can be ideal for those who want to ensure they are always covered, regardless of age or health status.

Besides a death benefit, whole life insurance also provides a savings component, called the “cash value,” along with the death benefit. A whole life insurance policy includes a savings component in which interest accumulates tax-deferred. Growing cash value is an essential part of the policy.

A whole life insurance policy provides three types of guarantees: You receive the lowest percentage of return on the cash value, your monthly premium does not increase, and you receive a guarantee about how much of the investment value will be paid upon your death.

Example of Whole Life Insurance

An example is a life insurance policy with $50,000 in death benefit and $1,000 cash value. The policy has no unpaid loans or previous cash withdrawals.

All the money deposited into the policy’s cash value becomes the company’s property when the policyholder dies, thus paying the full $50,000 death benefit.

The insurance company’s liability costs now are $50,000 less cash value of $10,000, which equals $40,000.

How Does Whole Life Insurance Work?

The premiums you pay for whole life insurance are designed to last for the duration of your life, and the coverage will not end, provided you keep disbursing the premium. The cash value component will accumulate over time, earning a guaranteed interest rate, which you can use to pay the premiums if you choose.

The cash value component also means you can access your policy’s funds without surrendering the policy or paying taxes on the money you withdraw. However, these withdrawals and loans may be subject to fees and interest, so it’s essential to read your policy carefully.

Whole life insurance includes a death benefit paid to your beneficiaries upon passing. This death benefit is typically a set amount, although some policies may have provisions that allow you to adjust the amount as needed.

How Much Does Whole Life Insurance Cost?

Whole-life insurance costs are based on many factors, including age, gender, health status, and lifestyle. Generally, those who are younger and in good health can expect to pay less for a policy than someone older or in poor health. The type of coverage you choose can also affect the cost, so be sure to compare policies and consider your options carefully.

The amount of coverage you select will also impact the cost of your policy. Generally, the more coverage you choose, the higher your premium; however, it’s essential to ensure that you get enough coverage to meet your needs

It’s also important to consider any other factors that could affect the cost of your policy. Your occupation may impact the price of your coverage and any dangerous hobbies or activities you participate in. Additionally, if you smoke or use tobacco products, this could also affect your policy’s cost.

Ultimately, the cost of a whole life assurance policy will vary from person to person, so it’s essential to research and compare policies before making a decision. Doing so can ensure you get the correct sum of coverage at a price that fits your budget.

Pros and Cons of Whole Life Insurance Policy

Advantages of Whole Life Insurance (Pros)

While it may be more expensive than other life insurance policies, it has some advantages that make it worth considering.

One of the most significant advantages of whole life insurance is that it offers guaranteed cash value accumulation. This cash value can be used to cover future premiums or have access in case of an emergency.

Other advantages of whole life insurance include

  • A guaranteed death benefit – Whole life insurance provides guaranteed death benefits to your beneficiaries when you pass away, regardless of market conditions or age. This can provide a sense of security and peace of mind for your family in the event of your passing.
  • Cash value accumulation – With a whole life policy, you can accumulate cash value over time and use it for retirement savings or other financial goals. This cash value is attractive for those looking for long-term wealth building.
  • Flexible premiums – Whole life insurance allows for flexible premiums, so you can pay more or less each month to adjust the amount of coverage you have.
  • High premiums – Premiums for whole life insurance tend to be higher than those for term life policies because you’re covered for your entire lifetime.
  • Estate planning advantage – Whole life insurance can also provide an estate planning advantage, as the cash value can be used to pay off taxes or other estate-related costs in the event of the policyholder’s death.
  • Tax benefits – There are tax benefits associated with whole life insurance. The policy’s cash value can grow on a tax-deferred basis, meaning any income generated from the policy will not be taxed until it is withdrawn.

Disadvantages of Whole Life Insurance (Cons)

Here are the major setback of whole life insurance

  • Limited liquidity – The cash value accumulated with a whole life policy is not always easy to access, and you may be subject to surrender charges if you take out too much at once.
  • Lack of investment options – Whole life policies typically only offer one type of investment option (the cash value component), limiting your potential for diversification and growth.

Types of Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is a policy that can provide long-term protection and stability for your family when it comes to life insurance; however, it comes in variables. They include:

1. Traditional Whole Life Insurance

One of the most common types of life insurance is traditional whole life insurance. It provides a guaranteed death benefit, fixed premium payments, and cash value growth that accumulates over time. You can use the cash value as a source of income, loan collateral, or pay the premium in later years.

2. Modified whole life insurance

Modified is designed for those who need protection for more than 25 years. With modified whole life, you have all the benefits of whole traditional life plus permanent level premiums, which means your premiums never change regardless of how old you get.

3. Limited payment of whole life insurance

In limited payment whole life insurance, you make higher initial premium payments to secure lower annual premiums. There are two types of limited payment policies:

  • Preneed and
  • deferred voluntarily.

With a preneed policy, a person makes the first few years’ worth of monthly payments at once when they sign up for the plan, often using their savings or borrowing money at their bank. The advantage is that they can lock in rates today without worrying about rates going up in future years.

On the other hand, with deferred voluntary plans, you make monthly installments after signing up, so while your monthly cost remains stable throughout retirement, it might take decades for them to build up enough funds to purchase their death benefit.

4. Single-premium whole life insurance.

Single-premium whole life insurance is a life insurance policy in which the premium for the whole life insurance policy is paid in a single lump sum. A single-premium whole-life policy includes one premium to cover both mortality and morbidity risks.

5. Guaranteed issue whole life insurance

This type of insurance is available to everyone who applies, no matter their health status. However, there are some limitations based on your age and occupation. Generally speaking, if you’re under 30 years old or retired from any occupation except certain military occupations, this type of life insurance may not be available to you because the rate depends on your gender (female), age (30-plus), and occupation.

We also have participating whole life insurance and non-participating whole life insurance.

Participating in whole life insurance

Participating whole-life policies are issued by an insurance company offering policyholders dividends. The policies offer additional benefits such as cost of living adjustments, disability income protection, and the ability to use the policy’s cash value for loans.

Mutual life insurance companies typically issue participating policies, which distributes their excess profits as dividends to their policyholders.

Non-participating whole life insurance

Non-participating policies don’t offer these additional benefits, but they generally have lower premiums than participating policies. Non-participating policies are generally sold by Stock companies with shareholders bearing the risk. Rather than basing estimations on the probabilities of future performance by the company, the insurance company is taking on all risks.


Whole life insurance provides coverage for the remainder of your life and offers more than just financial protection for your family upon your demise. It also has the potential to provide you with an investment component that grows tax-deferred and can help you accumulate wealth over time.

The bottom line is, Whole life insurance can be an excellent option for people looking for permanent life insurance coverage, as it has many advantages, such as providing a guaranteed death benefit and accumulating cash value over time.

It can also be an excellent method to save for retirement or other long-term goals. However, whole life insurance can be expensive, so it’s essential to compare policies from different insurers to ensure you get the best coverage at the best rate.


Tofunmi is a BA, MBA, and experienced Researcher in Business Administration and Management. He possesses outstanding communication, leadership, conflict resolution, organization, and teamwork skills. He enjoys teaching and reading books on startups, business, personal finance, investment, and more.