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Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance might sound like a policy that covers more than just your life, but in reality, universal life insurance is simply a life insurance policy that offers a death benefit as well as the option for cash value accumulation. With universal life insurance, you have a varying premium that you can pay. The minimum you need to pay is the cost of insurance. This is the amount that will pay for your death benefit but will not result in any cash value accumulation. You can also pay more than your cost of insurance and that will result in some cash value accumulation.

Cash values accumulate and earn a fixed rate of return in a universal life insurance policy. They are not subject to the volatility of the stock market and there are no sub accounts for you to choose. While the premiums of a universal life insurance policy may be flexible, there is a maximum that you can pay. If you exceed this maximum then you may accumulate cash values too quickly and a modified endowment contract (MEC) may occur. In a modified endowment contract, the value of your cash values rises too close to the value of your death benefit and the policy cash value becomes taxable. One of the great benefits of a universal life insurance policy is the tax-free accrual of cash values and the ability to take tax-free loans, so this is definitely something to avoid.

Unlike a term life insurance policy, universal life insurance policies offer a death benefit that is valid over the entire course of your life as long as you pay your premiums on time and keep the policy in force. There is no need for further underwriting as the years go by and no reason to find additional insurance. In a term policy, since the death benefit only covers you for a pre-determined term (or period of time) you might need further underwriting and could be at risk for a higher premium as your health deteriorates. Like all life insurance policies, riders can be added to the universal life insurance policy in order to increase its value. Souse riders, accidental death riders, child riders and accelerated benefit riders are just some of the choices you have.

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