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What are the principal types of life insurance?




Term and whole life insurance are the two main forms of life insurance. Traditional whole life, universal life, variable life, and variable universal life are some of the subcategories of whole life insurance, which includes traditional whole life, universal life, variable life, and variable universal life. According to the American Council of Life Insurers, 4.0 million individual life insurance contracts were purchased in 2018, with 5.9 million being whole life.

Individual life insurance policies are not the same as group life insurance. Individual life insurance is the subject of the following information.


The most basic type of life insurance is term insurance. It only pays out if the policyholder dies within the policy’s term, which is generally one to 30 years. There are no further benefits in most term insurance.

  • Term life insurance plans are divided into two categories: level term and decreasing term.

The phrase “level term” refers to the fact that the death benefit remains constant throughout the policy’s life.

  • Decreasing term signifies that the death benefit decreases over the policy’s term, generally in one-year increments.
In 2003, almost all term life insurance purchased (97 percent) was level term.
For further information on the many forms of term life insurance, see
Whole life/permanent
Even if you live to be 100, whole life or permanent insurance provides a death benefit when you die. Traditional whole life, universal life, and variable universal life are the three main forms of whole life or permanent life insurance, with variants within each type.
Both the death benefit and the premium are supposed to be the same (level) during the term of a standard whole life policy. As the insured person becomes older, the cost per $1,000 of benefit rises, and it clearly rises dramatically when the insured person lives to be 80 or beyond. The insurance firm could levy a yearly payment, but that would be extremely difficult to afford.

Most people cannot afford life insurance at their current age. So the corporation maintains the premium level by collecting a premium that is larger than what is required to cover claims in the early years, investing the money, and then utilizing it to supplement the level premium to assist pay for the cost of life insurance for the elderly.

When these “overpayments” reach a specific level, the policyholder is entitled to a monetary value if he or she chooses not to continue with the original plan. The policy’s cash value is an alternative benefit, not an additional benefit. Universal life insurance and variable universal life insurance were two variants on the classic whole life product developed by life insurance firms in the 1970s and 1980s.

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