There are two primary categories of life insurance: term and permanent. However, there are several different types within each category. Listed below are some of the most common types. Consult your life insurance professional for a more detailed description of the various types of life insurance and how they may apply to your specific situation.
Term Insurance - Life insurance under which the death benefit is payable only if the insured dies during a specified period. Listed below are various types of term insurance.
- Level Term - a fixed amount of coverage with premiums that are fixed over a certain period of time, usually in 10-year increments.
- Increasing/Decreasing Term - amount of coverage increases or decreases throughout the term, premiums typically remain level.
- Renewable Term - includes a renewal provision that gives the policyowner the right to renew the insurance coverage at the end of the specified term without submitting evidence of insurability.
- Convertible Term - gives the policyholder the right to convert the term policy to a permanent policy.
- Group Term - insurance purchased typically by an employer or professional association that is intended to cover several people, usually resulting in reduced premiums.
Permanent Insurance - Life insurance that provides coverage throughout the insured's lifetime and may include an element that builds cash value.
- Indexed Universal Life - a form of permanent life insurance that combines the premium and death benefit flexibility of universal life insurance under which the cash value's current crediting rate is based in part on the performance of a financial index. Most policies offer guarantees that if the index is negative, the crediting rate will not go below zero.
- Traditional Whole Life - remains in force during the insured's entire lifetime, provided premiums are paid as specified in the policy. Whole life insurance may also include an element for accumulating growth (called "cash value").
- Universal life insurance - characterized by its flexible premiums, flexible face amounts, and unbundled pricing factors.
- Variable life insurance - a form of whole life insurance under which the death benefit and the cash value of the policy fluctuate according to the investment performance of separate account investment options. Most variable life insurance policies guarantee that the death benefit will not fall below a specified minimum.
- Variable universal life insurance - a form of permanent life insurance that combines the premium and death benefit flexibility of universal life insurance with the investment flexibility and risk of variable life insurance. Also called flexible premium variable life insurance and universal life II.
- Last survivor universal life insurance (also known as "survivorship" or "second-to-die" life insurance) - permanent life insurance that covers two people (e.g., a husband and wife) and provides for payment of the death benefit proceeds only when both insureds have died. It is generally designed to pay estate taxes.
- Single-premium whole life insurance - whole life insurance purchased with a single, lump-sum premium.