Guaranteed Universal Life is a type of permanent insurance coverage that is guaranteed up to your entire lifetime.
You could qualify for a guaranteed universal life (GUL) insurance policy that could be less expensive and/or could provide you with a much better value than a term life insurance policy.
And you could still lock into a guaranteed level rate for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years or longer!
You choose the guaranteed level period you’d like on many GUL products.
The older you get, the more likely that guaranteed universal life will be less expensive than term insurance.
So this may be a perfect option for you!
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Explained
The easiest way to explain guaranteed universal life insurance is to go over the pros and cons:
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Pros
The cost and the coverage are guaranteed to remain level for the time frame you choose. The maximum coverage length is to age 121.
Many Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Companies will allow you to choose a shorter duration guaranteed UL to age 90 or 95 which would have a lower cost than to age 121.
Any shorter duration GUL can be extended by simply paying more into the policy later if you initially opt for a shorter guarantee to age 90 or 95.
Some GUL carriers offer chronic and/or critical illness living benefits or an accelerated death benefit built into the policy at no additional cost, so you could access money from your policy while living if you suffer an illness.
GUL or any UL policy can be sold via a life settlement at any time, without any maximum age limit.
Some GUL providers also offer a “table shave” or rate reduction program, which can result in better offers than you’d get on term life if you have any health issues.
GUL is the most inexpensive permanent life insurance that can be guaranteed up to your entire lifetime and can cost 50%- 60% less than traditional Whole Life insurance.
Several life insurance providers offer GUL with a return of premium option for which you’d receive up to 100% of the premiums you paid into policy back as a refund when you cancel the policy at certain times…this is a great exit strategy.
Cons of Guaranteed Universal Life
If you’re young, GUL will cost significantly more than term life in the short term (so if you buy term, get it from company which will allow you to convert to GUL product later).
GUL payments generally need to be paid on time and at each billing cycle, premium payments should NOT be skipped or paid late.
Most GUL policies are not expected to build any or much cash surrender value.
Many people don’t take into consideration the fact that you’ll have to keep paying premiums into GUL through retirement years, when you may be on a tighter budget.
If you buy a shorter duration than lifetime GUL policy and wait too long to extend your duration of coverage, the increased cost to maintain the life insurance coverage could be very expensive.
19 Best Guaranteed Universal Life Companies
The best GUL companies and the benefits they offer are following:
American National– includes chronic/critical living benefits; return of premium
Mutual of Omaha– includes chronic/critical living benefits; return of premium
Symetra Life– includes chronic/critical living benefits; return of premium for additional charge
Cincinnati Life– includes chronic living benefits
Penn Mutual– includes chronic living benefits
Columbus Life– includes chronic/critical living benefits
Sagicor Life– includes chronic illness living benefits
Midland National– includes chronic/critical living benefits
North American Co. for Life & Health– includes chronic/critical living benefits
Prudential– Nursing home benefit included
American General– Chronic illness benefit for additional charge; return of premium and cash value
Pacific Life– Chronic Illness rider for additional charge; Return of Premium,
Lincoln Financial– Permanent nursing home care/critical illness for additional charge
John Hancock– Long term care rider for additional charge
Nationwide– Long term care rider for additional charge; return of premium for additional charge
New York Life– Chronic illness benefit for additional charge; return of premium
Protective Life– Chronic illness benefit for additional charge
Since we are questioned about Banner Life on occasion, they do have a GUL but it is very expensive and primarily used for conversions of their term life insurance. It would not make sense to purchase their GUL, which is why we have not included them in the list above.
Which Guaranteed Universal Life Company is Best
There are too many variables involved to choose only one best guaranteed universal life insurance company.
American National Life has a very competitive GUL product, and many times cannot be beaten on price and value if you want a guarantee to age 95, 100 or life or if you want to do a single premium or short pay option…plus they offer living benefits and a possible return of premium option.
Lincoln Financial Group, Principal Life, Columbus Life, American General, and American National (ANICO) also offer some variation of a table shave (or rate reduction), so these could be best if you have health issues.
ANICO, North American, Penn Mutual, United of Omaha, Symetra or Columbus Life may be best if you want chronic and/or critical illness living benefits.
If you’re an alternate tobacco user (i.e. cigars, pipe, chew) and don’t use cigarettes, then Cincinnati Life, Prudential, Lincoln National or John Hancock may be best for you.
There’s Never 1 Best Insurance Company for Everyone
Protective Life’s Advantage Choice UL product can be very competitive if you have any heart issues or if you’re interested in having your beneficiaries paid out over time and not in one lump sum (as Protective offers a discount for an extended payout option).
If you want a return of premium option, then ANICO, United of Omaha, American General, NY Life, Pacific Life, and Symetra could be best.
If you’re a very well controlled senior citizen diabetic in good health otherwise, John Hancock, Principal Life, and Lincoln National MAY offer you a Preferred life insurance rate.
If you do NOT want to have an insurance medical exam or only want a small amount like $25,000 to help pay for final expenses, then Pacific life, ANICO and Sagicor may be best. Exam may be required depending on your age and the amount of insurance that you want.
Let us know if you need help in determining which company may be best for you.
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Rates
Below are sample rates that are guaranteed for life at various ages for $250,000. All are monthly rates:
Showing rate classifications from lowest “preferred plus” to the higher “regular” rates:
Preferred Plus Preferred Regular
Male 40 $121 $135 $156
Male 50 $188 $207 $248
Male 60 $323 $355 $418
Male 70 $595 $645 $778
Male 80 $1,363 $1,435 $1,565
Female 40 $103 $114 $130
Female 50 $163 $176 $201
Female 60 $264 $288 $333
Female 70 $475 $507 $608
Female 80 $1,155 $1,238 $1,325
Who’s Buying Guaranteed Universal Life
Many seniors are buying guaranteed universal life with chronic illness or long term care benefits with the dual intent of providing money to their beneficiaries at death and/or to help pay for long term care or home health care while still living.
Seniors or anyone who may want coverage to age 90, 95 or for life at the lowest possible cost are buying GUL instead of term insurance.
Young adults who want permanent life insurance at the lowest possible premium payment and aren’t concerned with cash value are also buying GUL.
If you have health issues and can qualify for one of the table shave (rate reduction) programs to get your rating reduced, then GUL may just be the perfect product for you also.
GUL provides more flexibility than term life
With Guaranteed Universal Life, you can buy the coverage for ANY time frame you feel you need it…not only for 10 to 40 years for which term policies can currently be purchased.
You can also pay more into any GUL policy at any time to extend the duration of your coverage…
This flexibility would benefit you later if you decide that you may need or want coverage for longer than you were originally expecting or if you ultimately want to sell your policy via a life settlement.
There is also no time limit for which you’d be able to sell a Universal Life plan via a life settlement like there is for term life insurance, which needs to be sold while still convertible.
There are 4 types of Universal Life Insurance
Besides for Guaranteed Universal Life mentioned above, there’s also Indexed Universal Life, Variable Universal Life and current assumption or non-guaranteed Universal Life insurance plans available.
Indexed UL, Variable UL, and current assumption UL are expected to generate cash value, but most of these other types of UL do not currently have long duration guaranteed level rates like the GUL plans mentioned above.
Cash Value is also not usually guaranteed on any UL products.
There is always a trade-off with permanent life insurance, and there is not one perfect policy…
You can get low cost with great guarantees, but you cannot usually get life insurance coverage at a low cost with great guarantees and great cash values.
It’s usually one or the other.
Disadvantages of Universal Life Insurance
Non-guaranteed Universal Life insurance has had a bad reputation in the insurance industry…
This is due to the fact that all types of UL policies, besides GUL, are not guaranteed and can perform worse than originally illustrated or expected.
Current assumption UL was a hot product in the 1980s, and some agents were illustrating these products with 8% to 11% investment returns…these returns did not pan out for anyone over the long term.
Variable UL was a hot product in the 1990s when the stock market was booming, and some agents were illustrating 8% to 12% investment returns, and many of these did not work out either.
Indexed UL is the “latest and greatest” cash accumulation permanent insurance product. Agents are not allowed to illustrate it with higher than about a 7% interest rate and there is a 0% “floor” so that you won’t earn less than 0% interest in any year.
Maybe Indexed UL will turn out to be the best permanent cash value product, but it’s way too soon to give it that label.
Because of the history of Universal Life, we prefer to only recommend guaranteed death benefits products like GUL!
What Is Whole Life Insurance?
Whole Life insurance has a guaranteed level premium, guaranteed cash surrender value and a guaranteed life insurance payout.
Cash surrender value is an amount of money you’d get back if you ever cancel the policy or you could take a loan against the cash value while still keeping the policy in force.
Whole Life is the only type of permanent product with any significant guaranteed cash surrender value.
Whole Life is also the most expensive type of permanent life insurance.
Whole Life Insurance Has the Highest Cost
Our take on whether or not whole life or any cash value policy is right for you…is to only consider these options after you’ve maximized all of your other tax-deferred investments like 401k, IRA, etc.
We still like the “buy term or GUL and invest the difference” philosophy instead of buying Whole Life insurance if you have not maximized other tax-deferred investment options.
We’re not saying that permanent cash value life insurance is always a bad option, but beware and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting if you opt for any permanent type of life insurance.
Is Guaranteed Universal Life Better Than Whole Life Insurance?
It depends on what your goals are…
If you want guaranteed level premiums and a guaranteed cash surrender value, than a traditional Whole Life policy may be best for you.
But if you’re looking for the lowest cost permanent life insurance policy that is guaranteed, than GUL maybe your best option.
There are some interesting “hybrid” plans of permanent insurance available that offer long guaranteed level rates and guaranteed cash value, like American General’s Secure Lifetime GUL III…
Or like American National, Symetra Life or United of Omaha GUL’s with chronic and critical illness living benefits and a return of premium option for which you could get up to 100% of premiums paid back as a refund if you cancel the policy in years 20 or 25.
There is no one best permanent life insurance policy, and the one that is best for you may vary depending on your needs.
Guaranteed Universal Life Vs. Whole Life Rates
Below are absolute best $250,000 GUL rates guaranteed for life compared to the best Whole Life rates. These are all monthly rates:
GUL Whole Life
Male 40 $121 $233
Male 50 $188 $354
Male 60 $323 $554
Male 70 $595 $961
Male 80 $1,363 $2,049
Female 40 $103 $203
Female 50 $163 $306
Female 60 $264 $474
Female 70 $475 $827
Female 80 $1,155 $1,741
Bottom Line on Guaranteed Universal Life
Guaranteed or No Lapse Universal Life is the most cost-effective life insurance product that is guaranteed to provide you life insurance for your entire life or to age 90, 95, 100…
Universal life and permanent life insurance in general (Whole Life, Variable Life, Indexed Universal Life) can be complex financial products and cannot always be compared based strictly on price.
But if you’re looking for the lowest cost permanent life insurance that is guaranteed…
And/or you want the ability to use a portion of your life insurance while still living to help if you have a chronic or critical illness and you may need long term care or home health care, then Guaranteed Universal Life may be the perfect product for you.
Want a Guaranteed Universal Life Quote?
You can compare quotes using the “instant life insurance quotes” tool to the right.
You can choose if you want a GUL quote to age 90, age 95, age 100 or for your entire life (age 121).
Since the instant quotes don’t take any of your health/avocation information into consideration, and to save money and time, please also feel free to click the link below to get an accurate quote.
If you’d like to speak to us, please call us toll-free at 1-800-380-3533 or CLICK HERE to email us if you have questions or need any more information.
P.S. If you’ve purchased a Universal Life insurance policy without a guaranteed level rate/death benefit or if your old Universal Life plan is now “blowing up” and requiring higher premiums to maintain the coverage, you may very well be able to replace that coverage with a new Universal Life policy with a lower rate that is guaranteed for life. You could also do a 1035 tax-free exchange and rollover any cash value from your existing policy into a new plan, which would help reduce your cost even more on the new policy. You have many options so let us know if we can help you.