How Annuities Function as Insurance Policies

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

In today’s financial landscape, you’ll often hear the term ‘annuity.’ But what is it exactly, and how does it fit into the insurance world? At first glance, annuities might seem a complex topic, but with clarity and understanding, they can be seen as tools to ensure financial security. By the end of this article, you’ll grasp why many regard an annuity as an insurance policy and why this distinction matters to you, the reader.

Confused About Annuities?

Are you new to annuities and unsure where to begin? Visit our Annuity Learning Lab for expert guidance and insights.

How Is An Annuity An Insurance Policy?

Annuities provide insurance against longevity risk, which is the risk of outliving one’s assets. This is where the ‘insurance’ part of annuity insurance comes in.

  • Guaranteed Income: With an annuity, you’re insuring against the possibility that you might outlive your savings. It promises a steady income stream, regardless of how long you live.

Example: Consider Mr. Smith, who retired at 65 with enough savings for 20 years. If he lived until 90, he would run out of savings by 85. An annuity could ensure he receives income even after his savings are exhausted.

How Is An Annuity An Insurance Policy

Distinguishing Between Different Types of Annuities

Not all annuities are created equal. Here’s where things get a touch tricky, but bear with me.

  • Variable Annuities: These are not insurance policies but investment products. Your payments are invested, and your income varies based on how well those investments perform.
    • Example: If you invested in a variable annuity linked to a stock index and the stocks do well, your annuity payments might increase. Conversely, they could decrease if the stocks perform poorly.
  • Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuities and Fixed Indexed Annuities: Unlike variable annuities, these are insurance policies, not investment products. They offer a guaranteed rate of return over a specified period or returns based on a specific equity-based index.
    • Example: Mrs. Brown chooses a multi-year guaranteed annuity with a 3% guaranteed return for five years. She’ll receive this return for the agreed period regardless of market conditions.
Who Offers Annuity Insurance Policies

Who Offers Annuity Insurance Policies?

Mostly, it’s insurance companies that provide annuity insurance products. They have the expertise and financial stability to guarantee long-term payments, making them the ideal institutions for such products.

Why Buy An Annuity Insurance Policy?

  • Safety Net: Annuities act as a financial safety net, ensuring you won’t run out of funds later in life.
  • Flexibility: They can be tailored to meet individual needs, such as rising inflation or providing for a spouse after death.
  • Tax Benefits: Annuities can offer tax-deferred growth, meaning you don’t pay taxes on the interest earned until you withdraw the money.

Example: Ms. Johnson, worried about rising living costs, opts for an annuity that increases its payouts with inflation. This ensures her purchasing power remains consistent throughout her retirement.

Why Buy An Annuity Insurance Policy

Who Insures Annuity Insurance?

Annuity insurance is primarily insured by the issuing insurance company that offers the annuity product. In the event of the issuing insurance company’s insolvency, protection may also be provided by the State Guaranty Association, up to certain limits, to ensure policyholders receive their annuity payments.

Who Insures Annuity Insurance

Next Steps

Annuities serve as a bridge between the worlds of insurance and investment. While certain annuities function more as investment vehicles, the core principle remains: they are contracts promising financial security in return for upfront or periodic payments. Understanding where they fit in your financial puzzle is crucial, and hopefully, this article sheds some light on their nuanced nature. As with all financial products, always consult a trusted financial advisor before deciding.

How Annuities Function As Insurance Policies

Request A Quote

Get help from a licensed financial professional. This service is free of charge.

Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 types of annuities?

The four main types of annuities are Fixed Annuities, Variable Annuities, Indexed Annuities, and Immediate Annuities. Each offers different risk profiles, growth potentials, and payout options to suit various financial goals and needs.

Why is an annuity considered insurance?

An annuity is considered insurance because it provides a financial safety net, guaranteeing a steady income stream for a set period or for life. It mitigates the risk of outliving your savings, much like how insurance protects against other types of risk.

Are annuities insured by FDIC?

Annuities are not insured by the FDIC, as they are insurance products, not bank deposits. However, they may be covered by state insurance guaranty associations, which offer certain protections if the issuing insurance company becomes insolvent. Coverage limits vary by state.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

Scroll to Top