How Life Insurance Endowments Work: Everything You Need to Know

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Regarding life insurance, one of the most misunderstood topics is endowments. Many people don’t know what they are or how they work. This guide will discuss everything you need to know about life insurance endowments! We will cover an endowment, how it works, and why you might want one.

What Are Life Insurance Endowments?

An endowment policy is a type of life insurance policy in which the beneficiary will receive the face value of the policy upon the death of the insured or if the insured is still alive at the end of a specified period, whichever comes first.

Endowment policies are contracts initially designed to combine life insurance and savings components. There are different endowment policies, such as those that last for 5, 10, 20, 25, or 30 years or until a certain age, like 65 years old.

If you are still living after the set period, the face amount of the policy will be paid to you in one lump sum or installments. The premium payments for an endowment policy are higher than for traditional whole-life contracts because they depend on how long you want the money to last.

Endowment Insurance

What is an Endowment Policy?

An endowment policy is a type of life insurance policy that provides both life insurance coverage and a savings component. This type of policy is popular among people who want to save for a specific financial goal, such as paying for their children’s education or funding their retirement. The policyholder pays a premium regularly, and the insurer invests the money in various investment vehicles such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. At the end of the policy term, the policyholder receives the sum assured plus any bonuses earned over the years.

How does an endowment policy work?

An endowment policy works by combining life insurance coverage with savings. The policyholder pays a premium regularly, and the insurer invests the money in various investment vehicles. The insurer then pays out a lump sum to the policyholder at the end of the term, along with any bonuses earned over the years. The payout amount depends on various factors, such as the premium paid, the policy term, the investment performance, and the policyholder’s age.

An endowment policy combines life insurance with savings and can provide an alternative to social security. The insurer invests premiums and pays out a lump sum plus bonuses at the end of the term based on age, investment performance, and policy term.

Matured Endowments

Advantages and disadvantages of endowment policies


  • Provides both life insurance coverage and a savings component.
  • The payout amount is usually guaranteed, making it a safe investment.
  • The policyholder can receive the payout in a lump sum or as a regular income stream.
  • The policyholder can use the payout amount for any purpose, such as paying for their children’s education or funding their retirement.


  • The premiums are usually higher compared to other types of life insurance policies.
  • The policy term is usually longer, and the policyholder may not have access to the savings component until the end of the policy term.
  • The payout amount depends on various factors, such as investment performance, which may not be guaranteed.
  • The policyholder may incur penalties if they cancel the policy before the end of the policy term.

Types of Life Insurance Endowments

Endowments are not usually sold today because the tax consequences have changed and eliminated many benefits that used to make them attractive.

  • A retirement endowment: This was created to be paid out when the person retires at age 65. Like whole life insurance, if the insured person dies before the maturity date, the face value of the policy is paid out as a death benefit. However, at maturity, the full face amount of the policy becomes payable in monthly installments.
  • The pure endowment: This ensured that the policy’s face amount would be paid only if the insured lived until the maturity date. If the insured died before the maturity date, all benefits were forfeited. This type of policy was rarely sold because it was a high-risk savings plan: if you died early, you lost all your savings.
  • Endowment life insurance: This is a combination of two types of insurance. The first type called a pure endowment, pays you a living benefit at the end of the endowment period. The second type, called term life insurance, pays you a death benefit if the insured person dies before the end of the endowment period.
  • Juvenile endowment policies: These were designed to pay out when the policyholder turns a certain age to fund a college education.

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At What Point Does A Whole Life Insurance Policy Endow

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Endowments are essential to life insurance, and you must understand how they work and whether or not one is right for you. Our company prides itself on providing customers with the best information about their life insurance policies. We offer free quotes so that you can find the policy that fits your needs without breaking the bank. If you have any questions about endowments or other life insurance topics, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to help!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a life insurance endowment?

Endowment insurance is a kind of life insurance that pays the entirety of its face value at either the end of its term or upon your demise. It provides coverage for your loved ones and ensures they care for you no matter what happens.

Does endowment life insurance have cash value?

Endowment insurance is more costly in terms of premiums than whole life insurance; the premiums for endowment policies must be paid until maturity, upon which the beneficiary or policyholder receives both the death benefit and cash value. It’s essential to note that these amounts are equal at this stage.

What is an example of endowment life insurance?

Endowment life insurance can be a powerful tool for retirement and college savings. To maximize its utility, you could configure it to grant money back to you at 65 – when you retire – or after 15 years, when your kids may need funds for their education expenses.

What are the four types of endowment policies?

From nonprofit to unit-linked, there is certainly no lack of options regarding endowment policies. The most prevalent ones are traditional, with profits and whole policies, while low-cost also continues to grow in popularity. However, regardless of your choice, these can be traded on the market.

Is endowment plans excellent or evil?

Review Your Decision Carefully Before Making a Purchase If you don’t pay your premiums in full, you won’t get the entire benefit of the policy. Additionally, if payments cease to be made, it will lead to lapsing. Endowment life insurance offers no protection against any potential adverse decisions you or your child might make when spending money.

*Disclosure: Some of the links in this guide may be affiliate links. I may receive a commission at no cost to you if you purchase a policy. It helps us keep the lights on!

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. 

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