Guide to Whole Life Insurance

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that covers the insured’s entire life, with fixed premiums and a guaranteed death benefit. This guide will explore the various aspects of whole life insurance, its benefits, and considerations for different age groups.

Whole Life Insurance Features

Lifetime Coverage

Whole life insurance offers coverage for the insured’s entire life, ensuring that your beneficiaries receive a death benefit regardless of when you pass away.

Fixed Premiums

Premiums for whole life insurance remain the same throughout the policyholder’s life, making it easier to budget and plan for long-term financial commitments.

Cash Value Accumulation

One of the distinctive features of whole life insurance is the cash value component, which grows over time and can be borrowed against or withdrawn. This cash value grows tax-deferred, providing a potential source of funds for emergencies or retirement.


Many whole life insurance policies pay dividends, which can be used to increase the cash value, reduce premiums, or be taken as cash. These dividends provide an additional growth opportunity for the policy.

Tax Benefits

The death benefit from a whole life insurance policy is generally tax-free to beneficiaries. Additionally, the cash value grows on a tax-deferred basis, which can be a significant advantage for long-term financial planning.

Types of Whole Life Insurance

Continuous Premium

This traditional type of whole life insurance requires the policyholder to pay premiums throughout their life.


Limited-payment policies allow you to pay premiums over a specific period (e.g., 10, 20 years), after which the policy is paid up, but coverage continues for life.


A single-premium whole life insurance policy initially requires one lump sum payment, providing immediate cash value growth.

Guaranteed Issue

Guaranteed Issue policies do not require a medical exam or health questions, making them accessible to those with health concerns. They typically have higher premiums and may initially include a graded death benefit.

Modified Whole Life Insurance

Modified whole life insurance offers lower premiums during the initial years (typically the first 5-10 years) and then higher premiums for the remainder of the policy. This type of policy is suitable for individuals who expect their income to increase over time, allowing them to manage lower payments initially and higher payments later.

Simplified-Issue Whole Life Insurance

Simplified-issue whole life insurance does not require a medical exam, making it faster and easier to obtain coverage. Applicants only need to answer a few health-related questions. This type of policy is ideal for those who want quick approval and may have minor health issues that make fully underwritten policies less accessible.

Whole Life Insurance Policies

Top Whole Life Insurance Companies

When considering whole life insurance, choosing a reputable company is crucial. Some top-rated insurers include:

  • MassMutual
    • Financial Stability: MassMutual has an A++ rating, indicating top financial stability.
    • Payment Plans: Offers a variety of payment plans, such as Single Pay, 5Pay, 10Pay, 12Pay, and Pay to 65, providing flexible payment options.
    • Dividend History: Known for a strong history of paying dividends, they have never missed paying a dividend, although future dividends are not guaranteed.
  • Lafayette Life
    • Financial Strength: Lafayette Life holds an A+ rating for financial strength.
    • Non-Direct Recognition: As a non-direct recognition company, taking a loan from your cash value does not impact your dividends. This ensures consistent growth and returns even when the cash value is used for loans.
  • Mutual Trust
    • Early Cash Value Returns: Mutual Trust is known for excellent early cash value returns, often matching the initial premium within the first three years.
    • Dividend History: A consistent history of dividend payments offers potential confidence in future dividends despite not being guaranteed.
    • Financial Stability: Holds an A rating, indicating strong financial stability.

Whole Life Insurance Rates

Whole life insurance premiums, sometimes called straight life insurance, are typically fixed and do not adjust over time like universal life insurance. These are sample monthly premium rates based on age, gender, coverage amount, Preferred status, and non-tobacco consumers.


Compare Rates With Other Companies

This whole life insurance calculator is a tool that helps individuals estimate the coverage and premiums for whole life insurance policies. By inputting information like age, gender, and desired coverage amount, this calculator gives users an estimate of the cost and benefits of a whole life insurance policy.

Suitability for Different Ages

For Seniors

Even at age 65 or older, you can still obtain whole life insurance. Options include fully underwritten policies (which require a medical exam), simplified issue policies (no medical exam, faster approval), and guaranteed issue policies (no health questions, higher premiums).

For Younger Policyholders

Purchasing whole life insurance at a younger age can lock in lower premiums and maximize the cash value growth over time. It’s a valuable tool for long-term financial planning and estate planning.

Whole Life Insurance as an Investment

Whole life insurance is often considered a conservative investment due to its guaranteed returns and low risk. It provides a stable foundation for a diversified financial plan, combining insurance protection with a savings component.

Comparison to Other Investments

While the returns on whole life insurance may not match the potential high returns of stocks or other volatile investments, the stability and guaranteed growth make it a good choice for risk-averse individuals or those looking for a safe, long-term investment.

Reasons Why Whole Life Insurance is a Good Investment

Guaranteed Death Benefit

Provides financial security to your beneficiaries by ensuring a tax-free death benefit covering final expenses and debts and providing income support.

Fixed Premiums

The fixed premiums make it easier to budget and avoid the increasing costs often associated with other types of life insurance as you age.

Cash Value Accumulation

The cash value component acts as a savings account, growing tax-deferred and providing a source of funds that can be borrowed against or withdrawn for various needs.

Dividend Earnings

Participating whole life insurance policies may pay dividends, which can be used to increase the policy’s cash value, reduce premiums, or be taken as cash.

Tax Benefits

The death benefit is generally tax-free to beneficiaries, and the cash value grows on a tax-deferred basis, offering significant tax advantages.

Long-Term Security

Whole life insurance provides long-term financial security and forced savings, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals focused on legacy planning and ensuring financial stability for their loved ones.

Estate Planning

Whole life insurance is useful for estate planning. It helps to cover estate taxes and ensures that assets are passed on to heirs with minimal tax impact.

Comparison to Other Investments

Whole life insurance offers stability and guaranteed returns, making it a suitable choice for conservative investors who prioritize security and long-term planning over high-risk, high-return investments.

Benefits Of Whole Life Insurance

How We Can Help

At The Annuity Expert, we understand the complexities and emotional aspects of securing your family’s future. For 15 years, we have served as a trusted insurance agency, annuity broker, and retirement planner, committed to finding the best solutions at the lowest costs.

Your primary goal is to ensure your family’s financial security, and the main problem is finding a reliable, affordable insurance policy that offers comprehensive benefits. The symptoms of this problem include anxiety over potential financial instability, confusion over policy options, and fear of making the wrong choice.

We empathize with your concerns and have the expertise to guide you through selecting the right whole life insurance policy. Our deep understanding of the industry and dedication to your well-being sets us apart, making us the ideal partner in your journey to financial security.

What We Recommend

Step 1: Initial Consultation

Contact us for a personalized consultation where we assess your specific needs and preferences. During this step, we gather detailed information about your financial goals and insurance requirements. The main benefit is receiving tailored advice that aligns with your unique situation.

Step 2: Policy Comparison and Selection

We present a curated selection of whole life insurance policies from top-rated insurers. During this step, we explain the features, benefits, and costs of each option, helping you make an informed decision. The main benefit is finding the most suitable and cost-effective policy.

Step 3: Policy Implementation and Ongoing Support

Once you select a policy, we assist with the application and ensure a smooth implementation process. We provide continuous support, helping you manage your policy and address any future needs. The main benefit is having a reliable partner to ensure your long-term financial security.

Features and Benefits

  • Lifetime Coverage: Ensures financial protection for your beneficiaries.
  • Fixed Premiums: Simplifies budgeting and financial planning.
  • Cash Value Accumulation: Provides a tax-deferred savings component.
  • Dividends: Offers additional growth opportunities.
  • Tax Benefits: Enhances financial planning with tax advantages.

Addressing Common Objections

  • Objection: Whole life insurance is too expensive.
    • Response: While premiums are higher, the comprehensive benefits, fixed premiums, and cash value growth offer substantial long-term value.
  • Objection: It’s complicated to understand.
    • Response: We simplify the process, providing clear explanations and personalized recommendations.

Not securing whole life insurance could leave your loved ones financially vulnerable and increase your future financial burdens. Conversely, working with us ensures comprehensive protection, financial stability, and peace of mind.

Experience the satisfaction of knowing your family’s future is secure. Contact us today for free advice or a personalized quote.

Whole Life Insurance Assistance

Feel free to contact us for quotes for whole life insurance. The service is free of charge.

Life Insurance Inquiry

Questions From Our Readers

Can I cash out my whole life insurance policy?

Yes, there are three main ways to withdraw cash from your life insurance policy. You can borrow against your cash account with a low-interest loan, withdraw the cash as a lump sum or in regular payments, or surrender your policy.

What happens if I outlive my whole life insurance policy?

Whole life insurance generally expires at age 100. When a policyholder outlives the coverage term, the insurance company may pay out the entire cash value to the policyholder (which, in this situation, equals the coverage amount) and cancel the policy. Some policies extend the period when premiums are paid by allowing premium payments to continue until a policyholder dies. Others keep collecting premiums but maintain the contract active until it is required.

What happens to cash value in whole life policy at death?

When you die, the insurance company will assume ownership of your whole life insurance policy’s cash value, and your beneficiary will receive the death benefit.

How long do you pay premiums on whole life insurance?

Average whole-life insurance premiums are paid throughout a person’s life span. Limited-pay whole-life policy premiums are paid only for a specific number of years. Single-premium whole-life premiums are usually paid in one large payment.

What is the disadvantage of whole life insurance?

Whole life insurance has a few disadvantages. First, it is one of the most expensive types of life insurance. Second, because it covers your entire life, it can be difficult to cancel or change if your needs change. Finally, whole life insurance policies typically have high fees and commissions, affecting the policy’s cash value.

How long does a whole life insurance policy last?

Whole life insurance policies last for the insured person’s entire life. As long as the premiums are paid, the policy does not expire.

What is the cash value of whole life insurance?

The cash value of whole life insurance is the portion of the policy that gains interest over time. You can use this money for anything you want, but you must pay taxes if you withdraw it.

How long does it take for whole life insurance to build cash value?

Whole life insurance typically takes several years to build cash value, but the exact amount of time depends on the terms of your policy.

What happens to cash value in whole life policy at death?

When the policyholder dies, the cash value stays with the insurance company. The beneficiary only receives the death benefit, which is the face value of the policy.

Do you pay whole life insurance forever?

Premiums are payable for the policy’s life or until it is fully paid.

Can you settle all your debts with a whole-life policy?

Yes, you can use a whole life insurance policy to settle debts. This is possible by borrowing against the policy’s cash value or using it as collateral for a loan. However, the amount you can use depends on the policy’s accrued value and terms. Before proceeding with this strategy, considering the impact on the policy’s benefits and beneficiaries is important.

Can a non-US citizen get whole life insurance?

Yes, a non-US citizen can get whole life insurance. Insurance companies often offer policies to non-US citizens. Still, the availability and terms can vary depending on the individual’s residency status, the length of time they spend in the US, and other factors. Each insurer has its own guidelines, so it’s important for non-US citizens to inquire with insurance providers about their specific eligibility and the details of the policy offerings.

Can I be denied whole life insurance because of a prescription?

Yes, it’s possible to be denied whole life insurance coverage due to a prescription medication you’re taking. Insurance companies assess various factors, including health history and current medical conditions, when determining eligibility for coverage. Certain prescriptions may raise concerns for insurers, especially if they indicate underlying health issues or pose potential risks. However, being denied coverage solely because of a prescription is not universal and depends on the specific medication, dosage, and overall health status.

If you cancel a whole life insurance policy with an outstanding loan, how will this affect the return of your premiums?

When you cancel a whole life insurance policy, the insurance company will deduct the outstanding loan amount and any accrued interest from the policy’s cash value before returning any funds to you. It is unlikely that you will receive a return of premiums paid. Instead, you would receive this balance if there is remaining cash value after the loan and interest are deducted. However, the amount you get back will not typically include the total of all the premiums you paid into the policy.

Do whole life insurance premiums increase as you age?

No, whole life insurance premiums typically do not increase as you age. When you purchase a whole life insurance policy, the premiums are generally fixed and remain the same throughout the policy’s life.

What age is the best to buy whole life insurance?

Purchasing whole life insurance in your twenties to early thirties is typically the most advantageous. It offers lower premiums, better health qualification rates, and a longer period for cash value growth. 

Is whole life insurance a good investment for retirement?

Yes, whole life insurance can be a good investment for retirement due to its guaranteed death benefit, fixed premiums, cash value accumulation, and tax advantages. It offers long-term financial security and stable returns, making it suitable for conservative investors.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

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

Scroll to Top