Non-Guaranteed vs. Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance [MUST READ]

Written by Danny Ray

**Quick Tip: If You Want An Instant Quote, Fill Out The Form On The Side And Rates Will Be Displayed Immediately.

Non-Guaranteed and Guaranteed Universal Life

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What you need to Know!!

This is a topic I have been explaining a lot lately. In fact, it is usually from a life agent not doing their job correctly.

For instance, they are selling a permanent policy without explaining the risks down the road. Nothing is worse than a senior having a million dollar policy thinking everything is taken care then they find out rates go up! 

All in all, when shopping for a policy such as a universal life you may come across the terms “non-guaranteed” and “guaranteed”.

Consequently, this is when it can become confusing for a client. In fact, this is what separates the real agents from the fly by night agent that won't be around when the doo doo hits the fan.

It is important to realize the difference when speaking to a client. Furthermore, Non-Guaranteed and Guaranteed are nothing alike.

In reality, they are very different and can be financially painful down the road if you do not know the difference.

For this reason, we will breakdown the difference in the rest of this article. Therefore, you will better understand why we are very big believers in the Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL).



What Is Non-Guaranteed Universal Life

To clarify, Non-Guaranteed universal life is in the family of the permanent types of life insurance. In other words, it covers you for life. In theory that is true, but will you be able to pay for it?

First thing to remember, a non-Guaranteed policy carries a death benefit life any permanent life insurance policy but with a investment component that your premiums will be invested in.

For one thing, these policies would be a fantastic product in a high interest rate environment.

However, in this day and age with the rates being off its historic lows, the client is usually unaware of the risks involved. Because of the rates being low the policy winds up being underfunded while the cost of insuring you increases.

Unfortunately, the typical agent will be trying to sell a high commission product while leaving out the possible risks involved.

In fact, I have seen this happen way to often without the client understanding the risks involved.

Consequently, down the road when they need the coverage the most, your premium payment usually increases in some cases over 100%.

As a result, you are on a fixed income and unable to pay the premiums. Surprisingly, I receive calls like this all the time. Usually from a client that is over 75 that just wants to leave their spouse a little bit extra.

With this in mind, we are not a big fan of this kind of product especially if you are counting on it for final expenses.


WHAT DOES CASH ACCUMULATION MEAN

The biggest misconception is confusing cash value with the meaning of cash accumulation. When it comes to a non-guaranteed universal life policy, cash value is not a death benefit! The insurance company will keep that money if you do not withdraw it before you die. The cash value can be used for a no lapse guarantee or to borrow from the policy.

Cash Accumulation UL

Cash Value vs Cash Accumulation

However, if you pass away, they will take the money borrowed off the face amount to repay the loan.

So in essence, you are getting charged for borrowing via a surrender charge on money that was never yours in the first place as the life insurance company will keep that money.


WHAT IS GUARANTEED UNIVERSAL LIFE (GUL)

If a term life insurance and a whole life policy had a baby, it would be a Guaranteed Universal Life GUL. With this type of policy the life insurance coverage is guaranteed and the insured bears no risk.

Furthermore, its not like a whole life as it does not build a guaranteed cash value.

In fact, it is much like a term. For instance, instead of looking at a 10,20, 30 year term, you can pick it to age 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110 and 121. The premiums are level and the death benefit guaranteed to the age.

Unlike other permanent insurance products, there is no rate of return. This is the biggest difference from a non-guaranteed UL because you are without the cash value that results in expensive management fees.

Overall, the guaranteed Universal Life is more affordable than whole life and is one of the most favorable policy when considering pension and estate planning.

guaranteed universal life insurance quote

The GUL is one of my favorite products to offer seniors that are looking at types of permanent life insurance. This will enable a senior to have low cost life insurance in some cases to age 121 without a cash value component. 

My favorite carriers for GUL have living benefits built in the policy via a critical, chronic and terminal illness riders. These policies in most cases will require a medical exam especially over the age of 70. 

As an independent agent, these are the top GUL carriers I like to offer seniors over 75 compared to term and/or whole life (Burial Insurance).

Our prospect is a 75 year old healthy male qualifying for the best rate. He is shopping for a $250,000 GUL to Age 100.

guaranteed universal life insurance companies

guaranteed universal life insurance rates

Guaranteed UL Quotes

Top 8 GUL Quotes

Mutual of Omaha also has a GUL but does not make the cut. 

Clearly Protective Life Advantage Choice GUL is the best priced. But some of the others have other options as well.

Here are the life insurance carriers that have a cash back feature or return of premium:

  • American National - 100% cash back on years 20 and 25
  • AIG - 50% cashback on year 15, then 100% on year 20 and 25

Here are the life insurance carriers that offer Living Benefits:

  • North American
  • American National

It is nice to know premiums are paid back if you want that option. It is also a plus to have living benefits. Our go to carrier is AMERICAN NATIONAL!! 


guaranteed universal life insurance for seniors

If you are looking for a affordable permanent life insurance and you are over age 65 then a GUL might be the best option.

This will assure that you have a guaranteed level premiums until the age that you choose. In this case, 90/95/100/105/110/121. 

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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GUARANTEED UNIVERSAL LIFE

Above all, Guaranteed Universal Life is a great alternative to overpriced whole life. Especially, if the consumer is looking for that guarantee over the cash value part of the policy.

In fact, GUL’s are about 1/3-1/2 the cost of whole life

With that said, lets get into the most important reasons why I recommend it to clients. 

  • Your Premiums WILL NOT CHANGE! – In regards to Non-Guaranteed policies, the consumers’ premiums will more times than not increase every few years. In fact, if you are older on a fixed income this will be a major issue. I receive calls like this all the time. Believe me, you do not want to shop for life insurance in your 70’s. A Guaranteed policy your premium is fixed. For instance, it’s like a term policy that you can pick an age instead of a period of time to protect. You can guarantee premium to age 90,95,100 or to 121.
  • Coverage Is Locked and Not Linked To An Investment! – I can not stress this enough to consumers. The Non-Guaranteed policy has to have the investments outperform consistently or the premiums will go up. Bottom line, no investments go up in a straight line. If the interest rate goes down and the market is under-performing, the insured has to make up the difference. This usually happens either in a rate increase or a decrease in coverage, or both. In this low-interest rate environment, Non-Guaranteed policies put you at risk unless of course you are over-funding and the policy pays for itself. Again, Guaranteed policies you don’t have to worry about because the insurer TAKES ALL THE RISK!
  • Most People Don’t Over-fund a Life Insurance Policy! – Buying a Non-Guaranteed policy usually means you need to pay more money into it to manufacture cash value. Overall that cash value will build to offset any investments going bad or under-performing. With that said, if you pass away, the beneficiaries will get the death benefit. However, all that cash value the insurer keeps. What I always suggest, is if you are looking to invest, buy GUL and invest the difference. This is the great philosophy of Suzy Orman and Dave Ramsey. The end result is your family will have the death benefit and the investments when you pass. 
  • Paying less upfront is a GREAT THING! – A Non-Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance policy has a much higher up-front cost versus a GUL. In some cases, 3 to 4 times the cost for the coverage.
  • Can Be Used For A Deferred Compensation Plan – When you own a successful business then it would not be uncommon that your accountant has told you you make to much money. A great way to have a tax write off as a business is to offer employees a deferred compensation program via an flexible universal life or GUL.

guaranteed universal life insurance pros and cons

Pros

  • Guaranteed Fixed Payments for the life of the policy
  • Much cheaper than standard universal or whole life policies
  • Guaranteed fixed death benefit  to age 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 121


Cons

  • Less flexibility on premium payments
  • More expensive than basic term life policies
  • Does not build cash value with an investment component

Conclusion:

As a independent life insurance agent I am a very big believer in the GUL. It gives you the most cost effective permanent life insurance coverage. 


If you are looking for a death benefit that pays out one day and the cash value is not you interest, then this is the policy for you. As far as seniors, it is a great alternative versus whole life or final expense policies. 


Comparing Non-Guaranteed vs Guaranteed UL

Above all, putting these two policies side by side will put aside any confusion. If you want to have a level premium with a guaranteed death benefit, then GUL is the way to go.

If you want to take a more of a risk and invest premiums, then a non-guaranteed policy is best for you. 

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Non-Guaranteed Vs. Guaranteed Universal Life Comparison

Does Coverage Increase?

Monthly Cost?

Investment Values?

How long does coverage last?

Guaranteed UL

No, Rates Stay The Same until the age you pick

a little more than a term policy, but a lot less than a Whole Life

None, premium and coverage are guaranteed

Until the age that is picked, 90,95,100,105,110, and 121

Non-Guaranteed UL

Cost and coverage is not guaranteed and cost will increase as you age

Can cost 3-5 times more than traditional UL non-guaranteed polices

Yes, Coverage and premiums are at risk due to market fluctuations

A Majority of these polices are underfunded and can see a big increase in premiums near age 80


Comparing Rates of GUL Vs Term Vs Whole Life

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Here is a comparison of term vs universal life insurance for a 55 year old female, healthy looking for a $500,000 in coverage

Carrier

Face Amount

Product

Monthly

Quarterly

Semi-Annual

Annual

$500,000 GUL

Advantage Choice UL 100

$429.06

$1,278.22

$2,533.55

$4,977.51

$500,000 TERM

Your Term 30

$163.63

$490.89

$981.78

$1,870.00

$500,000 Whole Life

Advantage Plus Whole Life

$1,082.55

$3,247.65

$6,495.30

$12,372.00

You can clearly see universal life insurance vs term has its advantages, especially if you have longevity in your family.

When I speak to a client in a circumstance like this, and we weight the pros and cons of guaranteed universal life vs term, a majority of the time we go with the GUL. 

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Is Applying For a GUL policy Different than other life insurance

Although a great questions, NO!!

In fact, applying for Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance is the same underwriting process as a typical term.

For instance, you will have to take an exam. Furthermore, depending on age and if it is a multi million dollar policy there may have to be an inspection report.

But all in all, it's usually processed and approved within 30 days. 

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 855-380-3300x1. I have a very simplistic way of explaining this product with a common sense approach.

Here are my top 5 GUL carriers:

  1. Protective Life
  2. AIG (Cash Back)
  3. American National (Living Benefits
  4. North American (Living Benefits)
  5. Lincoln Financial Group

You must remember that when purchasing a GUL you have a non guaranteed surrender value. And always talk to your independent agent about the differences of guaranteed vs non guaranteed life insurance!!

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Danny Ray & Lisamarie Monaco Contributed To This Article
Danny Ray & Lisamarie Monaco Contributed To This Article

**Quick Tip: If You Want An Instant Quote, Fill Out The Form On The Side And Rates Will Be Displayed Immediately.

Non-Guaranteed and Guaranteed Universal Life

Insert table

What you need to Know!!

This is a topic I have been explaining a lot lately. In fact, it is usually from a life agent not doing their job correctly.

For instance, they are selling a permanent policy without explaining the risks down the road. Nothing is worse than a senior having a million dollar policy thinking everything is taken care then they find out rates go up! 

All in all, when shopping for a policy such as a universal life you may come across the terms “non-guaranteed” and “guaranteed”.

Consequently, this is when it can become confusing for a client. In fact, this is what separates the real agents from the fly by night agent that won't be around when the doo doo hits the fan.

It is important to realize the difference when speaking to a client. Furthermore, Non-Guaranteed and Guaranteed are nothing alike.

In reality, they are very different and can be financially painful down the road if you do not know the difference.

For this reason, we will breakdown the difference in the rest of this article. Therefore, you will better understand why we are very big believers in the Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL).



What Is Non-Guaranteed Universal Life

To clarify, Non-Guaranteed universal life is in the family of the permanent types of life insurance. In other words, it covers you for life. In theory that is true, but will you be able to pay for it?

First thing to remember, a non-Guaranteed policy carries a death benefit life any permanent life insurance policy but with a investment component that your premiums will be invested in.

For one thing, these policies would be a fantastic product in a high interest rate environment.

However, in this day and age with the rates being off its historic lows, the client is usually unaware of the risks involved. Because of the rates being low the policy winds up being underfunded while the cost of insuring you increases.

Unfortunately, the typical agent will be trying to sell a high commission product while leaving out the possible risks involved.

In fact, I have seen this happen way to often without the client understanding the risks involved.

Consequently, down the road when they need the coverage the most, your premium payment usually increases in some cases over 100%.

As a result, you are on a fixed income and unable to pay the premiums. Surprisingly, I receive calls like this all the time. Usually from a client that is over 75 that just wants to leave their spouse a little bit extra.

With this in mind, we are not a big fan of this kind of product especially if you are counting on it for final expenses.


WHAT DOES CASH ACCUMULATION MEAN

The biggest misconception is confusing cash value with the meaning of cash accumulation. When it comes to a non-guaranteed universal life policy, cash value is not a death benefit! The insurance company will keep that money if you do not withdraw it before you die. The cash value can be used for a no lapse guarantee or to borrow from the policy.

Cash Accumulation UL

Cash Value vs Cash Accumulation

However, if you pass away, they will take the money borrowed off the face amount to repay the loan.

So in essence, you are getting charged for borrowing via a surrender charge on money that was never yours in the first place as the life insurance company will keep that money.


WHAT IS GUARANTEED UNIVERSAL LIFE (GUL)

If a term life insurance and a whole life policy had a baby, it would be a Guaranteed Universal Life GUL. With this type of policy the life insurance coverage is guaranteed and the insured bears no risk.

Furthermore, its not like a whole life as it does not build a guaranteed cash value.

In fact, it is much like a term. For instance, instead of looking at a 10,20, 30 year term, you can pick it to age 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110 and 121. The premiums are level and the death benefit guaranteed to the age.

Unlike other permanent insurance products, there is no rate of return. This is the biggest difference from a non-guaranteed UL because you are without the cash value that results in expensive management fees.

Overall, the guaranteed Universal Life is more affordable than whole life and is one of the most favorable policy when considering pension and estate planning.

guaranteed universal life insurance quote

The GUL is one of my favorite products to offer seniors that are looking at types of permanent life insurance. This will enable a senior to have low cost life insurance in some cases to age 121 without a cash value component. 

My favorite carriers for GUL have living benefits built in the policy via a critical, chronic and terminal illness riders. These policies in most cases will require a medical exam especially over the age of 70. 

As an independent agent, these are the top GUL carriers I like to offer seniors over 75 compared to term and/or whole life (Burial Insurance).

Our prospect is a 75 year old healthy male qualifying for the best rate. He is shopping for a $250,000 GUL to Age 100.

guaranteed universal life insurance companies

guaranteed universal life insurance rates

Guaranteed UL Quotes

Top 8 GUL Quotes

Mutual of Omaha also has a GUL but does not make the cut. 

Clearly Protective Life Advantage Choice GUL is the best priced. But some of the others have other options as well.

Here are the life insurance carriers that have a cash back feature or return of premium:

  • American National - 100% cash back on years 20 and 25
  • AIG - 50% cashback on year 15, then 100% on year 20 and 25

Here are the life insurance carriers that offer Living Benefits:

  • North American
  • American National

It is nice to know premiums are paid back if you want that option. It is also a plus to have living benefits. Our go to carrier is AMERICAN NATIONAL!! 


guaranteed universal life insurance for seniors

If you are looking for a affordable permanent life insurance and you are over age 65 then a GUL might be the best option.

This will assure that you have a guaranteed level premiums until the age that you choose. In this case, 90/95/100/105/110/121. 

Add Content Block
Insert Image

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GUARANTEED UNIVERSAL LIFE

Above all, Guaranteed Universal Life is a great alternative to overpriced whole life. Especially, if the consumer is looking for that guarantee over the cash value part of the policy.

In fact, GUL’s are about 1/3-1/2 the cost of whole life

With that said, lets get into the most important reasons why I recommend it to clients. 

  • Your Premiums WILL NOT CHANGE! – In regards to Non-Guaranteed policies, the consumers’ premiums will more times than not increase every few years. In fact, if you are older on a fixed income this will be a major issue. I receive calls like this all the time. Believe me, you do not want to shop for life insurance in your 70’s. A Guaranteed policy your premium is fixed. For instance, it’s like a term policy that you can pick an age instead of a period of time to protect. You can guarantee premium to age 90,95,100 or to 121.
  • Coverage Is Locked and Not Linked To An Investment! – I can not stress this enough to consumers. The Non-Guaranteed policy has to have the investments outperform consistently or the premiums will go up. Bottom line, no investments go up in a straight line. If the interest rate goes down and the market is under-performing, the insured has to make up the difference. This usually happens either in a rate increase or a decrease in coverage, or both. In this low-interest rate environment, Non-Guaranteed policies put you at risk unless of course you are over-funding and the policy pays for itself. Again, Guaranteed policies you don’t have to worry about because the insurer TAKES ALL THE RISK!
  • Most People Don’t Over-fund a Life Insurance Policy! – Buying a Non-Guaranteed policy usually means you need to pay more money into it to manufacture cash value. Overall that cash value will build to offset any investments going bad or under-performing. With that said, if you pass away, the beneficiaries will get the death benefit. However, all that cash value the insurer keeps. What I always suggest, is if you are looking to invest, buy GUL and invest the difference. This is the great philosophy of Suzy Orman and Dave Ramsey. The end result is your family will have the death benefit and the investments when you pass. 
  • Paying less upfront is a GREAT THING! – A Non-Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance policy has a much higher up-front cost versus a GUL. In some cases, 3 to 4 times the cost for the coverage.
  • Can Be Used For A Deferred Compensation Plan – When you own a successful business then it would not be uncommon that your accountant has told you you make to much money. A great way to have a tax write off as a business is to offer employees a deferred compensation program via an flexible universal life or GUL.

guaranteed universal life insurance pros and cons

Pros

  • Guaranteed Fixed Payments for the life of the policy
  • Much cheaper than standard universal or whole life policies
  • Guaranteed fixed death benefit  to age 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 121


Cons

  • Less flexibility on premium payments
  • More expensive than basic term life policies
  • Does not build cash value with an investment component

Conclusion:

As a independent life insurance agent I am a very big believer in the GUL. It gives you the most cost effective permanent life insurance coverage. 


If you are looking for a death benefit that pays out one day and the cash value is not you interest, then this is the policy for you. As far as seniors, it is a great alternative versus whole life or final expense policies. 


Comparing Non-Guaranteed vs Guaranteed UL

Above all, putting these two policies side by side will put aside any confusion. If you want to have a level premium with a guaranteed death benefit, then GUL is the way to go.

If you want to take a more of a risk and invest premiums, then a non-guaranteed policy is best for you. 

Insert table

Non-Guaranteed Vs. Guaranteed Universal Life Comparison

Does Coverage Increase?

Monthly Cost?

Investment Values?

How long does coverage last?

Guaranteed UL

No, Rates Stay The Same until the age you pick

a little more than a term policy, but a lot less than a Whole Life

None, premium and coverage are guaranteed

Until the age that is picked, 90,95,100,105,110, and 121

Non-Guaranteed UL

Cost and coverage is not guaranteed and cost will increase as you age

Can cost 3-5 times more than traditional UL non-guaranteed polices

Yes, Coverage and premiums are at risk due to market fluctuations

A Majority of these polices are underfunded and can see a big increase in premiums near age 80


Comparing Rates of GUL Vs Term Vs Whole Life

Insert table

Here is a comparison of term vs universal life insurance for a 55 year old female, healthy looking for a $500,000 in coverage

Carrier

Face Amount

Product

Monthly

Quarterly

Semi-Annual

Annual

$500,000 GUL

Advantage Choice UL 100

$429.06

$1,278.22

$2,533.55

$4,977.51

$500,000 TERM

Your Term 30

$163.63

$490.89

$981.78

$1,870.00

$500,000 Whole Life

Advantage Plus Whole Life

$1,082.55

$3,247.65

$6,495.30

$12,372.00

You can clearly see universal life insurance vs term has its advantages, especially if you have longevity in your family.

When I speak to a client in a circumstance like this, and we weight the pros and cons of guaranteed universal life vs term, a majority of the time we go with the GUL. 

Insert table
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Is Applying For a GUL policy Different than other life insurance

Although a great questions, NO!!

In fact, applying for Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance is the same underwriting process as a typical term.

For instance, you will have to take an exam. Furthermore, depending on age and if it is a multi million dollar policy there may have to be an inspection report.

But all in all, it's usually processed and approved within 30 days. 

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 855-380-3300x1. I have a very simplistic way of explaining this product with a common sense approach.

Here are my top 5 GUL carriers:

  1. Protective Life
  2. AIG (Cash Back)
  3. American National (Living Benefits
  4. North American (Living Benefits)
  5. Lincoln Financial Group

You must remember that when purchasing a GUL you have a non guaranteed surrender value. And always talk to your independent agent about the differences of guaranteed vs non guaranteed life insurance!!

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