Variable life insurance offers the ultimate in life insurance flexibility. The main principle governing variable life insurance is that you control your life investments instead of the life insurance company managing them on your behalf. This enables you to select the level of risk that you subject your life insurance fund to, paving the way for you to make substantial interest gains on the cash-in value of your life insurance policy.

How does variable life insurance work?

All life insurance products are a form of investment vehicle. Standard no cash-in value life insurance policies like term life insurance invest life insurance premiums in ultra low-risk funds that are often obliged to return a certain level of interest. This provides the life company with confidence in receiving a tangible level of return, which is transferred through to the life insurance policyholder by way of a guaranteed lump sum payment upon death or terminal illness.

Variable life insurance is different from standard types of life insurance as the life company hands the investment reigns over to the policyholder. The life company may allow a percentage of the fund to be invested, or in some cases, all of the fund to be invested by the policyholder. Variable life policies come with the disclaimer that the life insurance company takes no responsibility for the performance of the variable life policyholder’s investments. Therefore, if the investments perform poorly the policyholder accepts the consequences that there will be little or no cash surrender value when the insurance is redeemed.

Is variable life insurance for you?

It is very important to think long and hard about variable life insurance before opting to take it on, as there is a high level of risk involved with this type of life policy. Ideally, variable life policies should only be taken out by seasoned investors who know their way around the investment markets. If you’ve never invested in the stock market before then a variable life policy is probably not for you.

However, if you are confident in your investing abilities this is what you stand to gain from taking out a variable life policy.

1. Variable life policy potential:

A variable life policy has the potential to make substantial interest gains that are much higher than on a standard term life insurance policy. Whereas you might pay a small premium per month for a $100,000 payout upon death with a standard policy if you invest well with a variable life policy that $100,000 could be worth $500,000 or more when redeemed!

2. Tax advantages:

The cash surrender values of variable life policies are exempt from taxation until the point at which they are redeemed. Also, gains made via variable life policies are not subject to capital gains tax (CGT).

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