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Universal Life Insurance Protection Gives You Choices

Request a personalized universal life insurance quote that fits your life and budget.

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What Is a Universal Life Insurance Policy?

Universal life insurance is a permanent life insurance policy, and the coverage can last your entire life if it's managed correctly and your premiums are paid. Typically, when you first buy your policy, you pay enough to potentially build up cash value within the policy itself. Then, when you're older, the accumulated cash value can sometimes make up any difference in policy costs so you don't face increased premiums.

Benefits of Universal Life Insurance


The design of universal life insurance gives you more control over how you manage your policy. You can change the amount you pay into the policy every year. When you have more income, you can pay more into the policy, whereas when your budget is tight, you can reduce your premium — though only if you've ensured there's sufficient cash value to cover your monthly charges.


Some universal life insurance policies also let you change their death benefit. You can decrease to a smaller death benefit or add coverage without buying a new policy — for example, increasing from $300,000 to $400,000 (this may be subject to insurability/underwriting approval).

Types of Universal Life Insurance Policies

Traditional Universal Life

In a traditional universal life insurance policy, the growth of your cash value depends on market rates, the amount of premiums paid and the cost of monthly policy charges. While there is some unpredictability on the rate that will be credited, the policy will pay a minimum rate each year. These policies may or may not have a guaranteed death benefit that will prevent policy termination based on the payment of sufficient premiums.

Indexed/Fixed Indexed Universal Life

With indexed universal life insurance, you have control over how the funds in your policy are allocated between different interest-accruing accounts. Since a market index can have more changes in performance and even be negative some years, this may be riskier than traditional universal life insurance. These policies may have a guaranteed death benefit.

 How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

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Common Universal Life Insurance Questions

How does universal life insurance work?

Universal life insurance offers the best of two worlds — a set amount of coverage with tax-deferred cash accumulation based on current interest rates. This permanent insurance generally provides lower premiums for those people who have life insurance needs that may change in the future, or who desire the cash value build-up universal life policies can provide. While universal life insurance policies maintain certain guarantees, they provide benefits that are based on current actuarial assumptions and market conditions, which may change over time. Changes in these assumptions may require additional premium payments in order to meet your needs.

Does universal life insurance have cash value?

Universal life insurance can build cash value, which you could also take out and spend while you're still alive. However, keep in mind that doing so may generate an income tax liability, reduce the account value and the death benefit, cause the policy to lapse and incur surrender charges, which can vary depending on your age, gender and underwriting class. The growth of your cash value depends on market rates, the amount of premiums paid and the cost of monthly policy charges.

What is the difference between universal & whole life insurance?

Universal and whole life insurance are both permanent policies that can last your entire life. However, there are some differences between universal and whole life insurance. With whole life insurance, your premium typically stays the same over the life of the policy, and with universal life insurance, you may have the flexibility to adjust your premium as long as you pay enough to cover the cost of insurance each year.

Universal life insurance is also usually less expensive when you first sign up, but then your insurance costs increase over time as you get older. You need to build enough cash value or pay enough in premiums to cover these growing costs or else you could lose your coverage. Whole life insurance is typically more expensive from the start but the premium will not increase over time.

Finally, whole life insurance has generally lower but steadier cash value growth. The life insurance company typically pays a fixed return that's partially guaranteed. With universal life insurance, your cash value return can change year after year. The cash value has the potential to grow more quickly than whole life insurance policies, but it may grow less and you may even lose cash value over time.

Can you cancel a universal life insurance policy?

Yes, if you decide you no longer need coverage, you could cancel the policy and take the surrender value as a cash payment. The insurance company will send you a check for your cash value balance, minus any fees or outstanding loans. If you receive more cash value than you paid in total premiums for the policy, you will owe income tax on your gain.

Can you borrow money from the policy?

Yes, you could take out a loan or a withdrawal from your cash value while keeping your coverage. It's important to note, however, that loans or withdrawals may generate an income tax liability, reduce the death benefit and may cause the policy to lapse.

What happens to cash value in a universal life insurance policy at death?

When you die, the life insurance company does not always transfer the cash value to your beneficiaries. However, most universal life insurance policies do have a death benefit option that pays the beneficiary both the death benefit and the cash value, in addition to the option that only pays a death benefit.

Examples of How Universal Life Insurance Coverage Works

Universal life could work well for younger applicants who have more time to potentially build their cash value while insurance costs are low. It can also be an effective choice for applicants who want flexibility with their premiums. Universal life could also work well for people who are unsure of how much life insurance they need.
construction worker
Let's say Andrew works as a construction worker and makes most of his money during the summer. He may like universal life because he can make large payments during the summer while reducing his premium payments during off-season months.
newlywed couple planning
If Tanya is a recent newlywed who wants children someday, for instance, she might not know just how big her family will get. She buys a $400,000 universal life policy that lets her adjust the death benefit. She may be able to increase or decrease the size of her policy once her family situation becomes clearer.

Get Your Universal Life Insurance Quote Today

We're here to help make this process a little easier with financial professionals ready to assist you on your life insurance journey.
Give us a call 866-832-7714 866-832-7714
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Could Universal Life Insurance Be Right For You?

Some universal life products offer you the flexibility to design the product to meet your needs, with the ability to increase and decrease the amount of coverage or premium payments as your circumstances change. This flexibility can help you address a wide variety of financial needs.
Benefits Whole Life Universal Life Term Life
Guaranteed Lifetime Coverage Coverage that lasts throughout your entire life as long as premiums are paid
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Instant Online Quotes Preliminary instant quotes available to access your potential premium payouts and coverage if you qualify
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May Build Cash Value Cash that grows tax-deferred and may be used during your lifetime
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Fixed Premiums Same amount owed every time a payment is due
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Flexible Premiums Adjustable premium and death benefit amounts when your needs change
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May Earn Dividends Potential income from company profits at recurring times throughout the year. Dividends are not guaranteed
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  Whole Life Universal Life Term Life

There must be enough cash value in the policy to cover monthly charges if a lower premium is paid than the amount selected at issue or if a premium payment is skipped.  Additional premium payments may need to be made to keep the policy in force.
** Increases in coverage are subject to underwriting based on health and other factors.

Learn More About Universal Life Insurance

Why Western & Southern?

When you’re looking for universal life insurance protection, Western & Southern has a heritage of providing life insurance to people just like you. Our financial ratings make us one of the strongest life insurance groups, offering you the financial stability you can count on. We have knowledgeable financial representatives available to help you with your insurance needs.

Financial Strength

established 1888

Longevity & Stability

96 comdex ranking

Financial Ratings


Flexible Premium Adjustable Life Insurance Policy series ICC18 1808-4001 WSA, ICC18 1808-4000 WSA issued by Western-Southern Life Assurance Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, which operates in DC and all states except NY.

Flexible Premium Adjustable Life Policy with Indexed Options Policy Series ICC17 CL 88 1708, Flexible Premium Universal Life Insurance Policy Series ICC19 CL 85 1901 and ICC10 CL 87 1006, Flexible Premium Survivorship Adjustable Life Insurance Policy With Indexed-Linked Interest Options Policy Series ICC19 CL 92 1908 issued by Columbus Life Insurance Company which operates in the District of Columbia and all states except New York.

These policies and benefits may not be available in all states, and benefits may vary by state.

Payment of benefits under the life insurance policy is the obligation of, and is guaranteed by, the issuing company. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Products are backed by the full financial strength of the issuing company.

Life insurance policies contain certain exclusions, limitations, reductions of benefits and terms for keeping them in force. Please contact a financial representative for complete details.

Life insurance products are not bank products, are not a deposit, are not insured by the FDIC, nor any other federal entity, have no bank guarantee, and may lose value.

Expedition SIUL™ Survivorship Indexed Universal Life Insurance and Indexed Explorer Plus are issued by Columbus Life Insurance Company, a member of Western & Southern Financial Group, Inc. At Western & Southern Financial Group, Expedition SIUL™ Survivorship Indexed Universal Life Insurance and Indexed Explorer Plus are offered through Western & Southern Life.