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Universal Life Insurance Protection Gives You Choices

Adjust your coverage as needs change with a universal life policy. Request a personalized universal life insurance quote that fits your life and budget. 

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What Is Universal Life Insurance?

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. Your financial representative can tell you how much you could pay per year to effectively prepare for your later coverage.

What Are the Potential Advantages 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).
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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.

What Are the Different Types of Universal Life Insurance?

There are different types of universal life insurance. Here is some information to consider.

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/fixed 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.
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Compare Types of Universal Life Insurance

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 Ultra Life Expedition SIUL Indexed Explorer Plus Protection Life
Flexible Premiums* Amount owed adjusts as needs change
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Cash Value Accumulation Cash you receive if you cancel the contract
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Level Death Benefit Death benefit remains the same
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Flexible Death Benefit** Increases along with your policy's cash value
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  Ultra Life Universal Life Expedition SIUL Universal Life Indexed Explorer Plus Universal Life Protection Life Universal 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.

Need Some Help?

Purchasing universal life insurance can seem expensive and finding the right product for you can seem complicated. We're here to help make that process a little easier.
Give us a call 866-832-7714 866-832-7714
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Is Universal Life Right for You?

With universal life, it helps to be disciplined and build your cash value at the beginning of your policy. Otherwise, you may not have enough in reserve to keep up with the higher future premiums. If this happens, you must pay more money into the policy or lose your coverage.

Also, any estimation of how much you need to pay into the policy to keep it in force will be based on a prediction of market interest rates and insurance costs. If this forecast is incorrect, you may also need to pay more than expected to keep your coverage.

If flexibility is important for your insurance policy, you might want to consider universal life insurance. In exchange for a little more effort, you could have more control over your coverage terms.

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

Life insurance can be an important element of your overall financial strategy. Answer a few questions about your life situation to estimate how much coverage you might need.

What Is the Difference Between Universal & Whole Life Insurance?

Universal and whole life insurance are both permanent policies that can last your entire life. You pay a premium, which is the amount of money you pay the life insurance company in exchange for your coverage. Some of the premium goes toward the cost of insurance, which is based on your selected face amount, your selected death benefit, your gender, your age, and any underwriting ratings assigned. The cost of insurance also covers any policy fees.

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.

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.
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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.
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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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

Flexible Premium Adjustable Life Policy with Indexed Options ICC17 CL 88 1708, Flexible Premium Survivorship Adjustable Life Insurance Policy With Indexed-Linked Interest Options ICC19 CL 92 1908

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.

Columbus Life Insurance Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, is licensed in the District of Columbia and all states except New York.