Should I Get Whole Life Insurance?

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Should I Get Whole Life Insurance?

If you ever contemplated getting yourself insured, you should have either chanced upon or being pitched about Whole Life insurance. While the term “Whole Life” might sound like an endless bout of obligations and commitments, it is in fact.

In the opinion of most so-called “financial experts”, whole life insurance was acknowledged to be a worse deal as compared to a term insurance policy.

Time has changed however, we explain some modern and traditional features and benefits of the whole life insurance plan so you can decide for yourself if getting whole life insurance makes sense.

Read: 4 Best whole life insurance in Singapore 2019

Whole Life Insurance Features and Benefits

Whole life insurance plan is an insurance product that provides the policyholder with a covered benefit for life. The basic function of a Whole Life Insurance Plan is to provide a lump sum payout in the event of the death of the insured as long as the policy is in force. With the advent of competitions and customer’s demands, life insurers begin to develop whole life insurance plans with various features to compete in the market. Such features include but are not limited to:

  • Limited Payment Term Options
  • Riders
  • Annuity Options
  • Multiplier Benefit
  • Cash Value
Limited Payment Term Options

Whole life insurance plan which requires the policyholder to pay until their death or till surrender is a thing of the past, the current whole life plans are mostly limited pay term with the options of paying a single lump sum premium upfront or a regular payment term option of 5 years all the way till 99 years. The most common denominations are in the multiples of 5 at 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and 25 years.


Almost all whole life plans in the market allow the policyholders to add in riders to their life plan in order to enhance the coverage dynamism. Policyholders are able customize their whole life insurance into a one size fits all plan that includes one or all of the following coverage in one product:

  • Total and Permanent Disability
  • Advance Stage Critical Illness
  • Early Stage Critical Illness
  • Multi Stage Critical Illness
  • Hospital Cash
  • Disability Income

To do so, policyholders will need to top up an additional premium to include these features.

Annuity Options

Some insurers have an annuity option feature in their whole life insurance plan where the policyholder can choose to convert them into an annuity plan, this is an excellent feature which enables the policyholders to,

First, enjoy a regular stream of income from a specific age onwards.

Second, to continue and let the plan provide a minimum amount of coverage still without requiring the insured to effectively surrender their policies.

Multiplier Benefit

The multiplier coverage benefit is a popular whole life insurance feature in modern times. This feature allows the insured to multiply their sum assured anywhere from 2x to 10x until a certain age, usually until age 65 or 70. The purpose to provide an additional amount of payout when the insured is younger and has more financial commitments. An example is as follow:

Tom purchase a whole life insurance plan with 4 times multiplier till age 70 for a coverage of $50,000 sum assured for Death, Disability and Critical Illness.

Effectively, this increases Tom’s coverage amount to $200,000 on Death, Disability and Critical Illness.

Thanks to the 4 times multiplier benefit feature, should any of the three covered events strikes Tom before age 70, Tom or his beneficiary will receive a lump sum payout of $200,000 even though his basic sum assured is only $50,000.

However, if the covered event were to occur above age 70, Tom or his beneficiary will receive the $50,000 sum plus any accrued bonuses instead.

Cash Value

Generally, whole life insurance policy should come with cash value. The cash value is a saving feature that is embedded in a whole life insurance policy which is also the main reason why a whole life insurance premium is much higher than term insurance.

Cash value is the invested part of the premium the policyholders pay, they are typically invested into a pot of diversified assets managed by the insurer’s in-house fund manager. There are two types of whole life plan, the participating whole life which is the most common, and the non-participating whole life plan.

The participating fund whole life insurance shares the profit of its investment with the policyholders in the form of yearly bonuses. Once paid out, the bonuses are guaranteed and accumulated throughout the policy term.

Participating whole life insurance provides a guaranteed cash value portion and a non guaranteed cash value portion typically shown in their benefit illustrations at 3.25% p.a. or 4.75% p.a., the cash value money accumulated will then be paid out to the insured’s beneficiary in addition to the sum assured in the event of the insured’s death or to the insured when he/she surrenders the policy.

Non-participating whole life insurance has guaranteed claims benefit and cash values, and as the name indicate, it does not participate in the investment profit of the insurers.

When does getting Whole Life insurance makes sense and when does it not?

Getting a Whole Life insurance plan can be a long term financial commitment and early termination can easily cause you to lose money. Before getting a whole life product, ask yourself if you are looking to provide for your dependent for the rest of your life or until they are self-sufficient. If you are looking to provide for your dependent only until they are self-reliant or to provide coverage for a fixed term liability, getting term insurance coverage may make more sense.

However, getting whole life insurance may be a better choice base on the following concern:

  • leaving a sum of money to your dependent regardless of whether they are self-reliant throughout your life
  • have the intention to provide coverage during your productive years and having an option to use them as a form of forced savings to supplement your retirement needs.
  • provide for early stage critical illness coverage for a longer period e.g. till age 85 but at the same time prefers to pay for a limited term rather than to continue paying for the premium beyond your retirement years. (in some circumstance, this strategy may be cheaper than getting an early stage ci stand-alone policy)
  • Pay limited period and enjoy whole life coverage

Also to add on, the multiplier benefit does give you higher coverage while you were young, although the investment return from a whole life plan can hardly justify it as a sound form of savings, it definitely has a place in anyone’s insurance portfolio given its dynamic features.

Need any advise on your coverage? Get a personalised adviser to answer your questions for free! Our Life insurance advisors have many years of experience to serve you promptly and professionally, drop us your request here to receive a free consultation.

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