If you are looking for the very best guaranteed universal (GUL) policy, you came to the right place. It would be nice if we could say there is a clear hands-down winner. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There are several relatively new players in the GUL market. There are also a few carriers that have reduced their rates and/or added compelling “built-in” riders. This article will help you in your search for the very best guaranteed universal life insurance policy for you. When we wrote the article on the 5 Best GUL carriers, the article was accurate at the time (Fall 2016). Now, almost one year later, there are a couple of new players and it will soon be time to update that article.
GUL – Not Like Term Insurance (when shopping)
When shopping for term or GUL it is a good idea to start shopping online to get an idea of the cost. You can use the quote engine on this page. If you’re shopping for term insurance, then select the desired period (10, 15, 20 or 30 years).
If shopping for GUL, then select “Lifetime” in the dropdown box when choosing a product to quote.
Our quote engine will show most of the term insurance plans on the market. We use two other quoting tools so we can show you ALL the low-cost term carriers. While many of the big online life insurance sites only offer 10 to 12 carriers, we offer over 60. This can result in huge saving for you. See an example of this savings here.
Shopping for the lowest-cost GUL isn’t as easy as term insurance. Several leading carriers will show up in the quote engines for term insurance, but not GUL. Our quote engine shows approximately 2/3 of the available GUL products. We take the extra few steps and use proprietary illustration software to quote GUL for the other third. Companies such as Cincinnati Life and Columbus Life have very strong GULs, but don’t appear on any comparison quote engines.
Sometimes, the difference in premium is significant. We just quoted a two people today where the lowest carrier was over $500 per year lower than the next lowest carrier. When you are shopping for GUL, make sure you are seeing the of the best carriers.
Choose Your Guaranteed Age
The GUL products that show up on our quote engine (on this site) only show products guaranteed to age 100. That’s fine for most folks. However, you might prefer life insurance that is guaranteed to age 90 or 95. More commonly, people prefer GUL policies that are guaranteed to age 110 or 121. The premium is slightly higher, but most people like the additional guarantee.
Some carriers are more competitive with GUL’s guaranteed to earlier ages such as 90 or 95. We caution folks about choosing products that are not guaranteed at least to age 100.
What Happens When You Reach Your Guarantee Age?
People are often surprised to learn that many GUL carriers will not pay the death benefit or “endow” if you live past the guaranteed age. Of course, most people are not concerned about living to 100. We have several clients who are absolutely convinced they won’t live to age 90. In one case, our client explained how every male in his family line died in their mid 70s. Since he was not in great health, he was more than satisfied with a guarantee to the age of 90.
At the opposite extreme, we have several clients who think it’s possible they will live to age 120 or 121. It’s not probable, but possible, that there could be a tremendous medical breakthrough that leads to much longer lifespans. The average age of death in the year 1900 was only 47! See the table published by the CDC.
If you select a carrier that will terminate your policy at age 100 (and you reach the age of 99), then you won’t be too happy about your options. This very dilemma was faced by Gary Lebbin from New Jersey. He purchased two policies for over $2M that terminate at age 100. You can read the story in the Wall Street Journal entitled, Happy 100th Birthday! There Goes Your Life Insurance.
So, make sure you ask your agent what happens if you reach age 100 with the top carriers quoted. The answer could make the difference in finding the best guaranteed universal life insurance policy for you.
What does the ‘Guarantee’ in Guaranteed Universal Life Mean?
We receive phone calls from people asking for guaranteed universal life and they think the “guaranteed” part means that they can’t be declined. The term “guaranteed issue” is often used in reference to health insurance or Medicare. It usually refers to an application that asks no medical questions and everyone is approved regardless of their health history. That’s not quite how it works with individual (as opposed to group) life insurance.
Well, there are GULs that don’t require an exam and offer an easy, expedited underwriting process. However, the “guarantee” in GUL refers to the guaranteed premium and guaranteed death benefit. An approval is not guaranteed! Even the non-medical GULs require answers to some “gatekeeper” health questions. These are only a handful of questions and vary according to the company.
There are some very lenient, low face-amount Final Expense policies that are guaranteed issue, but there are stipulations.
So, if you don’t want to have an exam that involves lab work, then a simplified-issue, “no-exam” policy would be the best guaranteed universal life insurance policy for you. If you are in very good health and don’t mind an exam, then you can qualify for lower rates with a fully-underwritten policy.
Built-in Riders Can Make A Difference
Several carriers offering GUL have some compelling “built-in” riders that do not cost extra. We have written extensively about these riders in other posts, but we’ll briefly cover the most important riders.
- Return of Premium. This rider gives the insured the ability to terminate the policy at certain dates with a full return of premium.
- Chronic Illness. This rider will pay a benefit if the insured is diagnosed with a chronic illness.
- Accelerated Death Benefit. A portion of the death benefit is available when diagnosed with a terminal illness
There are other riders that are available at additional cost. This varies by carrier.
When All Else is Equal (or close to it)
It’s nice when one company’s GUL is the clear choice. The premium is substantially lower, the carrier is highly rated, and everything else meets the client’s needs. However, many times there are two or three carriers that are very close in premium, financial ratings and other important criteria. How do choose the right company?
The factors mentioned in this article can help you make the right decision. Also, an independent agent can help you run comparisons and make the best decision. It’s important to look for the following criteria when working with an agent:
- Independent. An agent who represents at least 15 of the top carriers offering GUL and at least 40 term life carriers.
- Experienced. Find an agent with at least 10 years experience in the life insurance industry.
- Knowledgeable. Ask some tough questions after doing a little homework. Make sure your agent really knows his or her stuff! Not too many agents know the ins and outs of GUL and other life insurance products.
- Reputable. Look for reviews. Check to see that the reviews (or testimonials) are legitimate.
The Best Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Policy – Conclusion
Hopefully, we have demonstrated to you that with a little homework and with the help of a qualified advisor, you can find the best GUL for your situation. This isn’t a “one-size fits all” product, so it makes sense to find what works best for you. We will be glad to help you in your quest, so please complete the quote request form or call us at 678-236-1600.