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Whole life insurance plans in India

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Among the different types of life insurance policies in India, whole life insurance plans are a category which many investors have warmed upto. The reasons range from the fact that they provide life cover all through your life, as their name itself suggests to the fact that they have a savings component built into them.

These policies are often bought by those who are caught in the insurance is investment rut and that it can help save money for the long term – do check on why life insurance is not an investment and you will think otherwise. Let us check on a few features on whole life insurance plans and whether it makes sense to buy them.

What are whole life insurance plans ?

Unlike the limited period term plan or endowment policy, whole life insurance plans are in force for as long as the insured lives. They provide financial security throughout the life of the insured. Like any other insurance policy, a whole life insurance plan provides for the financial needs of a loved one after the death of the insured. Besides providing an assured amount as death benefit, it offers protection to the insured to meet any unforeseen financial need as most whole life policies offer the facility to take a loan against the policy.

The way such polices work is that the policyholder has the option to pay premiums till a certain age, which is generally 80 to 100 years.  This is called the maturity age. When this age is reached, you can either continue with the cover till your death with no obligation to pay any premiums or you can encash the benefits – sum assured and bonus, if applicable.

Many life insurance companies are providing for payment of sum assured plus bonuses in the form of maturity claim on completion of a particular age – such as 80 years (in the case of some LIC policies) or in some cases 99 years (Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance). There are some whole life policies like that of HDFC Life which give an option withdrawing from the policy after 5 years (and on every fifth anniversary thereafter).

Generally, the premium for whole life insurance plans remain constant during the entire term of the policy and the policyholder gets life cover right throughout. The premium payment terms differ from policy to policy – from a single premium policy to payments for whole life to payments upto retirement age and several other options in between. Then there are riders that are made available on the basic whole life insurance policy.

Whole life insurance plans in India

Points to note on whole life insurance plans

Whole life insurance plans are suitable for ?

Whole life insurnace plans are most beneficial when taken at a younger age since you get the advantage of paying a lower premium over the term of the policy. However it makes lesser sense if you take it in your forties and fifties since the premium is considerably higher by then. At a later stage of life it would make more sense to take a term plan and invest the difference amount.

Another argument is that life insurance is really not required when you begin to near retirement – so having a life insurance policy for life does not make sense at all. This argument does hold water and if you think for a moment, by the time you are in your fifties, your kids would have probably stepped out of home and you would possibly be a tt he peak of your earning career – so the need for life cover or insurance is not huge.

Do you have any whole life insurance plans and how did you end up with them ?


  1. YK Sharma

    January 23, 2013

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    I am a 45 year old NRI working in Singapore. I had always maintained that whole0life policies make no sense for the policy holder. However , 3 years back I bought one whole life policy because it came with critical illness rider – which allowed CI cover for the whole life. Apart from this, there was no way I could think of to have this cover beyond the age of 65 years. I squeezed the premium payment term to 5 years – it was a drain but in next two years I can be rest assured about expenses toward CI. It, overall, worked out cheaper than taking a term plan up to the age of 70 years + a standalone critical illness policy for the rest of the life with annual premiums.

    • TheWealthWisher

      January 24, 2013

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      Thanks for the info. What is the name of this policy and how much premium did you pay and what is the cover for critical illness.
      I am glad you now have critical cover for your life but pray you never use it !

      • YK Sharma

        January 29, 2013

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        It is Tokio Marine’s MyLegacyPlus. Death benefit would be SGD 300,000 or cash value whichever is higher. Critical Ilness Cover of the same value * SGD 300k) up to the age of 65 yes after which it drops to SGD 200k for life. Chose premium payment term of 5 years, annual premium is SGD 22990.

  2. Rohit Kunal

    January 25, 2013

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    Hi TheWealthWisher,

    I am 27 yrs old and haven’t got any obligation for an insurance. So far I was under the impression that term plans are the best for Life Insurance and haven’t heard of Whole Life plans at all. For someone of my age, what are the pros and cons of Term plan vs Whole life plans ?

    Thanks for the article. Brings new things for me. It’d have been better if you can add some Whole Life plans that are in the market now.

    • TheWealthWisher

      January 29, 2013

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      Forget about whole life plans please Rohit. Invest via equity MFs for your long term goals, you will be laughing your way to the bank sooner than you think.

  3. manish

    January 27, 2013

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    Dear Rohit ur impression regarding the term plans are valid. term plans are for those who have a dependents and they are financially dependent on you in that case term plan should be your first priority before any insurance cum investment plan bcoz in term plans premiums are much lesseer than cash value plans(whole life,endowment etc).read the first point which radhey sir has mentioned that whole life insurance plan are suitable for those who “have invested for their post retirement needs and intend to invest in other avenues.”i would like to add another point in it that it is suitable for those who have already covered there life with large cover,who have invested for their post retirment needs and intend to invest in other avenues.

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