Ron Attias is a licensed insurance broker. He has no particular loyalty to any one insurance company, so he is able to shop all major insurance carriers. This means that you always get the BEST plan at the LOWEST price. Each plan can be customized to fit your specific healthcare needs and budget.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jul 9, 2019

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If you are too scared to outlast your policy’s term and dislike the thought of paying for a whole life plan, you landed on the right page. Guaranteed universal life may be your hope. With so many similarities to both term and whole life, GUL offers the best of both worlds, without the complexities nor the costs of other permanent policies.

In this article, I will go over the pros and cons of guaranteed universal life, how it works, the differences with other policies, and sample rates.

Related: Term life insurance sample rates.

What Is Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance?

In insurance lingo, Guaranteed Universal Life is also called “Secondary Guarantee Universal Life (SGUL)”, “GUL,” or “no lapse.”

Think of GUL as a policy which lets you choose your coverage based on a specific age, rather than a particular length like term life offers.  For example, if you are in your fifties, the longest term length you can get is 30 years, which will only take you into your eighties. With guaranteed universal life, you can buy coverage up to age 90, 95, 100, 105, 110 or 121 years old.

This is excellent news for those who are worried that they will be too old to get new coverage once their term is over, will have to take a new exam, or even worse will need to convert their current term policy because of deteriorating health conditions that will prevent them from getting approved for a new policy.

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How Does GUL Differ from Whole Life?

The most obvious point is the length. A whole life policy lasts for life, while GUL does not. If you buy GUL to 90 years of age and you are still alive, your policy guaranteed premium is over.  If you would want to convert it, the premium will be so expensive that it may not be worth it. You could buy GUL to 121 years and technically have a whole life policy. I say “technically” because what happens if you are still alive by age 121?

The second point is that whole life policies have a cash value component that is built into the coverage when you first buy it, while most guaranteed universal life policies do not have a cash value.

They are alike with regards to two factors: Both offer guaranteed death benefit and a guaranteed level premium (premiums stay the same the entire length of the policy).

How Does GUL Differ from Term Life?

The most important difference is that a term life policy is based on the term length, and guaranteed universal life is bought with age in mind. They are both term insurance, but one is geared towards age as opposed to a 20- or 30-year time period.

That being said, GUL and term life are very similar because they both offer protection without the cash accumulation benefit, a guaranteed level premium throughout the policy contract, and a guaranteed death benefit.

GUL is more expensive than term life insurance because it usually lasts a lot longer than term life and since the insurance company takes an increased risk, you will pay more if you choose to buy it. The later the age (90, 95, 100, 121), the more you will pay.

Guaranteed Universal Life Pros:

  • You choose the term based on an age vs a fixed length of time
  • Premiums are level (the same) for the duration of the policy
  • A lot cheaper than other type of a permanent life insurance products
  • Has no market volatility, which can influence the premiums like Universal Life or Indexed Universal Life
  • Guaranteed Death benefit
  • Simple to understand
  • A great option for seniors who need more than a term or final expense policy
  • An option for a business owner who needs to buy key person insurance

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Guaranteed Universal Life Cons:

  • No cash accumulation on most policies
  • Your term may expire if you buy GUL to age 90 and live longer
  • No flexibility when it comes to premium payments and adjusting your death benefit
  • More expensive than a term life policy

So, Who Buys Guaranteed Universal Life?

For the most part, the typical GUL’s buyer is described as an individual who is interested in a guaranteed death benefit and guaranteed level premium and doesn’t want to pay for a whole life policy or universal life. Cash accumulation and other flexibilities other policies offer are not his/her cup of tea. Just because we can’t estimate how long we are going to live, doesn’t mean that’s a good reason to buy whole life and pay the extra costs associated with it.

The typical buyer is very focused on the true purpose of a life insurance policy, which is to ease financial worries and burdens for their loved ones once they are gone. They buy GUL to age 95 or even to 121 and this will ensure just that. Their loved ones will inherit the death benefit and be able to pay estate taxes, mortgages, or other obligations they are seeking to protect.

Who Doesn’t Buy Guaranteed Universal Life?

If you only need burial insurance for $25,000 or less, you probably should get a simplified issue whole life policy. They require no exam and carry a cash accumulation benefit.

For those who only need life insurance in their early family life when kids are younger and the debts are high, a 30-year term policy may be sufficient. They can get the best price for the most death benefit and they know they don’t need life insurance to last more than a specific length.

If you are in your 30’s and know that in your 60’s you won’t need life insurance, there is no need to get a GUL and pay more. Or, if you like the fact that a whole life policy offers cash accumulation and potential growth, you will not find it in a GUL policy, and you better just get whole life.

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Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Sample Monthly Rates

Male $100,000 GUL

 AGE 30 40 50 60 70
 90 $44.03 $59.61 $86.41 $122.50 $200.48
 95 $45.69 $61.78 $92.50 $131.86 $226.07
 100 $46.26 $63.38 $95.64 $138.22 $241.88
 105 $46.44 $64.58 $98.05 $143.27 $254.52
 110 $53.16 $65.76 $100.46 $148.25 $267.07
 121 $58.23 $67.11 $110.15 $166.88 $304.39
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Female $100,000 GUL

 AGE 30 40 50 60 70
 90 $35.72 $48.26 $74.79 $113.90 $188.13
 95 $37.67 $51.83 $80.60 $124.35 $214.05
 100 $38.61 $53.48 $82.14 $130.44 $226.87
 105 $39.01 $54.34 $88.17 $135.87 $238.85
 110 $50.47 $60.93 $91.02 $142.22 $253.53
 121 $54.96 $69.30 $102.29 $166.00 $296.38
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Male $250,000 GUL

 AGE 30 40 50 60 70
 90 $93.86 $122.48 $179.15 $282.76 $463.28
 95 $96.74 $126.92 $188.07 $304.36 $522.41
 100 $98.93 $130.22 $194.47 $319.06 $558.95
 105 $100.51 $132.69 $199.41 $330.71 $588.15
 110 $102.07 $135.11 $204.27 $342.19 $617.16
 121 $113.53 $149.66 $227.94 $383.42 $699.94
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Female $250,000 GUL

 AGE 30 40 50 60 70
 90 $79.57 $106.94 $149.16 $242.37 $429.58
 95 $83.53 $113.76 $156.75 $261.16 $488.66
 100 $85.23 $116.59 $162.19 $273.93 $517.93
 105 $86.57 $118.91 $166.87 $285.34 $545.28
 110 $88.12 $121.58 $172.26 $298.67 $578.80
 121 $89.01 $125.39 $190.19 $323.68 $603.26
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How to Get the Best Guaranteed Universal Life Rates?

  • You can start by running the quotes yourself on this page. Keep in mind that you will go through the underwriting process and if you are not in a good health, the quotes you see will not be as accurate.
  • You will also find that it is best just to buy a GUL to 121. With very little difference in the premium rate, you don’t want to get to the age of 95 just to find out that you can’t buy a policy anymore, and the costs associated with converting the current one you have are astronomical. If you take GUL, take the one up to 121.
  • Shop around, not only for the best price but the best product for your specific situation. For instance, some GUL policies come with a living benefits rider included in the policy at no extra charge, which allows the policy owner to access a portion of his/her death benefit if they develop a chronic, critical or terminal illness.
  • Use a broker to shop for the best rates. We work with over 50+ insurance companies from which you can choose.

Related: 5 surprising ways to save money on life insurance.