What is a 'Participating Policy'

A participating policy is an insurance contract that pays dividends to the policy holder. Dividends are generated from the profits of the insurance company that sold the policy and are typically paid out on an annual basis over the life of the policy. Most policies also include a final or terminal payment that is paid out to the holder when the contract matures. Some participating policies may include a guaranteed dividend amount, which is determined at the onset of the policy.

Also referred to as a "with-profits policy".

BREAKING DOWN 'Participating Policy'

Participating policies are typically life insurance contracts such as a whole life participating policy. The dividend received by the policy holder can be used in several different ways. First, the policy holder can apply the dividend proceeds to the insurance policy's premium payment. Second, the dividend can be kept with the insurance as a deposit in order to generate interest much like a savings account at a bank. Finally, the policy holder can simply receive the dividend payment in cash, much like a dividend payment on a stock.

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